How to Fix Printer not Printing (Commons Problems and Solutions)

If you wake up one morning and find out that your printer is not printing anything, here are the common problems you may have and solutions to possibly fix your printer, continue reading below..

Table of Contents

How to Fix a Printer Not Printing

Why is my printer working but not printing? It can be quite frustrating, more so if you have a lot to get done and technology seems to conspire against you. But not to worry. My recommendations on how to fix printer not printing will get you back on track in no time.

1) Power cycle your printer and PC

Your printer’s system registers may have developed temporary issues. This can make the connection between your PC and printer a bit faulty. Luckily, you can easily fix it through a simple restart process.

how to fix printer not printing

Here are the steps to follow:

  • Turn off your printer
  • Unplug it from the power supply
  • Wait 30 seconds
  • Plug it back in and try again

You might want to restart your PC as well.

2) Check for faulty connections

If you have a wired printer, you want to check the USB cable connection. The cable can come loose over time for one reason or the other. Feel that it is firm and that it’s all the way into the slot. You also want to confirm that the printer’s power cable is also plugged in. Someone may have accidentally knocked it out or loose.

how to fix printer not printing

For wireless printers, here’s what you’re going to do:

  • Confirm that you’ve enabled the printer’s wireless option (most of the time, this is a blue wireless icon but manifests differently across printer models)
  • Go into your printer’s menu option and perform a wireless connectivity test
  • If everything checks out so far, determine that your PC is connected to the same wireless network your printer is on

If all fails, try linking up your wireless printer to your PC via a physical connection (USB). There’s a problem with your wireless connection if this works.

3) Fill up your paper tray and ink cartridges

I can’t tell you how many times I tried to print a document, getting frustrated at each failure to the point of almost kicking it to the curb only to notice my paper tray was empty or had jammed paper in the mechanism.

So before you do anything else, check to confirm that you do have paper on the tray. While on the matter of filling up, you might want to also confirm that you’re not running low on ink. If there’s paper on the paper tray, open the access panel to check for clogged paper that might be holding up the printing mechanism.

4) Restart your print spooler

Your printer may still be stuck trying to print jobs that failed. When this goes on long enough, the print spooler can crush. (The spooler is a special program that manages your print queue)

how to fix printer not printing

How do I restart my print spooler? Do this:

  • Type “services” in your computer search bar
  • Click the “Standard” tab at the bottom (see the image for reference)
  • Locate “Print Spooler” in the Services list
  • Right-click on Print Spooler and select “Restart” from the drop-down menu

Restarting your Print Spooler may rectify communication malfunctions between your printer and PC.

5) Confirm that you have the right printer selected

The next solution on our list of how to fix printer not printing is pretty simple. You may run into this problem if you regularly connect different printers to your PC.

how to fix printer not printing

Therefore, you want to ensure you have the right printer selected before you hit print:

  • Open up your operating system’s search box
  • Type “Settings” then click Devices > Printers & Scanners
  • You should see a list of different printers, including those that have connected to your PC in the past
  • Left-click on the correct printer option (i.e. the one that’s presently active)
  • Click Manage> Set as Default

Sometimes you may not be able to see the “Set as Default” option. In this case, you want to uncheck the “Let Windows Manage my default printer” box so that you can do it yourself.

6) Install missing drivers and software

Printer drivers and software are the bridge between your PC and the printer. Without the right ones installed, commands from your PC could be getting lost in transit. Therefore, to crack how to fix printer not printing, you need to update your drivers and your operating system to the latest version.

But first, ransack your printer’s packaging to determine if it came with an installation disc. If it did, insert this disc to install essential software.

how to fix printer not printing

If not, here’s how to install printer drivers. (Before doing this, make sure your printer is connected to your PC):

  • Visit your manufacturer’s website
  • Simply search your printer’s manufacturer name plus the word support e.g. “Printerbrand Support”
  • Search for the printer model directly on the site.
  • Some support sites will let you install software that will pick up your printer’s model and directly install missing software

To update your OS on Windows, go to Settings> Update & Security > Windows Update.

