If you have a network printer that regularly goes offline for no apparent reason, this tutorial is for you. I regularly see this issue with clients and it is a very frustrating thing to come up against. Networked devices are supposed to make life easier yet seem to enjoy making life more difficult. So if you want to troubleshoot a printer going offline in Windows 10, read on.
Also see our article How To Print from an Android Device
There are several reasons why a printer may go offline. They include:
- Power or cabling
- Windows setting
- Hardware issue
The viability of each of these depends entirely on what you’re seeing. It stands to reason that if you only see the printer go offline in Windows 10 but the printer itself is on and waiting, it won’t be power, cabling or a hardware issue. If the printer does look to go physically offline, cabling, power or hardware would be the first place to look. Use your judgment to decide which solution to try first.
Printer goes offline due to power or cabling
If a printer keeps going physically offline and resetting or switching itself on and off, it could be a power issue. Check the mains cable, the mains supply and change one at a time and retest. Change either the wall outlet or cable, run the printer for a while then test the other if the problem persists.
Printer goes offline due to network issues
If your printer is a network printer, it makes sense to check the network settings. Log onto your router (usually through entering 192.168.1.1 into your web browser) and look at Network settings. The most common issue is IP address conflict. Where your printer is assigned an IP address that another device uses.
Within your router settings, assign your printer a static IP address to stop this happening and set it far apart from other IP addresses. For example, if your home network uses 192.168.1.2 – 100, set your printer to something like 192.168.1.250. This should avoid any further IP address issues.
Alternatively, set your other devices to use a static IP and leave the printer alone. Either will work.
Printer goes offline due to driver problems
Printers rely heavily on good drivers to function properly. If something is up with the driver, the printer will not work as it should. Check the driver and download a fresh one as appropriate.
- Right click the Windows Start button and select Device Manager.
- Select your printer from the list.
- Right click and select Update Driver Software. Select automatic or manual depending on whether you have a driver on your system or not.
- Allow the driver to be installed and retest.
Reinstalling the same driver may also work if Windows cannot find a newer version. You will have to visit the printer manufacturer’s website and manually download a Windows 10 driver for your model of printer. Then just select the executable file and install.
Printer goes offline due to a Windows setting
It is entirely possible that a Windows 10 setting is interrupting the printer and stopping it working correctly. Here are a couple of things to look for.
- Navigate to Control Panel and Devices and Printers.
- Right click your printer and select the Ports tab. Make sure the correct port is selected. If you’re using USB, the USB port should be selected. If you’re using a network, the network port should be selected. The same for Wi-Fi.
- Right click the printer and select See what’s printing.
- Select Printer from the menu in the new window and ensure there is no tick next to Use printer offline. If there is, remove it and retest.
- Go back to Control Panel and select Network and Sharing Center.
- Select Advanced sharing settings.
- Check Network discovery and File and printer sharing are both enabled.
Printer goes offline due to a hardware issue
A hardware issue can be either with a computer or the printer itself so we should first find out which it is. If you have your printer networked using a cable, try it wireless if you can or attach it directly to your computer. Retest. Change the cable and retest. If you can connect it via USB instead, test that too.
If changing a port or cable fixes the issue, you know what to fix. If it didn’t make a difference, chances are that it is the printer itself. If you have checked the driver, the mains cable, Windows settings and network settings, the only thing left is the printer itself and I’m afraid I can’t help you there!