Sooner or later, most Windows computer users experience problems when trying to print images or documents. The printer may cover several pages with garbled characters, falsely claim to run out of ink or simply refuse to print. A few of the most common problems involve drivers, print settings and the cancellation of print jobs.
Many printing problems occur when the user connects a new printer to a Windows computer. Occasionally, Windows will recommend and install the wrong print driver. It is best to use a driver from the manufacturer's website or CD-ROM. If the correct driver cannot be found, use a driver for an earlier model from the same manufacturer and series.
It's also possible that the previous printer is still selected by default. Unless the old printer remains connected to another port, consider going into the Control Panel and removing its driver from the system. Otherwise, set the new model as the default by right-clicking its Control Panel icon and selecting "Set as default."
Problems can also occur when the printer is set to use supplies that it does not contain, such as legal size paper or color ink. This may cause it to malfunction or trigger false error messages. After selecting "Print" from the "File" menu, click the "Properties" button. Next, verify that all of the printer's settings are correct.
Sometimes it becomes necessary to cancel a print job; the wrong settings may have been used or the printer might be malfunctioning. First, try using the printer's controls to cancel the print job. Some printers have "Cancel" buttons. Microsoft suggests turning the printer off momentarily; this may cancel all printing.
If these methods don't work, try to stop the print job from within Windows. To cancel one document, right-click it in the print manager and select "Cancel printing." To remove multiple print jobs, you can click "Purge print jobs" under "Printer." A more elaborate method involves clearing the print spool; see Microsoft support document 946737.
A variety of other software-related printing problems can occur in Windows. An effective catch-all solution is to turn off the printer and the computer for a moment. Also, consider using the printer's self-test function to confirm that the problem isn't actually being caused by a cable, ink cartridge or hardware failure.