How To Fix Printer Not Printing Colors Correctly

Color printers make it possible for home printer owners to print various images and text documents with vivid colors on them.

But what if the printer that you just bought suddenly decided to stop printing colors right. How are you going to print those files now?

Printer not printing colors correctly is a common problem printer owners experience from time to time. Printers can be pretty confusing machines. One day everything’s working fine, but the next day you print, you could not even print a single good document.

Today, we’re going to help you fix your printer not printing in color and tell you how you can prevent this printer issue from reoccurring.

First, let’s talk about why this print quality issue happens, so you don’t have to wonder why it’s happening to your printer.

printer not printing colors correctly

Common Causes Of Printer Not Printing Color Inks

Your printer not printing colors correctly can be caused by a handful of different factors. Some of them are the following reasons:

  • Empty Ink Cartridge/s

    If your printer has an empty colored ink cartridge, then you won’t be able to print colors correctly.

    Even if you have full ink levels on the other colored inks, your printer will still need all of them to have sufficient levels for it to print properly.

    Let’s say you have sufficient inks on your cyan (blue) ink, magenta (red) ink, but your yellow ink is less than a quarter full according to your printer. You tried printing a document that contains the American flag, and you know there’s no yellow color for that image, but your printer still prints all the colors wrong. And you’re confused why this happens.

    Well, the advancements of printer technology caused that. Printers today used all colors to print a black and white document to make sure colors come out vividly. The same thing applies when it prints any other colors. The reason your printer is not printing colors correctly is caused by this feature.
  • Printhead Issue

    Your printhead inside your printer, the one that houses your ink cartridges, is the most important and expensive part of your machine. If your printhead is damaged, then your printer will not work properly. It can cause other printer problems like bad print quality or ink cartridges not being recognized.

    Your printer not printing colors correctly may be caused by a bad printhead problem. There might be debris stuck in there or the inks may have dried out. Dry inks block fresh inks from being utilized by your printer.

    There are two ways you can fix your printhead issue: automatically by utilizing your printer display screen or manually by removing your printhead from your printer and cleaning it on your own.

    Just a heads up. Not all printers have a removable printhead inside. Some printheads are fixed in your printer, so your only choice will be to do it automatically.

    Now, there’s a good reason why manufacturers chose to automate printhead cleaning on your printer. The printhead is a very delicate part of your printer and can be damaged if mishandled. If you have a damaged printhead, your printer may be already considered broken and unfixable. And that’s something we don’t want to happen with your printer.

    For this reason, we strongly advised against cleaning your printhead manually as doing this may cause more problems if not done correctly.
  • Incompatible Paper

    This happens rarely, but may still cause your printer to not print in color. The papers you’re using to print is just as vital as the inks inside your printer.

    If you’re using incompatible paper for your printout, then your printer might not accept them and give you unsatisfactory results.

    Using incompatible paper may also cause damage to your printhead, so it’s best to only use those that your printer supports.
  • Expired Ink Cartridges

    Ink cartridges much like consumable items have an expiration date. The typical expiration date of an ink cartridge is 2 years after its manufactured date.

    Once it expires, it can cause problems in your machine like ink system failure.

    That’s why it’s better if you’ll check for the expiration date on the box of your ink cartridges before you buy them. This makes sure that your getting inks that won’t expire soon. Doing this saves you time and money, and the hassle of returning an item.
  • Printer Driver Problem

    Your printer not printing in color inks correctly is not only caused by your printer hardware, but also your printer software. The printer software is your printer driver. If you still remember, your printer asked you to install it when you set it up for the first time.

    The printer driver is important for your printer to function as it acts as a connector between your printer and computer. If this connection is broken, then you may encounter some printing problems like printer offline, not being able to print in black or color inks.

Basic Printer Checkup

Our Printer Not Printing team advise printer owners to do a basic printer checkup before troubleshooting their printer issue. This ensures that you won’t be wasting time fixing your printer when it’s already unfixable.

Here are the steps to do the basic printer checkup.

  1. Turn on your printer. Make sure your printer screen is working properly, with no display problem or button issue.
  2. Put a document on your scanner glass. Any type of document will do.
  3. Select the copy button. It does not matter if you copy in color or black.