7) Add your printer

This especially applies when you’re wirelessly connecting your printer to your PC. You’ll have to add it, much in the same way you would add a new Bluetooth device before you can use it.

how to fix printer not printing

Here’s a breakdown of the process:

  • Type “Settings” in your Windows search box and click on the settings icon
  • Go to Devices > Printers & Scanners > Add Printer
  • If you can’t see your printer, click the “Refresh” button or “The printer that I want isn’t listed” option. Windows will take it from there
  • If you do see your printer model, click on it, then hit “Add device”

Watch for red flags

When your printer has a problem, it may tell you. Check for any flashing error lights and turn to your printer’s user manual to find out what they mean. Do that before you explore the different methods on how to fix printer not printing that we’re about to cover. If you no longer possess a physical copy of this user manual, you can always find a PDF version online.

How to Fix Printer not Printing Color Correctly

The printer’s not printing color quite accurately. The red looks more like orange, while the other colors are not exactly what they should be. Printers have a knack for being fine one day, and totally acting up the next. If you’re facing this problem, here are a few tips on how to fix printer not printing color correctly.

1) Unselect the Grayscale setting

The grayscale setting essentially turns your printer into Leonardo da Vinci. It takes on a mind of its own, combining mainstream colors with black to yield new combinations. This can cause printer color issues. To disable the Grayscale setting, do this:

  • Open up any Word file
  • Click the File Tab at the top of the document
  • Click “Print” in the subsequent document side menu then “Properties”
  • From the Properties Dialogue tab, click the “Features” tab
  • At the bottom, you should see two options “print in color” and “print in grayscale”
  • Select the “Print in color” option (see image for reference)

2) Replace ink cartridge with an OEM

In the world of printers, there are two types of ink cartridges. The first is a compatible cartridge that a third party makes, which we also call an “unbranded cartridge.” The other type is a genuine or Original Equipment Manufacturer cartridge. Some compatible cartridge brands are not quite up to the same quality as an OEM. Hence, why your printer may not be printing correctly and may experience problems such as faded colors. Replacing your current ink cartridge with an OEM from your manufacturer’s website might just do the trick.

3) Clean your printer’s print heads

Over time, the print heads will get dusty from dried ink and debris, causing color problems. You’ll need to clean out the printer heads as well as your ink cartridges, and you may just crack how to fix printer not printing color correctly. You’ll need to open the access panel to get to your print heads, then wipe them down with an earbud or lint cloth as shown in the image above. A solution of isopropyl alcohol and water in a 1:1 ratio is highly ideal. Before you do though, confirm if your printer allows you to clean your print head via its software. For Windows, you can perform a self-clean this way:

  • Head over to the “Printers & Scanners” settings menu
  • Click Printer Properties > Maintenance > Clean Heads
  • Click “OK” then heed the prompts.

4) Check ink levels

For some printers, when ink levels are really low, the printer will outrightly stop printing color. So while you may not just be out of ink just yet, operating at a low level could be the reason for your trouble. To check the ink levels on your printer, do this:

  • In your Windows search box, type “Printers & Scanners”  and click on the option
  • From the list, identify your printer then select Properties> View Print queue
  • Make your way to the “Ink Levels” section
  • Refill any color tank that is running low.

Keep in mind that ink levels displayed on your PC might not be very accurate to what’s on the ground. Therefore, you may need to manually inspect the ink tank or cartridge.

How to Fix a Printer Driver is Unavailable Error / How to Fix Document in Queue

From faulty hardware to corrupted software there are many possible causes for these two problems, which will disable the printing process entirely. But we’re not here to play the blame game and point fingers. We’re here to solve your issue. Try these fixes on how to fix a printer driver is unavailable error:

1) Update your OS

How long ago since you performed a Windows update? That is one possible reason you’re running into this error or your documents are getting stuck in the queue. So you therefore want to perform an operating system update to wipe out the problem of outdated and unavailable drivers. To update your OS, namely Windows, follow these steps:

  • Type “Windows update” in the Windows Search panel on the taskbar
  • Click on “Windows Update Settings” from the menu
  • Scroll down the list of pending updates
  • Click “download” as shown in the image

Updating Windows may automatically update missing printer drivers as well. I highly recommend setting your OS to automatically download updates so you don’t run into these problems again.

