Modern households typically have more than one computer, and for all of those computers to access the internet, a home office network is created. But how can you connect a single printer to that network? Well, this depends primarily on the type of printer you have and it’s available interfaces. Each model and manufacturer will be slightly different, so though we will provide general direction, we strongly advise consulting your manual or contacting customer support for more detailed instructions.
If your printer can connect to a computer only via USB port, you have a few options. You can purchase a network adapter, which will plug into the USB port of the printer then connect via ethernet to the network. Read the instructions that come with the adapter for specific details and software information. You also have the option of using a device like the xPrintServer which is not only a network adapter, but allows printing from mobile devices as well.
The most basic option that doesn’t require extra hardware, however, is to plug the printer into one PC and then share it with others. Keep in mind, though, that the computer attached to the printer does have to be turned on for any printing to happen. To enable your printer to be shared on a Windows PC:
- Go to the Start menu.
- Select Printers and Faxes.
- Right click the printer’s icon and choose Properties.
- Choose the Sharing tab.
- Select Share this printer.
- Enter a name for the shared printer and click OK.
If you are using a computer with a Mac operating system, here is how you enable the printer to be shared:
- Click on System Preferences in the dock and choose Print & Fax or Print & Scan.
- Select the plus sign (+).
- In the default tab, select Add.
- Choose Sharing and click Printer Sharing.
- Select the box that represents the printer you are trying to share.
At this point, the host computer is now enabled to share the printer. To access the shared printer from another Windows PC:
- Go to the Start menu.
- Select Printers and Faxes.
- Select Add a Printer.
- Choose Network printer, or printer attached to another computer.
- Click Next, select the printer, and click Finish.
To connect to the printer via your Mac:
- Click on System Preferences in the dock and choose Print & Fax or Print & Scan.
- Select the plus sign (+).
- Click the Windows icon in the printer browser window.
- Select the workgroup name (first column) and click the computer that is connected to the printer. If applicable, you will enter a user name and password at this point.
- Choose the printer that is being shared (third column).
- Go to the Print Using menu and select the appropriate printer driver.
- Click the Add button.
Now that the computer connected to the printer is enabled for sharing, repeat the above process on the other computers that you wish to print from.
In recent years, ethernet interfaces have become a standard connection option on printers. Most printers being manufactured today are network-ready, which makes the process of sharing a printer very simple. Simply plug one end of an ethernet cord into the network router and the other end into the printer. Once this is done, the printer will usually be automatically accessible on the network.
Once you have set up your wireless printer, connecting it to a home office network wirelessly is a fairly simple process as well. There are only two things you need to know to complete the process: the name of your network and the password. If no password is required, we recommend changing your security settings so that a password must be entered to access your network, otherwise anyone within range can steal your internet. Once you turn on your wireless printer, it should scan for local networks. On the LCD screen of your printer, select your network and enter the password. If there is a hiccup in this process, visit this pcworld.com article for troubleshooting tips.
Regardless of which type of connection your printer uses, it is possible to share it amongst your home office network. Be sure to read your printer’s manual and installation instructions if you opt to use universal adapters. If there is a setup issue or connection failure, contact the printer manufacturer for more detailed help.
Many Windows error messages are fairly descriptive about the problem that occurred, while others are very cryptic. If you are working with Windows and you have seen the “Spooler SubSystem App has encountered a problem and needs to close” error, you have run into one of the more cryptic variety.
In simple terms, the spooler subsystem app queues up the data to be sent to the printer in small chunks that it can handle without getting overwhelmed. If a third-party application interferes with this system, or it stops suddenly, you may encounter the above error message. There are a few ways to attempt to fix the problem.
Microsoft Fix It
The Microsoft Fix It software is designed to diagnose and fix a number of problems related to Windows, printers, and other hardware. In many cases, it may be able to resolve the spooler subsystem error. Simply install the program and follow the onscreen prompts to attempt to repair the problem.
Restart the Service
In some cases, the spooler service may have stopped, and simply needs to be restarted.
- Click the Start button and choose Run.
