Hewlett Packard (commonly referred to as HP) is a Palo Alto, California-based firm, highly regarded for its printers and other tech products. Though its founding dates back to 1941, its reputation for releasing only top-tier products coincided with the mid-1980s PC revolution, and it has steadily produced a line of quality printers ever since. While its printers have received kudos from end users as well as industry experts, they are not immune to the same issues that can dog virtually every other type of printer, but solving those takes a little common sense, patience and testing.
HP manufactures a wide range of printers, from inexpensive ink jet models for home users through laser printers and large-format units found in digital studios. Although new models are constantly introduced, many legacy HP laser printers are considered workhorses, so it’s not unusual to see them still on the job. No matter what kind of HP printer you use (laser, ink jet, networkable), realize that they all are susceptible to a large number of problems.
Most printer problems fall under the “unable to print” category, meaning that when you issue the print command at your computer, the printer fails to print your document. The three most common types of problems are: a computer that is not able to see the printer, a jammed print queue or a physical problem with the printer itself.
Start with the Obvious
The best way to troubleshoot HP printers (as well as other brands) is to start with the easiest and most obvious problems and work your way up to more difficult ones. Confirm all cables are properly seated, that the printer is powered on, that your computer is on the correct network and that the printer is visible. Turn the printer off and on to see if that solves things.
Dig a Bit Deeper
Check to see if it’s only one particular computer that can’t print by connecting a second computer to the printer. If the second computer prints successfully, then check the first computer’s print settings, and reinstall the print drivers if necessary. Download the latest drivers, rather than installing potentially outdated drivers from the media that came with the printer.
Check the Printer Itself
Confirm that the printer is powered on, that there isn’t a paper jam or other problem preventing it from printing, and that it doesn’t display an error. Some users tend to “blame the printer” rather than attempting to isolate the problem, but don’t let yourself fall into that trap.
Common sense is the best tool to solve printer issues. Always keep an open mind when finding the root of the problem, and consider that is could possibly be any one of the above-listed issues (or a combination of multiple issues). Even something as simple as attempting to print on the incorrect media type, selecting “Manual Feed” or a printer that needs a good cleaning inside can prevent you from printing successfully.
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