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Why Does My Printer Show Offline?

July 21, 2016

Printer error messages are frustrating at best and critical at worst. They disrupt workflow and can put important work deadlines in jeopardy. When your printer is not working, there are a variety of reasons why your printer might say it is offline. Most of the time, it has to do with a connectivity issue or a physical issue like a paper jam. Here are some simple steps to troubleshoot when your printer shows offline:

  1. Make sure the printer is on. Trust us, it happens.
  2. Make sure there are no physical issues, such as a paper jams, dried-out cartridges, opened covers, or empty paper trays.
  3. Check the connections. Try unplugging and then reconnecting them. You can even try a different USB port on the computer.
  4. If your printer is connected through a shared computer, you can check the connectivity via the name or IP address of that shared computer.
  5. Check the printer driver to ensure it has been properly installed. Drivers are installed by the CD that came with the printer or downloaded from the manufacturer's website. Make sure you have downloaded the correct driver for the specific printer.
  6. Delete old pending jobs that may hold things up.
  7. Restart your print spooler service (for Windows users).
  8. If worst comes to worst, you can uninstall and reinstall the printer to solve corruption issues.
  9. Sometimes, the issue requires further investigation more specific to your OS. If that’s the case, POA offers remote support and in-person maintenance.

For Windows Vista Users:

Vista automatically enables Simple Network Management Protocol (SNMP) to communicate with networked devices and get information from them. Some printers do not enable SNMP, though, and those will show offline because it cannot respond to the SNMP message. The solution for this problem is disabling the SNMP status. To do so, right-click on your Printers window, select the Ports tab, then choose Configure Port. There you can disable the SNMP status. This can work for a variety of versions of Windows.

For Windows 10 or 8.1:

  • Go to the Control Panel (either by pressing the Windows Key + I for 8.1, or by searching for "devices" in Windows 10).
  • Select the offline printer, right click, and choose "See what's printing."
  • Uncheck the box in front of "Use Printer Offline" and wait for the printer to come back online.

If that doesn't work, you likely have a different connectivity or hardware issue.

For Mac Users:

  • Look for Software Updates under the Apple menu.
  • Go to System Preferences and select "Print & Scan."
  • Find your printer in the printer list and double-click if a yellow light appears next to its name.
  • Click "Resume."

If you're still having problems, you can reset your printing system:

  • Go to "System Preferences," then "Print & Scan," and then press "Control" while clicking the Printer list.
  • Select "Reset Printing System."
  • Either select your printer if it appears or click "Add Printer or Scanner" to find it if it doesn't.
  • Wait for it to download and install before attempting to print.

At Pacific Office Automation, we offer custom managed print services that provide real-time monitoring of your fleet of printers. This way, we can prevent problems from slowing down your workflow. If we cannot fix your problem remotely, we guarantee our technicians will arrive within 4 hours of a reported problem (though they average a 1.1 hour turnaround to get your printer back online!). Don't let printer issues slow you down. Contact us today for help staying online and on track.

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With offices in Oregon, Washington, California, New Mexico, Arizona and Utah, Pacific Office's top-notch sales team and technicians are quick to respond to service and repair requests and offer overall technical support.

Call or e-mail us today to learn more about our multifunction printers, IT services or submit a service work order. We'll be there to help you say, "Problem Solved."