Common Printer Issues
No printer is designed the same some come with more feature sets then others, and troubleshooting each one of those feature sets could be a nightmare. Instead of focusing on the details I wanted to write an article that focused on the most common things that go wrong with printers across the board. Printers all work on one premise, to get your print job from your PC to your printer and on paper. If you're running into printer issues most likely it is with something failing in this process.
As stupid as it sounds you should always check if the printer is on and has paper, I've troubleshoot printers in the past where I've over looked this process and come to find out, the printer wasn't plugged in.
A driver is a piece of software that is the middle man between your printer and your pc. If the driver is not installed or is not up to date you might have printing issues. Driver software can be obtained in one of two ways. The first is through the website of your printer manufacturer. Most printer manufacturers have their print drivers available for download if you know the make and the model. The second way to get your print driver is through the CD that was included with your printer when you first bought it. Installation is easy, for downloaded drivers click on the .exe file and follow the prompt. For CD installation put the CD in and it should auto run the installation for you. If you suspect a driver problem always make sure you have the most up to date drivers installed.
Every time you install a printer the drivers create a printer profile this profile can be viewed in the control panel of your PC under Printer and Faxes. I've noticed that on some occasions the printer profile becomes corrupt due to reinstallation of the print driver or improper installation the print drivers first time around. To fix this problem delete the printer profile and reinstall the print driver.
Another common issue is a backed up print queue. A print queue is the place where all your print jobs go to stand in line to access the printer. Sometimes a print job that requires more pages might back up a bunch of other print jobs that also wan to print. This backup is equivalent to a traffic jam during rush hour. If the print job that is causing the backup becomes corrupt it could cause the job to not respond leaving every other print job behind it waiting. The answer is to delete the problem print job.
Back in the day printers used a reel of magnetic tape called a print spooler to take all the print jobs and send them to the printer for processing. Today all the magnetic print spoolers have been replaced by software based print spooler that takes the print jobs and puts them into a queue for processing. If all your print jobs are stuck and deleting the problem print job doesn't work, try restarting the print spooler. Click my computer select "manage", click on "services and applications" then click on "services". In the services application you click the arrow on the "name" tab to sort all the services that are running. From there select the print spooler, right click and choose restart.