When a printer is unable to print, it's possible that the printer is experiencing either a hardware or software related issue. Before testing the software, check for hardware issues first.

Solution - Testing Hardware

  1. Check that paper is loaded and that there are no paper jams.
  2. Check the cable connections, both the power cable and the cable between the printer and your computer.
  3. Ensure that the printer power indication light is on.
  4. Verify that the printer has no flashing lights or Red or Orange lights. It is common for printers to have red, orange, or any other flashing lights when the printer is malfunctioning
  5. Run a self test on the printer. Running a self test should print a basic page of information indicating that the printer itself is working. Your users manual should have the instructions for printing a self test. If your printer does not print a self test it's a good possibility that there is a defect or mis-configuration with your printer, and you should contact the printer manufacturer.

Solution - Testing Software

For Windows users

  1. If possible, make sure your printer is able to print using the above hardware tests.
  2. Install the printer software provided with your printer. If no software was provided with your printer, do a Google search for "print drivers" and include the model information about your printer. Drivers are required for your printer to properly work with the operating system.
  3. Go into the Printers & Devices option on Windows, and ensure that your printer manufacturer and model is listed.
  4. Print a test page by clicking the icon with the right mouse button, then click Properties -> Print test page. If the test page doesn't print, download the latest drivers from your printer manufacturer.
  5. If the page prints successfully, go back to the list of printers, right-click the printer, and ensure that there is a check next to "Set as default." Newer versions of Windows will also show a check next to the printer icon once it has been set as the default printer.
  6. Once the printer is set as default, click Start, Run, and type notepad and press enter. In notepad, type a test message and click File and Print. If the printer also prints successfully from this program but you are still unable to print from the other program, it is likely that that program has an issue and not your printer.


Has Your Version of Windows Changed?

Printers that worked in older versions of Windows may no longer work in newer versions of Windows. If you have upgraded to a new version of Windows and your printer no longer works, verify that your printer is compatible by checking with the printer's manufacturer.

Still need help?

For additional assistance, contact the IT Help Desk.