If you’ve tried to print a document in Windows 10, you know that it won’t print unless the printer is connected to the network. Usually, it is enough to turn on the printer and wait a few seconds until the status changes from offline to online.
Unfortunately, this does not always happen. Instead, the printer will remain offline even if it is turned on and connected to a computer or network. There are quite a few reasons why Windows might not detect the printer is online, and I will do my best to find as many solutions as possible.
Step 1: power cycle devices
The first thing to do before diving into settings and tools is to simply try turning the printer and computer off and on again. In most cases, it solves the problem. Turn off the printer and turn off the computer. Then turn on the printer and wait until it connects to the network. If you are using a USB cable, just wait for the printer to boot up.
Now turn on your computer and see if the printer still appears offline. Make sure the printer is completely turned off, not just in power save mode. If you are unsure, it is best to turn off the printer completely for about 30 seconds.
Step 2: Use the printer software
If your printer still appears offline, you can try using the printer software that came with your printer. These printer utilities can usually detect the printer on the network and fix any problems that are causing the printer to stop working.
For example, you can check my previous post on using the HP Print and Scan Doctor to solve problems with HP printers. For Canon, go to the support site, enter your model number and click the Software tab. You can download their My Printer software to manage and maintain your printer.
This is pretty much the case for all printer manufacturers. If you have a Dell printer, go to the Dell Drivers & Downloads page, find your printer, and download the printer application.
Above is an example of Kyocera Print Center software running on my Windows 10 computer. It will show you the status of the printer and provide you with additional information such as ink levels, etc. If you are unsure if the printer software is installed on your device, you can check this by going to Settings, then clicking Devices and finally clicking Printers & Scanners.
Windows 10 will display a list of printers on the right side, and if a software package is installed to manage the printer, it will indicate that an app is available for that device. If you click on the printer and then on “Manage”, you will see the “Open Printer Application” button.
In my case, I didn’t even know there was software already installed on my system, so this was helpful.
Step 3: Set up the printer online
Sometimes, even though the printer is online and online, the settings are incorrect. Open the printer queue by going to Devices and Printers in the control panel and double-clicking the printer.
Here you want to click Printer in the menu bar and then remember to uncheck Pause Printing and Use Printer Offline.
Step 4: Run the troubleshooter
If the problem is with the Windows printing subsystem, running the troubleshooter might help. You can run the troubleshooter by following the steps in step 2 to go to the Device Management screen for the printer. Once there, you will see a link to Run the troubleshooter. Click on it and it will check the spooler service, network settings, etc.
The troubleshooter usually works if the problem is with Windows.
Step 5: Check the printer port
If nothing has worked so far, the problem is probably related to the port configuration. Most likely this only applies to a network printer that has an IP address. The most likely reason is that the printer’s IP address has changed, but the port configuration still points to the old IP address.
First, find out the IP address of your printer by printing a network configuration page. If you can’t figure out how to do this, check out my previous post on how to use some simple and free tools to scan your network and see the IP addresses of all devices on your network.
Once you get the IP address, go to Control Panel, Devices and Printers and right-click your printer. Be sure to select “Printer Properties” and not “Properties” at the bottom.
Click the Ports tab and then scroll down the list until you see one marked port. Select it and click “Configure Port”.
This dialog will tell you the current IP address that it thinks the printer has. If the IP address of the printer is different from the one listed here, this is the problem. Just update your IP here and you should be fine.
If you get any error like the one below when trying to configure the port, it is probably because it is configured as a WSD port.
An error occurred while configuring the port. This operation is not supported.
The WSD port, which stands for Web Services for Devices, is an auto-configuring port that you cannot edit. If so, and you cannot connect to the printer, you need to add a new TCP / IP port (using the Add Port button). You can read my previous post on adding a network printer by creating a TCP / IP port. You can also read my article on how to troubleshoot wireless printers for some additional tips.
Another less technical option is to follow step 6, which is to remove the printer and re-add it, thereby automatically using the new IP address.
Step 6: remove and re-add the printer
If you can’t get the printer to work yet, your best bet might be to uninstall and reinstall it. When Windows installs a printer, it detects it, checks all settings, and makes sure the printer driver is installed correctly.
You can remove the printer by going to Control Panel, Devices and Printers, right-clicking the printer and choosing Remove Device.
It is also recommended that you restart your computer once before reinstalling the printer. Note that this will not remove the printer driver from your system. If you have a problem with the driver, follow step 7.
After restarting, click “Add Printer” and Windows will automatically detect a printer connected locally to your network.
Step 7 – reinstall the printer driver
Sometimes the problem might be related to the current print driver. In this case, you should download the latest driver for your printer from the manufacturer’s website. However, it is recommended to uninstall the current print driver before doing this.
Read my guide on how to uninstall a printer driver from Windows. Please note that this article still applies to Windows 10.
I hope you already know how to type. If not, I recommend reading another general guide to troubleshooting printers. In addition to everything above, it is always recommended that you install the latest Windows updates as they usually contain newer print drivers that can improve the performance of your Windows 10 printer. If you have any questions, please leave a comment. Enjoy!