Why Can't I Print?

Here are solutions to some common problems with printing.

My printer doesn’t print.
This is a difficult problem to diagnose because there are many printers on the market and numerous reasons why one might not work.

First, make sure your printer is powered up and connected to your Windows computer according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Then, try the Printer troubleshooter, which will attempt to automatically diagnose and fix your problem. (For more information, see Troubleshooting in Windows‍‍‍.)

Click to open the Printer troubleshooter.

Next, try updating the printer driver on your computer. Printer problems sometimes stem from out-of-date driver software, and can be solved by installing, or reinstalling, the latest driver.

To find the latest driver for your printer, first check Windows Update, which is designed to detect the hardware connected to your computer and automatically notify you when new drivers are available:

Click to open Windows Update.

In the left pane, click Check for updates, and then wait while Windows looks for the latest updates for your computer.

If updates are found, click Install updates.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

If you don’t see an updated printer driver listed, it’s still possible that one exists: Your printer manufacturer might not have provided it to Microsoft yet.

Most printer manufacturers offer up-to-date drivers on the support sections of their websites. Drivers are typically organized by Windows edition and printer model. Once you find the proper driver, install it according to the manufacturer’s instructions. For more help, see Update a driver for hardware that isn’t working properly.

If your printer still doesn’t print, consult the support section of your printer manufacturer’s website for model-specific troubleshooting tips.

I see an error message about “spooler” problems.
A print spooler is software that temporarily stores print jobs on the computer hard disk or in memory until the printer is ready to print them.

If you’ve been waiting an unusually long time for a document to print, or if you see an error message about the print spooler, you might need to restart the print spooler on your computer.

The simplest way to restart the spooler is to save your work and restart the computer. You can also try these steps:

To restart the Print Spooler service
You must be logged on as an administrator to perform these steps.

Click to open Administrative Tools.

Double-click Services.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

Right-click the Print Spooler service, and then click Properties.

On the General tab, next to Startup type, make sure that Automatic is selected.

If the service is not already running, under Service status, click Start, and then click OK.  If you are prompted for an administrator password or confirmation, type the password or provide confirmation.

I want to add a network printer, but it’s not offered in the Add Printer wizard.
If Windows can’t detect a printer that you want to use, follow these steps to find and add the printer manually:

Click to open Devices and Printers.

Click Add a Printer.

In the Add Printer wizard, select Add a network, wireless or Bluetooth printer.

On the Searching for available printers page, click The printer that I want isn’t listed.

On the Find a printer by name or TCP/IP address page, choose how to find the printer that you want to use, based on the type or location of the printer, and then click Next.

Complete the additional steps in the wizard, and then click Finish.