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    Volume 1 Number 1 -- Basic Printer Troubleshooting

January 2011  

    In This Issue:

    Documents Won't Print

Hi Folks,

The goal of the DialANerd Newsletter is to provide information enabling you to solve simple irksome Windows problems. This month we walk through solving a simple printer problem. This is a common that easily happens with all versions of Windows.

We hope that this is helpful.

Pete and Josh

"Your Friends on a Technically Challenged Planet "

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What To Do When Windows Won't Print:

These instructions are for Windows XP. While each version of Windows is different in some of the details, they are all similar.
To solve the problem a methodological approach is used to verify printing from the very basic test page to the document you wish to print from the program you are using.

First step go to START -- SETTINGS -- PRINTERS AND FAXES. Verify that your printer is listed and set as the default printer.
Select your printer and CLICK THE RIGHT MOUSE BUTTON (RIGHT CLICK), then select PROPERTIES from the drop down menu (it is at the bottom).
When the properties panel appears it should be on the general tab with a print test page button on the lower right. Click on the print test page button. Your printer should now print a test page.
This procedure verifies that you have selected the correct printer, it is functioning with your computer and online, and it prints from Windows. Verify that this is set as the DEFAULT PRINTER. Now that we know this works we can proceed to the next step.

If this does not work, check the printer's power (are lights on), make sure it is plugged into the PC, check to see that there is only one copy of the printer installed. If there is more than one copy, delete them all, power off the computer, and restart. The computer should automatically install the active printer. Then repeat this step.

Second step open your Microsoft Word program. Open the document and print one page from the document on your default printer. If the document prints, we have completed the second step.
This demonstrates that your Windows application programs print to your default printer.

Last step is to open any web site like What makes this different is that it is a website printing through the web browser. There are several ways that web browsers print files. Since I cannot determine how the files are being printed, we will try two approaches.

On the web page go to the file menu item in the upper left corner of the web browser. Click on file to reveal a drop-down menu and then select PRINT. A print panel should appear. Near the top of the print panel the name of the printer should be identified. If his name is not the name of your default printer, the printer that we just used to print the test page, then select it using the downward pointing triangle on the right of the printer name entry area. After it is selected, then click okay at the bottom of the panel and the web page should print out on your printer.

The second way to print from a web page is to have the web page prepare printer ready copy. There is usually a button to select this on the web page. Often times web pages will produce a PDF file. Such PDF files can be opened and printed using Adobe Acrobat. Once the file is in Adobe Acrobat, the printing procedure is similar to the procedure described in the paragraph above. All programs have a file menu item in the upper left corner which has a drop-down menu that includes print. It is a simple matter to select your default printer when printing to a sure that the documents is printed as you desire.

Wrap-up Step -- It is easy for Windows to have multiple printers installed. Some are imaginary printers that do not work. So you might delete all but the printer which appears to be your only real live printer.

Printer Resources
Microsoft Printer Troubleshooting
eHow HP Printer Troubleshooting
Computer Hope General Printer Troubleshooting

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