How to restart and reset the printer spooler

28. December 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

If you use a Windows operating system, there's a good chance that you'll encounter an error with your printer spool or spooler at least once. This is true whether you own an inkjet printer or a laser printer, and it's true whether you use OEM ink or compatible ink. As aggravating as it can be to experience an error like this, the good news is that it's easy enough to fix. By following a few simple steps, you can restart or reset the printer spool and be up and running again in no time.

Learn how to do so below.

Printer Spool Errors On Windows PCs, the printer spool error code is usually called system error 1068. It usually occurs right in the middle of a print job, so it's extremely frustrating. The actual message may vary. However, a common message to encounter is "The printer spooler service is not running." To understand why this is a problem, you need to understand what the printer spooler is. It essentially sends small, temporary files to the printer to ensure that print jobs go smoothly. If it stops running, the printer can't receive these files, which makes it impossible to print anything.

Try Restarting the Printer Spooler First

In many cases, you don't have to go through the hassle of resetting the printer spooler. Restarting it is often enough to get it back on track. You can't restart the spooler with a button on the printer. You have to click over to the Start menu on your Windows PC. From there, click over to the Administrative Tools section. Click on the Services option twice. When the spooler starts running, click on the "restart" button. The spooler should finish running. At that point, you should attempt to print something. If you receive no error messages, especially system error 1068, you should be good to go.

Resetting the Printer Spool

If restarting the printer spooler doesn't work, you will have to reset it. Unfortunately, this is a little more involved. As long as you follow these steps carefully, though, you should be able to do so quickly.

  1. Restart your computer. You're going to want to start it in safe mode, so press the F8 button while it is still booting up again. This will bring you to a menu that should include an option for starting in safe mode. Select that option, and then log into Windows as usual.
  2. Click on the Start menu, and then navigate over to My Computer. You will see the C drive, and you should click on it to open it. From there, open the Windows folder, and then go into the System32 folder. You will see a Spool folder. Open it, and then open the Drivers folder. Finally, open the Printers folder. If there are any files in it, delete them. They are stuck in the spooler, and the only way to reset the spooler is by deleting them.
  3. Restart the computer again. This time, boot up in standard mode. Perform a test print. With any luck, you won't encounter any errors, which will mean that the issue has been resolved.
  4. If you continue to receive error messages, try resetting the printer spool again. If the error messages keep appearing, you will probably have to contact the manufacturer for guidance.

As irritating as printer spool errors can be, they can usually be resolved without too much effort. In the vast majority of cases, restarting or resetting the spooler does the trick. Keep in mind that these errors are fairly rare, so you shouldn't have to deal with them too often.

How to enable bidirectional support for your printer

20. December 2012 08:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Bidirectional Printer Support In order to print something, a computer has to send files to a printer. Without having the ability to communicate directly with a printer, computers can't send documents to be printed. This makes perfect sense, but it works both ways. To function properly, printers have to be able to send data to computers too. Without having the ability to do so, printers can't tell computers about the statuses of print jobs, ink and toner levels and other critical information. In other words, everyday users like you are left in the dark. The concept of printers communicating with computers and vice versa is known as bidirectional support. Learn more about it below.

The Trouble with Losing Bidirectional Support

When bidirectional support is lost, it's no longer possible to check the status of a print job or to check ink and toner levels. There's no way to tell if something is wrong in the print queue. If a document doesn't print, it could be due to a number of different things. If bidirectional support is disabled, there's no way to troubleshoot the problem effectively. Fortunately, bidirectional support is enabled automatically on most modern computers and printers. It sometimes stops working, though, and it may be disabled on older models.

Repair Bidirectional Support Issues by Updating or Installing Printer Drivers

Printer drivers allow computer programs to communicate effectively with printers. These drivers need to be updated from time to time, and they sometimes become corrupted and stop working entirely. On modern computers and printers, the most common reason for bidirectional support to stop working is a failed printer driver. Luckily, this is easy enough to remedy. If an update is available, install it. Otherwise, you'll have to remove and reinstall your printer drivers. Do so by following these steps:

  1. Locate the printer utility by searching for it from the Start menu.
  2. Right-click on the computer that's experiencing problems. Select the delete option to delete it.
  3. Right-click on any part of the screen and select "Run as Administrator."
  4. From the administrator menu, click over to the server properties section.
  5. Click on the drivers tab. Remove the printer, and then remove the driver and driver package that go along with it.
  6. On the Start menu search box, type "APPWIZ.cpl."
  7. Visit the website for your printer manufacturer and locate the driver for your printer. You should be able to find it by searching for the model number of your printer.
  8. Download and run the driver package. The installation wizard will guide you through the process. At this point, bidirectional support should be working again.