- Type “services.msc” and hit Enter.
- Scroll down to “Print Spooler”. Right-click it and choose “Restart”.
- Right-click “Print Spooler” once more and choose “Properties”. In the dropdown box, select “Automatic”, then click “OK” to save the changes.
Reinstall Printer Drivers
If the error message still persists, the spooler service may be affected by your printer’s drivers or software. See our page on Installing a Printer Driver for instructions for reinstalling the driver and software. In most cases, you should download the latest drivers and software from the manufacturer’s website, as the problems you are experiencing may have been addressed in a recent update.
By trying the solutions above, you will have hopefully resolved the error message and you can resume normal printing. If you are still experiencing issues, you may want to contact technical support for your printer manufacturer for more specific troubleshooting.
Though the Kindle from Amazon was a pioneer in the e-reader industry, many things about this mobile device were limiting. For instance, the inability to connect your Kindle to a printer via USB cable and print resulted in a number of complaints from teachers, attorneys, medical staff and other professionals who could use excerpts from these downloaded books for educational or legal purposes.
There is a slight loophole in the original Kindle, though, that does actually let you print text, but it can be complicated and time-consuming. Here are instructions on how to do it:
- Use the cursor and wheel to select the text you wish to print.
- Select copy. The text will be sent to the clipboard named My Clippings.
- Connect the Kindle to a computer via USB cable.
- Open the My Clippings file on your computer and print.
Note: if you are trying to print a number of pages, you will have to do so one page at a time.
More recently, Amazon released the Kindle Fire, which is far more than just an e-reader. This mobile device has the features to rival iPads and Android tablets, but also serves as a personal library. Though printing capabilities are not built into the Kindle Fire, applications can be downloaded to allow it.
If you are trying to print to an HP printer equipped with the ePrint software, such as an HP PhotoSmart 5510, that machine will have an email address assigned to it. All you have to do is access your personal email account (Gmail, Yahoo, etc.) on the Fire and send the document you wish to print to your printer’s address.
If you are using any other kind of printer that supports mobile printing, you have a couple of options. Printer manufacturers have begun designing free apps specifically for mobile printing to their machines, such as Brother iPrint&Scan and Epson iPrint. The other option is downloading a universal app, such as PrinterShare, which is not free, but will make a world of difference for anyone who does a lot of printing from their tablet.
When downloading apps to your Kindle Fire that are not found in the Amazon app store, you will need to follow this simple process to allow it:
- Go to Quick Settings.
- Select More and then Device.
- Choose Allow Installation of Applications from Unknown Sources.
And so it seems, there is no easy answer to the question, “Can I print from my Kindle?” So far, Amazon has not made it a convenient or simple feature, but there are ways to do it, if you have the patience.
Laser printers and LED printers are often grouped together when speaking in broad categories, and for good reason. In fact, there is very little difference between the two when it comes to the basic science of how the two types work. They both use static electricity applied to a drum, which helps to apply toner and heat to create an image. The main difference comes in how the static charge is applied.
A laser printer printer uses a laser beam, which bounces off a moving mirrored surface. When the laser reaches the rotating imaging drum, it creates a static charge that attracts toner to it, which is then transferred to the page. The laser scans across the page in sequence, emitting thousands of light bursts per second.
An LED printer, on the other hand, uses an array of tiny LED lights that light up at different times to create the static charge. Since the lights span the entire width of the drum, an LED printer requires fewer moving parts.
Here are some of the factors to consider when choosing between a laser or LED printer:
Because there are fewer moving parts, it would seem to follow that LED printers would be faster than laser models, but they tend to be fairly comparable. LED speeds will likely improve at a more rapid rate than laser models over time, however, as the technology matures.
LED models are generally less expensive to manufacture than their laser counterparts, which often translates to a lower purchase price. With fewer moving parts, they are also generally easier to maintain, though parts like the fuser and drum will have a similar life to those of a laser model. Both use toner cartridges for printing, so prices for these supplies are usually similar.
Durability is one aspect where LED printers have a decided edge. By eliminating many of the moving parts of a comparable laser model, LED printers usually have a much longer useful life, and require fewer repairs.
