Printers help make the world turn, as they give people access to information from the Internet. Since they're so important, you may get worried when they display an error message. Then, you might ask yourself, "Why is my printer in an error state?"
Why Is My Printer in an Error State?
Many things lead to an error state involving your printer -- these range from things like communication errors to more practical situations like paper jams.
The good news is that there's a solution for almost every error you experience. To find those solutions often requires a bit of troubleshooting.
What Is Troubleshooting
Troubleshooting is the process of solving a problem by eliminating and narrowing down the source of the problem. Many times, you don't need to contact a professional to find the answers to your issues.
Instead, researching online and taking things into your own hands often works wonders.
Troubleshooting also involves following a step-by-step process. No matter what you're doing, there's a step-by-step guide somewhere to help you out.
But, is troubleshooting worth your time?
First, it saves money. Hiring a professional to fix a minor problem is an expense that most people don't want. If you can fix something on your own, why bother wasting the money?
Not only does it save you money, but it also increases your knowledge of the equipment you use every day. So many people operate machines of all sorts that have no clue as to how they work.
Understanding how they work helps you do your job better. You may be confronted with the question, "Why is my printer in an error state?" When that happens, you'll know how to fix the problem quickly, and that saves you a whole lot of time.
Troubleshooting Tips for Printers in an Error State
Below are seven tips that you can use to try and solve printer errors. Not all of these apply to every situation.
Trying a different computer won't help you if you're dealing with a paper jam. Instead, work through the problem and trace it back to its source. Only then will you be able to figure out the correct way to get rid of the error.
1. Turn it off and on
If you're continually asking yourself why your printer is in an error state, then the first solution you need to try is probably the simplest thing you can do. And that's turning the printer off and then back on.
It's a running joke that this fixes a majority of your technical problems, but it's also partially true. There's an actual reason for this strategy.
Turning something off gives the computer or printer time to reset. A printer performs a lot of functions, and if something goes wrong time and time again, even a minor error, it builds up. Turning it off resets it and, usually, wipes the errors away, allowing it to run correctly. At least until the minor errors build up again.
2. Check your Wi-Fi connection
In the technology-driven world of today, a lot has sprung up and keeps us connected to one another like never before. Take, for example, Wi-Fi signals.
Gaining extensive use in the mid to late 2000s, these signals give you your area of connection to the Internet. These days, everything from your computer to your toaster oven picks up WiFi.
Oh? Do you think we're joking about the toaster oven? I assure you, we are not. Wi-Fi is everywhere.
While these connections are helpful, they also lead to some trouble.
Why is my printer in an error state? Well, the Wi-Fi connection may be lost. This happens on occasion due to things like power outages or just a lousy signal.
If the printer can't communicate with a network (Wi-Fi signal), it might not work correctly and provide you with those wonderful error messages.
In this instance, reset the Wi-Fi signal. Resetting will most likely solve your problem.
3. Fill the tray with paper
Printers are a pesky bunch. It seems that when you need them the most, they stop working for one reason or another. While there are several reasons your printer isn't spitting out what you want, a simple check for an error is to see if there's any paper in the printer.
Can it be that simple? For some printers, the answer is a resounding yes.
Printers may act strangely if they can't do their most basic functions. Some give off shrill beeps while others pop up an error on your computer or printer screen.
Make sure to fill your printer with the minimum amount of paper it needs to work properly. Also, make sure to use the proper paper. If you're using the best printer for cardstock and you're putting the standard paper in there, that may be one of your issues.
So, why is my printer in an error state? It could be as easy as filling the tray to solve the problem.
4. Check for ink or toner
The next thing you need to do when trying to understand your printer error is to check and see if you need more ink or toner (depending on the type of printer you have).
The ink or toner cartridges are what supply you with the ability to see the words and pictures that you're printing out. In most situations, you'll get printer errors if these cartridges aren't seated properly or if they're running low.
If the ink or toner is below the minimum level for use, the printer will refuse to use it. Instead, it will alert you to check the cartridge. If you're lucky, it's just out of position, and you don't need to replace it just yet. If not, time to spend some money.
5. Check for paper jams
Ever ask yourself, "Why is my printer in an error state?" If the answer is yes more than once a week, then it's time to think about some of the possible problems that may be happening within your printer.
One of the more common situations that pops up involves the paper. While the paper is supposed to work perfectly fine, and it shouldn't be a problem, it tends to cause some of the worst issues you'll encounter.
Checking for paper jams is a great strategy to use when trying to fix your printer.
This type of error may deceive you because it might register as a different one. It might show up as something wrong with the ink or toner when it's really just stopped up with paper.
To solve this problem, unjam the paper and try printing again. You'll be amazed at how much better the printer works when even the slightest paper jam gets cleared up.
6. Check your software
The software that helps run the printer could be the culprit that you least expect. Sometimes, the software messes up. This is due to a variety of factors.
First, your computer may need to be cleaned up. If the computer that runs the software is laggy and generally not in good working condition, then the printer software might not work.
Clean your computer for malware and viruses regularly to keep it running at top speed. You'll also want to check to make sure the program itself is updated. If a printer program isn't updated after a certain period, the communication between the program and the printer might cease.
Also, check for updates on your computer. Doing so allows you to use the program with improved features that will almost certainly help with your printing errors.
Why is my printer in an error state? It might be as simple as checking for updates.
7. Try a different computer
If all else fails, another alternative is for you to try a different computer. It's not an ideal situation to be in, but taking this step ensures that you've tried everything you can think of.
Trying to print from another computer shows you whether it's a fault in the software program, the printer itself, or something else entirely.
Hooking up a printer to another computer is as easy as pressing a couple of buttons on the printer or switching a single wire.
The only thing you need to make sure of is that the printer connects to the new computer and that everything else is synced up. Other than that, your printer error will most likely go away when switching computers.
Don't Be Afraid to Troubleshoot
Troubleshooting doesn't have to be a scary thing. It should empower you to take matters into your own hands and tackle problems personally.
Specifically, troubleshooting printer errors will only make you smarter.
So, don't be afraid to ask yourself, "why is my printer in an error state?" You'll have the tools necessary to figure out why.
Do you encounter a lot of printer errors? How do you handle them? Let us know in the comments below.