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Printer Troubleshooting

If you are in need of additional assistance please call (568-3555) or visit the JMU Computing HelpDesk.

If troubleshooting a local printer that is directly attached to your computer and to which only you print, please see
Local Printer Troubleshooting.

If troubleshooting a network printer to which multiple people print, please see
Network Printer Troubleshooting.

If adding a network printer to your computer, please choose from the following options:

Add a Network Printer (Windows 7, Vista, XP)

Add a Network Printer (Mac OS)

Alternate Method - Add a Network Printer via iPrint (Windows)

Network Printing:

Is everyone in the department not able to print to the networked printer or is just one PC having the problem?

  • If only your PC is not able to print, but everyone else can:
    Please follow the Local troubleshooting steps.

  • If many people in the department cannot print to the same network printer:
    • Make sure Online light is on (on the printer itself). If so, proceed with remaining steps.
    • Locate the printer's ethernet cord (network cable that connects the printer to the wall) and unplug it.
    • Locate the printer's power cord and unplug it as well.
    • Wait 10 seconds and then plug both cords back into the printer.
    • Wait a few minutes and then send a test print job. If no job prints, proceed with the remaining step.
    • Look at the printer where the ethernet cord (same network cord you unplugged above) attaches to the printer and take note as to whether or not there are any blinking lights and also the color of these lights. Also note the brand/model and ESN of your printer and contact the JMU Computing HelpDesk

Local Printing:

What brand/model is the printer?
Many problems are specific to particular brands/models, such as HP. For manufacturer-specific solutions, please visit the manufacturer's website. For example, if you have an HP printer and the steps belows do not solve your problem and you wish to further troubleshoot the problem, visit HP Support and Drivers.

Can you check all cable connections and re-secure them?
Loose or improperly connected cables will keep you from printing properly or at all.

Is the On-Line light on, on the printer itself?
If this light is not on, press the On-Line button once to put the printer back in on-line status.

Can you turn the printer off and then back on and also reboot the computer?
See if the problem is corrected or still persists.

Has the printer ever printed correctly?
If not, this may be an indication that the printer has not been setup or installed properly. Consider re-installing the printer software/drivers. For a network printer see instructions to Add a Network Printer.

When did the problem start and what changes occurred on the system prior to the last time your printed successfully?
Undoing the latest change may remedy the problem.

Are there any printer error messages on the display panel of the printer itself?
These messages may be documented (in User Manual or on-line) with specific fixes suggested. Please contact the JMU Computing HelpDesk as it is also possible your printer may require a hardware service visit.

Are there any printer error messages on the computer screen?
These messages should be documented as they may suggest a fix or otherwise indicate the nature of the problem.

Do all software applications have trouble printing or just a certain software application?
If it is just a certain application, then troubleshooting should focus on that specific application.

Can you check the Printer settings/status?
Click Start, Control Panel, and then, using Classic View click Printers (or Printers and Faxes):
Is the correct printer set to be the Default printer (default printer is the one with check mark beside it)?
Have you tried to Delete (right click printer and choose Delete) and Re-Add the printer (for a network printer see instructions to Add a Network Printer)?
Can you double click the printer and check the status of your print job?
Continue by right clicking on the printer and choosing properties. This will open a dialog box (will vary by printer brand and model) which will allow you to verify or change various settings for your printer:
Is the printer set to print to the correct port?
Is the right driver being used?
When you click the Print Test Page button does a test page print?

Is there any indication that there may be a paper jam?
Paper jams are very common, especially with printers that need to be cleaned or serviced.

Is the paper loaded correctly in tray?
Some paper trays have adjustments on the tray itself that need to be set for the proper size of paper in order to work properly.