When LED printing technology was still fairly new, they often did not match the output quality of laser models. This is generally no longer the case, and both offer the same resolutions at around the same price points.
So which should you choose? When comparing two models that are similar in quality, speed, and other aspects, the greater durability of LED models does give them an edge. However, either technology will provide great results, and differences in rated speed, quality, and other aspects will have more of an impact on a user’s overall experience than the technology under the hood.
Setting up a new fax machine is usually not difficult. When it comes time to test its operation, however, most users need to find another user and another fax machine, taking up their time as well as yours. Fortunately, the HP Fax Test Service provides an easier solution. By sending a fax to their toll-free number, you can receive a return fax in just a few minutes to confirm that your machine is able to both send and receive. Here are the steps to follow.
- Make sure your fax machine is plugged in, turned on and filled with paper.
- Prepare a simple text sheet that you can send. Any simple office memo will suffice, or just print out a single-page document with some sample text on it. You could even include a favorite quote just for fun!
- Insert the page for faxing and send it to 1-888-HPFAXME (1-888-473-2963).
- Wait 5 to 7 minutes (or sometimes as long as 30 minutes) for a return fax. If you receive the return fax, you have now verified that your fax machine is working properly.
Of course, there is a problem with the HP Fax Test Service, in that a positive result verifies that your machine is working, but a negative result provides little information about what went wrong. In this case, you will probably need to enlist some help and try to send your fax to a person waiting by the machine. If you receive an error, see our page on HP Fax Errors for help.
For the majority of users, the fax will likely be returned, and you can rest-assured that your device is working properly without taking up someone else’s time. This wonderful free service from HP provides a lot of value.
Brother printers are generally quite reliable, and the majority of users won’t encounter many Brother error messages, even during heavy use. One error that you may encounter infrequently, however, is a message that states “The printer status is Offline” or “The printer status is Paused”. Essentially, the system is alerting you that Windows has paused the device or that it is now considered “offline”. Luckily, this is actually very easy to fix, and it should take you only a few steps to get up and running again.
Printer Status is Offline
The instructions for getting the printer online depend on the operating system you are using:
- Windows XP — Click “Start”, then “Printers and Faxes”. Right-click your Brother printer’s name, and then click “Use Printer Online”.
- Windows Vista — Choose “Start”, followed by “Control Panel”. Next, click on “Hardware and Sounds” and then “Printers”. Right-click your Brother printer and then click “Use Printer Online”.
- Windows 7 — Click “Start”, then “Devices and Printers”. Now double click on your Brother printer’s icon and click “See what’s printing”. Next, simply click “Printer”. You will now see an option that says “Use Printer Offline” with a checkmark in the box next to it. Click to remove the check mark from the box.
Printer Status is Paused
- Windows XP - Click “Start”, then “Printers and Faxes”. Right-click the Brother model, and then click on “Resume Printing”. If for some reason your printer has the option “Pause Printing” instead of “Resume”, this means your issue is not related to the printer being paused. Try restarting both the printer and the computer.
- Windows Vista - Choose “Start”, followed by “Control Panel”. Next, click on “Hardware and Sounds” and then “Printers”. Right-click the Brother model, and then click on “Resume Printing”.
- Windows 7 – Click “Start”, then “Devices and Printers”. Double click on your Brother printer’s icon, followed by “See what’s printing” and “Printer”. When you get to the next page, remove the checkmark from “Pause Printing”.
The Next Step: Cancel All Documents
If for some reason the suggestions above do not resolve the problem, you can try to cancel all of the pending documents.
Windows XP - Click “Start”, then “Printers and Faxes”. Double-click the Brother model icon, and then choose “File” and “Cancel All Documents”.
Windows Vista - Choose “Start”, followed by “Control Panel”. Next, click on “Hardware and Sounds” and then “Printers”. Double-click the Brother model icon, and then choose “File” and “Cancel All Documents”.
