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Troubleshooting Your Printer

Diagnosing issues with wired, wireless and network printers.

Today, we play Doctor house, and determine why your printer, aka Robin, is not working with you hit print, on your computer, which we will call Batman, for the reasons of comparison.

Episode #1-24 released on March 13, 2011

Virtually every home, office, school and workplace has one. It can cause hours of pain and suffering, and yet bring pride and joy. Its a required tool, and a bringer of memories. Its the printer. Since the advent of computers, printers have been a sidekick, in the know. Like Robin, in the story of Batman, it comes with a bizarre, and awful past. Ink disasters, paper jams, and printer spool pile ups. Today, we are going to address problems that can affect the printer that are virtually invisable to us. Paper jams, ink messes, etc... are easy to spot, but what do you do when you hit print, and nothing happens. Today, we diagnose your printer, and give you a neat guide that applies to most printer hardware diagnose procedures. Today, we get to play, Doctor House.

So, let's focus on the most important thing possible, how did this all happen. You have to remember that there are many reasons why printers may stop working. If you turned it off to avoid printing jobs, computer crashed during the print job, your kids stuffed a crayon in the printer, a virus infected your computer, lack of paper for the print job, etc... What happened before it stopped working is very important. I will help you identify the problem, and give you some solutions.

If you listen to our show in the audio format, you may want to watch the video, there will computer demonstration in this weeks video. So below is a list of things we need to look at, in order to identify the problems of your printer. Please make sure you computer, router, wired or wireless is free from defect before attempting this, see my Previous Episodes for those diagnosis tips.

Diagnose Your Printer Problem

  1. Verify Power
    1. Confirm printer is plugged and turned on.
    2. If networked, whether wired or wireless, confirm router is on, and online.
  2. Verify that there is paper for the printer
  3. Confirm that there is no obstruction like a paper jam, or foreign objects in any of the paper trays.
  4. Verify Cables and connections
    1. Make sure plugs are connected at both ends.
    2. If using RJ-45 or USB, confirm that no damage has occured to cable.
    3. Confirm cables work by using another set of identical cable.
    4. If using wireless, confirm router's and printer's wireless radios are on.
  5. Check Hardware Status
    1. If using wireless printer connection, confirm wireless radio is on.
    2. Confirm that printers wireless or wired connection is active.
    3. If connected by USB to router, confirm that router detects printer, and that the software, if any, connects correctly to router.
  6. Check the printspool, this is the usual suspect for print jobs not being sent.
  7. Verify printer by other means, suggestion USB, if you were previously using network connection, whether wired or wireless connection
  8. Check drivers in device manager, confirm there are working. Replace, if defective.
  9. Check software for updates and big fixes, update if required, some bugs are solved later on, after product hit market.
  10. When in extreme doubt, start over - uninstall hardware drivers and software, then restart computer. Install manually latest drivers, and software from web-site.
  11. Bonus Tip : If you have a multi-function printer, you can further confirm by trying to use the other functions of your printer, scanner, photocopier, etc... I suggest you do a manual scan to print job to confirm that the printer works.

If after all this, it still doesn't work, chances are, the printer has a real problem with it, and it is nothing you can fix. If your printer is in need of repair, contact techinical support for further instruction. I suggest you buy a new printer, if its broken and no longer under warranty, since printers cost virtually nothing these days. Suggests for printers are Canon, Lexmark, HP and Kodak. I personally prefer Canon, I've rarely had any issues with my Canon printers.

Host : Steve Smith | Music : Steve Smith | Editor : Steve Smith | Producer : Zed Axis Productions