Enable Bidirectional Support on Older Models

If you have an older computer, you can follow these steps to enable bidirectional support. In most cases, this will resolve the problem.

  1. Click over to the Devices and Printers or Printers and Faxes section from the Start menu.
  2. Double-click on the icon for the printer that is experiencing problems and go to the customization section.
  3. Locate the ports tab and click on it. Near the bottom of the window, you should see an option that says "enable bidirectional support." Click on the little box next to it.
  4. If the option is grayed out or unavailable, bidirectional support may not be available for your printer or computer. The only thing you can do is contact the printer manufacturer to see if any other steps can be taken.

After getting bidirectional support going again, your issues with print queues and ink level statuses should be over. Just keep these steps in mind in case you experience these issues again in the future.

Explanation of a Printer Driver and Printer Spooler

15. December 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Technology News  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

With so many special printer terms out there, it's easy to get confused. For example, many people don't quite know the difference between a printer's spooler and driver. In fact, some folks think printer spoolers and drivers are the same thing. In reality, they couldn't be more different. If you use a printer at all, it definitely pays to have a basic grasp of these and other common printing terms. For the purposes of this article, however, we're going to focus on printer spoolers versus printer drivers. By the time you're finished reading, you'll have a clear understanding of what each one is and why it's important.

Printer Drivers: The Basics

From time to time, you may be prompted to update your printer's driver or drivers. Like most people, you probably just click through the prompts, update your drivers and move on with your life. If you've ever wondered what a printer driver actually is, though, you've come to the right place. A printer's driver plays a crucial role in the interactions between a printer and a computer. Without printer drivers, there would be no easy way for various applications to communicate effectively with different printers.

The primary purpose of a printer driver is to act as a go-between of sorts. A driver makes it possible for computer programs and applications to communicate with different printers. With so many new printers being released all the time, expecting software companies to write programs that are compatible with all of them is not practical. Drivers handle this issue gracefully by translating information from computer programs into language that can be understood by a printer. Most people take printer drivers for granted and assume that all printers work with all programs, but that just isn't true. Without drivers, fast, easy printing wouldn't be possible.

Printer Spoolers: The Basics

There is nothing about a printer spooler that makes it similar to a printer driver, unless you count the fact that it makes printing fast and efficient. A spooler collects print files and puts them into a queue. When several print jobs are lined up, they are spooled by the spooler and stored temporarily on a printer's memory. After the documents have been printed, the temporary file is erased from the printer's memory. The entire process is automatic and seamless, so you would never have an inkling that it was even happening.

Without a spooler, print jobs would be lost all the time. Computers would also slow to a crawl whenever jobs needed to be printed. Thanks to spoolers, all of the information that's needed by the printer is sent directly over to it from the computer. If the information sat around in the computer's memory, it would interrupt other processes and have a negative impact on performance. In fact, that used to be one of the biggest drawbacks of printing at home. Thanks to spooler technology, however, these issues are basically things of the past. You can click the print button and keep using your computer without interruption.

Conclusion

As you can see, printer spoolers and printer drivers have hardly anything in common. Other than making modern printing as fast, efficient and effective as it is today, spoolers and drivers serve very different purposes. However, you wouldn't want to go without either of them. Each one is important in its own right. If you run into error messages about either one, make sure to resolve the issue quickly. Similarly, always update your printer drivers right away. When drivers are out of date, printing can be negatively impacted. With prompt updates, your computer and printer should keep performing optimally.

How to fix Lexmark printer error codes

11. December 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

Lexmark As aggravating as Lexmark error codes can be, they are actually quite useful. Without them, you'd have to troubleshoot problems with your printer on your own. In many cases, zeroing in on the specific problem would be just about impossible. By knowing the basics about Lexmark printer error codes, you'll be able to respond quickly and effectively to them. Although there are dozens of codes, most people only encounter a handful of them. Some of the most common Lexmark error codes are highlighted below, and a few possible fixes are included as well.

