Service Desk

Fix printer problems in Windows 10

If you're unable to connect to your printer or print in Windows 10, follow these steps to try and fix the problem.

Notes
Hide all

Step 1: Make sure your printer is turned on and connected

Check the power. Make sure that the printer's electrical cord is plugged into an electrical outlet and that the power switch is turned on. If you're printing to a shared printer or a printer on a network, make sure that all necessary computers and routers are turned on. If your printer or other equipment is plugged in to a surge protector or a backup power supply, make sure that the surge protector or power supply is plugged in and turned on.

Check the cables (wired printers). Make sure that the printer's USB cable is properly connected from the printer to your PC.

Check the wireless connection (wireless printers). Do one of the following:

  • Make sure the printer’s wireless option is turned on and available. Many printers have a button that displays a blue wireless icon when a wireless connection option for the printer is available. To learn where this button is located on your printer and to find instructions about how to turn it on, see the instructions that came with the printer or check the manufacturer's website for instructions.
  • Run the printer’s wireless connectivity test. Many printers have a menu option to test the printer’s wireless connectivity. Read the instructions that came with the printer or check the printer manufacturer’s website for instructions about how to do this.
  • If those check out and you’re still having problems, your PC may not be connecting to your wireless network. To learn more, see Why can't I get online? For more advanced help, see Fix network connection issues in Windows 10.
Note

If you use wireless access points, extenders, or multiple wireless routers with separate SSIDs, make sure you're connected to the same network as the printer for your PC.

If your printer still doesn’t work, go to step 2.

Step 2: Run the printing troubleshooter

Download and run the printing troubleshooter.  It can fix problems with installing and connecting to a printer. (This link should open a browser page and download dialog. Select Open and follow the steps provided in the troubleshooter.)

If the link doesn't open the troubleshooter, select the search box on the taskbar, type Printing problem, select the search result labeled Help from Microsoft, and then select the troubleshooter to download it.

If your printer still doesn’t work, go to step 3.

Step 3: Update your printer's drivers

Most printers require driver software to work properly. If you recently upgraded from one version of Windows to another, it's possible that the current printer driver is for the previous version of Windows and may not work (or work well) with Windows 10.  Additionally, if you've had recent power outages, viruses, or other computer problems, it's possible that the drivers have become damaged.

Downloading and installing the latest driver for your printer can often resolve these types of problems.

There are three ways to get the latest driver:

  • Use Windows Update. Windows Update might have an updated version of your printer driver. To update your drivers using Windows Update follow these steps:
  1. Press and hold (or right-click) the Start  button, then select Device Manager. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
  2. Expand Printers, find your printer in the list, press and hold (or right-click) it, and then select Update driver.
  3. Select Search automatically for updated driver software.
  • Install software from the printer manufacturer. If your printer came with a disc, that disc might contain software that installs a driver for the printer.
  • Download and install the driver yourself. If Windows Update can't find a driver for your printer, and the printer didn't come with software that installs a driver, check the manufacturer's website. Driver updates are often available in the support section of such websites. Locate and download the latest driver for your printer, then follow the driver installation instructions on the website.

Most drivers are self-installing—after you download them, you usually double-tap (or double-click) the file to begin the installation. If you download a driver that isn't self-installing, follow these steps to install it:

  1. Press and hold (or right-click) the Start  button, then select Device Manager. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.
  2. Expand Printers, find your printer in the list, press and hold (or right-click) it, and then select Update driver.
  3. Select Browse my computer for driver software, browse to the location where you downloaded the driver software, and then select Next. You might be asked for an admin password or to confirm your choice.

If these steps don't work, try removing and reinstalling the driver.  This may be necessary to ensure that damaged or corrupted drivers are completely replaced. Follow these steps remove the old driver: 

  1. Disconnect your printer's USB cable from your PC.
  2. Select the Start   button, then select Settings  > Devices > Printers and Scanners.
  3. Find the printer in the list under Printers & scanners for the printer. If it is present, select it, and then select Remove device.
  4. In the search box on the taskbar, type Print Management, then select the search result of the same name.
  5. Select All Printers, find your printer in the list, press and hold (or right-click it), and then select Delete.
  6. Restart your PC.
  7. Reconnect your printer's cable to your PC and try installing the software and driver again.

Note

Some printer software asks you to keep your printer disconnected until its ready. See your software or driver documentation to determine when to connect your printer.

If your printer still doesn’t work, go to Step 4.

Step 4: Clear and reset the Print Spooler

If the previous troubleshooting step is not successful, you may need to clear spooler files and restart the spooler service. The print spooler is a file that manages the printing process.

To clear and reset the print spooler:

  1. In the search box on the taskbar, type Services, then select the search result of the same name.
  2. In the Services list, double-tap (or double-click) Print Spooler.
  3. Select Stop OK.
  4. In the search box on the taskbar, type %WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers, select the file folder in the search results, and then delete all files in the folder.
  5. Search for and open Services again.
  6. In the Services list, double-tap (or double-click)Print Spooler.
  7. Select Start, and in the Startup Type list, make sure that Automatic is selected, and then select OK.

 

Was this answer helpful? Yes No

Sorry we couldn't be helpful. Help us improve this article with your feedback.