February 24, 2010

Windows XP: Couldn’t Print to a Local Printer

I recently got an email regarding an issue where one of my friend couldn’t print to a local printer. The printer was connected directly to a laptop, and Windows had no trouble identifying the printer, but when the job was sent to, it wouldn’t print.

I will explain the symptoms in the post, which will hopefully help others that are experiencing similar problems.

The Symptoms

As mentioned above, he couldn’t print to a local printer. The printer was connected to a USB port and Windows had no issue identifying the printer. I was able to send the print job to the printer spooler without problems. The follow issues are what I experienced:

  1. The lights on the printer were on, and indicated no error.
  2. The first job sent to the printer would cause the printer to indicate that data was being transferred (flashing light on the printer), but nothing was being printed.
  3. Eventually an error would be displayed in the queue, without any indication of what the error was.
  4. Finally, a test page wasn’t printing either. Eventually the transfer light on the printer would not flash with any subsequent print jobs.


From there, I looked at the following to solve the problem with the printing.

  1. I checked the USB cable to ensure it was connected properly to both the computer and printer. No issues there.
  2. As mentioned above, I attempted to print a test page, still nothing would print.
  3. I stopped and started the “Print Spooler” service. The print job still would be processed.
  4. Finally, I did the most logical solution: I restarted Windows and the printer. Success at last.

While I couldn’t determine the issue, I’m thinking that it was an issue with the “Print Spooler” service. The laptop hadn’t be restarted in some time, and had been switched to and from sleep mode during that time. I figured a reboot was in order to refresh everything. In this case it worked and I was able to print from the printer again.

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