Coly Computer Help

Printer Problems

Streaky print. This means that the print heads need cleaning. Use the printer utility. The utility may be found by double clicking or right clicking the printer icon in the Notification area (bottom right hand corner of the screen). If this does not work, try clicking Start-->All Programs--> select your printer manufacturer , select the Printer utility. In the utility's maintenance window, select Clean print heads.

The utility may also be accessed from your word processor. With a document on the screen, click File --> Print and on the next window click the Properties button. Click the Maintenance tab and try cleaning the print heads and nozzles. 

Some words print in italics unintentionally. Sometimes this is accompanied by a grinding sound. The cartridges and print head run along rails. The problem will be due rails which have dried out, or they are dirty. With the printer switched off, lift the lid so that you can see the rails. They may be pressed steel rails or one rail might be a shiny round bar. DO NOT move the cartridges along by hand. Clean as much of the rails as you can see with tissue or cloth. Then put a drop of thin oil (3 in1 is good) on your finger tip and smear oil along the rails. Be careful,  some pressed steel rails can be sharp. Remove any surplus oil with a dry finger. Never use WD40 for this, WD40 is deliberately sticky so that it will protect surfaces from moisture. 'Sticky' is the opposite to what is needed here. I clean and oil my printer rails once a year as a precaution.

Driver problems: If the printer is behaving strangely on some operations but it works well on others, it may be a driver fault. Sometimes a Windows update conflicts with the installed printer driver. Access the printer manufacturer's website to see if it has a download (patch) which will fix the problem. Also access the Microsoft support site and see if it has a suitable patch. It may take the websites a little time to sort out the problem, so try looking again for a patch a week later.

Emails print in huge font: The header of the printed email is normal size but the body of the emails is not. To cure this, close Outlook Express and open up Internet Explorer. Click View-->Text Size and choose Medium. Close down Internet Explorer and try printing that email again.

Rollers fail to grip the paper. The rollers have become shiny. They can be improved by applying a special solution or by scraping them very gently to remove the shine. Scraping obviously removes some material from the rollers, but as I only do this once a year the rollers should last the life of the printer. The special solution (and lots of sound advice) can be obtained from the following website:-

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A multi fundtion printerPrinter won't print (part 1):
If you are impatient and press the 'Print' button more than once, the printer can jam. To clear the jam, click Start-->Control Panel. Double click the Printers and Faxes icon. In the next window double click the icon for the jammed printer. Click the word Printer. Click Cancel all documents and WAIT until all the listed documents have disappeared from the window. Then switch off the printer for 10 seconds and turn it on again, it should now function normally.

Printer won't print (part 2): Be sure to check these obvious things first as follows:-
(i) Check that power is getting to the printer. Usually, a light on the printer should be showing
(ii) With the printer and computer closed down, pull out and re-insert firmly all the connections between the computer, the printer and the mains.
(iii) Make sure you have put the paper in properly.
(iv) The ink and/or paper light should not be showing (neither steady nor flashing).
(v) If an ink light is showing a new cartridge is required. Try a new cartridge.
(vi) If the printer refuses to work despite fitting new cartridges, try cleaning the print heads using the printer utility program which will have been installed when you loaded the printer software.
(vii) If despite fitting new cartridges, when you try to print, a warning pops up saying you are out of ink, you probably have an Epson printer.
I have seen reports that Epson printers have a counter which, after so many pages, decides to disable the printer. I have been called out to investigate 5 Epson printers that showed these symptoms in the last 6 months, I was unable to made them work. Some websites offer re-setters for the Epson counter, but I had no success with the one that I tried. The website:- indicates that some people have successfully applied the re-setter to their Epson printer.
(viii) If the printer has not been used for a long time the jets are probably blocked with dried ink. Kits are available from the above website, but beware, unblocking jets is very fiddly and you could accidentally damage a print head.
(ix) Try the troubleshooting section of the manufacturers website. The HP website can even run a remote test on your computer and printer to determine the cause of the problem.

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