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Last updated: 6/13/00

Introduction. This article will describe some general troubleshooting steps applicable to most, but not all printers.  It is not possible to describe all of the steps one might take to fix every make, model, and type of printer, but in many cases these simple set of procedures and a logical approach may save you a trip to a repair shop or even save that old printer you have just about given up on--don't shoot it yet or give it the old bounce test by dropping it out of a four story window!  A lot of this is pretty much common sense; but, some otherwise obvious steps can be overlooked if you are in a hurry, can be performed in an inefficient sequence without a logical versus an Easter-egging approach, or you have not had the pleasure of troubleshooting a printer before.


1.  Read the book.  I cannot begin to tell you how many people have brought their printer to my shop with the User Manual and paid my wife (no computer expert) $32.50 to sit-down, read the book, and fix the printer.  Unfortunately, some printer books aren't worth reading...

2.  Check the manufacturer's web site.  The problem you are having has most likely happened before.  If the manufacturer has a good web site, you may find the answer there and save a lot of time, money, and frustration.  Go to our Manufacturer Links page to get there fast.

3.  Is it plugged-in?  Make sure the printer is plugged into a live outlet.  If it is plugged into a surge protector, make sure it is on.  Try moving it from the surge protector to a known-good wall outlet.

4.  Is it on?  Ok, you can't print and Windows, etc. says it can't find the printer.  Make sure the darn thing is turned on and there are no error lights (LEDs) lit.  If there are error lights, refer to the user manual/manufacturer's web site.  You should hear the print mechanism initialize when power is applied and most printers have at least one light which will be illuminated when it is on.

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Copyright, Disclaimer, and Trademark Information Copyright © 1996-2006 Larry F. Byard.  All rights reserved. This material or parts thereof may not be copied, published, put on the Internet, rewritten, or redistributed without explicit, written permission from the author.