Common Printer Issues

This page addresses the most common printer issues that IT Support encounters.  This list by no means includes every problem you may experience, but it is a good starting point for troubleshooting printer issues in the labs, classrooms, or with a user’s University-assigned devices.


Printer isn’t printing

  • Is the user selecting the correct printer from the print dialogue?
  • Is the printer turned on?
  • Are there any error messages on its display?
  • Are toner cartridges installed (properly)?  Are they empty and in need of replacement?
  • USB printers: are both ends of the USB cable plugged in?
  • Network printers: is the ethernet cable plugged into both the printer and a data jack on the wall?
  • In Windows, open “Devices and Printers;” does the printer show up as being installed?
  • If installed, does it appear to be active, or is it grayed out and marked “Offline?”


Streaks/dots/marks appear on printed pages

Streaks, dots, or marks appearing on the printed page is usually a sign of a bad toner cartridge.  This more commonly happens when a cartridge is nearing its end of life, but it may also happen to a brand new cartridge, even if it’s a brand-name cartridge.  Replacing the cartridge usually solves the issue; whatever color the marks are, is the color of the cartridge that should be replaced.

If all the cartridge colors are affected at once, or if the cartridge is known to be good, then the printer’s fuser or imaging drum may be failing.  Both components will wear out over time, but fortunately both can be replaced on most printers.  Enter a ticket with the printer model so the IT staff can find out


Print jobs are not appearing at the printer

In the print dialogue window of whichever program the user is attempting to print from, check the printer selection box to ensure that the desired printer is, in fact, selected.  If there are no error messages, the wrong printer is probably selected.

Windows 10 also has a setting to “Let Windows manage my default printer,” which is usually turned off by IT during PC setup.  If this option is turned on, Windows may choose any other printer it can see and install as the default, and may send a user’s print jobs there (it may be in another office, or even building, on campus).

D115 Computer Lab – there are 5 lab printers to choose from:

  • WS-WSDSN-115-Q1, WS-WSDSN-115-Q2, WS-WSDSN-115-Q3: black & white laser printers, and should be used for most print jobs
  • WS-DSN-115-Q3-ColorX3: color laser printer, available for student use but at an increased page cost
  • wsd-115-plotter: large format printer is the corner, and should ONLY be used for printing posters or oversized jobs, and NEVER for document-sized printing


Student/faculty cannot print

Students and faculty have a per-semester sheet limit of 400 (that means 400 sheets of physical paper; each sheet has two sides, so using double-sided printing can greatly extend that limit).  Once this limit is reached, they will be unable to print additional pages, and any print job that would exhaust the remaining pages without completing will not print at all.

Users can check their page quota status when logged into a lab PC by right clicking the paw print icon in the toolbar (by the clock), and choosing OPTION.  Their usage and remaining pages will be displayed.  Users also have the option of purchasing additional pages through this application, if they choose.

Note: for students, thinks like club posters are better handled through the SGA.  For faculty, teaching packets and student materials should be printed/copied through Word Processing in Dawson 102.


Can’t print from a website

Some websites simply don’t like to print.  You can sometimes work around this by going to the browser’s options panel, and choosing the “Print” option there.  However, there are instances where you still will not get a clean print.  You can try another browser to see if it handles the page better, or you can copy/paste the content from the website to a program like Word or PowerPoint, and print it from there.

If all else fails, you can use the Windows Snipping Tool to capture full or partial screen shots and save them as image files, which can then be imported into a document, or printed outright.