Home Tips & Tricks Determining Printer Hardware or Software Issue

Determining Printer Hardware or Software Issue


When a printer is unable to print it’s a good possibility that either the printer is experiencing a hardware or software related issue. Before testing the software it is always recommended that the printer be tested for hardware issues first.

Testing Hardware

  • Check that paper is loaded and that there are no paper jams.
  • Check the cable connections; both power and data cables going from printer and to your computer.
  • Ensure that the printer power indication light is on.
  • Verify that the printer has no flashing lights or Red or Orange lights. It is common for printers to have red, orange, or any other flashing lights when the printer is malfunctioning.
  • Run a self test on the printer. Running a self test should print a basic page of information indicating that the printer itself is working. Your users manual should have the instructions for printing a self test. If your printer does not print a self test it’s a good possibility that there is a defect or misconfiguration with your printer, and you should contact the printer manufacturer.

Testing Software

Windows users

  • If possible, make sure your printer can print using the above hardware tests.
  • Install the printer software provided with your printer. If no software was provided with your printer, see the printer drivers page for a listing of printer drivers. Drivers are required for your printer to properly work with the operating system.