Troubleshooting a Hewlett Packard Printerby Geoffrey Weed
Printer Won't Turn On
One of the most common HP printer problems is failure of the machine to power up at all. Make sure that the printer is plugged into a working electrical outlet. Also, make sure that the power cord is firmly plugged into the back of the printer and that you've pushed the power button on the printer to power it up. Likewise, make sure that the ink cartridge was installed properly and that the printer door is shut. Failure to shut this door or to install the ink cartridge properly may result in a safety mechanism that will keep the printer from starting and damaging itself.
Frequent Paper Jams
Paper jams are usually caused by two main culprits: overloading and improper loading. Make sure that you're loading paper into the correct part of the printer. The loading area should be clearly marked on the printer and also explained in your owner's manual (this information varies depending on your specific model). Next, make sure that you've oriented the paper properly in the load tray and that you haven't loaded too much paper in the printer. Generally speaking--once again dependent on model--it's a good idea to limit the load of paper at any given time to less than about 100 sheets.
Printer Turns On but Fails to Function
These issues are usually caused by either lack of proper driver software or improper connections. Make sure that your Hewlett Packard printer is connected to your computer properly using the included cords. Some newer computers won't interface with older printers that don't include USB cables for connection. Also, make sure that you install the software and drivers for your printer using the CD that was included with it. If you don't have that CD, go to Hewlett Packard's website and download the applicable software and drivers (see Resources below).
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