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Mon -Thu: 8:00am -9:00 pm
Friday: 8:00am - 5:00pm
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Sunday: 3:00pm - 9:00pm

(when classes are in session)

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Printer Troubleshooting

To begin printer troubleshooting, first you must determine if you have a local or a network printer.  A local printer is one that is attached directly to your computer and only you have printing access.  A network printer is typically located in a common area where multiple people share printing access.

Network Printer Troubleshooting


To assist in troubleshooting a network printer that is not attached directly to your computer (where multiple people share printing access) first determine whether multiple people cannot print.

  • If only your computer is having an issue printing while all other computers are printing to that network printer with no issue, then follow the Local Printer Troubleshooting steps below.

  • If multiple people in the department are experiencing issues printing to the network printer:
    • Ensure the Online light is turned on (the light 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 document to print.

    • If nothing prints, look at the printer and note the following:
      • Error message on the printer panel or on your computer, if any.
      • Color and pattern (blinking/not blinking) of the indicator lights on the printer where the ethernet cord or network cable mentioned above attaches to the printer.
      • Make/Model (e.g. Dell and ESN of the printer
    • Contact the Computing HelpDesk with the information listed above for support and warranty repair of JMU-owned printers. 

Local Printer Troubleshooting


To assist in troubleshooting a local printer that is attached directly to your computer or a network printer when only your computer is having trouble printing.

  • Have you researched the printing issue through the Windows or Mac Help and Support options?

  • Have you researched the issue on the Printer Manufacturer’s website?
    Many problems are specific to a particular brand/model, such as HP, Dell, Epson, Cannon. For manufacturer-specific solutions, printer drivers, support and more, visit the manufacturer's website. For example, if you have an HP printer, you should research issues under HP Support and Drivers.

  • Can you check all cable connections and re-secure them?
    Loose or improperly connected cables will prevent proper printing or prevent printing altogether.

  • 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 that came with your printer or search for them on the manufacturer’s website. For a network printer see instructions to add a network printer on a Windows computer or to add a network printer on a Mac.

  • When did the problem start and what changes occurred on the system prior to the last time you 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?
      Instructions for Windows computers below. Mac instructions are also available.
    • Click Start, Control Panel, and then, using Classic View click Printers (or Printers and Faxes or Devices and Printers).  Note:  Windows 8 users follow steps 1 and 2 to open Devices and Printers and then follow steps below.
    • 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 and Re-Add the printer (for a network printer see instructions to Add a Network Printer)?
    • Can you double click or double tap the printer and check the status of your print job?
      Stay in the same print job box and on the top menu bar click or tap printer and then 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 correct printer 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 the 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.

  • Still not resolved?
    • For additional support for a personally owned printer, please visit the manufacturer’s website. The Computing HelpDesk offers best-effort phone support for personally owned-printers.   Please provide the HelpDesk with any of the steps above that you have attempted in resolving your issue.

    • For additional support and warranty repair of JMU-owned printers, please contact the Computing HelpDesk. Please provide the HelpDesk with any of the steps above that you have attempted in resolving your issue, as well as:
      • Error message on the printer panel or on your computer, if any.
      • Make/Model (e.g. Dell 5110) and ESN of the printer
      • Computer Operating System (e.g. Windows 7, Mac 10.6 Snow Leopard, etc.)