I Cannot Communicate With My Printer

by Ruth O'Neil

For anyone who uses a wireless printer, one of the windows that pops up once in a while is "Computer cannot communicate with printer." This can happen when you first install your printer or even after it is installed and you have previously used it. Troubleshoot your computer and printer by trying several tactics that will help your computer and wireless printer communicate once again.

Before Buying

Before buying a printer, make sure that you are purchasing one that will work with your particular operating system. The printer packaging clearly lists what type of operating systems the printer will work with, such as Windows Vista, Windows 7 or Mac. When you find a printer you want, do further research online. Google reviews about that particular printer and you will be sure to find numerous forums. This is where you will find some of the best reviews from people who have actually used the product.


One of the simplest solutions to your printer and computer communication problem is to turn both the printer and the computer off and on. If your printer is the kind that does not completely shut down, unplug it and then plug it back in to get it to restart and reconnect with your Internet service and your computer. Restarting your computer is also necessary sometimes. If you have files waiting to be printed, see if they will automatically print once everything is back up and running without you giving another print command. Resetting or restarting your wireless Internet router may also help to get communication working again.

Bi-Directional Problems

Wireless printers work using a wireless Internet connection. If there is not communication between your printer and computer it may be a bi-directional problem. Fortunately, this is a problem you can check for yourself. Go to your printer's settings by clicking on "Start" then "Settings" and then "Printers." Click on the printer that you want to work with if you have more than one choice of printer. Select "Properties" for that printer. Then click on the "Ports" tab and then "Enable directional support." Do a test print to see if this works. Note that a router placed in the middle of a room works better with surrounding devices than one placed in a corner.

Right Printer

When working with more than one printer attached to your computer, whether through USB cables or wirelessly, you have to let the computer know which printer you want to communicate with. Pull up the page you want to print and press "Control" and "P" to open up the printer window. Click on the arrow next to the "Name" section to bring up all the printers connected with your computer. Click on the one you want to use. Then click "OK" to send the print job to the right printer.


Photo Credits

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