- first, check to be sure the printer is on,
especially if the trouble occurs first thing in the morning. Perhaps
someone turned the printer off when the day's work was finished.
- Check the printer status lights, or the status
LCD screen. If there's a flashing light, or if the status screen shows
an error, then it's your first clue to a problem.
- Check to see whether the paper tray is empty.
If so, refill it but not necessarily with as much paper as it can
possibly hold - many printers like a little elbow room in their paper
trays. Make sure to feather the pages to eliminate static. Hold the
pages in one had and flip through the pages at a fast rate with your
thumb. If the paper tray is not empty, check for a misfeed. A sheet may
have been caught in the mechanism. There may be a variety of printer
access doors to check. Pull out any remnants. Even the smallest piece
of paper could be causing the problem, so check carefully. Tweezers are
handy for this procedure.
- Many common problems are related to toner or
toner cartridges. If the problem is toner-related, check to see if the
toner cartridge is empty or low. The printer warning should indicate
this. Swap it for a new one and the unit should work.
- If all the physical hardware on the printer
seems to be fine, check to be sure that it is connected to your
computer. Personal printers connect via either a parallel or USB
(universal serial bus) connector to the back of the printer. Follow the
cable from the back of the printer to the back of the computer to make
sure the connection is good.
- If the printer works, but spews strange
characters or it appears as though the PC and printer aren’t working
together properly, you probably have a printer driver problem. When a
printer acts up and there is no hardware problem, the solution is often
driver-related. A printer driver is a piece of software that allows a
computer to "talk" to a printer. It's a kind of translator.
Occasionally, if a printer has worked previously, but suddenly doesn’t
work with a newly installed program, there could be driver problems. To
remedy this, download a driver from the printer maker's website, remove
the old driver, and install the new driver. Drivers are normally
available under the "support" area of a website.
- If you have an inkjet printer and you get
smudged or blurry images, you might want to look up the utility on the
printer that cleans and or aligns the printer heads. Most inkjet
printers have either software that can start this process, or a setting
on the printer itself that can kick-start it.