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Pinter Offline [FIX] – Why Is My Printer Offline in Windows 10?

An offline printer is a printer that has been installed on your system but that is currently ‘off’ as far as the OS is concerned. This may point to a problem with how a printer was installed, the printer itself, or the app you’re using to print from.

printer showing offline on Windows 10

Basic Checks for an Offline Printer

Before we dive into fixes for an offline printer, you should run through the following basic checks.

  • Print a test page on your printer. You can do this directly from a printer by pressing or holding down a button. Consult your printer’s manual to see how you can print a test page.
  • Make sure all slots on the printer are closed and it is in its ‘ready’ state. 
  • Make sure no light on the printer is blinking and the printer isn’t displaying an error message on any display panel that it has (not all printers have a display panel).
  • Make sure the printer is loaded with paper and there is no paper jam. The smallest bit of paper can cause the printer to not work.
  • Make sure the printer is connected securely to the computer. Change the data cable out for a new one and check if the printer comes online.
  • If you’re using an older printer, connect it to the USB hub port and not a USB 3.0 port. Check out how you can use a legacy printer on a new system.

Printer Offline (FIX)

If all the above check out and your printer still appears offline, try the following fixes.

1. Run printer troubleshooter

Windows 10 has a built-in troubleshooter for printers. Run it and it will be able to resolve problems with the printer.

  1. Open the Settings app (Win+I keyboard shortcut).
  2. Go to Update & Security.
  3. Select the Troubleshoot tab.
  4. Click Additional troubleshooters.
  5. Run the Printer troubleshooter and apply all fixes that it recommends.

2. Uninstall and reinstall printer

Often the easiest way to fix an offline printer is to uninstall and reinstall it. You should do this if you suspect something might have gone wrong during installation if you’ve recently changed the cartridge on the printer, or if you’ve changed the cable connecting the printer to the system. 

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and Sound>Devices and printers.
  3. Right-click the offline printer and select Remove Device.
  4. Once removed, disconnect the printer from your computer.
  5. Turn the printer off and disconnect it from the power source.
  6. Wait 5-10 minutes.
  7. Plug the printer in and allow it to warm up.
  8. Connect the printer to your computer.
  9. Windows 10 will install drivers for it.
  10. Print a test page.

3. Disable VPN (for network printers)

If you’re using a network printer i.e., a printer that isn’t physically connected to your system but is instead accessed over the network you’re connected to, you won’t be able to see it if you’re using a VPN. Disconnect the VPN and check if you’re able to print.

4. Enable Print offline option

Printers can remember print jobs for a short amount of time but a print job does not include the entire document or file that needs to be printed. A printer has no place to store this information which is why it needs to remain connected to a computer so that it can access the file it has to print.

In order to print, the printer must be in offline mode. 

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and sound>Devices and printers.
  3. Right-click the printer and select See what’s printing.
  4. On the printer queue window, go to Printer on the menu bar and enable Use Printer offline.
  5. Try printing. 

5. Empty print queue

If one too many print jobs have been sent to the printer, and these jobs did not complete for whatever reason, they may be blocking additional print jobs from completing. They may have also sent the printer into a stale/standby state and must be removed.

  1. Open Control Panel.
  2. Go to Hardware and sound>Device and printers.
  3. Right-click the printer and select See what’s printing.
  4. Select all items.
  5. Go to Document>Cancel.
  6. Disconnect the printer and unplug it.
  7. Wait 5 minutes.
  8. Connect the printer again and try printing.

6. Restart spooler service

The print spooler service is basically where is used to store print jobs until they are printed. Clearing the print queue may not be enough if the spooler service has become unresponsive. Restarting it will not only clear the queue but it will also re-establish a connection with the printer.

  1. Tap the Win+R keyboard shortcut to open the run box.
  2. In the run box, enter services.msc and tap the Enter key.
  3. Look for the print spooler service.
  4. Right-click it and select Restart.
  5. Try printing again.

Why is my printer offline in Windows 10 – CONCLUSION

Printers have come a long way i.e. we now have 3D printers but for simple desktop printing, the technology hasn’t changed all that much.

You have better quality printers but the underlying hardware that connects a printer to a desktop can still run into all sorts of problems with little clue as to what is causing them. They remain some of the most difficult hardware to manage.

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