It is important to determine whether there is a physical, network, or software related issue before troubleshooting a printer. Printers are complex, as they have many moving parts, require drivers and utilize software to operate and have the ability to be used over the network. To recognize the key differences, please see if any of the scenarios below apply to your situation:
1. Is the printer making any unusual noises, flashing lights, or displaying new text or error symbols?
a. These are the warnings of a physical-related problem. These issues can sometimes be remedied by refilling ink/toner, adding paper, removing a paper jam, or reconnecting doors or internal components. Most printers will have a screen that displays the issue - but if your model doesn't, a good first step is to make sure all easily accessible components are securely fastened and connected. If this does not work, please refer to the manual or Google the error notification and your specific printer model.
2. Has the printer suddenly stopped working?
a. Try to think of anything that may have happened to either your printer or computer recently... Did you move either of your machines? Did your system recently update? Any circumstantial info will help you troubleshoot your printer much more efficiently!
Typically, a good first step is to restart your device. While the device is off, please check all connections and change to a different port if possible (i.e. USB cable to computer, etc.) Next, a computer restart is advised.
If these steps do not resolve the issue and there are no indications of a physical issue - there is likely a driver or software related problem. Checking for system updates is a great first step!
If you have an Apple machine, please remove and re-add the printer by going to System 'Preferences' > 'Printers & Scanners.' Simply remove the printer by clicking on the '-' sign and re-adding it by clicking on the '+' symbol.
If you have a Windows machine, please go into the 'Device Manager' window under 'Printers' and disable/re-enable the troublesome printer. You can also try to update the drivers online or through a windows update. Next, you can remove and re-add the device by going to 'Printers & Scanners' from the Windows Start Menu. Simply click on the desired printer and hit 'remove.' Once the device has been uninstalled, unplug and reinsert the USB cable into your machine if it is locally connected - otherwise add the printer by selecting 'Add a printer or scanner' and clicking 'The printer that I want isn't listed.'
Note: If you're attempting to connect to a network printer - you'll need to know the IP address of the device. Print out a configuration sheet through the printer's interface to find this information. Be sure not to share your device over the network!
3. Are you receiving an error code on your computer while trying to print?
There is a good chance that the error message will explicitly tell you where the issue lies, and may even suggest a fix. If the interfaced troubleshooter is suggested, please run it. Otherwise, search for the error message on Google.
In the meantime, please start reconnecting all ports as suggested above. Please follow the solutions you've found online or go through the software-related troubleshooting steps as described in question #2.
As a last resort - try downloading your printer's specific drivers online from the maker's official support page. Unzip the folder and run the 'setup' file - these will usually be saved to the desktop or downloads folder. Be sure to remove the printer before running the installation wizard!
Overview and take away:
In most cases, these troubleshooting tips will resolve your printing issues unless there are material-related shortages and/or damaged components. Sometimes, repeating these steps 2-3 times will result in success, so please be patient. If you continue to experience any difficulties, please contact the LSIT Helpdesk by submitting a ticket above or giving us a call at (805) 893-4357.