When you’re really pressed for time and need to get something printed pronto, there’s nothing more frustrating than a printer that literally won’t do its job. It can happen to the best of us. After months or years of problem-free use, you go to print something specific only to have your HP printer spit out nothing but blank pages.
Why does this happen? Most importantly, what can you do to fix it quickly so that you can get back to your busy day?
Don’t head for the printer repair shop just yet. We’re here to tell you everything you need to know to get your printer back up and running the way it should in no time.
What to Do First
Sometimes the solution is really simple, even when it’s also super frustrating. That said, if you haven’t tried all of the following, it’s a good idea to do so just to be sure all your bases are covered.
- Check to make sure your printer has power and that it’s switched on.
- Double check any and all cables to ensure they’re properly plugged in.
- Verify that the ink or toner cartridges have been replaced recently.
- Open the cover and inspect the paper trays to make sure nothing’s stuck in the works, including actual paper.
- Turn the printer off and then on again.
- Consult the user’s manual and see if it contains information you may have missed.
If the problem still persists, you’re ready to move on to the next step.
What to Do Next
If your ink cartridges are fresh and your printer’s been working just fine up to this point, it’s possible that there’s a problem with the print driver. The driver is responsible for interpreting and relaying the signals sent from your computer to the printer itself. Improper installation or corruption can easily cause your computer to “forget” you even have a functioning printer.
In most cases, your printer will have come with a CD that contains the original drivers. Insert the CD and check whether or not it contains a utility that can either repair a broken driver or install a fresh copy altogether. You can also check the manufacturer’s website for updates that can replace your current driver.
If your printer is still printing blank pages after you’ve done this, it’s time to make sure your driver settings are where they should be. For instance, you’ll want to check to make sure you’ve got the correct paper size selected.
Additional Questions to Ask
Is there an error message popping up before your printer spits out a blank sheet of paper?
Pay attention to what the error message says, as it could give you a clue as to what’s wrong. For instance, it might tell you your driver failed or ran into an error. Other possibilities include a communication error (i.e. disconnected cables), a print spooler with insufficient space or damage to the sensor/feed mechanism, etc.
Is the printer head moving back and forth without any ink being applied to the pages?
This could well be a problem with the cartridges. For instance, they really could be empty, so it’s worth double- or triple-checking. Alternatively, the cartridges may be having trouble breathing for one reason or another. Check to make sure the vent tapes or covers have been removed so that the cartridge can properly replace ink with air the way it’s meant to do.
Last but definitely not least, the printer head nozzles could be dirty or clogged, especially if it’s been a while since your last printer session. Lack of use can also cause your ink cartridges to dry up or deteriorate with age.
Did you start getting an error message right after replacing your ink cartridges?
You might have inadvertently replaced your old cartridges with a model that isn’t compatible with a HP printer. Simply replace the incompatible cartridges with HP inkjet cartridges and hit the cancel button on the error message. Normal printer function should return immediately. Always make sure you have an ample supply of extras on hand to avoid having to stop your work and head for the print shop!
While printer issues can most definitely be frustrating, they’re usually pretty easy to solve with a little quick thinking. We’ve got you covered!