If you are like the majority of people across the globe, you will have, at some point in your life, used a printer. Printers are, it is safe to say, one of the most common peripheral devices that can be found on computers. It should not be surprising, therefore, that they are also the device that gives us the most headaches, both at home and in the office. Printers can be temperamental, but why are printer problems so common?
Why are Printers so Problematic?
A large part of the printer problems that you are likely to encounter out there can be tracked down to the fact that each of these devices is made up of so many moving parts (most of which are made in China!) It is, therefore, inevitable that, at some point, something will go wrong with the gadget somewhere.
When that happens, the results can be hilarious. Many of us have seen videos on YouTube of people who have been thrown into fits of rage by their printers. (Unfortunately, it is the poor printers that almost always come off the worst for wear).
Why is my Printer Giving Me Problems?
When something goes wrong with your printer, it can be very difficult to diagnose the problems. As mentioned above, there are so many things that can, and that do go wrong, with the devices. Here are some of the most common printer problems that you are likely to encounter out at some point in your life (the first few are the things that you need to check on first before throwing your printer away or calling in the resident wannabe technical expert (there is always one in every office));
Out of ink (toner)
- You will be surprised at the number of people who have nearly thrown fits over this simple issue.
- The first thing that you need to do when your printer starts acting up is check and see whether or not the device still has all its supplies.
- If you are out of toner, there is really no need for you to buy a new printer. That is despite the fact that there are instances when a new printer, that comes with new cartridges, costs less than the cost of replacing just the toner.
Common Printer Problems
Paper jams are also among the common printer problems that most people are likely to encounter at some point in their lives. There are many reasons why paper jams occur.
Most of them can be traced back to trying to use wrong sized or wrong type paper. The thing about paper jams is that they can only be resolved by opening up the printer, which is why they can appear so ominous.
However, what you should remember is that the devices were designed to be opened, and you are unlikely to break anything by doing so in order to extract the troublesome papers.
Driver compatibility issues are, perhaps, the most common causes of the printer problems that people encounter on a daily basis.
Most of the devices ship with CDs that contain the software that is needed in order to get them up and running on any computer. However, in most cases, these soon get discarded, despite the fact that printers also come with booklets that entreat people to keep the CDs in a safe place.
The result is that changes to your computer’s configuration, including Operation System updates, can render your printer inoperable.
While it is possible to get the drivers that are needed to keep everything running as it should from the manufacturer’s website, this is, clearly, beyond most people’s technical abilities. So, how do you go about diagnosing printer driver problems?
How to Identify Driver Problems
Drivers play an important role on any computer. They are what enable the hardware components that make up and are connected to a PCs to communicate with its Operation System.
Without them, computers would be nothing but expensive pieces of electronics. One of the first things that you need to do when you encounter problems with your printer, or any other hardware device for that matter, is check and see if the problems are being caused by driver compatibility issues. So, how do you go about doing this?
Windows provides a useful facility for diagnosing hardware issues; the Device Manager. In fact, every computer user should be aware of Device Manager. It is where every piece of hardware that is connected to your computer is listed. There are several ways in which you can open Device Manager in Windows.
The easiest of these involves right clicking on the Windows icon that is on the bottom left corner of your screen (if you are using Windows 10). Select the necessary option and you will be taken to Device Manager.
You can also open Device Manager by typing devmgmt.msc either into the Windows “Run” utility or in Command Prompt.
The Dreaded Yellow Exclamation Mark
In Device Manager, any hardware component with which Windows has had problems will have a yellow mark appended to its name.
This is where you should go if you suspect that you are having printer driver problems.
How to Resolve Printer Driver Problems: Where can you get the drivers?
If you have discovered that your printer problems are being caused by faulty drivers, there are a number of things that you can do in order to resolve the problem;
Update Printer Drivers through Device Manager
The first thing that you need to try in order to resolve printer driver issues is update the drivers.
As is the case with every other hardware device, you can do so through Device Manager.
All that you need to do is go to the problematic device (with the yellow exclamation mark) right click on it and select “Update Driver Software.”
Windows will ask you whether or not you wish to let it search for the drivers online, or if you have already downloaded them to a location on your PC.
Make the appropriate selection and your printer’s drivers will be updated.
Uninstall and Reinstall Printer Drivers Using Original CDs
If you are one of the few conscientious people who actually keep printer CDs somewhere safe, you can resolve problems with the machine by simply uninstalling and reinstalling the needed software.
Get Necessary Software from the Manufacturer’s Website
However, should you fail to find the necessary CDs, there is no need for you to throw away your printer.
You can get the necessary software by simply going to the manufacturer’s website and inputting the printer version. At least that’s how it works with HP.
Keep your PC’s Drivers Up to date
It is important for you to keep every driver that is on your computer up to date in order to avoid the above common printer problems. There are several utilities that you can find online that do this job automatically on your behalf. One of the best, in this regard, is Iolo System Mechanic. You can find out more about Iolo by clicking on the banner below;