Printer Troubleshooting Tips
One of my Most Common Calls: My HP printer doesn’t print or I can print but can’t scan.
First off, if the hardware itself is broken. I don’t fix printers directly. I only work from the software side. I recommend Printer Repair Group at 615-656-4220 or MIDCOM at 615-970-7900 for the printer itself and most likely will be looking at paying more to fix then to replace.
Now is it because the brand itself is bad or just because they are so popular that I’m bound statistically to get more calls, this I don’t know. I had a HP OfficeJet 6500 Plus that had hardly no issues for 5 years myself. Most people who have trouble printing / scanning tend to have an HP OfficeJet 6500, 8600, 8610, 8620 or an Envy 4500 series. I currently use a HP OfficeJet 6968 and have little trouble other than it drinks ink and needs restarted from time to time to fix printing issues. Other people who have the same model seem to have problems scanning all the time but I haven’t seen that problem yet personally on my machine. It is rarely ever the client’s fault, there are genuine scanning or printing problems and overwhelming HP branded machines.
Many times printers will start printing on its own with no changes to the computer. Case in point I just remoted into a computer as I typed this that hasn’t printed all morning and did a test print without touching a single setting. This is really common and frustrating for both the client and me.
My solution for printing problems, one make sure both the computer and printer on the same network. If you have Windows 10, Microsoft will install a basic driver that allows you to print, often automatically but it is not the full driver from the website. I’ve fixed a lot of scanning issues just by installing the full package driver from HP.com.
Otherwise, if it is installed then Uninstall the printer software, download the latest software driver from the manufacturer website, reinstall. If it is USB, try making it wireless, if it is wireless, trying using the USB connection. Run the HP Print and Scan Doctor, If that doesn’t work then replace the printer is your only option.
Wireless Printer Trouble Shooting
- Turn printer off and on.
- Make sure the printer and computer are on the exact same network. Even if one is 5G and the other is 2G, it seems to work better for both to be on same.
- Uninstall the printer driver / software and reinstall it, sometimes doing it this 2-3 times will get it working again. I always try downloading the latest drivesr from the website first and if that doesn’t work installing from the cd it came with.
- See if any other devices can print to the printer. Sometimes Microsoft can see and print to the printer but Chrome can’t. Sometimes HP’s own software can’t detect the printer but Microsoft can see and print just fine which tells me it is an HP software issue.
- Ping the printer IP in command prompt, often it pings fine but HP software can’t see it. If it doesn’t ping then disable antivirus, check for adware using AdwCleaner.
- Make the IP address static or manual and try reinstalling the driver
- Make sure you are printing to the right printer, sometimes it will default to a PDF or xps printer instead of the right printer.
- If it’s USB try WiFi, if it’s WiFi try USB. Many printers WiFi cards go out over time but USB still works.
- Delete all old printers and install fresh, maybe in the services restart the printer spooler
- Contact HP support, 800-474-6836 for Technical Support. It is their product so in theory they should be best at getting it working or dealing with returning it for factory repairs. Direct contact support numbers varies by your printer model / serial number. Monday through Friday 8:00 a.m. to Midnight EST / Saturday through Sunday 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. EST (Excluding public holidays) (855) 709-2201 number worked for tech support for an HP Envy printer. https://h22207.www2.hp.com/us-en/contact/printers
- Throw out the printer and get a new one. This is often the best option. I can usually buy, return and setup a new printer in less time it takes to keep troubleshooting it.
If the printer is installed but not printing, I would check for stuck printer jobs from the printer queue and remove them.
Once I set up a new computer in 2 hours and took about another 4 hours to get a HP Officejet installed and working just for it to stop working the next day. I ended up going out to this business multiples times a week, all 4 printers were the HP 8610 series. All of them having issues printing and scanning. Knowing most printer installs take 10 minutes max, this is very frustrating, it isn’t worth your money to pay me to fool around with a printer that goes down all the time with me knowing it will just break again when a new printer is worth 2 hours or less of my labor in the first place and could last years.
My personal belief is you are in essence buying three separate devices, a printer, a scanner and a fax machine and usually paying for $100-200 for it. The quality can’t be that high for a multi-functioning unit. I think the word OfficeJet is misleading, I feel it is designed for lighter home use rather than an office. The most frequent calls are offices who have 5,10 even 20 people printing and scanning to one machine. I don’t think that $120 OfficeJet can handle that level of use and hence these people often call a few times a week with problems.
The best solutions are for people to get a dedicated laser printer for printing, a dedicated scanner and a seperate fax machine. I would expect to pay $300+ for a good all in one. These machines are made with quality parts, often large and heavy and made for high usage and often will last many years.
For people who scan alot, they need a dedicated commercial grade scanner like a Panasonic KV-S1027C A4 Scanner or Xerox DocuMate 3220 which can run a few hundred on up to thousands of dollars. For those that print a lot, RJ Young, Nova Copy, lease $30,000+ all-in one machines that are made for business / commercial use.
I don’t want to pick on just HP, I get calls about Epson and Brother not scanning or printing too. In fact, I can’t think of any computer or printer that I don’t get repair calls for. It is ironic that in the time it took to write this section on printer troubleshooting, I had 3 calls about printers not working and all where HP.
With Technology, you get what you pay for. The box stores just don’t have many options for quality printing and scanning.