Windows 7 - Click “Start”, then “Devices and Printers”. Double click on your Brother printer’s icon, followed by “See what’s printing” and “Printer”, then choose “Cancel All Documents”.
If you have tried the steps above and you are still receiving an error message, try powering down both the printer and the computer. Unplug the printer and leave it unplugged for at least 5 minutes. This can sometimes clear the print queue and reset the devices. If you still receive the error after powering up both devices, you may need to contact Brother technical support.
Let’s start with the obvious- what is a corona wire?
Chances are if you are not a printer technician, you have no idea what the answer is. This may even be the first time you have ever heard the word ‘corona’ outside of a cold one on a hot day. However, this wire is one of the single most important parts of any laser printer, and it doesn’t require a lime.
Though laser printers generally have the same components, the interior functionality and design have small differences that are unique to each manufacturer. These make it challenging to generalize cleaning techniques and give “how-to” instructions.
As you may assume from the terminology, laser printers are known as such because the images and text that is to be printed is written with lasers. The imaging drums sits in the middle of the machine, flanked by rollers, corona wires, a fuser and a toner cartridge, unless it is a Brother unit, then the Brother toner cartridge is within the drum assembly.
When data is transferred, the laser writes the image onto the drum. The corona wire receives a blast of high voltage, which it then transfers to the written image on the drum in the form of static electricity. This negative charge attracts the positively-charged toner. The corona wire then gives an even stronger negative charge to the paper so it can pull the toner from the imaging drum.
Corona wires take a beating and collect a lot of dirt and excess toner. They should be cleaned every time cartridges are replaced. If the corona wire is not cleaned, the quality of the prints will begin diminishing and faded coloring or streaks may appear on the printed page.
- Open the front panel.
- Remove the drum assembly.
- Locate the blue tab on the assembly and gently slide it from left to right repeatedly.
- When complete, match the arrow on the tab and the arrow on the cassette before reinserting.
Some Xerox, HP, Etc. printers:
- Open the front panel.
- To remove the corona wire, pinch the handle of it and pull.
- Remove the provided cleaning tool that is inside the printer, right below where the corona wire sits.
- Insert the tool into the underside of the corona housing.
- Wipe back and forth a few times.
- Reinsert the cleaning tool and the wire.
Other Xerox, HP, Etc. printers:
- Open front panel.
- Remove the corona wire.
- Use Q-tip and alcohol to gently clean the wire.
Please check your manuals to identify which method of cleaning is appropriate for your machine. Make sure you are gentle, as the corona wires are quite sensitive. And if the cleaning process is unsuccessful, consider replacing the corona wire altogether.
Wireless and Bluetooth are two of the most innovative technologies in the last 20 years. Both were initially developed in the early 1990’s, but have been improved tremendously over the years and now serve as essential communication options in offices, homes and pockets around the world. Neither requires wires to communicate, but they are mostly used for very different purposes.
Bluetooth is a short-range connection and designed for two Bluetooth-enabled devices to communicate with each other. For instance, when I start my car, the car’s computer system and my Smart phone connect instantly through Bluetooth, allowing me to play music downloaded on my phone and take phone calls all through my radio. Bluetooth uses a PAN, which is a Personal Area Network, meaning it is designed to be used with personal devices.
Wireless has a much larger range, designed to allow a number of devices connect to the internet, as well as to each other. Using a wireless connection, offices can set up a LAN, or a Local Area Network, which can be accessed by anyone within range. Many bookstores, coffee shops, airports and other locations that frequently have many patrons who tend to stay a while offer free wireless connection (Wi-Fi). Many printers have wireless capabilities now, such as the Brother HL-2270DW, eliminating excess wires from offices.
Here is a chart of some of the major differences between Bluetooth and Wireless connections:
Bluetooth adapter on all connecting devices
Wireless adapter on all connecting devices, wireless router
Up to 5 GHz
Smart phone, tablet, mouse
Laptop, PC, printer
Both of these connectivity options are beneficial in certain environments. Bluetooth is a tremendous personal convenience and wireless is essential to production in the office. These technologies have changed the face of communication.
