Printer Asylum


A few days ago someone asked me to help out with a printer problem. It was doing the strangest things, as if it had a mind of it’s own. In stead of printing what was showing on the screen it was printing hearts, smileys, diamonds and other weird and strange symbols. After I explained this person that my joke about “it must be aliens” was actually a joke, I could finally start to debug the printer.

This is, improbable as it may seem, a problem that occurs regularly. And honestly it’s a drag to debug this, since it is rather unclear (to me at least) why this occurs. So I always take the following actions to resolve the issue.

Did you try turning it off and on again?

It can happen that, whatever is in the printer’s memory, is corrupt for some reason. And the easiest way to clear it is to unplug the printer’s power cord, take all the paper out of the tray and leave it for 10 – 15 minutes. When this is done, plug it back in, reload the paper and try again. You can be pretty sure that the printer’s memory is flushed now.

Known Issue?

It could be that the manufacturer of the printer knows about this problem. This is always good news because then they most likely created a fix for it. All you need to do if surf to their website and go to the support section of the website. Worst case scenario is that you’ll have to send them an inquiry for help.

Delete it and try again!

What you can also try is to uninstall the printer driver and reinstall it.
A better way to do this is to visit the website of the manufacturer and look up the latest driver for your printer. Install this driver and chances are that the problem is resolved.

That sounded different in my head…

Another very common problem when you are experiencing a problem like this is that the printer is having communication problems. It fails to get the correct data from the computer and because of that it starts to print gibberish. The solution to this problem is very simple. Get another cable to connect your printer to the computer.

Now you know what to do when your printer starts acting up ;-)

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