2) Update via the manufacturer’s support page

If method 1 doesn’t solve your issue, it’s time to try manually updating your printer. To do that, take note of your printer’s model and name so you can identify it later on. If unsure how to do that, follow these steps:

  • Make your way to the “Control Panel”
  • Click Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers
  • Single-click on your printer from the list
  • View elaborate printer details at the bottom
  • Go to the manufacturer’s support page, download & install the drive

3) Perform an update through Device Manager

Next up on our list of how to fix a printer driver is unavailable error is using the device manager to update the specific driver for your printer. Take this step if method 2 above leads you to installation errors. Here’s how to update via the device manager:

  • Type “Device Manager” in the search panel
  • Click on “Device Manager”
  • Expand the “Print queues” to reveal a list of printers
  • Right-click your printer then hit “Update” (Check image)
  • Click on “Browse my computer for drivers” then select the driver you had downloaded earlier in method 2

4) Uninstall the current driver then reinstall it

The driver may be the latest version, so there’s no upgrade available. However, it could get corrupted over time, which is usually down to malware that you – or someone else- may have inadvertently downloaded alongside other files. To know how to fix a printer driver is unavailable error using this method, do this:

  • Make your way to “Device Manger”
  • Scroll down to “Print queues” and click to expand the option
  • Right-click on your printer, then click “uninstall device”
  • Head over to “Printers and Scanners” and select “Remove device”
  • Reinstall your printer driver once more to solve the problem

5) Perform a system restore

I highly recommend creating system restore points on your PC regularly. This can save you a lot of time and effort in case you accidentally mess up settings or printer drivers get corrupted. A system restore might just be the answer to how to fix a printer driver is unavailable error or document in queue error. To perform a system restore do this:

  • Go to Control Panel > Security and Maintenance > System
  • From the options therein, Click “Advanced System Settings”
  • Switch to the “System Protection” tab and click “System Restore”
  • Hit “Next” and choose a restore point

Note, this method will only work if you have created system restore points on your PC. It will roll back incompatible driver updates and even solve damaged or corrupt files.

6) Delete files in the print spooler

N/B. This solution ONLY applies to the “how to fix document in queue” problem. Your print spooler manages your print queue, much in the same way as an usher or valet. It can error out or crash, with your documents essentially locked out of printing. To fix this, simply restart the print spooler. Follow the steps we previously covered to, first of all, stop the print spooler. Don’t forget to delete Word files that were initially stuck in the spooler after you stop the service. You’ll probably find these files under the location or file directory shown in the image below. Caution: Delete the files in the “PRINTERS” folder I’ve highlighted above, not the actual folder itself. After deleting the files, you can now start the print spooler once again. Also, don’t delete the files before stopping the print pooler service otherwise you’ll get an error message.

How to Fix Printer Printing Blank Pages When It Has Ink

You’ve checked and your printer’s ink levels are sufficient. So issues to do with your ink are out of the picture. So what could be the problem? More importantly, how can you fix it? We’ll get you both answers as we help you solve the headache of a printer has ink but printing blank pages. Try these solutions:

1) Clean the print heads

After months of service, dry ink and dirt can clog the print head, hence causing your printer to print blank pages despite having ink. You can clean your print head in one of two ways, namely automatic and manual cleaning. Here are the steps to manually clean your printer’s print head:

  • Open up the printer software
  • Go to Maintenance > Deep Cleaning
  • Comply with the prompts that follow

Different printer models and software have different steps toward the self-cleaning feature so there might be slight variations in your case. To manually clean print heads, open the access panel and wipe them down with a warm and damp coffee filter. You can also get the job done with a paper towel (We’ve already covered how to do this)

2) Secure the ink cartridge

Your printer’s toner/ink cartridge may have come loose, in which case, your printer will have lost access to an essential resource that it needs to get printing done. To remedy the problem of a printer having ink but printing blank pages, you’ll need to reinforce the cartridge. Here are the steps to follow:

  • Open your printer’s access panel
  • Locate the ink cartridges
  • Remove the cartridges then put them firmly back in place
  • In most printer models you should hear a click sound upon proper cartridge lock

Repeat the procedure for all the ink cartridges and toners to ensure that you cover all your bases. Your printer may also print blank pages if the toner cartridge is damaged, in which case you might need a new cartridge. Some printer models may alert you of potential damage via flashing error lights so pay attention to these.

