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A+™ Essentials Tutorial

 

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4.0 Printers and Scanners

  • 4.3 Identify tools, basic diagnostic procedures and troubleshooting techniques for printers and scanners

    • Gather information about printer / scanner problems

      • Identify symptom

      • Review device error codes, computer error messages and history (e.g. event log, user reports)

      • Print or scan test page

      • Use appropriate generic or vendor-specific diagnostic tools including web-based utilities

    • Review and analyze collected data

      • Establish probable causes

      • Review service documentation

      • Review knowledge base and define and isolate the problem (e.g. software vs.hardware, driver, connectivity, printer)

    • Identify solutions to identified printer / scanner problems

      • Define specific cause and apply fix

      • Replace consumables as needed

      • Verify functionality and get user acceptance of problem fix 

       

    • Identify different types of printer and scanner technologies (e.g. laser, inkjet, thermal, solid ink, impact)

Step 1: Check hardware

Many printing problems are caused by hardware that isn't set up property. Here's some information about how to plug cables in to the correct locations and make sure the printer has power.
Check if the cables are connected properly

Check to make sure that the printer's electrical cord is plugged in to the electrical outlet, and that the printer cable is properly connected from the printer to the computer.
Picture of a typical USB cable and portA typical USB cable and port
Check the power

Check to ensure that the printer's power switch is turned on, or if you're printing to a shared printer or a printer on a network, make sure that all necessary computers, routers, and printers are turned on. If your printer or other equipment is plugged in to a surge protector or a backup power supply, make sure that hardware is plugged in and turned on as well.

For more information about setting up a printer on a home network, see the following:

Windows 7: Install a printer on a home network.

Windows Vista: Install a printer on a home network.

Step 2: Use a troubleshooter

A troubleshooter is an automated tool that can find and automatically fix some problems with your computer. Printing troubleshooters can fix problems with installing a printer, connecting to a printer, and errors with the print spooler—software that temporarily stores print jobs on the computer's hard disk.
To run a printing troubleshooter

Click this button: 

Picture of a Fix it buttonFix this problem

In the File Download dialog box, click Run, and then follow the steps in the wizard.

Step 3: Update drivers

Most printers require driver software to work properly. Outdated, incompatible, or corrupted printer drivers can disrupt communication between the computer and the printer. If you recently upgraded from one version of Windows to another, it's possible that the current printer driver is for the previous version of Windows. If you've had recent power outages, viruses, or other computer problems, it's possible that the drivers have become corrupted. Downloading and installing the latest driver for your printer can resolve these types of problems.

Here are three ways to find and install a driver:

Use Windows Update. You might need to set Windows Update to automatically download and install recommended updates.

Install software from the printer manufacturer. For example, if your printer came with a disc, that disc might contain software that installs a driver for the printer.

Download and install the driver yourself. You can search for a driver on the manufacturer's website. Try this if Windows Update can't find a driver for your printer, and the printer didn't come with software that installs a driver.

For more information about updating your printer driver, follow the steps below that apply to the version of Windows you have on your computer. For information about printers that are compatible with Windows, visit the Windows Compatibility Center.

Windows 7

To update the driver using Windows Update:

Open Windows Update by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button. In the search box, type Update, and then, in the list of results, click Windows Update.

In the left pane, click Check for updates.

If there are any available updates, click the links to see more information about each update. Windows Update tells you if an update is important, recommended, or optional. Each type of update might include drivers. For more information, see Understanding Windows automatic updating.

On the Select the updates you want to install page, look for updates for your printer, select the check box for the driver that you want to install, and then click OK.

There might not be any available driver updates.

On the Windows Update page, click Install updates. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Windows Update will tell you if the updates were successfully installed.

For more information about Windows driver updates, see Automatically get recommended drivers and updates for your hardware.

Note:  Some updates require you to restart your computer.

To download and install a driver yourself

If Windows can't find a driver for your printer, and the printer didn't come with driver software, you can look for a driver on the printer manufacturer's website. Driver updates are often available in the support section of such websites.

To locate the driver, find the manufacturer and model name or number of your printer, and then visit the Hardware and software vendor contact information website. Once you find your printer manufacturer, go to its website and locate and download the latest driver for your printer.

If you find an updated driver, follow the installation instructions on the website. Most drivers are self-installing—after you download them, you usually just double-click the file to begin the installation, and then the driver installs itself on your computer.

Some printers have drivers that you need to install yourself. If you download a driver that isn't self-installing, follow the steps below.

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

Open Device Manager by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking System and Security, and then, under System, clicking Device Manager. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.?

In the list of hardware categories, find the printer that you want to update, and then double-click the printer name.

Click the Driver tab, click Update Driver, and then follow the instructions. Administrator permission required If you're prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

For more information about Windows 7 printer drivers, see Find and install printer drivers for Windows 7.

Windows XP:

To update drivers using Windows Update:

Go to the Windows Update website.

Click Custom, and then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your computer.

In the left pane, click Hardware, click Optional, and then select any hardware driver updates for your computer.

Click Review and install updates, and then click Install Updates.

You should also install any High-Priority updates at this time.

Note: Some updates require you to restart your computer.

To download and install a driver yourself:

If Windows can't find a driver for your printer, and the printer didn't come with driver software, you can look for a driver on the printer manufacturer's website. Driver updates are often available in the support section of such websites.

To locate the driver, find the manufacturer and model name or number of your printer, and then visit the Hardware and software vendor contact information website. Once you find your printer manufacturer, go to its website and locate and download the latest driver for your printer.

If you find an updated driver, follow the installation instructions on the website. Most drivers are self-installing—after you download them, you usually just double-click the file to begin the installation, and then the driver installs itself on your computer.

Some printers have drivers that you need to install yourself. If you download a driver that isn't self-installing, follow the steps below.

You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

Click Start, and then click Printers and Faxes.

Right-click the printer that you want to update, and then click Properties.

Click the Advanced tab, and then click New Driver.

Click Next, and then do one of the following:

Click the appropriate printer manufacturer and printer model if the driver appears in the list.

Click Have Disk if the printer driver isn't included in the list, or if you've received a new or updated driver on a disc from the printer manufacturer. Type the path where the driver is located, or click Browse to search for the driver, and then click OK.

Click Next, and then follow the instructions to finish installing the printer driver.

 


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