Problems with Printers include getting them to work correctly, paper jams, poor print quality, as well as the ongoing costs involved.
My Printer will not work
If your Printer will not work then check that the power is plugged in correctly, and also the data lead (usually USB) is plugged in from the computer to the printer.
Your Printer should have included a disk which will contain your Printer's device driver and possibly some software. Insert the disk into your computer's DVD optical drive and install the driver and software. If you are having problems with the driver then visit the Printer manufacturer's website and locate the correct driver for you computer's operating system and then download and install it.
Check that your ink or toner is loaded into the Printer and that you also have some paper in the Printer. When the Printer is switched on then you generally see a green light come on - consult your Printer manual.
Open a document or type into Notepad or Microsoft Word and click 'File', and then 'Print' to print your document. Your Printer may also be able to print a self-test page by pressing a certain combination of buttons on your Printer - consult your Printer manual. This will confirm that your Printer works and will also include details about your Printer on the self-test page.
On the page to be printed click 'File' menu and select 'Print'. If you select 'Printer Properties' then you will find many options such as setting the paper size & type, setting the print quality, and seeing how much ink is remaining. You may also see a 'Maintenance' page containing tools to maintain your Printer.
The paper has jammed inside my Printer
Try pressing the 'Paper Feed' button, if the Printer has one, or else try turning the Printer off and then back on, which could possibly free the paper. If this does not work then close any currently running print jobs from the printer queue and do the following:
Firstly you should turn off and unplug the Printer, then open all the Printer doors that lead to the paper. Carefully, slowly but firmly, pull out the paper in the direction that it would normally flow. Remove any remaining scraps of paper from the Printer, and then close all the Printer doors. Make sure you load the new paper correctly and turn the Printer back on.
The print quality is poor
An Ink Jet Printer may have problems with print quality due to some of the inks running dry or the nozzles being blocked due to the Printer not being used consistently. In the Printer properties you can check that your ink cartridges have enough ink, and it should give you the option to clean the heads, and nozzles before printing a test pattern to confirm that your Printer is printing okay. You can also improve the print quality in Printer properties.
If a Laser Printer has poor print quality then check that the paper is fresh and dry. Remove the toner cartridge and give it a shake to redistribute the toner evenly. Make sure that the Printer is on a level base. Switch off the Printer and try cleaning and removing any excess toner. If the toner smears on a printed sheet when rubbed then you will need a new fuser unit.
How to cancel currently running print jobs in the print queue
A print queue is managed by the Print Spooler and is a list of printer output jobs held in a reserved memory area. It maintains the most current status of all active and pending print jobs. When you print a document is does not go directly to the Printer but is put into the print queue.
If you keep trying to print a document, but the first print job gets stuck, then the print queue just keeps getting filled up. Even if you switch the Printer off and on, it will still have a full print queue and refuse to print your immediate document. You will need to empty the print queue before you can start printing again.
To empty the print queue you will see a printer symbol in the notification area (bottom-right of screen). Click on the printer symbol and you will see all of the print jobs in the print queue. You can select 'Cancel or documents' to clear the print queue or right-click on a single document name in the print queue and select cancel to clear that print job from the print queue. It may take several minutes for the print jobs to be removed before you can get your printer to work again.
How to set Default Printer
Click on 'Start', and click 'Devices and Printers'. Right-click on your Printer and select 'set as default printer'. This is useful if you have more than one Printer connected.
If you Right-click on your Printer on the 'Devices and Printers' page then you also have other options such as viewing the print queue by selecting 'see what's printing', 'delete print queue', 'printer preferences' for setting paper type, and print quality etc, and 'printer properties' which contains information regarding your Printer.
Printer Consumables and Cost
Generally Printers can be bought for a reasonable cost but you will find that it is the ink or toner that is expensive.
With an Ink Jet Printer you may find that the inks run out fairly quickly especially if you have to keep cleaning the heads. If you do not use the Printer regularly then the ink can dry and clog the printer nozzles which means wasting even more ink in cleaning the nozzles. You can however buy third-party inks which will be compatible with your Printer at a much cheaper cost. Some third-party inks are better than others and some may even match the quality of genuine ink cartridges.
Laser Printers use toner which is a powder that isn't wasteful like ink cartridges are. Toner can be expensive but it will last much longer than ink cartridges and work out cheaper per printed page.
Before you buy a Printer, make sure you can get the consumables at a reasonable price.