3) Choose the right paper size

Have you recently got new paper for your printer? If so, you may have not chosen the correct paper size for your model. Even if it perfectly slots into the paper tray, slight variations in dimensions can lead your printer to the problem of printer printing blank pages but has ink. Fortunately, you can solve this in one of two ways. First, you may choose to get new paper with dimensions that fit the paper size settings of your printer. Or, you could go into your printer’s paper size settings and configure it appropriately. 8.5” and 11” are the norm for most documents. That said, here’s how to set paper size in printer settings:

  • Open a blank Text (Notepad) document
  • Click the “File” option then “Print”
  • Select your printer then click the “Preferences” button (see image for reference)
  • In the “Size is” section, choose “Letter” from the dropdown list. (Letter accommodates the standard 8.5” and 11” for most documents)
  • Otherwise, choose a setting that matches your paper size

Why is My Printer Not Copying?

How do I get my printer to copy? You keep pressing the copy command but nothing. It just will not work. If you’re facing this type of problem with your printer, trust us to get you out of the jam. Check out these solutions for fixing printer not copying.

1) Power reset your printer

Just like how programs may crash on your PC, due to a glitch and various other problems, so too can your printer temporarily malfunction. When that happens, your printer may become unresponsive to copy commands. To fix this, you need to hard reset your printer. Follow these steps.

  • Press the power button on your printer to shut down
  • Disconnect your print’s power cable from the power outlet
  • Let it rest for at least 5 minutes
  • Reconnect the printer to the power and try again


2) Switch your power source

How does your printer get the power it needs to run? Have you connected it to the mains via an extension unit of some sort? Printers draw huge amounts of energy sometimes, hence why yours may fail to copy if it’s not getting sufficient power. More so when you have a setup where multiple devices are sharing the same extension unit e.g. your PC, stereo, phone charge, etc. all getting power from one place. Fortunately, there’s a really simple fix for this. Turn off your printer, disconnect it from the extension unit, and then plug it directly into a wall socket. A dedicated power outlet might be all the remedy you need. Be sure not to use a surge protector either as this could also limit power to your printer.

3) Use available paper types

Some printer models may develop copying difficulties if you use unsupported paper types. The manufacturers have, by default, imbued printers with certain self-defense mechanisms. This feature rejects certain paper types that may cause problems with the print mechanism or quality. A few examples of common unsupported paper types include:

  • Extraordinarily thin papers
  • Super thick papers
  • Damaged paper (cut, folded, or torn)
  • Papers with stickers
  • Papers laced with adhesive

To be certain, check your manufacturer’s support page and read the guidelines regarding the available paper types for your printer model.

4) Update the firmware

Is your printer updated to the latest firmware version? An older firmware may be prone to certain bugs, some of which can lead to printer copy problems. Simply updating your firmware may solve your problem of printer not copying. Here are the steps to follow to update your printer’s firmware:

  • Make sure your printer is turned on and plugged directly into a power outlet
  • Visit your manufacturer’s support page
  • Search for firmware using your exact printer model
  • Some manufacturers offer self-installing programs for this

You can also update your printer’s firmware via the printer’s control panel (see the image above for reference). Be sure that you haven’t unchecked the option to automatically download firmware updates for your printer.

5) Debris On Scanner

Another good reason why your printer is not copying properly is when something is blocking your printer’s scanner. This can also cause your printouts from your scanner glass or the document feeder to have vertical lines, so clean your printer glass.

6) Check ink levels & printer default settings

Low ink levels don’t just lead to print quality problems. They can also get in the way of your printer’s ability to copy. So you want to check your printer’s ink levels and perform a refill if necessary. Once you’re through with this, you also want to confirm that your printer is set as the default device. Follow these steps to know how to set my printer as default:

  • Click Settings> Devices > Printers & Scanners
  • Uncheck the “Let Windows manage my default printer” box (See image for reference)
  • Click on your printer’s icon to reveal more options
  • Choose “Set as default”

How to Fix Printer Leaving Roller Marks on Paper

Is your printer leaving roller marks on paper? Most of the time, this is down to your printer’s print heads being contaminated. But not always so. It may have something to do with print quality configurations, or the pin feed wheels as well. So how do I stop the roller marks from appearing? Find out with these sure-fire fixes.

