How to Fix Common Printer Problems

Ever since they were first constructed, printers have proved a source of anger and frustration in both households and offices alike. They seem to have a unique ability to infuriate in seconds, breaking at the most inconvenient of times. Unfortunately it is often the user who is at fault when issues arise, and not the machine they are using. Even if the user isn’t to blame, there are often simple ways of fixing a problem that are ignored, further compounding the complication further down the line.

In this article we are looking to help you reduce the amount of issues you face, simply by outlining some of the most common problems you will find with a malfunctioning printer and then providing a simple, violence-free solution to them. We’ve found that the problems people regularly face include:

1. The text or image being printed is either completely or partially faded in places
There are three potential reasons for this happening. The first is that the levels of toner in the printer are getting low. The second is that the print density is on a low setting. The third is that the printer has an ‘economode’ which is enabled. To help diagnose the second and third options, simply run a printer self-test. This can sometimes be done by pressing a button on the printer, or if not then by locating it in printer functions. Here you are able to turn economode off and the print density can be set higher. Lastly, if the toner is low you will have to replace the cartridge. Until then, removing the cartridge and giving it a shake can help to temporarily fix the issue.

2. A “ghost” image appears on the printed page
“Ghosting”, as this is sometimes referred to, happens when a page prints properly, but is accompanied by a faded copy of the image or text as well. There are two main causes for this happening. The first, that parts of the printer are reaching the end of their lifespan. Unfortunately all you can do here is replace them. The second cause could be from a faulty power outlet. If you can plug another printer into the power outlet and the same results occur, simply use a different socket.

3. Paper jams frequently
Although not the only cause, paper misalignment is the main reason for getting paper jams. Stack the paper neatly, make sure the paper is aligned with the guides and don’t over fill the paper tray.

4. The pages are being printed by the wrong printer
Sometimes a computer can select a new printer as the default one to print to. Make sure when you press print that the correct printer is selected. To change the default printer in Windows, find Devices and Printers, then in Printers and Faxes you can right click on the printer you’d like and then select that as the default printer.

5. The printer just won’t print 
Annoyingly, a printer will sometimes not work without even giving an error message. If this happens, make sure that it is still connected. This could mean pushing the Ethernet or USB cable back in or ensuring that the Wi-Fi is still on and that you’re connected to the correct wireless network. Additional solutions involve reinstalling the printer driver and software, as occasionally these can become corrupted.