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Printers can present a bewildering range of problems. Fortunately, many of them can be resolved by consumers armed with a bit of knowledge. Here are solutions to some of the most common issues.
Printers can present a maddening range of problems to consumers. They run through ink too fast, their output quality may be flawed, they may print at a snail's pace, and paper may regularly jam. Sometimes, they'll just refuse to print at all, and just sit there while you fume. Fortunately, many of these situations are resolvable. Here we describe common printer problems, and give tips on solving them—or at the very least, let you know when to throw in the towel and call tech support.
- 1. My printer won't print.
If there are no error messages pointing you to the problem, check to be sure that the printer is still connected, via USB or Ethernet cable or—if a wireless model—that the Wi-Fi is enabled and that you're connected to the right network. The printer driver and software needs to be installed on the computer you want to print from. It's possible that the driver has become corrupted; it should be reinstalled; check the manufacturer's download page for the latest version. If it still doesn't work, check out the troubleshooting section in the printer's User Manual, and if need be, contact IctTel Uganda tech support.
- My printer claims it's running out of ink, but I still can print. What next?
You needn't rush to replace cartridges if you get a low-ink warning. Nearly all recent printers have some sort of ink tank level indicator, and will issue warnings when your ink is low. The accuracy of these warnings varies widely among manufacturers and models. Sometimes you'll get low-ink warnings well before the ink level is critically low.
The only way to determine if this is the case is by continuing to print beyond the warning and seeing how long it takes until output quality starts to degrade or the printer shuts down, forcing you to replace one or more cartridges. Then you'll know if the warnings are legit or premature, and have a better idea of how long to wait until you really need to replace that ink. If you're starting a large and important print job, though, you may want to err on the side of caution and change the relevant ink tank(s) anyway.
- I can't print from my mobile device to my printer.
Even if your printer is old or a non-Wi-Fi model, you probably can print from a phone or tablet to it. Exactly what you'll be able to print depends on your particular situation.
Most new Wi-Fi printers support AirPrint, which lets users of iOS devices print to them (provided that both the iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch and printer are on the same Wi-Fi network). Nearly all major printer makers have released apps so that iPhone, iPad, Android, and in some cases Windows Phone and BlackBerry users can print from their devices to that manufacturer's recent models, and some third-party apps let you print to a wider range of printers. Many manufacturers' and third-party apps offer a wider choice of print options than AirPrint, and many can initiate scans as well.
You can print to a non- Wi-Fi printer, as long as your network has a wireless access point, by using one of the programs that requires you to install a utility on a networked computer. Printopia requires a Mac, while Presto! (formerly Fingerprint 2) works either with Macs or Windows machines. Cloud printing services such as Cortado ThinPrint Cloud Printer and Google Cloud Printer work across platforms and device types and with non-WiFi printers as well. These solutions tend to be limited to printing from a select set of apps.
Some new wireless printers support printing via Wi-Fi Direct, a protocol that lets two compatible devices make a direct wireless connection without needing a wireless access point. Although many recent Android devices support Wi-Fi Direct, iPhones do not.
Some HP and Kodak printers support printing via email. In either case, your printer gets assigned an email address, and you can email attached documents to it, and the printer will automatically print them out. Unlike the other methods here, this doesn't require a WiFi link, only an Internet connection.
- Wi-Fi printing takes too long.
Placing your printer very close to your router should increase throughput and reduce printing time, but there are other ways to improve Wi-Fi performance while retaining the flexibility of printer placement that wireless printing promises. Be sure your router is adequate—it should support 802.11n and offer the 5GHz band as well as 2.4 GHz—and that its firmware is up to date. You could add a wireless extender or a repeater to increase performance if need be.