What is the Dell “Low Ink” warning and why it is false

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

Dell ink

In general, Dell printers are exceptional machines. Many models share one very annoying quirk though: They make low-ink warnings appear on the monitor, even when the ink is nowhere near being empty. If you have a Dell printer and have been warned about having low ink, you may have discovered this issue on your own. Upon attempting to replace the ink, you may have discovered that there was still plenty of it left. In some cases, this warning may appear only a week or so after replacing the ink. In either case, it's quite aggravating. Luckily, there's a way around the issue, and it's outlined below.

Incorrect Ink Levels

There is no clear explanation for why Dell printers sometimes incorrectly warn about low ink levels. The problem isn't universal among Dell printers; some models never have this issue. For those that do, these warnings seem to appear almost at random. Sometimes, the ink is less than half full, but that doesn't mean that it needs to be replaced. There is speculation out there that these warnings are used as a ploy to make customers buy more ink when they don't really need to, but there is no conclusive evidence that this is the case.

Steps for Correcting the Problem

You don't have to be a computer whiz to correct this vexing problem. You don't even have to open up your Dell printer or anything. Please note that this problem can happen with Dell-brand ink and with compatible ink cartridges as well. The steps for correcting the issue are the same whether you're using OEM ink or compatible ink.

  1. Click on the Start menu at the lower-left corner of your screen. You will either see an option for Control Panel, or you will immediately see a Printers and Faxes option. Either click on the Control Panel and then click on Printers and Faxes, or click immediately on the Printers and Faxes options. In other words, you need to get over to the Printers and Faxes section.
  2. A list of the available printers and faxes should be displayed. Locate the Dell printer icon and click on it. If you don't see the icon, the machine may not be on. Make sure that it's plugged in and turned on, and it should appear on the list.
  3. A new window will appear. Click on File, which should be in the upper-left corner of the new window.
  4. A drop-down menu will appear. Click on Printing Preferences.
  5. You will be presented with a window that has several tabs and clickable options. Click on Advanced Options then click on More Options.
  6. At this point, you will have two options: You can either choose to display minimized print status alerts in the Windows task bar, or you can choose not to display print status alerts at all. By clicking the second option, you will no longer be prompted to replace low ink on your Dell printer.
  7. From there, simply click on Exit. You will be asked if these settings are correct. Click Yes and exit out of the menu.

The new settings should go into effect immediately. Keep in mind that this also means that you will no longer be alerted when other issues occur. Fortunately, most Dell printers have intuitive designs, so you should be able to tell when a paper jam or other problem arises.

As far as determining when ink is truly low on your Dell printer, the easiest way to do so is by keeping an eye on print quality. If it begins to look faded or uneven, it's time to replace the ink.

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