Laser Printer Troubleshooting

Laser Printer Troubleshooting Worn Drum from Laser PrinterThe above is a close-up view of a worn toner drum from a laser printer.

A drum in a laser printer is a cylinder shaped metallic barrel that is part of the process by which the image is transferred to the paper passing by it.  Unfortunately these shiny barrels don’t last forever, as you can see in the picture above, there are fine vertical lines the whole way across the drum.  This drum wore naturally after about 50,000 prints from the printer it was pulled from.  All laser based printers have drums in them.  Some are separate from the toner cartridge, some are not.  This one was separate, from the toner cartridge.

Laser Printer Troubleshooting:  What does a worn drum do and what are the signs of it going bad?

•  Lines can form on the page, continuous or every time that part of the drum passes.

•  Toner may be speckling on the page.

•  Blurry, unclear, undefined, or missing images/text.

•  Blank spots on print.

Most new laser printers will tell you when the drum is due for replacement or if it is at the end of its life.  A drum’s life span depends on the type of printer model you have.  If it is a lower end (inexpensive) printer then it might get 10,000 pages before it needs replaced.  Otherwise you may get 50,000 pages or more with a higher end printer.  Drums usually cost more than the toner, but are not replaced as often.

Other recommendations:

•  When purchasing a new drum, make sure it is for that printer, compatibility is critical.

•  Read reviews and see what others are saying about the printer you have your eyes on.

• Buy the best you can afford.  It is much more affordable to purchase a printer that the drum is separate from the toner than  when the toner and drum are one unit.

•  All-in-One lasers are a great concept and very useful in both home and office.

Printer Errors

How to Solve Spooler Printer Errors

DCF 1.0

DCF 1.0

Many Windows users have been plagued with spooler problems. These particular issues normally make their presence known by informing you that the spooler subsystem application has encountered a problem and needs to close, or by making it appear as if you have no printers installed on your PC at all.

The best way to solve spooler problems is to perform a little troubleshooting. Better to thwart this error now before it cases more serious problems such as your system crashing or experiencing a bluescreen error.

Start Your Computer in Safe Mode

Safe Mode enables Windows to start and run in a mode that allows you to safely troubleshoot and resolve various issues. This should be the first step in clearing up your spooler error messages. To do this, follow the steps below:

1. Reboot your PC and press the F8 key.

2. When the Boot menu appears, select Safe Mode and then press Enter.

3. If the menu appears again and prompts you to select a particular Microsoft operating system, use the arrow keys to choose the appropriate version of Windows installed on your PC and press Enter.

Delete Spool Printer and Driver Files

Once in Safe Mode, you can try to fix your spooler problems by deleting the spooler printer and printer driver files. To do this, launch Windows Explorer and delete the files in the following two folders:

1. C:\WindowsSystem32SpoolPrinters

2. C:\WindowsSystem32SpoolDrivers32x86

Remove Registry Keys for Printer Drivers

If you are still experiencing spooler problems, you may attempt to resolve them by removing potentially troublesome printer driver entries in the Windows registry as they could be interfering with the operation of the printer you are attempting to use. These entries may have been installed by third-party printer setup utilities.

The best way to resolve this issue is to utilize a registry cleaning tool with ability to identify and fix insignificant entries and other problems that may be resulting in spooler errors messages.

Check to See if the Printer Spooler Service is Running

To find out if your spooler problems have been eliminated, follow the steps below:

1. Click Start, right-click the My Computer icon and then click Manage.

2. Expand Services and Applications and click Manage.

3. In the details pane, right-click the Print Spooler service and if you see that is not running, click Start.

4. Lastly, exit the panel, add a printer, and print a test page.

If you detached the printer cable during the troubleshooting process, reconnect the device to your computer and install the printer via the Add Printer Wizard. To install the printer you want to use, follow the steps below:

1. Click on Start and then click Printers and Faxes.

2. Next, click Add a printer to launch the Add Printer Wizard and follow the instructions.

If you can successfully print a test page then your spooler problems should be rectified and no longer interfere with your computing activities.