If you were able to copy a document successfully, then you can proceed to the basic troubleshooting steps to fix your printer not printing in color.

If you cannot copy a document, then you have a much bigger problem than just your printer not printing color documents.

Basic Troubleshooting For Printer Won’t Print Color

Step 1: Check your ink levels

The first step in fixing your printer not printing in color is to check your ink levels. There are two ways to check for your printer’s ink levels.

The first one is through your printer display screen.

Go in front of your printer screen and click on the teardrop icon. Most printers available today have this icon on top or at the bottom of their display screen.

The Teardrop Icon or Check Ink Levels Icon

The other way is by opening your printer driver that’s installed on your computer or laptop. There should be a desktop icon with a picture of your printer and its name under it. You will just have to open that program, and it should open a new window. Look for your ink levels there or for the phrase that says “Check Ink Levels”

The ink levels that you’ll see might not be that accurate to the actual ink levels inside your printer, but it still gives you a good estimate of how much ink you have.

If it’s more than a quarter full, then you should be fine.

If it’s less than a quarter full, then you should change your ink cartridge/s to see if it can help fix your printer issue.

Step 2: Change your ink cartridges

Once you know the amount of ink on each of your ink cartridges, it’s now time to change those with low ink levels.

For printer owners who haven’t change their printer ink cartridges before, follow these instructions.

printer not printing black ink

Open your ink cartridge access door. Various printer models have different types of ink cartridge access doors. Have your printer manual ready so you’ll know how to open it.

Some printers have the handle in front of the printer or at the side of it. Most of the time, you will just have to lift the handle to open your printer’s cartridge access door.

If you still can’t open it or you simply don’t know where it is, you can download your printer manual online using the link below.

hp printer manual support

HP Printer Manual

Click here or the image to download HP Printer Manual

epson printer manual support

Epson Printer Manual

Click here or the image to download Epson Printer Manual

brother printer manual

Brother Printer Manual

Click here or the image to download Brother Printer Manual

canon printer manual

Canon Printer Manual

Click here or the image to download Canon Printer Manual

Once you’ve opened your cartridge access door, the printhead should automatically go to the middle part of your printer.

If the printhead doesn’t move to the center of your printer, then you have to close the door and immediately do a hard reset. To know more on how to do a printer hard reset, see the FAQ section at the end of this guide.

Once the printhead is on a reachable part of your printer, then you may now remove the ink cartridge with a low ink level.

Your printer manual should tell you how you can remove the cartridges. Usually, you have to push it in for it to pop out of your printhead.

Once detached from the printer, push the new ink cartridge inside the printer. The part that has bronze-colored contacts should go in first and it should be facing downward. Your ink cartridge should lock into its place after putting it inside your printer.

Step 3: Clean your printhead

You can easily clean your printer’s printhead by using the options on your printer screen. First, select the Settings icon or the one that looks like a gear.

Settings Icon

It will then give you a list of choices, you have to locate the words “Printer Maintenance” or “Tools“, then click whichever you see first.

It will show you ways you can maintain your printer, you have to select “Clean Printhead“.

Cleaning your printhead allows your printer to flush old inks out and clean the debris in your ink cartridges. This process should print out a page with some colors on it. Inspect this page if it has the right colors and if the quality is okay.

If not, perform another set of printhead cleaning. You can do this up to 5 times or until you’re satisfied with the print quality.

If you’ve already exhausted all five tries and the printout is still not showing any colored ink, then proceed to do the advanced troubleshooting steps to fix your printer that does not print colors correctly.

Advanced Troubleshooting For Print Quality Issue

For these advanced troubleshooting steps, we will focus more on your printer software than its hardware parts.

We’re going to look into your printer driver specifically.

We need you to be in front of your computer screen since we’ll be doing most of the advanced troubleshooting steps there.

Removing and Reinstalling Printer Driver

The first step we must do is open your “Devices and Printers” window.

You should click the Windows icon on your taskbar and type in the word “Run“.

The Windows Icon

Once the Run application window is open, type in “control printers” then click the “OK” button.

changer printer preferences windows pc

It will now open your devices and printers window. Look for your printer name and icon. Right-click it and select the option “Printer Preferences.

