5 Common Printer Problems & How to Fix Them

My IT professor in college always told me that printers will be the biggest networking issue I will have to deal with in the real world. At the time, I just laughed and thought, “How hard can it be to maintain a network printer?” Well, you’re reading this blog for a reason. Something’s goofed up, and your printer’s on the fritz again.

Unless you’ve lived under a rock your whole life, you have probably experienced the mind-numbing confusion of a printer that didn’t do what you wanted it to. To quote Forrest Gump: Printer issues are like a box of chocolates – “you never know what your gonna get.” Every printer has its problems and not every solution is the same. Don’t worry, if I don’t cover the issue you’re having here, feel free to contact us with the issue you’re having and we’ll get you printing in no time!

Let’s do this!

5 Common Printer Problems that Leave You Scratching Your Head

1. ‘My Printer is Offline’

If I had a dollar for every time I heard that I’m pretty sure I could retire at my ripe age of 22. When a printer goes offline, it could be caused by an array of different issues.

Common Problem: Either a USB or ethernet cable is unplugged.

Advanced Problem: The printer lost its IP address and needs to be rebooted.

2. Double-Sided Printing

Double-sided printing can be either a lot of fun or a pain in the keister. If you don’t normally print double-sided, chances are your first attempt was a complete fail. Don’t worry, you’re not alone.

Common Problem: Your printer just isn’t capable of printing double-sided

Advanced Problem: Duplexing option needs to be enabled. To do that, go to your Control Panel > Devices and Printers. Find your printer, right-click, and select Printer Properties. Once your there, set the Two-Sided Duplex Accessory as installed and click OK to save your changes.


3. Unwanted Lines Down the Center of Page

Random vertical lines through your freshly printed pages could be an indication of a couple common printer problems. No matter what the reason behind them is, they need to disappear – and fast.

Common Problem: Either your printer is low on ink, or the rollers are dirty with ink.
Advanced Problem: You’re dots per inch, or dpi settings are too low. To fix this, go to your Control Panel > Devices and Printers. Find your printer, right-click, and select Printer Properties. Once you’re there, go the Device Settings and increase your dpi.

4. Printing ‘◼ÚZ፧▶♦éé≈♣⬆3Q’

Also known as printing ‘Hieroglyphics’. Typically, you see this upon installing or adding a new printer to your computer, and it shouldn’t happen randomly. Don’t worry, your new printer isn’t broken, you just need to update the driver that you are using. The best way to find the proper driver is by searching the printer supplier’s website. Head to their support page and find drivers and software. Use their newest driver for the best results.

5. Scanning to Computer

A lot of my clients have industrial-sized printers on their domain. From the printer, the employees have the option to scan to a folder on their desktop that is mapped to the server. Most issues occur when setting up the file path. For steps on how to set up a scan file system without a server, check out this article on scanning network folders.

Finding Common-Sense Solutions to Common Printer Problems

So, “Nick Burns – Your Company’s Computer Guy” would try to make you feel stupid by telling you a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo before rudely pushing you out of the way to do fix it himself. But I’m not a comical jerk. I’m here to lead you to common-sense answers to common printer problems.


If you experience these 5 issues, the solutions are typically only a few steps away. But if you get a little lost, we’re always here to help.


(Oh, and word to the wise: When your college professor tells you a tidbit about your future that doesn’t make sense at the time, take notes.)