How to Fix a Printer Not Printing

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.. [ez-toc]

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.

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.


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 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.

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.

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.

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.

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