This will reveal your printer settings and printer maintenance tabs. To check if your printer driver is not corrupted, it should show you the options to print in black only or color.

If you don’t see that option, then your driver is corrupted.

If you do see those options, and color has been selected, but the issue persists. You should proceed to the next troubleshooting step.

Exit the window, and right-click your printer icon again on the Devices and Printers window. Choose the option “Remove device.

Go to your Control Panel home page by clicking the words “control panel” on the top part of the window. Look for “Uninstall a program” under Programs and Features. Once there, find your printer driver and uninstall it from your computer.

Printer Not Printing Team’s Reinstalling Tip

Some printer owners may still encounter an error when reinstalling their printer driver. To avoid that our team will share with you, how you can do a clean uninstall of your printer driver.

The first step here is to stop your print spooler. You have two ways to do this one.

  1. Search for your command prompt on using Windows’ search. Once you see the Command Prompt app, right-click it with your mouse and choose “Run as administrator”. This allows you to have full access to make changes to your computer. It should open your Command Prompt window. Once there, type in “net stop spooler” to stop your print spooler.
  2. Open your computer’s task manager. You can do this by hovering your mouse to a blank space on your taskbar and right-click your mouse. It will show you options, choose “Task Manager“. Once the Task Manager window is open, go to the services tab, and locate your print spooler. Right-click the print spooler name and select “stop” on the options.
stopping print spooler

The next step is to open your spool folder. You can do this by opening the Run application again and typing in the word “spool” on the text box. Click on the OK button, and it should open your Spool folder.

printer not printing black ink windows

You’ll see a handful of folders there. First, you have to remove all temp files, or the temporary files, stored by your printer on your computer. These files have no use and are using your printer’s storage, so you should delete them.

Go to the “PRINTERS” folder and delete all the files there.

spool folder

The next step is to go to your printer’s “drivers” folder. You just have to go back since it’s on the main page of your Spool folder. Once opened, choose the x64 folder or the x86 folder for those running 32-bit Windows PC. It will then show another set of folders, right-click the “3” folder and rename it to “3.old.

change 3 printer folder

Once renamed, you have to go back to your task manager window and start your print spooler.

Again, you have two ways to start the print spooler.

  1. Search for your command prompt on using Windows’ search. Once you see the Command Prompt app, right-click it with your mouse and choose “Run as administrator”. This allows you to have full access to make changes to your computer. It should open your Command Prompt window. Once there, type in “net start spooler” to stop your print spooler.
  2. Open your computer’s task manager. You can do this by hovering your mouse to a blank space on your taskbar and right-click your mouse. It will show you options, choose “Task Manager“. Once the Task Manager window is open, go to the services tab, and locate your print spooler. Right-click the print spooler name and select “start” on the options.
start net print spooler

After you start the spooler, restart your computer and printer afterward.

Once ready, reinstall your printer driver by installing the newest version available on your printer manufacturer’s website.

After your printer driver setup is complete, try printing a page and see if it will print in color.

If all the steps did not fix your print quality issue, then feel free to contact us and we’ll look into your printer concern.

5 Tips To Avoid Printer Not Printing Colors Correctly

Use genuine inks

You should always use genuine ink cartridges on your printer. Those cheap inks you see in advertisements are not that affordable considering that they may ruin your printer. Your printer was not tested to utilize those sorts of inks, so it may damage your printer system if you used them instead of genuine inks.

Your printer manufacturer may void your printer warranty if proven that you were utilizing non-genuine inks. And if you think they won’t prove it, your mistaken.

Use compatible paper

Some papers are unreasonably thick for your printer and could damage your printer rollers. On the off chance that you plan on using specialty boards and papers, you should check that the paper weight is supported by your printer.

Paper weight is measured in gsm or gram per square meter. Most home printers can support papers with 60 to 200 gsm of weight.

For simple document printing, we recommend using these HP Multi-Purpose paper. They bring out the best on your printouts and are very affordable.

You should know that using thick papers regularly even if it’s supported by your printer may ruin the alignment of your rollers. It’s also one of the main causes of paper jam errors.

Update your printer driver

As you may have already know your printer not printing in color can be caused by a corrupted printer driver or one that is out-of-date.

