Some things are very frustrating when you want to print any document, and the wireless printer is in an error state, or delivers you the silent treatment. Perhaps you have tried to connect the WiFi printer to the network in your home, but the problems still persist, leaving the printer stubbornly off the grid.
Basically, a wireless connection allows you to transfer documents easily from the device to your printer, but it is not always that easy in reality.
Knowing how to troubleshoot the wireless printer problems can relieve some of that frustration. Here we are going to cover some fixes that will absolutely help you work through most of them below.
Troubleshoot Wireless Printer Problems
Check The Basics
It’s possible to overlook some of the basics so here is what to check for before moving to the further steps:
- Make sure that your printer is on or that it has power.
- Connect the printer to your computer or any other device
- Check your printer’s toner and paper, plus your printer queue. Sometimes a print job with an error can hold up the line, the travel time for the files from your device to your printer can take more time, or a larger document can take longer for downloading and processing.
- Check if any of the warning lights or error messages on the printer shows.
- Make sure it is connected to the WiFi.
- Try to use a USB cable to connect and see if it works once again.
- Move the printer to where it gets the suitable WiFi signal without any interference. Ideally, it should not be too far from your router.
- Confirm that the device is also on the right network especially where there is a WiFi range extender as this makes some separate networks, making it harder to connect.
- If you recently updated the browser you are using, security software, operating system or firewalls, it could cause issues connecting to the printer. In that case, reconnect the device to the network, reconfigure security settings to include the printers, and/or install updated drivers.
You can also perform a System Restore to go back to your default version or settings and try to connect to your printer once again.
Set Your Printer As The Default Printer
It is possible that you are trying to connect to a WiFi printer that has set itself as the default printer. Sometimes a printer can install the software that has a “virtual” printer so that when you press the Print command, the virtual printer saves the file instead of the actual document you are sending to the physical printer.
- Click on the Start > Control Panel > Hardware and Sound.
- After that click on the Devices and Printers.
- Now Right-click on your printer and select the Set as default printer. Click the Yes (or OK) option to confirm the action.
Restart All Your Devices
A restart always helps in fixing any software glitches that could cause the wireless printer and your connected devices not to work properly together. Your wireless printer, router, computer/other device, wireless access point and modem all rely on the home or office network in order to connect to the internet network.
However it is all set, if the one device acts up, it can affect all the others devices. A restart may get the network humming again, after that you can try the printer to see if it is working.
Run The Printing Troubleshooter
- For doing this, open the Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers.
- Right click on the printer icon and then click on the Troubleshoot. The printing troubleshooter to identify and fix the problems connecting to the printer.
- Alternatively, visit the search box on the taskbar and enter Printing problem in, and then select the Run Troubleshooter to download the printing troubleshooter. Click on the Open and follow the on-screen instructions.
Check Router Settings
If you replaced the router recently, you may require reconfiguring your computer and the printer to reconnect with the network.
The new router can have a specific ISP address that requires reconfiguration, and adjustment of the router settings, some of which may be unsuitable for the wireless printer.
- To check the router settings, you have to open the browser and enter its IP address and press the Enter key. You can try to use the admin as the username, and password as the password, that are the commonly used default credentials for routers.
- Look for the Wireless or Security section and then adjust the settings to default for your printer to connect.
A few things you can check in the router settings include:
- MAC address filtering – disable it as it really does not make the network secure.
- Check if the router is in the 2.4GHz frequency band, which is the most wireless printers easily connect to compared to connecting to the 5GHz only mode.
- Use the WiFi channel that’s least used by the other local networks. For the printers that are not connecting, channels 1, 6, and 11 usually work best, instead of the default “Auto” channel selection setting.
- Disable the wireless isolation mode setting and after that try to connect with the printer once again.
- Enable the DHCP to permit your printer to acquire an IP address and communicate over the network, and attempt the reconnection.
- Check that your router, device or printer has a guest connection, as this isolates them from the other devices on your network, and prevents the wireless printer from connecting.
Update Router Firmware
When changing the router settings did not work anymore, try to update its firmware to address bugs or vulnerabilities and connectivity issues.
For example, moving to the Windows 10 from a different version could create an interruption to the connection, which a firmware update could solve.
Check for the router’s manual or consult the device manufacturer for any further instructions as the steps may vary with the different routers. Some may also need the special instructions to connect to wireless devices, especially those provided by the ISPs.
Disable the VPN Connections
When you are using a virtual private network to connect securely to a remote network then it could restrict you from printing through the WiFi printer. This happens for some security reasons, but you can disable the VPN connection and try to connect to your home network and resume printing functions.
