How to troubleshoot a printer for the most common issues

Printer technology hasn’t progressed all that much. We have 3D printers, but their advancement hasn’t made it easier to use a regular home printer. A print job is still handled in much the same way it was a decade ago, and printer problems have remained relatively unchanged.

Basic printer fixes to troubleshoot

An offline printer is a printer that won’t work normally. It’s installed on your machine, but it’s not ready to receive a print job right now. You can’t see it on your PC, but if it were available, you could send a print job to it right away without having to install drivers or set up the printer.

Your printer may cause the issue, or it could be a system issue. For the most part, we’ll focus on the printer in this post, with a few software/OS fixes thrown in for good measure.

1. Verify that the printer is ready to print.

Examine your printer; it should have a light that shows that it is ready to accept a print job. There’s a problem with your printer if the light isn’t on. Perform the following tests:

  • Ensure that the paper tray is fully loaded and that the paper is pushed back so that the printer’s sensor detects the presence of paper.
  • Make sure that none of the panels are partially open and that none of them are closed. Examine the printer thoroughly to ensure that no doors are even slightly ajar.
  • Check that no hardware components are missing; a printer has a lot of little pieces on its outside, and if one of them is missing or incorrectly installed, the printer will not be ready to receive a print job.
  • Check to see whether the printer has a functional button; generally, when you switch on a printer, you would hear it warm up the toner. This indicates that the printer is operational.
  • Check the printer for blinking lights; these signal that something is wrong with it, such as a panel is open, the paper is stuck, the printer is out of ink, and so on.
  • A test page can be printed using an on-board button on some printers. If your printer has one, press it to see if it prints a test page.

2. Examine the printer cords

Ensure that the printer’s cords are securely attached. Examine them for any damage, such as a torn cable or rust at the connection points. Change the wire connecting your printer to your Windows 10 computer.

3. Examine the printer’s on/off switch.

A physical On/Off switch was found on some printers. It should generally be around where the printer’s power cable connects, but check the entire device to see whether one exists. Check to see if it’s switched on.

4. Disinfect the printer

To clean the printer, use a soft cloth. Use a hairdryer on low settings to blow dust away from hard-to-reach areas using cool air. If dust blocks a printer’s sensors, it may not enter its ready state and appear offline, or a light on the printer may continue to flicker, indicating a problem.

5. Make sure there are no paper clogs.

Examine the machine for paper jams and remove any paper that is stuck within. A paper jam is difficult to dislodge, so check your printer’s manual to learn which panels may be opened to free a jammed sheet of paper. It’s important to remember that a printer doesn’t need to be jammed with a complete sheet of paper. A ripped and left-inside-the-printer little part will be just as problematic.

6. Remove and reinstall the printer

The offline printer problem is frequently resolved by uninstalling and reinstalling a printer. It will also assist you in determining whether or not your system detects the printer at all.

  • Open the Settings app on your phone.
  • Go to the Devices tab.
  • Printers and scanners should be chosen.
  • Select the printer you’re trying to print with from the list of installed printers.
  • Remove the device by clicking the Remove button.
  • Remove the printer from your computer.
  • Disconnect the printer from the power supply.
  • Wait a few minutes before reconnecting the printer to a power source.
  • Join the printer on your computer.
  • It will be detected by Windows 10, and drivers will be installed.
  • Attempt to print something.

7. Restart the application

You should also restart the app you’re using to send a print job if you discovered the printer tray wasn’t loaded correctly or a panel on it was open, and the problem has been resolved. It’s possible that the app won’t detect a change in the printer’s ready state in advance.

8. Switch USB ports

Although an old printer will operate with a new Windows 10 machine, it may not work with all USB connections. Locate your system’s composite port and attach the printer to it. This is usually the charging port, and a lightning symbol is occasionally displayed next to it. Try all of your system’s USB ports to see if the printer connects if you’re not sure.


Printers, regardless of brand or model, experience issues from time to time. It’s a good idea to maintain a printer plugged in at all times so that the toner never dries out and the printer can heat it regularly. It’s also a good idea to keep the printer’s handbook on hand. It will assist you in repairing jams and identifying other issues.