You may for a printer driver update a week or two after you update your operating system. Printer manufacturers usually issue a printer driver update after a Windows 10 update or a macOS update.

Perform printer maintenance

It is recommended that you should clean your printhead at least once a month or whenever you change your ink cartridges. This helps in removing debris and air from your ink cartridges that may cause print quality issues.

You may also use printer cleaning sheets to remove dirt and debris inside your printer, specifically your printer rollers.

Use your printer

You should utilize your printer at least once a week since this helps prevent your inks from drying. You’re not being asked to print multiple documents every week. A single-page document will do.

If you’re not going to use your printer for more than a month, then you should perform printer maintenance every passing month to make sure it functions properly. You may also consider getting a printer cover to prevent dust from accumulating inside your machine.

It’s also not a bad idea to have replacement ink cartridges ready to replace your inks whenever you experience print quality issues.

Frequently Asked Questions For Printer Not Printing In Color

Why is my printer printing dull colors?

The reason why your printer is printing dull colors is mainly due to your ink cartridges installed inside your printer.

You must check your ink levels and make sure there are no almost empty ink cartridges.

Once you’ve checked that and saw that there are no problems with your ink levels, the next step is to check for your ink cartridges’ expiration dates.

The expiration date can be found on the ink cartridge, so you should remove them one by one.

The expiration date of ink cartridges are usually two years from the date they were manufactured.

If one of them is already expired, then you must replace it with a new ink cartridge.

One last solution you can do for this print quality issue, if all cartridges are in fine condition, is to clean your printer’s printhead.

Clean the printhead multiple times to flush out the dried or bad ink inside your ink cartridges.

Why is my printer printing different colors?

If your printouts are showing different colors from your original document, then there might be a problem with your printhead or your printer driver.

If it’s an issue with your printhead, you should perform the following steps:

  1. Clean your printhead
  2. Clean your printhead again
  3. Align your printhead
  4. Clean your printhead for the third time

Hopefully, that will help flush out the debris and air inside your ink cartridges and fix your print quality issue.

Now, if this is an issue with your printer driver, then you must remove your printer driver from your computer or laptop, and reinstall it again.

How to do a hard reset on my printer?

If you’re having some printer issues, then hard resetting your printer may help you fix your printer.

To hard reset a printer, you have to unplug the power cord in your printer to turn it off. You don’t have to press the power button to turn it off. Just unplug and leave it that way for at least two minutes.

Afterward, connect the power cord back to your printer and make sure that your printer is connected directly to a wall outlet and not a power extender.

Press the power button to turn your printer on and see if everything’s fixed.

Those are the steps to hard reset your printer successfully.

Why is my printer just printing blank pages?

A printer printing blank pages can be quite hard to solve. Good thing we’re able to compile a list of reasons why printer print blank pages, so we can fix this issue easily.

  • Empty ink cartridges
    Check your ink levels each time you print. If you have an ink cartridge already low on ink, you should replace it right away. Ink levels showing on your printer screen may not be that accurate. Your printer may already have empty ink cartridges even if it’s showing a 10% level when you checked it.
  • Dirty printhead
    Your printer’s printhead is the most important and expensive part of your printer. You have to make sure it’s properly maintained. A dirty printhead may cause your printer to print blank pages.
  • Incompatible printer driver
    Make sure that you’re using the right printer driver on your computer. An incompatible or outdated printer driver can cause your printer to print blank pages. Remove and reinstall your printer driver if this is the cause of your printer problem.
  • Network issue
    Invalid wireless connection may also cause your printer from printing blank pages. Check if your printer and computer are connected on the same WiFi network. Also, make sure your connection is private. You don’t want other people to waste your paper by accessing your printer through a public network.

How do I stop my printer from printing blank pages?

If your printer has been printing blank pages without you commanding it to do so, then you should disconnect your wireless printer connection immediately.

After disconnecting from your printer from your Wifi, make sure that you’re only using a private network and not a public one.

Remove and reinstall your printer driver from your computer. Do a hard reset of your printer by unplugging it from your power source for at least 2 minutes without pressing the power button to turn it off.

Once ready, connect your printer back to your WiFi or internet connection.

After reconnecting, our printer should not print any more blank pages.

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