How to solve printing problems in Windows

Printing is a pretty common task, but with so many variables—printers, drivers, paper, toner—sometimes things go wrong. If you’re having trouble printing, here are a few steps to help you get things working again.

Check your hardware

Many printing problems are caused by hardware that isn't set up properly. It might seem obvious, but it’s good to check simple things first before assuming there’s a bigger problem. Check to make sure the printer cord is plugged in to an electrical outlet, the printer cable is properly connected from your printer to your PC, and that your printer is turned on.

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



Your printer might have come with a CD, but you usually don’t need to install any software from the CD before you plug in your printer. In fact, if you’re connected to the Internet, all the necessary drivers will probably be installed automatically.

Open the printer troubleshooter

This troubleshooter makes sure that a printer is connected to your computer, and whether the printer has enough paper and toner to complete printing your document.



To make sure you have the most up-to-date troubleshooters from the Windows Online Troubleshooting Service, your computer should be connected to the Internet.

  1. Tap or click to open the Printer troubleshooter.

  2. Follow the steps in the troubleshooter.

Update drivers

Printers require driver software to work properly. Outdated, incompatible, or damaged printer drivers can disrupt communication between the PC and the printer.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 problems with your PC, it's possible that the drivers are damaged. Downloading and installing the latest driver for your printer can resolve these types of problems.

Try one of these ways to find and install a driver:

  • Use Windows Update . Windows Update can automatically download and install recommended updates.

  • 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. This is also a good option for PCs that don’t have a CD drive.

  • Install software from the printer manufacturer. If your printer came with a disc, that disc might contain software that installs a driver for your printer. Insert the disc and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.



This info is meant to help you fix common printer problems in Windows, including print errors, print spooler errors, and other problems that could prevent you from printing. It doesn't cover printing problems related to specific apps or hardware. If these steps don’t help, check the manual that came with your printer for additional info.

Was this helpful?
Thank you.
Do you want to add anything else?
Thank you. Your feedback helps us to continually improve our content.
1200 400 How can we make this more helpful for you? Submit Skip this Do you want to add anything else? Submit No thanks