It has happened to just about everyone. You have an important document to print and your printer just sits there and ignores you. Whether you are trying to print your tax return on the evening of April 15 or printing your month-end invoices, a misbehaving printer can be a huge problem.
The good news is that printers are not all that complicated. There are only a few things that can go wrong, and taking a step-by-step approach to troubleshooting is the best way to get your printer back in business.
You can start by looking for flashing lights or error messages on the printer console. Those lights and messages can give you a good idea of what the problem is, from a paper jam to a lack of ink. If you have the printer manual handy, you can find out exactly what the lights and messages mean.
If you have no clue what the problem is, you can simply try resetting the printer. Power cycling the printer can clear any error messages and give you a chance to retry the print job. You can use the power button to turn the unit off and back on or simply pull the plug and reseat it.
If your printer seems to be in working order but still will not respond to your commands, the problem could be a stuck print spooler. The print spooler is responsible for sending jobs to the printer, and if it stops responding no communication can happen between the computer and the device.
If you are still running Windows XP or Windows 7, click the Start button, choose the Run option and type services.msc. Scroll through the list of options until you see Print Spooler, then right-click and choose Start from the list to restart the print spooler.
If you are using Windows 8, right-click the lower left-hand corner of the screen to bring up the computer settings, then type Services in the search box and choose Local Services. Scroll down until you see Print Spooler, right-click it and choose Restart from the menu.
Imagine that you need to print some documents, and you are not nearby your printer. You can get into a nearby Internet café and get the documents printed for a charge, or you can still print the documents over the web through your networked printer back home. You can even use your friend’s printer or the office printer to get the documents printed. Google Cloud Print is an application that helps you set up remote printers for printing through PCs, laptops, or cell phones over the Internet.