Tip of the Day Blog
    The Web
« 5 Minute Fix - Office Files | Main | Changing Your Screen's Resolution »

5 Minute Fix - Printer,aid,118512,pg,3,00.asp

Problem: Your printer is comatose--you click Print and nothing happens. You've already checked that the printer is on and that both ends of the cable linking it to the PC are securely connected.

Quick diagnosis: Perform a printer self-test using the diagnostic utility, built into the device, that checks its basic functionality. Refer to your printer's manual for instructions; typically you hold down a button on the printer while it's starting. If the test runs successfully, you know the trouble is with the connection or software.

Quick fix #1: Clear your print queue; a previous print job may be hanging up the system. In Windows XP and 2000, open Control Panel and click or double-click Printers and Faxes (select Printers and Other Hardware first if you're in XP's Categories view, or Printers in 2000). Click or double-click the icon for your printer to open the print-queue window. Clear any pending print jobs by selecting Printer, Cancel All Documents (see FIGURE 2). In Windows 98 and Me, open Control Panel, click or double-click Printers, and select Purge Print Documents.

Quick fix #2: Disconnect and securely reconnect your printer cable. If you're installing a USB printer and it's the first USB device you have used, check its listing in Device Manager for errors. In Windows XP and 2000, right-click My Computer, choose Properties, click Hardware, and select the Device Manager button. In Windows 98 and Me, right-click My Computer, select Properties, and click the Device Manager tab. Look under the 'Universal Serial Bus controllers' listing for error messages. If you see a question mark, yellow circle, or red X next to the device's listing, you've got trouble. Click the device's name, choose the General tab, and look for error messages in the 'Device status' box.

An Uneven Tone

Problem: The output from your laser printer is faded on one area of the page.

Quick fix: This commonly happens when the toner in your laser printer's cartridge gets low and becomes unevenly distributed throughout the cartridge. First, remove the cartridge from the printer and hold it level in front of you, with one hand on each end. Now rotate the cartridge slowly as if you were turning the steering wheel of a car, lifting and lowering each end about 4 inches. Doing this four or five times will redistribute the toner and may enable you to squeeze a substantial amount of printing out of the old cartridge before it needs replacement.

EmailEmail Article to Friend