Printing is a part of most people’s lives, personal and/or professional. It is a booming industry in a flailing economy, but supply and demand keep a place reserved in the budget for printing products.
There are a few ways to optimize the dollar for printing, such as seeking reputable third party vendors who reuse recycled cartridges or build compatible cartridges from scratch, equating to a cost 3-5 times less than OEM cartridges made by the manufacturer of the printer.
What about a way to reduce the frequency of which replacement cartridges are needed? That would be a good option for your budget as well as the environment!
Different printing modes are available on every printer. These modes basically represent ‘quality over quantity’ to ‘quantity over quality’. Each make and model may refer to these modes by different names, but in general, inkjet users can expect to see Fast or Draft, Normal and Best, while laser users may see different resolutions listed (the higher, the slower), EconoMode or TonerSave mode.
Various types of documents require different levels of quality. For instance, when you are printing highly complex graphics for work, you want to be sure to use the most detailed mode available. But just printing some recipes or directions or a flight itenerary, the same quality is not required. This is when you would switch to Draft, EconoMode or TonerSave mode, which can be done through the Print screen, allowing you to change the mode every time you print something.
That screen will look something like this:
Less ink/toner is applied to the paper in these cost-effective modes, meaning the cartridge(s) could produce more prints overall but also meaning the text will not be as bold, though still perfectly legible.
The list below is a brief explanation of the typical dropdown options:
This mode will provide the best quality. It should be used for documents that are complex and require slow, steady printing to ensure ideal sharpness and crisp, clear lines. The machine will operate at about half speed to increase the number of dots per inch.
This mode offers a nice balance of speed and quality. It produces less dots per inch than the Best/ProRes mode, but can attain similar quality due to built-in enhancements. This is the recommended default mode.
Designed to save users money by reducing the amount of ink used per page, this mode also benefits the environment by reducing the number of cartridges that need to be made (which requires oil, among many other materials). It also reduces how many cartridges get tossed in the garbage and end up on the Earth’s floor. For documents that are not important, this is the mode that should be used.
Changing modes when you are printing may seem unnecessary, but it is an essential part of being economical as well as eco-friendly. Reducing the amount of ink or toner used per print will extend the life of cartridges and limit the number of replacement cartridges that will be needed throughout the life of the printer. It is the small things that can make a real difference.
A printer driver is a piece of software installed on a computer that helps the computer and printer communicate with each other properly. Most printers include a driver on a CD in the box, or the driver can be downloaded from the manufacturer’s website. There is another option available called Universal Printer Drivers (UPD) that can often support multiple machines with basic functionality, but they come with a few drawbacks that you should be aware of.
When you install a printer driver that was designed for your specific device, you can be sure the driver and its software will support all of the features and functions of your printer. For example, if your printer supports multiple quality settings, the driver and software will provide options for easily changing these. With a Universal printer driver, you may only be able to print, without access to some of the more advanced settings and functions that your printer is capable of. Functions like scanning and copying that are included in some all-in-one machines may not be available at all, or could be limited in their functionality.
Universal printer drivers can also sometimes have problems translating data correctly from the computer to the printer. This can lead to garbled text, corrupted graphics, and other issues on the printed page. The translation needed to communicate with certain printers is not always as reliable with universal printer drivers.
With all of this being said, there are some benefits to using universal printer drivers. If you have an older model and can no longer find a working driver for your printer, using a UPD may solve the issue and give you at least basic functionality, to avoid having to purchase a new machine.
Universal print drivers can also be a good solution for IT departments that must support large numbers of office users who need access to multiple different printers. By installing a UPD that supports most Xerox printers on each user’s computer, for example, they can then print to any supported machine on the network, though it may limit their access to certain features.
While universal print drivers seem like a good idea on the surface, the loss of functionality and potential for printing problems make them best used as a last resort for the majority of users. If you are trying to revive an old machine with no updated drivers available, however, or you are an IT manager looking for a large-scale solution, you may still wish to give universal print drivers a try. You can generally find the proper UPD by doing a web search for the term “universal printer driver” along with the manufacturer of your printer.