Marin County Free Library — Technical Services

Printer Troubleshooting List
rev. April 12, 2006

  1. Print a "Printer test page"
    1. Open the printers folder, right click on your printer, and select Properties
    2. Click on Print Test Page
    3. Always say "OK" whether it prints or not

  2. Make sure the printer is:
        a. Turned on (yes, this happens)
        b. Has paper
        c. Is "Online": Check the button on top of the printer
        d. Online on your computer (Printers Folder, right-click on printer and
            check for "Use Printer Offline" or "Pause Printing")
            and un-pause it if you need to.

  3. Check to see if the printer host is running. If you're printing to a hosted printer (pretty rare these days) or to a Print Management printer (more common) make sure that the printer host or Print Release Station is turned on. It does not have to be logged in, but it does need to be up and running.
  4. Restart your computer. Some printing problems originate in the programs on your PC, or in Windows. This kind of problem can often be solved if you restart your computer and try the print job again.
  5. Check your login (MARINet or Windows). If you're printing from a Windows 9x/ME client to an NT/2000 printer host, make sure that you've logged in to the 9x client with a user name and password that are set up on the printer host. Do this by logging out and back in.
  6. If you're printing from MARINet, your choice of printers is determined by which account you logged into. Even in Millennium. Make sure that you're logged into the right MARINet account. If you're not sure, log out and back in.

  7. Restart the Print Release Server or printer host. Some printing problems are due to the printer host or print management software being scrambled or stuck in some way. Restart the printer host. You will often be prompted for completing stuck print jobs when it comes back up.
  8. Make sure you're printing to the printer you want. Check which printer is the "default printer" for Windows applications in the Printers Folder. And as you're sending a print job in a Windows program, check to see which printer is in the dialog box before you click on "OK."
  9. Visit your printer's web page! TCP/IP printers have their own web pages, which can tell you what the printer thinks is wrong with it. This is especially helpful with the color laserjets, which do not have readable panels for error messages.
  10. Paper jams: Check the paper path, pull out any toner cartridges and imaging drums to look for crumpled or stuck paper, check the paper tray. Open all the little doors to find the problem piece of paper.


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rev. 4/12/2006 Created 12/13/2001 dtm