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Get Your Offline Printer Back Online: A Step-by-Step Guide

You’re not alone if your printer is displaying an “offline” status. This is a common issue that plagues many users, from students to small business owners. According to a survey by PrinterLogic, 45% of end-users experience printer-related issues, with “offline” status being one of the top complaints.

Don’t worry; there are straightforward solutions to get your printer back online. Whether you’re using Windows or macOS, or you’re dealing with an HP, Canon, or Epson printer, this guide has got you covered.

How to Troubleshoot Your Printer When It’s Offline

Man troubleshooting printer offline issue using HP Print and Scan Doctor on his computer.

Understanding the Issue

You’re in the middle of printing an important document, and suddenly your printer decides to go offline. Frustrating, right? Understanding why this happens is the first step in troubleshooting. Printers can go offline for various reasons, from connection issues to incorrect settings. Let’s dive into the common reasons and how to fix them.

Common Reasons Why Printers Go Offline

1. Network Issues

Often, printers go offline due to network issues. This could be a problem with your Wi-Fi signal or the printer’s connection to the network. If other devices are also struggling to connect, it might be time to reboot your router.

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2. Driver Problems

Outdated or corrupt drivers can also cause your printer to go offline. Make sure you have the latest drivers installed for your printer model. You can usually find these on the manufacturer’s website.

3. Software Glitches

Sometimes, the issue might be as simple as a software glitch. Restarting your printer can often resolve this.

Connection Issues

If your printer is offline, the first thing to check is the connection. Here are some steps to troubleshoot:

  1. Check the Physical Connections: Ensure that all cables are securely connected.
  2. Test the Network: Use the printer’s built-in menu to print a network configuration report. This will show if the printer is connected to the network.
  3. Restart the Router: Sometimes, simply restarting your router can resolve connection issues.

Incorrect Settings

Incorrect settings can also cause your printer to go offline. Here’s how to fix it:

  1. Check Printer Settings: Go to ‘Devices and Printers’ on your computer and ensure that your printer is set as the default printer.
  2. Update Drivers: Outdated drivers can cause compatibility issues. Make sure to update them.
  3. Check for Software Updates: Sometimes, an outdated operating system can cause issues. Make sure your OS is up-to-date.

Hardware Problems

Hardware problems can also cause your printer to go offline. These could range from paper jams to issues with the printer’s internal components. If you’ve tried all the above steps and your printer is still offline, it might be time to consult the manufacturer or a professional repair service.

By following these steps, you should be able to identify and fix the issue causing your printer to go offline. Remember, the key is to understand the root cause and then take appropriate action.

Preliminary Checks

Before diving into more complex solutions, it’s crucial to perform some basic checks to understand the root cause of your printer’s issues.

Checking the Printer’s Status

The first step in troubleshooting is to check the status of your printer. This involves looking at the printer’s display panel for any error messages or flashing lights. If your printer has a built-in screen, it may display messages like “Offline,” “Paper Jam,” or “In

Ensuring it is Turned On and Properly Connected

You may have already checked the printer’s status, but ensuring it’s powered on and properly connected is equally crucial. Let’s dive into the steps to verify these aspects.

Check the Power Source

  1. Locate the Power Button: Usually, it’s on the front or top of the printer.
  2. Press the Power Button: If the printer doesn’t turn on, unplug it and plug it back into the electrical outlet.
  3. Look for Indicators: Most printers have LED indicators that light up when the printer is on.

Verify the Connection

  1. USB Connection: If you’re using a USB cable, make sure it’s securely plugged into both the printer and the computer.
  2. Wireless Connection: For wireless printers, ensure you’re connected to the correct network. You can usually find this information on the printer’s display screen.
  3. Network Cable: If it’s a network printer, ensure the Ethernet cable is securely connected to both the printer and the network router.

Run a Test Print

After confirming the power and connection, run a test print to ensure everything is working as it should.

Use Diagnostic Tools

If you’re still facing issues, consider using diagnostic tools like the “Print and Scan Doctor” for HP printers. This tool can automatically diagnose and resolve printer offline issues in Windows operating systems.

Verifying the Availability of Paper and Ink

Running out of paper or ink is a common issue that can easily be overlooked. Before diving into more complex troubleshooting steps, it’s essential to confirm that you have adequate supplies.

