Why Does My Computer Say The Printer Is Offline

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Most of the time, Windows automatically sees any printer on the same network as your computer. But what if your computer doesn’t see the printer or simply refuses to connect? Adding a printer to a local network is simple in theory, but the reality is that when the process goes wrong, it can be difficult to undo.

Why Does My Computer Say The Printer Is Offline

Why Does My Computer Say The Printer Is Offline

The add printer or scanner wizard or printer troubleshooting should solve the problem in most cases. However, if that doesn’t work, these easy troubleshooting steps can save the day.

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The printer can be networked via either Ethernet or a Wi-Fi local area network (LAN), or you can connect it directly via USB to a computer on the network. Any type of connection can be shared with other network users by enabling print sharing on the server or computer to which the USB printer is connected.

The Windows Add Printer or Scanner Wizard is available under Printers and Scanners in the Settings Control Panel. (In Windows 7, it’s the Add Printer Wizard, available from the Devices and Printers Control Panel.) The details vary by version of Windows, but the process is pretty much the same.

However, unlike previous versions, Windows 10 doesn’t usually require you to run a wizard. Conversely, when you connect the Ethernet cable to the printer or connect the printer to your wireless network, in most cases the printer will automatically appear in the list of installed devices.

When you install a printer on your LAN, it usually automatically appears in the list of installed printers and scanners.

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(On Windows 7 and earlier, when you click the “Add a printer” link, Windows will automatically search for printers on the network. The printer names will appear and you can select one. Add it and, luckily, you’re good to go. it will print .)

If your device is not listed here, click Add a printer or scanner. Windows starts searching your network for connected printers and lists its results as shown below. Just click on the printer you want to connect to, then click Add Device.

Windows will move the printer to the list of installed printers and scanners. From here, when you click on the printer name in the list, you can manage the machine as you wish.

Why Does My Computer Say The Printer Is Offline

Of course, the printer doesn’t always install as it should. It may not appear at all in the list of available printers, or you may receive a message that Windows cannot connect to it. The first steps will be to make sure of the basics.

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This means the printer is turned on and connected to the same network as the computer you want to add. You should also check that print sharing is enabled on the computer it is connected to. For a home network, this will be the computer where you installed the printer software.

From here you have two options. Click “The printer I want is not listed” directly below the list of printers found in the connected device search or run the troubleshooter.

You should know one thing. Just because you don’t see a printer doesn’t mean it isn’t there. Some IT departments hide all printer names by default. While IT probably has good reasons for doing this, hidden printers can be a hindrance when someone has a legitimate need to connect to a specific one. There are other issues that can prevent you from seeing an available printer.

In the Find Printer dialog box with more options, you’ll see five ways to find and connect to your printer. (Note that this dialog box has only three options in earlier versions of Windows.)

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My printer is a bit older. Help me find it. When you make this choice, Windows performs another search. If it finds your printer, it will display a second dialog box. Select your printer and Windows will install the drivers. If your printer is not listed, try one of the other options in this dialog (which will likely require another “Add printer or scanner” search in the Printers and Scanners Control Panel).

Select the printer by name. to use this option, you must know the name of the computer the printer is connected to and the network name of the printer itself. If you’re doing this for a network-connected printer in the office and you don’t know the name of the printer, you’ll need to ask another employee who uses it or get it from your IT department. Notice the naming patterns just below this option in the image above.

Add a printer using TCP/IP address or hostname. Selecting this option will open the Print Hostname or Printer IP Address dialog box. Here, again, you need to get the hostname or IP address. Enter the address or hostname and click Next.

Why Does My Computer Say The Printer Is Offline

On a home network, you can get a printer’s IP address from its control panel by printing a status report or from the printer’s built-in web portal.

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Windows will prompt for the printer and then display a list of compatible devices, allowing you to select your printer by manufacturer and type. Once you’ve made your selections, click Next and it should connect your computer to the printer. If not, go to the Recommended Troubleshooting section below.

Add a Bluetooth, wireless, or network discoverable printer. with this option you can add peer-to-peer network devices that are not actually on your LAN. (Windows performs a cursory search for all available protocols on your computer.)

Add a local printer or network with manual settings. Enabling this option launches a wizard that walks you through a series of steps to manually create a printer port and install the printer, which requires technical expertise beyond the scope of this initial wizard.

At any point in the process, or if any of these methods fail, you can run the Windows troubleshooter to try to connect to the printer.

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To run the troubleshooter, the printer you’re having trouble connecting to or printing to must be listed in the list of available devices in the Printers and Scanners control panel. To launch it, click the list printer, and then click Manage.

This opens your Device Manager panel for this printer. In the list of options at the bottom of the panel, click Run Troubleshoot.

If Windows detects a problem, it displays another dialog box that tells you about the problem and, depending on the problem, gives you the option to “Apply this fix” or “Skip this fix.”

Why Does My Computer Say The Printer Is Offline

If the troubleshooter finds a problem, it gives you the option to fix it or continue troubleshooting.

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If you choose the former, Windows will try to resolve the problem and connect to the printer. If you choose the latter, the troubleshooter will continue to run looking for additional problems.

What happens next depends on a number of factors, including (but not limited to) which option you choose and what problems are found. In the example above, Windows suggests that setting the device’s default printer will solve the problem.

If you click Apply Repair, Windows sets the printer as the default and asks if that fixed the problem. If you click Skip this fix, the troubleshooter starts looking for other problems and, if it finds any, displays another dialog asking you to apply the fix or continue looking for problems.

Again, depending on the option you choose and the issues the troubleshooter finds, your problem may be resolved immediately or it may take a few tries. In the rare event that these troubleshooting steps do not resolve the issue, contact IT or call your printer manufacturer’s customer service department.

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However, in most cases, the techniques discussed here will eventually require connecting your computer to the printer. Now if you know the printer is on but you

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Why Does My Computer Say The Printer Is Offline

I focus on printer and scanner technology and reviews. I was writing about computer technology long before the Internet. I have written or co-authored 20 books, including popular titles

How To Add A Printer In Windows 10

Range of digital design software applications and desktop editions. My published expertise in these areas includes Adobe Acrobat, Adobe Photoshop, and QuarkXPress, as well as prepress imaging technology. (In my long career, however, I have covered many aspects of IT.)

In addition to writing hundreds of articles, I’ve also written for many other computer and business publications over the years, including Computer Shopper, Digital Trends, MacUser, PC World, The Wirecutter, and Windows Magazine. I also worked as a printer and scanner specialist at About.com (now Lifewire). A printer is a great piece of equipment when it works, but

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