  • Error Code 20 - This code reflects a paper jam, but it's probably not a typical jam. It's usually a jam at the sensor, which often means that the rollers in your printer aren't working properly. Check to make sure the rollers aren't dirty or jammed. If they are, clean them. They may simply be worn out or broken too. If that's the case, you will have to replace them.
  • Error Code 22 - Here's another error code that involves a paper jam. In this instance, the rollers are probably just dirty. The printer may be out of paper too. In rare instances, this code can mean that the sensor board or system board is defective. If so, a technician will be in order.
  • Error Code 30 - When this code appears, make sure that there's a toner cartridge installed. If your Lexmark printer doesn't have a toner cartridge installed, it's not going to work. Stock up on inexpensive compatible toner cartridges to ensure that you always have plenty on hand. Install a toner cartridge to make this error go away. This error can also occur due to an open top cover. Make sure that the top cover is securely closed.
  • Error Code 31 - To function properly, your Lexmark printer needs to know the size of the paper or envelope on which it is printing. This error code typically appears when the paper or envelope that's being used is incompatible with the printer's software. You might have to switch to a different kind of paper or a new envelope to continue printing. If you're using standard paper or have otherwise ruled out size issues, you might have a defective system board on your hands. It will have to be replaced, and the work will have to be done by an experienced technician.
  • Error Code 32 - It's critical to use OEM or compatible cartridges in your Lexmark printer. If you inadvertently use a cartridge that isn't designed for your printer, you're probably going to get this error. Check the cartridge in your printer and make sure that it's compatible. If you were told it was compatible and it actually isn't, you should request a refund or a replacement.
  • Error Code 47 - This is a relatively rare error code. It means that there is a language error. In most instances, an unsupported or defective card has been installed. If you recently had a new card installed, that's probably the case. Another potential cause is that the printer and the computer aren't set to the same postscript. This is one error that can't usually be handled by everyday users. It might even mean that your system board or font card is defective. You will need a technician to check these things out for you.

If you receive an error code that's not highlighted above, refer to your owner's manual or perform an online search or go to the Lexmark support website. Unusual error codes usually reflect issues that need to be handled by professional technicians, so be prepared to make that call.

 

 

 

 

 

How to check the ink levels on your HP printer

8. December 2012 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

HP ink levels Nothing is as frustrating as running out of printer ink and having to interrupt your work to run out and buy more. This is one reason that it pays to keep spare ink on hand. By stocking up on affordable compatible ink cartridges, you should be able to avoid this conundrum. With that being said, it's still nice to have an idea about how much ink is left in an HP printer. The good news is that it's relatively easy to check HP ink levels. Learn a few of the top ways to do so below.

Print a Statistics Page

If you have an older printer, it may not offer a quick and easy way to check ink and toner levels. On modern printers, for example, you can usually do this through the control panel on your computer. Some printers even show ink levels right on their displays. If neither of these options is available, try printing a statistics page instead. Check your owner's manual to find out how to do so. The statistics page will include a huge array of information, including HP ink levels. You may even be able to find out how many pages can be printed with the current supply of ink.

Steps for Checking the Ink Level with Your Computer

Newer printers often have user-friendly interfaces that can be easily accessed on computers. You may even be able to place an icon for your printer right on your desktop. By opening the interface, you should be able to check the HP ink levels on your printer quickly and easily. If your printer doesn't offer this feature, and if it doesn't show ink levels right on its display, you may be able to check them by following these steps:

  1. Make sure your printer is connected to your computer and that it is online. It needs to be turned on as well.
  2. Click on the Start menu, which is located at the bottom-left corner of your desktop. Click on "Settings," and then click on "Control Panel." In some instances, the "Control Panel" option may appear immediately after opening the Start menu. You may also be able to search for what you need with the search field at the bottom of the screen.
  3. In some cases, you may have to click on "Print Settings" from the Start menu. From there, navigate over to the "Printer Toolbox" section.
  4. Locate the "Printer and Faxes" section or something with a similar name. Your printer should appear on the list.
  5. Right-click on your printer and select "Preferences." Click on "Service this Device."
  6. A window should open. Look for an option that says "Estimated Ink Levels" or something similar. After selecting this option, you'll be presented with a visual representation of how much ink or toner is left in the cartridges in your printer.

If you print on a regular basis, you should get a feel for how long an ink cartridge is going to last. However, it's a lot nicer to be able to quickly and easily check your printer's ink levels. If none of the above suggestions work, check your printer's owner's manual. You could also search for the specific model number of your printer online.

By knowing how much ink is left in your HP printer, you won't have to worry about running out in the middle of an important print job. Even if you're fully aware of how much ink is left, make sure to keep spare ink or toner cartridges on hand. When ink does run out, you will be ready to go with a new cartridge.

How to select the right Inkjet photo paper for the job

6. December 2012 07:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags: ,   //   Comments

inkjet-photo-paper The advent of advanced digital cameras and home editing software has enabled typical consumers to enjoy supreme quality personal photos from the comfort of their own homes. However, no matter how high-end your technological equipment may be, without proper photo paper your prints will not feature the crisp, professional quality that you desire. Unfortunately, it is not always easy to select the right photo paper for your purposes. There is an incredibly vast range of photo papers for photographers to choose from, and those who are unfamiliar with the digital photo world may feel a bit daunted by this plethora of choices. The following guide will help consumers to identify the photo paper that will best benefit their photography.