How to Verify

  1. Check the Paper Tray: Make sure it’s not empty and that the paper is aligned correctly.
  2. Ink Levels: Most modern printers have an on-screen display that shows ink levels. Take a glance to ensure you’re not running low.

Verifying paper and ink availability is crucial because running out of either can halt your printing tasks and lead to further complications.

Expert Tip: Some printers have a feature that alerts you when you’re running low on supplies. Make sure this feature is enabled for future convenience.

Inspecting Cables and Connections

Loose or damaged cables can disrupt the communication between your printer and computer, leading to offline issues.

How to Inspect

  1. Unplug and Replug: Disconnect all cables and reconnect them to ensure a secure connection.
  2. Check for Damage: Inspect the cables for any signs of wear or damage.

A secure and undamaged cable connection ensures smooth data transfer between your devices, reducing the chances of going offline.

Expert Tip: Always use cables that are compatible with your printer model to avoid connectivity issues.

Checking for Physical Damages

Physical damage to your printer can cause functional issues and may require professional repair.

How to Check

  1. Visual Inspection: Look for any visible signs of damage, like cracks or loose parts.
  2. Test Functions: Run a test print to see if the damage affects the printer’s functionality.

Ignoring physical damage can lead to more severe issues and may void your warranty.

Expert Tip: If you find any physical damage, it’s best to consult the manufacturer or a professional for repair options.

Testing Different Ports and Cables

Sometimes the issue might be with the port or the cable rather than the printer itself.

How to Test

  1. Switch Ports: Try connecting the printer to a different USB or Ethernet port on your computer.
  2. Use Another Cable: If possible, use a different cable to rule out the possibility of a faulty one.

Testing different ports and cables can help you pinpoint the issue, saving you time and possibly money on unnecessary repairs.

Expert Tip: Always keep spare cables and be aware of the types of ports your computer and printer use.

Basic Troubleshooting

Printer offline issues are more common than you’d think, but the good news is that they’re usually easy to fix. Let’s dive into some basic troubleshooting steps that can get your printer back online.

Restarting the Printer and Computer

The first thing you should try is restarting both your printer and computer. It’s a simple step, but you’d be surprised how often it solves the problem. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Turn off your printer: Press the power button and wait for it to shut down completely.
  2. Restart your computer: Click on the Start menu, select the power icon, and choose “Restart.”
  3. Turn your printer back on: Press the power button again and wait for it to boot up.

Restarting refreshes the system and can often resolve minor glitches or communication errors between your computer and printer.

Steps and the Rationale Behind It

Why These Steps Work

Restarting acts as a system refresh, clearing out any temporary data that might be causing the issue. It’s like giving your devices a short break to recalibrate. This is particularly effective for resolving minor software glitches and communication errors, which are often the culprits behind a printer going offline.

What to Do Next

If restarting doesn’t work, don’t lose hope. There are more advanced troubleshooting steps you can take, like checking your printer’s network connection or updating its drivers. These steps are a bit more involved but can resolve more complex issues.

When to Seek Professional Help

If you’ve tried basic troubleshooting and the problem persists, it might be time to consult with a professional. Persistent issues could indicate a more serious hardware or software problem that requires specialized attention.

Verifying the Internet Connection

Before diving into more complex solutions, let’s start with the basics: your internet connection. A stable internet connection is crucial for a printer to function correctly, especially if it’s a wireless one.

Steps to Verify Internet Connection

  1. Check Your Router: Make sure your router is on and functioning correctly.
  2. Test the Internet on Other Devices: Use a smartphone or another computer to ensure the internet is working.
  3. Check the printer’s Online Status: Some printers have an LED indicator showing network status.

Expert Tip: If you’re still experiencing issues, consider restarting your router and printer. This often resolves connectivity issues.

Ensuring Connectivity to the Correct Network

Your printer needs to be on the same network as your computer for seamless printing. If it’s connected to a different network, it will show up as offline.

Steps to Ensure Correct Network Connectivity

  1. Check the network settings on the Printer: Navigate through your printer’s menu to find network settings.
  2. Match with the Computer’s Network: Ensure the network your computer is connected to matches the printer.
  3. Reconnect if Necessary: If they don’t match, change the printer’s network settings to the correct network.

