This article offers trouble-shooting procedures for common printer problems.
Trouble-shooting Printer Problems
Printer problems can be caused either by hardware or software.
The best way to trouble-shoot them is to "divide and conquer", beginning
with the hardware.
Attempt printing directly to the hardware from a DOS prompt:
- Start Button > Run > COMMAND
- At the DOS prompt, type:
- Press Enter
If printed output is obtained then the hardware is not to blame;
proceed to troubleshoot software.
If nothing prints, the problem is almost certainly with hardware.
Trouble-shoot the following three most probable causes:
Printer cable malfunctioning
Substitute a different cable
Try printer with another computer, or
substitute a different printer.
Parallel port malfunctioning
Try printer with a different computer
After eliminating hardware problems, begin trouble-shooting the
Try printing several different Windows applications. If the
printer doesn't work with any of them, trouble-shoot the printer
- Right-click on My Computer
- Click on Properties
- Click on the Hardware Tab
- Click on the Device Manager button in the Device Manager section
- In Device Manager, expand Ports (COM & LPT)
- Double-click on Printer Port (LPT1)
- Click on the General tab of the Printer Port properties dialogue
- Click on the Troubleshooter button and follow the instructions
If the printer works with other applications, trouble-shoot the
application with the problem:
- Open the application with printing problem
- Go to File > Print
- In the application's Print dialogue box find the name of the printer
- Be sure this is the printer to which you are trying to print
- Go to Start Button > Settings > Printers
- In the Control Panel's Printers dialogue box, select the printer
- Look at the printer's status and correct any problems listed such as paper not loaded
- On the File menu, select the printer and set it as the default if it is not already selected
- Try printing again
Bruce Miller, 2005, 2014