1) Clean your printer’s print heads

Roller marks on paper can be a sign of potentially dirty print heads. This can be from dried ink, dirt, and environmental contaminants at large. We’ve already covered how to clean your printer’s print heads in this guide, so please refer to the previous steps to proceed.

2) Wipe the pin feed wheels

Not to be confused with print heads, the pin feed wheels- or paper feed rollers- pull the paper through from the paper tray. They help convey the material to the printing mechanism. Your print heads may be fine, but when the pin feed wheels are contaminated, they can leave roller or tractor marks on your paper. To clean your printer’s pin feed wheels, follow these steps:

  • Take a piece of cardboard
  • Lightly moisten the card (It shouldn’t be damp)
  • Slide the card back and forth across the pin feed wheels (The same way as you would insert paper from a paper tray)
  • Slide across the metal bar to wipe down all rollers

Some printer models also have a special Utility menu that allows you to clean the paper feed roller or pin feed wheels via a “Cleaning” function. In this case, you’ll need to load a blank letter or A4-sized paper and make your way to this “Cleaning” option.

3) Increase ink drying wait time

How would you describe the humidity in your area? It could also be playing a part, dampening the paper so that it takes longer to dry than usual, resulting in roller marks. You can fix this in one of two ways. First, you may increase ink drying time by following these steps:

  • Open your printer driver setup
  • Go to the Maintenance tab then Custom Settings
  • You should see an “Extra Dry Time” section with a slider
  • Increase drying time by moving the slider toward “More” or “Heavy” or “Long” (The wording may vary but the concept is the same)

The second method is a lot more hands-on. You’ll need to dry your paper under a fan for about 10 minutes. Doing so each time you need to print can be hectic, so I recommend you go with extending your printer’s drying period.

4) Switch to plain paper settings

When you want high-quality prints or photos, the general rule of thumb is to go for the “Photo Setting.” However, this can lead to problems of a printer leaving roller marks on paper. That’s because of the thicker layer of ink that the mechanism uses a result, which probably passes through the roller before it dries out, creating roller marks. To switch from “Photo setting” or any other configuration, do this:

  • Type “printer” in the Windows search panel.
  • Select “Printer & Scanner” then Select a printer and go to “properties”
  • Select the “Main” tab and toggle the “Type” drop-down menu to choose “Plain Paper/ Bright White Paper” (see image for reference. Also, note that these tabs may be named differently across printer models)

If you’re using glossy paper, that could also be a potential reason for roller marks. Try using regular paper instead.

5) Check the “Prevent paper abrasion” setting

You may run into the problem of printer leaving roller marks on paper when you’ve switched to thick paper. This may result in extra pressure and more forceful contact between print head and paper, hence the marks. To solve this, you need to increase the gap between the paper itself and the print head Fortunately, you don’t need to manually pry them apart. You can increase the clearance by simply selecting the “Prevent Paper Abrasion” setting. These are the steps to follow:

  • Go into printer driver set up
  • Select the “Maintenance Tab”
  • Check the “Prevent paper abrasion” box

When you do this, you’re essentially lifting the print head further away from the paper, preventing those nasty streaks.

Printer Cannot Be Contacted Over the Network

“Printer cannot be contacted over the network.” If you’re staring at this error message and don’t know where to start, we have a couple of solutions that might just bail you out. First, I recommend removing and adding your printer. You can find steps on how to do this from the previous sections in our guide. Beyond that, here are two more methods you should put into practice:

1) Set up “Remote Access Autoconnection Manager”

If you’ve readded your printer via the Device Manager and the error persists, you need to now set up some necessary services. When you’re using an OS like Windows, your printer requires certain OS services to run smoothly. You’ll run into the printer cannot be contacted over the network message if some of these services abruptly stop, which they do from time to time through no fault of your own. Fortunately, you can fix it this way:

  • Open Command Prompt (Windows button + R). (Ensure that you’re running cmd as the administrator)
  • Type “services.msc” and hit Enter. This will take you to the list of “Services(Local)” like in the image below
  • Scroll down to “Remote Access Autoconnection Manager” right-click on it then click “Properties”
  • Set “Start Type” to Automatic. Click “Start” and let the services run
  • Click OK” to apply the changes
  • Click “Lock on Tab” and then check or enable “This account”
  • Go back to “Remote Access Autoconnection Manager”. Right-click and restart the service

  Activating the Remote Access Autoconnection Manager may fix communication breakdowns between your PC and printer, with little to no manual intervention from yourself.

