Windows XP: Having Trouble Printing?

Lesson 18: Having Trouble Printing?


Having trouble printing?

Perhaps you've written a great report and want to share it with your boss. The problem is, you're having trouble printing it.

Try these troubleshooting techniques:

  • Take care of the basics. Make sure the printer is plugged in, turned on, and has paper in it.
  • Make sure the printer cable is properly connected to the printer and to the computer.
  • Check to see if there is a paper jam. Most printers have a flashing light to indicate a jam. Also, if the paper size selected differs from the one in the paper tray, you will not be able to print. To choose a paper size, select FilePage Setup. Click the Paper Size tab.
  • Check to see that the printer toner, cartridge, or ribbon is fresh and adequate. If not, printed documents may appear streaky, blotchy, or even blank.
  • Make sure the printer is switched to Online mode. There is usually a button on your printer's control panel. If it is switched to Offline mode, it will not print.
  • Make sure the computer knows what printer you are using. Check this by clicking StartControl PanelPrinters and Other HardwareView installed printers or fax printers. If an icon for your printer doesn't appear, try restarting your computer. If your printer still doesn't appear, you may need to add it. Click Add a Printer, then follow the instructions in the Add Printer Wizard.
  • If you work in an office environment where several people share a printer, there may be a network problem. Contact your company's network support specialist.
  • If you can find the manual for your printer, read it to see if you can find the solution to the problem.

If you're using Windows XP:

  • If your printer still doesn't work, go to Help and Support Center. Under Pick a Help Topic, click Printing and Faxing. Or enter the term "printer" into the Search box.
  • Open the Printing Troubleshooter. Answer the questions and follow the instructions so the computer can help you figure out what's wrong.

To open the Printing Troubleshooter:

  1. Click StartControl PanelPrinters and Other Hardware.
  2. In the left pane, open the Troubleshooters category.
  3. Click Printing.
  4. The Printing Troubleshooter opens.
Printing Troubleshooter