It’s 4:30 p.m. and you just received a “printer is offline” message after attempting to print an important report for a client. Nothing is printing, and you have no idea why. There are many reasons why a printer can go offline; they range from connectivity issues to a powered-down printer. Most of the time, you can bring the printer back online with a few clicks in Windows, but if not, there are additional troubleshooting steps you can take.
Verify that the printer is plugged in to your computer (for local printers) or that it has network connectivity. If the printer is a networked unit, double-check the link light on the back of the printer to make sure it’s flashing green.
Log on to your computer using an account that has “Manage Printers” rights to the printer. In most cases, a local administrator account is sufficient.
Click the “Start” button and then click “Devices and Printers.”
Right-click the printer and select “See What’s Printing” to display the print spooler window.
Click “Printer” and select “Use Printer Offline” to remove the check mark. The printer should come online at this time. If this option is grayed out or if the printer does not come online, continue following the steps below.
Close the print spooler window and return to Devices and Printers.
Open a Web browser and download the latest driver for your printer from the manufacturer’s website.
Follow the instructions that come with the driver to install it. If you still cannot bring the printer online, continue with the steps below.
Click the “Start” button and then click “Control Panel.”
Type “troubleshooter” (without quotation marks) in the Search box at the upper-right corner of the window. Click the “Troubleshooting” link when it appears in the main window.
Click “Use a Printer” under Hardware and Sound.
Follow the on-screen instructions. The troubleshooter will attempt to identify and fix the issue. If it cannot, it will provide you with further guidance on addressing the problem.