Make The Printer IP Address Static
The IP addresses can fluctuate in a particular range, whether or not the device remains in the same spot. This may be confusing especially where many devices are attempting to connect wirelessly over a provided duration.
In that case, check for your router’s manual for instructions on how to set a static IP address for the printer so that it won’t change with time.
Check the Firewall Settings
Your device’s firewall is designed to block any kind of attacks from malware, but sometimes it could also block network settings for the printing. It could be overprotective for the device depending on how it is configured, and won’t let it see the printer over the local network.
Firewall settings are vary though, in that case you should check the user guide or vendor’s website for any support resources.
Ensure that you keep the software up-to-date, set the firewall settings to the medium or “Trusted Zone” where the device is connected to a network, and enable it to display all alert messages.
Check that you do not have multiple firewalls enabled at once as this causes many wireless printer connection issues or you can find your wireless printer is not printing.
Change Your SSID
Changing the name of your WiFi network (SSID) can solve the connectivity issues. If there are more than one routers with a similar SSID like Home, you can change one of them to make it recognizable by the printer and resolve all the connectivity errors due to drops in connection or wrong wireless connection.
After doing this you have to reconnect a computer system or compatible devices to the correct network that your printer is connected to.
Uninstall & Reinstall the Printer Driver & Software
This involves reinstalling or reconfiguring the printer’s special network drivers.
- Open the Control Panel > Programs.
- Click on the Programs and Features > Uninstall a program.
- Click on the printer’s name now and then click on Yes to confirm the action. Turn on your printer and go to the manufacturer’s site to get specific instructions to download and install the drivers for the model. When successfully installed, follow the steps to set up the printer connection and try printing once again.
You can also reinstall the printer drivers with the use of Windows Update, by clicking on the Start > Settings > Update & Security and then click Check for updates. When an updated driver is available, it will download and install and the printer will use it.
Alternatively, use the disc installation software that came with the printer as this will help you to install its drivers or check for the driver updates.
What If The Printer Driver Doesn’t Install?
- In that situation, click on the Start > Settings > Devices.
- Now click on the Printers and Scanners and then click Print server properties under Related settings.
- Go to the Drivers tab and check the printer. If it’s there, you are good to go. If not, click the Add button.
- Click on the Next in the Welcome to the Add Printer Driver wizard
- Click on the device’s architecture in the Process Selection box, and then click on the Next.
- Now under the Printer Driver Selection, click the manufacturer, select the printer driver, and then click on the Next > Finish. Follow the on-screen steps carefully to add your printer’s driver.
Note: If no latest drivers are available, contact the manufacturer and ask when they will be available. If the printer model is no longer supported then you can check with a printer in the same series for the updated drivers as there is a likelihood they will work for yours, with any loss of functionality though.
It’s a long shot, but there is not much to lose if it is not working already.
Uninstall & Reinstall The Printer
Try to remove the printer and reinstall it to look if the connection will work for it to print once again.
- To remove your printer, click on the Start > Settings > Devices. Click the Printers and Scanners and find the printer, click on it and select the Remove device.
- Reinstall the printer by clicking the Start > Settings > Devices > Printers and Scanners. Select Add a printer or scanner.
- Select your printer from the list of the available ones (including Bluetooth or printers connected to another computer and shared on the network) and then click on Add device.
Note: When you use an extender, wireless access points, or the multiple routers with the different SSIDs, ensure that you are connected to the same network so the device can search and install the printer. Print a test page to be sure it is working properly.
Clear & Reset Print Spooler
Print spooler manages the printing process. If you see that your wireless printer is not printing, the print spooler might have an issue. In that case, clear your spooler files and then restart the spooler service.
- In the search box, enter services and select Services from the search results.
- Click on the Standard tab and then double-click on the Print spooler.
- Click the Stop > OK.
- Enter %WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers in the search box once more, and then select the %WINDIR%\system32\spool\PRINTERS from the search results. Remove all the files in that folder.
5. Now enter services and then select Services. Click on the Standards tab, and double-click the Print Spooler from the list. Click the Start and in the Startup type box, select the Automatic and click on the OK button.
Reset Your Printer
This will be the last resort solution when all other solutions have failed because it clears all the printer settings, including your WiFi login details in order to reestablish your connection.
Check the printer manual for the directions on how to do a factory reset as the steps vary by the brand and the model. The information will also be available online if you do not have an owner’s manual.
We have covered here the most probable solutions to wireless printer issues, if yours still won’t connect after visiting each of these fixes, you can also consult with the manufacturer, return it to the store, or purchase a new printer and start over.