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Troubleshooting Printer Problems | Tech Info | Troubleshooting |

General Information, Inkjet, Laser, Dot Matrix, Testing, Misc.

General Information

There are several different problems associated with printers.







Applications (i.e. programs)


A common problem

When you try to print you get many pages with some characters at the top of each page but the rest of the page is blank.

There can be several causes.

go through the "Testing the printer" section below.

InkJet printers

Either one of the colors in the cartridge has almost run out or color or some of the cartridge inkjets have clogged up with dry ink.

Try a different cartridge. As far as cleaning the cartridge writing head of any dry ink, the manufacturers advice against doing this because it could scratch the surface. Of course if you are throwing the cartridge away then it doesn't really matter so you can try cleaning it. Wet a Kleenex and rub the end of the cartridge until its nice and clean. Then dry it carefully. (This can get messy since you will be rubbing off ink so you might want to wear some rubber gloves). If after cleaning it it still has wrong colors then one of the ink cartridge containers has run out of ink.


LaserJet Printers

1) The printout has black vertical strips running down the page

The toner drum might have a scratch on it. Most likely changing the toner cartridge will correct this problem.

2) The printout has black horizontal strips running across the page

The toner cartridge has a drum that is not perfectly round. Changing the cartridge should fix this problem.


Dot Matrix

...coming soon

Testing a Malfunctioning printer

To troubleshoot a malfunctioning printer you should do the following.

1) Check to see if the ON light is on

2) Perform the printer's self test. This is described on the User's manual and varies with each printer.

3) Go to a DOS prompt, either by pressing Start Programs CommandPrompt or by pressing <F8> as the computer is booting immediately after you see the message "...starting windows 95..." on the black screen and selecting "DOS prompt".

When you see the "Windows 95 startup menu" press the numeral "6" to select "6. command prompt only".

At the command prompt (C:\>) enter the following


and press <enter>

(the above is DIR {space} greater than sign,  {space } LPT1 {colon}).

if the printer is working correctly and the cabling is good, you should get a clean copy of your directory listing for drive C:. The contents you see is not important and varies from computer to computer. What you are after is to make sure that the printer is capable of printing correctly.

After you are finished, depending on where you are, if you are on a DOS prompt (using the F8 key as described above) you can simply turn the computer OFF and then ON.

If you are on a windows 95 DOS prompt screen then type in the keyboard


and press the enter key which will bring you back into windows.

This is a simple test, if you got clean readable output on the printer then the printer and the cables are working fine, which means that if you can not print correctly under windows 95 then you have a driver problem.





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