2) Configure a static IP address

By default, network devices have a dynamic IP address. This simply means that your printer’s IP address keeps changing, so your PC may have trouble finding it. Changing your printer to a static IP address may help you fix the problem of the printer cannot be contacted over the network. Before you do this though, you need to determine the IP address of your printer: Here’s the procedure for how to know my printers IP address:

  • Open “Control Panel” then click “Hardware and Sound”
  • Go to “Device and Printers”
  • Select your printer and view “Properties”
  • Click on the Ports/ Web Services tab

You should see your printer’s IP address (check the image for reference). Copy and paste your printer’s IP address to your browser, and log into the printer’s network settings. In the “Networking” section go to “IP configuration” and find “TPC/IP” or “IP Address Configuration”. Select “Manual IP” then give your printer a new IP address of your choice.

3) Run printer troubleshooter

The printer troubleshooter may also come to your rescue when dealing with the error “printer cannot be contacted over the network.” Since we already covered this earlier, please go back to our earlier header “How to fix printer offline error message” and follow the steps to run the printer troubleshooter.  

How to Fix Printer Offline Error Message

How do I get my printer back online? Why does my printer say offline but it isn’t? How do I reset my printer from offline to online? If you’ve asked yourself any of these questions, our guide on how to resolve printer offline error message is for you. First, I recommend you unplug and restart your printer. Then update your drivers, and check that the USB cable connection is firm. Try these other solutions if that doesn’t work for you:

1) Uncheck “Use Printer Offline”

When this setting is enabled, there can be a breakdown in communication between your printer and your PC. Therefore, you’ll get the printer offline error message as a result. You can remedy this by ensuring that you disable the “Use Printer Offline” settings. Here are the steps to follow to do just that:

  • Work your way to Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners
  • Click on your printer in the list under “Printers & Scanners”
  • Click “Open Queue” and hit the “Printer” button (Check the images for more details)
  • Ensure that you uncheck the “Use Printer Offline” setting if it is enabled
  • Also, enable the “Set As Default Printer” option

Your printer may also become invisible to your PC if it is not set as the default device. Therefore, the last step allows you to essentially hit two birds with one stone.

2) Troubleshoot via your OS

If you’re running into the problem of printer offline error message, turning to the Windows troubleshooter may provide a quick fix. It can narrow down the cause of the problem, and more importantly, go on to remedy the issue. To activate the troubleshooter, do this:

  • In the “Settings” section (available as a gear icon in the Windows Start Menu), go to Update & Security > Troubleshoot
  • Scroll down to “Get up and running”
  • Click “Printer” then “Run Troubleshooter”

This should hopefully get your printer back online again. Try step 3 if the troubleshooter fails to identify the problem.

3) Check your internet connection

Two possible concerns can lead to a printer offline error message as far as the network connection is concerned. First, if your WiFi isn’t working properly, your printer won’t as well. So check that you have an active internet connection. Secondly, your internet could be fine. But it’s just that your PC and printer are not connected to the same network. Using the Wi-Fi icon on your taskbar, you can identify what network your PC is connected to. Let’s move to checking the network your printer is connected to. One way to do that is by checking devices connected to your network via your router with these steps:

  • Log into your wireless router’s web interface (Refer to your router’s manual for guidance)
  • Enter a password upon prompt. Check your router for the default password & username. Commonly this is usually “password” and “admin” respectively
  • View to see the list of connected devices (see image) and determine if your printer is one of them

If you can’t see your printer in that list, then you have the answer to your problem. You want to reset your printer’s WiFi connection then connect it to the same network as your PC. Do this via your printer’s digital control panel or WPS/WiFi button. Your printer’s manual has you covered with this procedure. What’s more, you can always use software such as Wireless Network Watcher to see a list of devices connected to your WiFi network.

