There are all sorts of reasons a printer might stop working and all of them bring a bit of frustration. Trying to work out where the paper jam is, or what those annoying flashing lights are supposed to mean, is a battle in itself. The good news is that most printer faults can be sorted without too much conflict, so we’ve provided a guide to fixing any injuries it may have and getting your printer fighting fit again.

printer not working

The Knowhow

Before you start it’s worth a quick look at your printer. Are there any lights or display on your printer?

  • No. All lights are switched off on my printer. If there is no sign of life from your printer, then have a look at our article on Diagnosing printer power problems.

  • Yes. I have one or more flashing lights on my printer. Flashing lights indicate that your printer is busy or needs your attention.

  • Yes. My printer has lights and they aren’t flashing. If so, then this article will help your troubleshoot your connection problem. Printer not printing? How to fix the problem

The chances are that you use a USB cable to connect your printer to your computer. This is by far the most common connection and the following tips will help you identity any problems with it.

Check your printer’s USB cable

Remove your USB cable from the back of the printer and reconnect it.

printer usb port how to insert cable

USB cables will only fit one way and when properly inserted. It should feel secure and you shouldn’t be able to see the metal jack/plug.

Use a different USB port on your computer

Your computer will have several USB ports. Try the USB cable in a different USB port - preferably one you know to work with a different USB device.

Disconnect unnecessary USB devices

It can be surprising how many USB devices you have connected to your computer. It’s worth unplugging everything apart from your printer (leave your USB mouse and/or keyboard if you have one).

If your printer starts working when you unplug other devices, have a look at our article on Diagnosing USB ports issues

Connect your printer directly to your computer

Make sure the USB cable goes straight from your printer into a USB port on your computer. If it goes through another device first (such as a USB hub), remove it and plug it directly into a USB port on your computer.


  • Many devices use USB cables. During testing it can be useful to swap the USB cables and see if another one works, or if the one from the printer works with another device.
  • If your computer has speakers, turn your speakers up to a normal listening volume, and turn your printer on, before connecting the USB cable. You should hear a chime sound when you plug it in.

If you are still having problems getting your printer to work, the manufacturer may have a dedicated helpline number in the user manual. Alternatively you can contact Knowhow on 0344 561 1234.

Always refer to the manufacturer’s manual for specific details.

Updated On:

May 22, 2014

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