Expert Tip: Always double-check the network credentials when entering them into your printer settings to avoid typos that can cause connectivity issues.

How to Check the Printer’s Network Connection

Sometimes the issue isn’t with the network itself but with how the printer is connected to it. Verifying this can save you a lot of time and hassle.

Steps to Check Printer’s Network Connection

  1. Printer Menu: Go to your printer’s onboard menu and navigate to ‘Network Settings’.
  2. Check Status: Look for a status that says ‘Connected’ or similar.
  3. Run a Test: Some printers allow you to run a network connection test. Use this feature if available.

Expert Tip: If your printer has a ‘WPS’ button, you can use it to quickly connect to your network. Just press the WPS button on your router and printer to pair them.

Advanced Troubleshooting for Windows Users

Setting the Printer as Default

Before we get into the nitty-gritty, let’s talk about why setting a default printer is crucial. Imagine you’re in a rush to print an important document, and you hit the ‘Print’ button only to realize it’s being sent to the wrong printer. Frustrating, right? Setting a default printer ensures that your print jobs go exactly where you want them to, every single time.

The Steps: A Quick Overview

  1. Open Control Panel: Navigate to the Control Panel on your Windows computer.
  2. Go to Devices and Printers: Here, you’ll see a list of all connected devices.
  3. Right-Click on Your Printer: Find your printer and right-click on it.
  4. Select ‘Set as Default Printer’: A tick mark will appear, confirming the change.

Detailed Step-by-Step Guide for Windows 10 and 11

For Windows 10 Users

  1. Open Control Panel: Press Win + X and choose Control Panel from the menu.
  2. Navigate to Devices and Printers: It’s usually under the ‘Hardware and Sound’ category.
  3. Locate Your Printer: You’ll see various devices listed; find your printer.
  4. Right-Click and Choose ‘Set as Default Printer’: A tick mark will appear next to the printer, confirming it’s now the default.

For Windows 11 Users

  1. Open Settings: Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Go to Devices: Click on the ‘Devices’ tab on the left sidebar.
  3. Click on ‘Printers & Scanners’: This will open a new window listing all connected printers.
  4. Click on Your Printer and Choose ‘Set as Default’: A confirmation message will pop up; click ‘Yes’ to proceed.

Common Issues and Quick Fixes

Sometimes, you might encounter issues while trying to set a default printer. Here are some quick fixes:

  • Printer Not Listed: Make sure the printer is connected and turned on.
  • Option Greyed Out: This could be due to administrative restrictions. Log in as an admin and try again.
  • Error Messages: Update your printer drivers or restart your computer.


Clearing Print Queue

Why Clearing the Print Queue is Necessary

Before we jump into the nitty-gritty, let’s understand why clearing the print queue is essential. Sometimes, pending print jobs can clog your printer, causing it to go offline. Clearing the print queue essentially removes these roadblocks, allowing your printer to function correctly.

Steps to Clear the Print Queue in Windows

  1. Open the Control Panel: Navigate to the Start menu and type “Control Panel” in the search bar. Click on the Control Panel app to open it.
  2. Access Devices and Printers: In the Control Panel window, locate and click on “Devices and Printers.”
  3. Find Your Printer: In the “Devices and Printers” window, find the printer that’s showing as offline. Right-click on it and select “See what’s printing.”
  4. Open the Print Queue: A new window will pop up showing the list of pending print jobs. This is your print queue.
  5. Cancel All Jobs: Right-click on any of the pending jobs and select “Cancel” or “Cancel All Documents” from the dropdown menu.

By following these steps, you’ve successfully cleared your print queue, removing one potential cause of your printer’s offline status.

Instructions to Remove Pending Print Jobs

Why Removing Pending Jobs is Important

Just like a traffic jam, pending print jobs can cause delays and even make your printer go offline. Removing these pending tasks can often solve the problem.

How to Remove Pending Print Jobs in Windows

  1. Access the Print Queue: Follow steps 1-4 from the previous section to open your print queue.
  2. Identify Pending Jobs: Look for jobs in the queue that are marked as “Pending” or “Printing.”
  3. Cancel Selected Jobs: Right-click on each pending job and select “Cancel” from the dropdown menu.

And there you have it! You’ve removed the pending print jobs that could be causing your printer to go offline.


