Guest blog post by Jeremie Dobbs, a Senior Systems Analyst and printer-networking-issue-solving-pro at Lewan Technology.
We’ve all experienced the frustration of clicking Print and the document never actually printing. Your first assumption is probably that the printer is broken. This may be the case, but the job might not even be getting to the printer in the first place.
Here's how to determine if your printer needs service or if there is another issue causing it not to print.
Note: These steps are for those printing from a Windows-based computer. The theories still apply if otherwise, but the steps may be slightly different.
Is the print job even getting to the printer?
Let’s start by verifying that the job is leaving your computer. While a job is being printed, there will be a small printer icon in the lower right corner of your taskbar.
If everything is working correctly, this icon should show up then go away quickly.
If it hangs, your computer is probably still working on the print job, meaning it hasn’t been sent to the printer yet. This can be caused by a number of reasons, so first, let’s understand what a print job traveling from your computer to the printer should look like in the Print Queue.
To Open the Print Queue
Double clicking on the printer icon will open the Print Queue on your computer. (You can also open the Print Queue by clicking on Devices and Printers in the Start Menu, then double clicking on the printer you are trying to print to.)
The Print Queue will show you how many jobs are waiting to be sent to the printer. It will also show you the Status.
The normal steps displayed under Status will be Spooling ⇒ Printing ⇒ Deleting.
- Spooling is your computer processing the job and preparing it for the printer.
- Printing status is the job being transmitted to the printer.
- Deleting is your computer removing the job from the Windows spooling system.
Possible Issue: Error printing status
If at any point the Status says Error Printing, there is likely a communication issue between the computer and printer, and it’s not a broken printer causing your document not to print.
Possible Issue: Stalled loading large file
If your print job is large and/or complex, it may take longer than expected for it to get to the printer. If in the Print Queue your file Status seems to be stuck on the Spooling or Printing step, check the Size column.
You will see two files sizes. The first is what’s loaded so far and the second is the total file size. The amount loaded should be continually increasing, indicating the job is still processing and has not stalled or errored.
High resolution images embedded into the document or multiple layers in a layout software like InDesign or AutoCAD are the most common culprits of an XL file size. As long as you can see the file size still loading, it will most likely print once all the steps have been completed, you’ll just have to have a little patience.
Resolution: Try these steps first
- Try rebooting your computer (or your mobile device) and sending the print job again.
- Try sending the job to a different printer. If that works, you’ll know it’s an issue with the printer and you need to put in a service call.
If neither of these steps are successful, ask a co-worker near you:
- “Are you able to print to the same printer?”
- “Can I send you my file and can you try to print it to the same printer?”
If they are also unsuccessful, it’s not a problem with your specific PC. It could still be a network issue, not a physical printer issue though, so check that the job left their Print Queue.
If it’s hanging, you’re next step is to contact your IT team and have them look at the network.
It if did leave the Print Queue, it’s most likely an issue with the actual printer and it's time to take a look at the machine.
Here’s a checklist to go through at the printer:
- Does the printer have the paper required by the job?
- Does the printer need toner?
- Is there another job ahead of yours that is stuck (maybe waiting for a specialty paper to be loaded)?
- Is there a misfeed or jam that was left by a previous user?
- If account codes are required on the machine, was a valid code entered? (Often the machine will either display an error message or print an error page if an invalid code or no code was entered.)
- If it’s a multi-function device, check if other functionality is working—can it make copies and scan?
- And don’t forget to make sure it’s plugged in and powered on. It sounds silly, but it’s easy to verify and you might not realize it's off if you don't sit right beside the machine.
None of these things the issue?
We already tried rebooting your computer, but even printers can benefit from a periodic reboot. If you still haven’t resolved the issue by performing the health checks above, try turning the device off for one minute then powering it back up. This may be all it needs to get everything running smoothly again.
Finally, if you rebooted and still can’t print:It’s time to call for assistance to your IT team or printer support provider. The more information you have about the issue, the quicker your support team will be able to help find a resolution. The good news is you’ve already collected information about what works, as well as what doesn’t. Here’s a few more questions support will probably ask you.
- What problem are you experiencing?
- Which file(s) did you see the problem with? Type, size and where it’s located on your computer are helpful too.
- Is it only when using a specific printer that you have an issue?
- Is it only when trying to print a specific file?
- If it’s a multifunction printer, do other features work like copying or scanning?
- What have you done so far to try to resolve the issue?
At this point, you’re undoubtedly frustrated you can’t print the documents you need. Moreover, as your support provider, we’re anxious to get you back up and running as quickly as possible. If you call prepared with answers to these questions, it will be much faster for us to narrow down the issue and do our best get you printing again in no time!
Not already a Lewan customer? to learn more about our printer leasing program with included maintenance and support, so you can call us for help next time any of the above happens or for any other device support needs.