Finish

Photo papers are produced in a few different finishes, the most common being gloss and matte. Each finish offers its own benefits and drawbacks.

Glossy photo paper is valued for its bright, vivid display of hues. Colors seem to leap off of a gloss-finished page, and many people find the sheen of this paper to be an attractive quality in itself. However, glossy photo paper is unsuitable for framing, as it reflects copious amounts of light and can create a glaring effect. Most people therefore choose to reserve their gloss-finished paper for brochures, greeting cards, and other such purposes. Glossy photo paper is also very prone to smudging and must be handled carefully.

Conversely, matte photo paper does not reflect any light and is far less likely to smudge. While this subtler paper does not offer the glitz and glamor for which glossy paper is so valued, such qualities make matte photo paper far more suitable for framed pictures.

Thickness

Photo papers are offered in a wide variety of thicknesses. You should try to select the photo paper that best suits your durability needs.

A thin inkjet photo paper is perfectly adequate for most everyday uses. Casual prints, flyers, and other informal printouts can be created inexpensively with a low-durability paper. However, if you wish to preserve your printouts for an extended period of time, a thicker paper is essential. These higher-quality papers tend to hold their shape and their colors far longer than their lower-priced counterparts. Many consumers mistakenly believe that a hung photo can be printed on thin paper if it is protected by a frame; however, even within the frame's protection, a low-quality paper is likely to bend and fade over time.

Color

Surprising as it may seem to novice photographers, photo paper is offered in many different shades, each of which influences printed pictures in a slightly different manner.

Consumers can find photo paper in any hue from ultra-bright white to subtle beige. Generally, the whiter your photo paper, the more boldly your prints will emerge from the page. Enhanced white paper is therefore ideal for photographers who wish to produce eye-popping pictures. However, in many cases, a softer color will be more suitable for your purposes. For example, a formal family portrait or a quiet nature scene will be better complemented by a gentle off-white color, adding a pleasant, relaxed dimension to your photo.   

How to Clean the Waste Ink Absorber in Your Canon Printer

2. December 2012 05:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

When the waste ink absorber in a Canon printer gets too full, the printer stops working. In many cases, an error message may appear. If you've never encountered this problem before, you're probably at a loss about how to fix it. Fortunately, remedying the situation is easy. The first step is understanding what a waste ink absorber is, and that's explained below.

What is a Waste Ink Absorber?

Like most modern printers, yours probably has an automatic cleaning function. It's important to use it on a regular basis to keep your printer functioning properly and to ensure that your printed copies are crisp, clear and legible. Every time you run the automatic cleaning function, dust and dried ink are ejected from the print head. They don't just magically disappear. Instead, they are collected by the waste ink absorber.

A waste ink absorber is typically made up of two foam pads that are held in place by a rubber frame. Its job is to keep dried ink and dust from floating freely around the interior of a printer. Without a waste ink absorber, your printer could accumulate so much dust and dried ink that it would stop working.

There's a limit to how much ink and dust a waste ink absorber can handle. When it surpasses that threshold, an error message is usually triggered. The printer generally won't function either. You don't have to buy a new waste ink absorber, and you don't have to call a technician. You just have to remove the waste ink absorber, clean it and replace it.

How to Clean a Waste Ink Absorber

If the waste ink absorber in your Canon printer needs to be cleaned, do so by following these steps:

  1. Open the lid on your printer. If you have an owner's manual, consult it to determine the precise location of the waste ink absorber.
  2. Let the ink or toner cartridge slide completely out of the way. You will now have free access to the waste ink absorber.
  3. Detach the waste ink absorber by pulling gently on its rubber frame. Pull it away from the printer to remove it completely.
  4. Unplug the printer to prevent mishaps.
  5. Remove the foam pads and place them in a bucket of hot, soapy water. Let them soak long enough for the ink to get loose. You should be able to scrub it away easily. If you can't, you need to let the pads soak longer.
    Spread out the pads on paper towels or newspaper. Allow them to dry completely. You might want to just let them dry overnight.
  6. Reattach the foam pads and install the waste ink absorber again.
  7. To get rid of the error code on your Canon printer, start by turning it off. While holding down the power button, unplug the printer. Release the button after you've unplugged it and wait a few seconds. Press the power button again. The error code should be gone.

You may be alerted to a full waste ink absorber in one of several ways. An error message might pop up on your computer screen. On some printers, a notification may appear on a display on the unit itself. Sometimes, indicator lights are used to alert people to full waste ink absorbers. Of course, a simple error code could appear as well. To know what to expect, consult your owner's manual.

There's no way to get around it: You have to clean the waste ink absorber in your Canon printer from time to time. By doing so as thoroughly as possible, you shouldn't have to do it again for a long time.   

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