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How to fix printer offline on Windows 10

Printers are some of the most problematic hardware you’ll find. We may be living in a world where 3D printing is possible, but it doesn’t mean printing on paper at home has improved all that much. Printers are pretty much still from hell and ink and toner cost an arm and a leg. If you’re trying to print something, and keep seeing the printer offline, here are a few things you can try.

Run basic troubleshooting steps before you proceed.

Check hardware

There are a few things you need to check before you can troubleshoot an offline printer from Windows 10. The first is the cable that you’re using to connect your printer to your PC. Make sure that it is not damaged. Printer cables aren’t exactly proprietary but, a damaged or frayed cable isn’t something that will work.

Change the port you’re connecting the printer to. Not all ports may be able to connect with the printer e.g., if the printer is a USB 2.0 printer and the port you’ve connected it to is USB 3.0, you might run into problems.

Make sure that there is paper in the paper tray. Also make sure the printer is in its correct ‘printing’ position i.e., nothing is open, or removed. All lids that are supposed to be closed should be closed.

Finally, make sure that you’re able to print a test page on the printer. You do not need the printer to be connected to a PC in order for it to print the test page. Normally, pressing the power button on the printer will do the job. In some cases, there might be a dedicated button for printing a test page, or a different method might be used. Consult your printer’s manual.

If all of the above checks out, proceed with the fix below.

Uninstall/Reinstall the printer

On Windows 10, printers normally install automatically i.e., Windows takes care of the drivers that are needed and sets everything up. There are still rare cases where this may not work or there might have been problems with the set up. To fix them, uninstall the printer. It’s pretty easy to do; look for the printer in the Settings app under Devices>Printers & scanner, select it, and click the uninstall button. Disconnect the printer and for good measure, restart your system.

Connect the printer again, and then allow Windows 10 to install drivers for it.

If your printer came with installation media, try using that if the generic drivers that Windows 10 installs don’t work after the reinstallation.

Check offline printing status

Open the Settings app and go to the Devices group of settings. Select the Printers & scanners tab, and select your printer. Click the ‘Open Queue’ button. In the print queue window, click the File item on the menu bar and make sure ‘Use printer offline’ is not enabled. If it is, disable it, and disconnect and reconnect the printer again.

Restart printing services

Use the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box and enter the following.


Tap enter to open the Services manager. Look for a service called Print Spooler. Right-click it and select Restart from the context menu. Disconnect and reconnect the printer again.

Check printer port

This solution may not work for all types of printers but it is definitely worth trying. Open Control Panel and go to Hardware and Sound>Devices and Printers. Right-click the printer and select ‘Printer properties’ from the context menu.

In the Printer properties window, go to the Ports tab. Make sure that the box next to your printer is checked. If it isn’t, check it and see if the printer appears online.

If it doesn’t, return to the Printer properties window, and on the Ports tab, click Configure Port. You may, or may not, be able to configure the port. It depends on your printer model but if you see options to configure it, disable the SNMP Status Enabled option.

Close and open app

Close the app that you’re sending the print job from. Disconnect the printer, and connect it again. Allow a few minutes to pass and then open the file again. Try printing. It’s worth going to the app’s print dialog to make sure it can see/select the printer.

You should also try printing from a different app. It is possible that the app you’re using has problems of its own and it is unable to connect to the printer.

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