Are you experiencing some sort of trouble when trying to print while connected to a Windows PC? If so, there are a number of things to check to check. The most common problem is that the printer doesn’t show up in Windows. These types of problems can be caused by anything from a bad cable to a bad printer driver, but most issues are fairly easy to resolve.
Check Your Cables
The first thing to check when there is a connection problem is the cable. For most printers, it will be a USB cable, but older models might use a parallel or even a serial cable. Disconnect the cable from both the printer and the computer, and look for signs of wear or damage. Reconnect the cables firmly into each device. If possible, try a different port on the computer to eliminate the possibility of a bad port. If you have an extra cable, try swapping it out and test to see if the issue is resolved. If so, your cable was probably bad.
Check the Power Cable
A printer that is not getting adequate power can often exhibit connection problems. Power down the printer and check the power cable and AC adapter for any signs of damage or wear. If it looks worn, contact the manufacturer for a replacement. If the printer is plugged into a splitter or surge protector, try plugging it directly into a power outlet, and even try plugging it into a power outlet on a different circuit, to eliminate the possibility of a bad outlet.
It may seem simple, but restarting devices can often fix more problems than you might expect. Power down the printer and the computer completely. You may even want to unplug the printer for several minutes, as some older printers sometimes reset themselves more completely while unplugged. Power up the computer first, then the printer, and see if the issue is resolved.
Add the Printer (again)
Sometimes the printer may have been removed without your knowing, and you will need to add it again. If the device is no longer showing in your list of available printers, follow the steps in this video to add it again.
After that if your problem isn’t solved, use a troubleshooter. This can help fix problems during installation, connection or spooling. Follow the steps in our Microsoft Fix It article to attempt to resolve problems with Microsoft’s helpful troubleshooting tool. In many cases, this program can help resolve common errors.
Reinstall Printer Drivers
If the first two suggestions don’t work, there is one last thing to try — reinstalling your printer drivers. You can insert the disc that came with your printer, find the drivers online, or even use Windows Update to attempt to find the proper drivers. Whichever method you choose, this may resolve the issue if it was caused by incorrect or improperly installed drivers.
If you have tried all of the steps above and still have connection problems, it is possible that your printer is in need of repair. Contact the manufacturer or a repair shop for further support.