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Compatink / Help Guides / How to Fix ‘Printer Not Responding’ Error

How to Fix ‘Printer Not Responding’ Error

how to fix 'printer not responding' error, print spooler. troubleshooting, update, port,

The ‘printer not responding’ error is one that many printer users will have to deal with at one time or another. It is a common problem that can be caused by any of a number of factors. This means a bit of trial and error may be involved when trying to resolve it.

You will find in this article tips on how to fix ‘printer not responding’ error. These are based on steps that have helped some people in tackling the issue.


Check Printer Connection

It has been observed that this problem arise from poor hardware connection in many cases. You will, therefore, do well to first ensure that this is not cause of the error.

You may start by turning off your printer, computer and router (if you use a wireless machine). It helps to reset your Wi-Fi network when using a wireless printer. Remove all cables if your machine uses such for connection and unplug from the wall socket. Wait for some minutes. Then re-connect everything securely and power back on.

If you use a USB cable for connection, make sure that it is not longer than six feet and that it supports USB 2.0. You can also try a different cable if the error persists to see if that will make any difference.


Restart Print Spooler

The Print Spooler is a service that sees to proper management of print jobs on your computer. It collects all print jobs you send to your printer for sequential printing. It also enables you to cancel any pending print job in case you changed your mind about it.

‘Printer not responding’ is just one of several issues that may result when something goes wrong with this Print Spooler service. It is possible for you to resolve this error in such a case by restarting the service. Below are the steps to follow to do that effectively:


  • Press the Windows and R keys to open the Run tool and enter ‘services.msc.’ You could as well just click on the Start button, search for ‘services,’ and click on ‘local services’ or similar – you need to click on Settings to see this on Windows 8.

  • Look through the services list to locate ‘Print Spooler.’ Double-click the service to open its window.

  • Click on the Stop button in the ‘Service status’ section. Leave the window open and then proceed to the next step, which may be optional in some cases.

  • Open the Windows Explorer and find your way to this path:




The above assumes that you installed your Windows on C drive. It means you should open that drive and then the Windows folder. The name after each succeeding backslash sign indicates the next folder to open.

When you finally get to the ‘Printers’ folder, delete all files you see inside it. Administrator privileges may be required to access this folder.


  • Now, return to the Print Spooler service window and click on the Start button. This action restarts the service.


  • Locate ‘Startup type’ in that same service window and set it to ‘Automatic.’ Then click on the OK button and close the window.


  • Restart your computer.


The ‘printer not responding’ error should vanish after completing the steps above correctly, if Print Spooler issue caused it in the first place.


For further advice on how to fix a print spooler CLICK HERE.


Set the Right Port

It is possible that the printer port on your computer is mis-configured. You should check this, if none of the suggestions above helped. Port mis-configuration is capable of making your machine not to respond as it ought.


Here are the steps to ensure that your printer port is correctly configured on Windows:


  • Navigate to the Control Panel and open Devices and Printers.

  • Locate your printer, right-click on it and select ‘Printer properties.’

  • Select the Ports tab.


  • Make sure that the correct port checkbox for your printer is ticked. The name should ideally begin with USB or DOT4, if you use a USB cable for connection. Ports for wireless printers start with IP, WSD or network.


  • Click on Apply and then OK after selecting the right port.


  • Restart your computer and check if the problem is fixed.


Run Troubleshooting Tool

Windows has a built-in trouble-shooter that can help solve a variety of issues. It is worth checking how the tool may help if you still can’t fix your printer not responding. Follow these steps:


  • Press the Windows key or click on the Start icon.


  • Type ‘troubleshoot’ and select Troubleshooting (Windows 7) or Troubleshoot (Windows 10).

  • Click on the ‘Printer’ option in the list. On Windows 10, you will see ‘Run the troubleshooter’ after selecting printer; click on it. Select both ‘Run as administrator’ and ‘Apply repairs automatically,’ if you are presented with those options.

  • To complete troubleshooting, simply follow on-screen instructions. You may be provided with suggestions on what next to do if the tool is not able to fix any identified issue automatically.


Reinstall or Update Your Printer Driver

There are cases where ‘printer not responding’ error is simply down to obsolete or defective drivers. Therefore, you should check to be certain that your printer driver is not to blame. The Device Manager enables you to do this.


You may begin by uninstalling and reinstalling the driver following these steps:


  • Click on Start or press both Windows and R keys to open Run.


  • Type ‘devmgmt.msc’ (without the quotes) in the search box and press Enter.


  • Go to Printers or ‘Print queues’ in the list of devices and expand it to locate your printer.


  • Right-click on your printer name and select ‘Uninstall device.’ Do not check the option to delete driver software, if it is available.


  • After uninstalling, restart your computer. The driver will be reinstalled automatically when rebooting.


Check to see if the problem is resolved. If it isn’t, you should consider the option of updating the driver. Here’s the procedure:


  • Return to Device manager to locate your printer.


  • Click the right mouse button, with the pointer on your machine, and select ‘Update driver.’

  • Select ‘Search automatically for updated driver software’ in the window that opens to download and install the latest driver from the internet. If you have already downloaded the right driver from your printer manufacturer’s website, choose ‘Browse my computer for driver software’ instead.

  • Follow on-screen instructions to complete the update correctly.


  • Restart your computer. Then try to print a page again to see if your printer is now responding.


We expect that at least one of the suggestions above should help you fix a ‘printer not responding’ error. If the problem persists, however, professional help may be warranted.

For help and advise on how to resolve other printing errors CLICK HERE.

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