How to Fix Printer Not Printing Black Ink

We’ll start by first of all ruling out the obvious. Your printer not printing black ink could be due to a shortage of ink in the cartridge. Follow the steps we described on how to check ink levels, via your printer’s display or PC’s software, and refill if necessary. If ink level is not the problem, be sure to update firmware/drivers. When that fails, try these other fixes.

1) Clean and correct print head alignment

In this guide, we’ve already covered extensively how to clean your printer’s print head via your printer’s cleaning cycle (if it has one) or manually using a special cloth and liquid. Therefore, we’ll straight away go into the matter of aligning your printer’s print heads. After replacing cartridges several times, print head misalignments can occur leading to your printer not printing black but has ink. To ensure proper alignment once more, do this

  • Open a Word File. Click File > Print > Printer Properties
  • Switch to “Maintenance” tab
  • Click “Custom settings”
  • Enable “Align Heads Manually” and confirm your selection
  • From the Maintenance tab go to “Print Head Alignment” (Ensure you have paper in the paper tray)
  • Click ”Align print Head” and follow the prompts

At this point, your printer will print out some printed patterns. You’ll have the option to choose a print pattern, and you want to go with one that leaves the least visible streaks. Click “OK” to the second message, all through the end. Try with a new blank page to see if your printer will now print black ink.

2) Change paper type settings

If the type of paper in the paper tray doesn’t match or conform to the paper settings you’ve configured for your printer, you may as a result run into the problem of the printer not printing black ink. Toggling with paper settings to fit the paper being fed may remedy the solution. This method has the following steps:

  • Click on File > Print > Print Properties/ Preferences
  • Go to the “Page Source” tab
  • Confirm that “Paper Source” is set to “Auto” (Check image)
  • Change it to “Auto” if it isn’t
  • If it still does print. Follow the above steps and instead of setting paper type to “Auto” go to “Paper type” and select “Glossy Photo/Paper” from the dropdown list. The wording may be different across different printers but look out for the word “glossy”

If you are certain of the type of paper you have in your paper try, changing paper type settings to match your paper can trigger your printer to start printing black again. More so, if your printer uses two black cartridges. Many people however report that changing to glossy photo paper has worked for them so try this setting first regardless of the type of paper you’re using.

3) Change/secure your ink cartridge

Do you use third-party ink cartridges? While there’s nothing wrong with them at large, some third-party cartridges can be faulty or have compatibility issues with certain brands of printers. Therefore, I recommend switching it out for your printer’s manufacturer cartridge and see how it goes. Before you do that though, first ensure that all your ink cartridges are firmly locked in place. A loose cartridge might also be part of the problem. Our first section on “how to fix printer not printing color correctly” has already covered this so scroll up to get the exact steps.  

How to Fix a Printer Paper Jam Error

Printer paper jams are far from pretty. They don’t just waste your time in the heat of a tight deadline but can also put the printing mechanism at risk. The good news is that you can fix a printer paper jam error really quickly. First, try power cycling your printer. No luck? Try our other recommendations:

1) Remove and reload

When paper loading doesn’t occur correctly, this can lead to a paper jam error. It can also occur due to temporary malfunctions of the roller. Either way, follow these steps to execute a printer paper jam fix:

  • Cancel pending printing jobs in the queue (An interrupted job can also cause a paper jam)
  • Turn off your printer and disconnect from the power outlet
  • Wait at least 30 minutes and take out all paper from the paper tray (This will allow the printer’s inside to cool down to a safe temperature)
  • Open the main/access panel and gently pull out the jammed paper(s). If you can use both hands, pull the paper by holding both edges
  • If the paper is lodged in a tight space where your hand can’t reach, use a pair of tweezers
  • When using tweezers, alternate pulling from both ends of the paper (left then right & so on)
  • Reload your paper tray once more (Avoid overloading the paper tray and try loosening the ream of paper first)

Don’t skip turning off your printer before you open the access panel as you risk injuring yourself. Also, use VERY gentle force to pull out paper so that you don’t damage the printing mechanism or print heads.

2) Use clean function or exchange paper

Before we get into any disassembly process, let’s try using your printer’s clean or deep clean function to see if we can fix the problem without getting our hands dirty. We’ve covered this under “How to fix a printer printing blank pages when it has ink.” So refer to this section for more steps. Paper jams can also be caused by using the incorrect type of paper on your printer. Refer to your printer’s manual to double-check if the paper you’re using is of a supported type.