  1. How to Clear Print Queue in Windows
  2. How to Remove Pending Print Jobs

Technical Solutions to Printer Offline Issues

Running the Printer Troubleshooter in Windows

If your printer is offline, one of the quickest ways to get it back online is to use the built-in Printer Troubleshooter in Windows. This diagnostic tool scans and fixes common issues that might be causing your printer to go offline.

How to Access and Use the Troubleshooter

  1. Navigate to Settings: Click on the Start menu and go to “Settings.”
  2. Go to Devices: In the Settings window, click on “Devices.”
  3. Select Printers & Scanners: On the left-hand side, you’ll see an option for “Printers & Scanners.” Click on it.
  4. Run the Troubleshooter: Find your printer in the list, click on it, and then click on “Run the Troubleshooter.”

The troubleshooter will automatically diagnose and resolve common printer issues. If the troubleshooter finds any issues, it will prompt you to apply the fixes.

Disabling “Use Printer Offline” Mode

Another common reason for a printer showing as offline is the “Use Printer Offline” setting. This setting can be easily disabled to bring your printer back online.

Guide to Disabling This Setting in Windows

  1. Open the Control Panel: Type “Control Panel” in the Windows search bar and open it.
  2. Navigate to Devices and Printers: In the Control Panel, find and click on “Devices and Printers.”
  3. Find Your Printer: Locate your printer in the list of devices.
  4. Change Printer Settings: Right-click on your printer and choose “See what’s printing.”
  5. Uncheck ‘Use Printer Offline’: In the window that opens, click on “Printer” in the menu bar and uncheck the “Use Printer Offline” option.

Your printer should now be back online. If it’s still offline, you may need to restart it to apply the changes.

By following these steps, you can quickly resolve common offline printer issues without needing specialized technical knowledge. Whether you’re working from home, running a small business, or simply trying to print out a document for school, these solutions are designed to get you back up and running as quickly as possible.

Reinstallation Steps

Reinstalling your printer’s software is often the go-to solution for troubleshooting various issues, from connectivity problems to software glitches. This process involves uninstalling the existing software and installing a fresh version, effectively renewing the software components of your printer.

Removing and Reinstalling the Printer

First, you’ll need to disconnect your printer from your computer. Head over to the Control Panel, navigate to Programs, and choose the option to uninstall a program. Here, you’ll remove your printer’s software. Once that’s done, reboot your computer. Now, you’re ready to download the latest printer software from the manufacturer’s website and install it. Finally, reconnect your printer to your computer.

Detailed Guide for Windows Users

For those using a Windows operating system, the reinstallation process has its own set of steps. Windows has a built-in feature called “Add a Printer” that simplifies the process. You can find this by navigating to the Control Panel, then to Hardware and Sound, and finally to Devices and Printers. From there, just follow the on-screen instructions.

Reinstalling the Printer Drivers

After you’ve reinstalled the printer, the next step is to make sure you have the latest drivers. Drivers are the software components that allow your computer to communicate with your printer. Visit the printer manufacturer’s website, download the latest drivers, and run the installer.

Step-by-step Process for Windows 10 and 11

For those using Windows 10 or 11, the reinstallation process is almost identical. However, if you’re on Windows 11, you may need to run the driver installer in compatibility mode for Windows 10.

Additional Resources

Links to Tutorials and Customer Support

If you’re still facing issues, HP provides additional resources like tutorials and customer support to help you out. These external resources offer more in-depth assistance and can be invaluable when you’re stuck.


We’ve walked you through the basics of using HP Print and Scan Doctor to resolve offline printer issues. This tool is a quick and effective way to troubleshoot common problems.

Encouragement to Reach Out to Support if Necessary

If you’ve tried all the steps and are still facing issues, don’t hesitate to reach out to HP’s customer support for further assistance.

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Tony Hoffman

Tony Hoffman is a tech expert with over 10 years of experience in the printer and scanner industries. He has developed a keen eye for the latest innovations and trends in printing technology making him a go-to resource for consumers and professionals alike. His engaging writing style and ability to break down complex topics make his articles and reviews accessible and informative for a wide range of readers. Outside of his work as a tech writer Tony enjoys tinkering with gadgets and exploring the outdoors.View Author posts

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