Getting your printer to work properly and consistently can sometimes be a bit of a hassle. Every reputable electronics company offers tech support for help, but sometimes the fix is simpler than you might think and doesn’t require tech support assistance.

Fixing Printer Issues Without Tech Support

Get Familiar With the Hardware

Consumer electronics can be quirky, but they are designed with you in mind. Troubleshooting hardware problems like paper jams and cartridge replacement can be dealt with by either reviewing the manual that came in the box, or by carefully following the instructions affixed to the movable parts inside. Just open it up where that model is supposed to be opened and do as indicated.

Paper and Ink

Make sure to use the paper recommended by the printer manufacturer for the type of job you want to do, and don’t overload the feed tray. Also make sure to square all of the sheets so that they can feed in evenly. When it comes to ink and toner cartridges, keep in mind that replacement warnings will often appear well before the cartridge is actually empty, so you can probably ignore them for at least a few more pages. When you do replace the cartridges, it’s better to buy from the manufacturer. Aftermarket cartridges and refills may be cheaper in the short run, but they’re also lower quality.

Check Your Drivers

If the problem isn’t a hardware issue, then you definitely need to see if your software is up to date. Run the manufacturer’s printer problems troubleshooter, and your operating system’s troubleshooter. If your printer is on a network, try this helpful sequence of steps, as well. If none of that works, then you may need to update the drivers, which you can usually find on the manufacturer’s webpage. Alternatively, you may need to update your operating system, or even revert to an older one.

Back to Basics

You may roll your eyes at this, but there’s a reason that the great meme of tech support is “did you try turning it off and back on again?” Alternatively, “is it plugged into a power outlet?” Those are actually pretty important and useful troubleshooting steps. Sometimes the software just gets bogged down and needs to be rebooted. If your printer was working fine, but suddenly isn’t, and you’ve already checked everything else here, then just give the old power switch a try, and reboot your whole system. If that doesn’t resolve your printer problems, then go ahead and make the call for tech support.