3) Take out the print head

In some severe cases of a printer paper jam error, the paper can be lodged underneath the print head where even tweezers can’t help you. I have a solution for this, and it involves removing the print head as follows:

  • Turn off and disconnect your printer from the power source
  • Open the access panel or your main panel
  • Locate ink cartridges and remove them one by one (some printer models have print heads attached to the cartridge)
  • Place the cartridges nozzle-side-up on a clean paper towel
  • The print head cartridge should be exposed
  • Underneath where the cartridges were, you should see the print head cartridge
  • Gently slide it across to unlock and take it out (Your model may have a different removal mechanism)
  • You can now remove the jammed paper with ease
  • Reverse the above steps to reassemble the printer

Keep in mind that the procedure to remove the print head varies across printer models. Check your printer manual (you can get a copy by looking it up online) for the exact steps to do so for your model.

How to Fix Ink Cartridges Not Recognized Error

There are multiple causes of the ink cartridge not recognized error. It could have something to do with a poor installation process or the integrity of the product you’re using, just to name a few.  So how do you fix an unrecognized ink cartridge? Here are my top suggestions:

1) Reset memory

Your printer’s internal memory can fill up. When that happens, your print “forgets” how to do its job right. This may lead to the problem of the printer doesn’t recognize ink cartridge. Therefore, you’ll need to rest your printer’s internal memory this way:

  • Delete the printing queue (Go to Control Panel > Hardware & Sound > Device Printers. Right-click on your printer, go to “See What’s printing”. In the Printer Tab, select “Cancel All Documents”

  • Power cycle your printer (Turn it off and unplug from power for at least 5 minutes)
  • After power disconnection, it helps to press printer buttons to drain residual power

Additionally, you can also reset your printer’s memory through a factory reset and by clearing Fax logs using the printer’s digital control panel.

2) Clean cartridge and printer contacts

Perhaps the cartridge’s contact ports have dirt, ink smudges, or some sort of residue that’s preventing your printer from detecting it. To solve the printer doesn’t recognize ink cartridge, you’ll consequently need to physically clean cartridges:

  • Turn off the printer and disconnect from the power source
  • Take out the ink cartridge and place it on a level platform such as on a paper towel on a table. (Refer to your printer’s manual for the exact steps to follow)
  • Using a lint cloth, wipe contacts on the cartridge (check the image for reference)
  • Also, wipe clean the printer contacts where the cartridge slots in
  • Replace the cartridge and check if the problem is resolved

You could also wipe the cartridge contacts with a cotton bud as well. Whatever you use, remember to be extremely gentle as the contacts may be fragile.

3) Take out protective strips

Did you plug the new ink cartridge straight in without taking out the protective strips? Some ink cartridges come with a protective covering over the contact points. This sealing can obscure the cartridge to the point that your printer doesn’t recognize it. In some cases, this covering can be in the form of a tape that you can gently detach from the contact. Be keen though to take out the protective layer itself and not the actual contact. Check the image for reference of what you should and shouldn’t be taking out.

4) Reinstall your cartridge

A loose or improper cartridge installation can be responsible for a printer doesn’t recognize ink cartridge error. You’ll want to take out your ink cartridges and perform the installation process afresh. I highly suggest that you refer to your printer’s user manual for precise steps. The image presents an example of a poor cartridge installation (A) against proper insertion of the cartridge (B). So, confirm that you heard a click sound when slotting in the ink cartridge or that it is fully and firmly locked in place and not loose. Also placing an ink cartridge in the wrong slot can lead to this error. For example, if you accidentally put a black ink cartridge in the color slot (some printer models have similar-sized slots for different ink cartridges). You want to also to check for these types of installation errors,

5) Bonus solutions

Refilling an ink cartridge rather than purchasing an OEM ink cartridge may also lead to this problem. Alternatively, confirm that the ink cartridge you’ve bought is compatible with your exact printer model. You can find this information on your manufacturer’s support website. Last but not least, try installing printer updates. Some users have fixed the printer doesn’t recognize ink cartridge problem by simply upgrading to the latest firmware.

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