Author:  Author: Jules Peters of


Common Printer Problems with Inkjet and Laser Printers

Common Printer Problems

Almost every home that has a computer has a printer with it.  While these devices can print great photos of the grandchildren they can bring nightmares to the users experience.  In this article we will discuss some of the most common printer problems and hopefully give you some mental aspirin as to how to fix them.  If you see something that is not covered in this list, please feel free to contact us with your question or comment.

***  When performing any printer maintenance that requires you to access under its “hood” always power off the printer and unplug from the wall.  It is recommend if you have a laser printer to allow it to cool for a period of 30 minutes before accessing anything other than the toner cartridge inside the printer.  ***

Paper Jams:

•  In all printers are rubber rollers, be sure they are cleaned regularly.  Paper dust and other foreign particles collect on these rollers.  Rubbing Alcohol is a common household product that is safe to use on these rollers.  Also use compressed air to blow out any loose debris as well.

•  Moisture in paper is a killer for paper jams.  If you paper has any humidity in it, it is bound to cripple and jam up.

•  If the thickness of paper or stock is too much for your printer try using a thin paper.  Regular paper is normally 20 pounds versus card stock could be over 100 pounds.  The same applies for paper with less than 20 pounds thickness.  Thin paper will crumpled up too.

•  Check to see if the paper in the tray or hold is properly seated.  If you have too much paper in a tray it will jam.  Only put the maximum recommended amount of  paper in a tray that the printer can hold.  If you need more paper more often, you may want to consider buying a printer that can hold more then stressing out your current printer.

•  Sometimes sensors go bad inside of printers causing a misfeed.  You will need a printer repair technician to repair this if this is the problem.

Ink and Toner:

•  If ink is smudging across a page it may be that the ink heads are clogged or have collected dry ink and paper dust around the print heads.  Running the “clean heads” program in your printers software may help fix the problem or you can manually (carefully) clean the heads yourself using rubbing alcohol and a q-tip lightly.

•  If toner is dropping on the page randomly then the waste toner reservoir may be full.  Empty or replace this reservoir.  Some times the wire that transfers the image to the drum needs cleaned.  Normally a professional needs to perform this maintenance, however some newer laser printers come with a self cleaning function that allows the user to pull  a brush back and forth without opening the laser printers internal parts.  Reference your user manual to see if you have this device installed.

•  If your getting a solid line or repeated patterns down  or across a page it could be that your laser toner drum is bad or dirty.  Try doing the suggested cleaning as mention previously with the brush.  However, it could be that the glass panel that you are coping from could be dirty or the white backing (on the underside of the lid of the copier) could be dirty.  If you have a document feeder and you are only getting lines while using the document feeder, check the white roller for cleanliness.

Blank Pages:

•   When printing you are only getting blank pages, you need to first check and see if your toner or ink is out or low.  If your ink and toner levels are fine, then there may be a bigger problem.  Inkjets most common problem is a bad head (the seat where your cartridges sit).  Unless you have a real high dollar inkjet printer, it is more common to just purchase another printer than it is to buy a new printer head.  If you have a laser and your receiving blank pages, the more common issues are a bad drum or faulty wiring.  Have a professional inspect this for you.

Skipped Line on Print (InkJet):

•  Run the alignment program that came with your inkjet and clean the ink cartridges.

•  The print head could be going bad.

•  Bad Cartridges or running out of ink.

Not able to Print or Computer Doesn’t Detect Printer:

•  USB ports are notorious for loosing connections to printers.  Check your printers port settings under the printer properties menu.  Make sure your printer is set to the proper printer port.  If it is USB is should be set to something like Virtual USB Port……  USB ports do fail, more often with drivers (software).  Sometime simply reinstalling your USB drivers fixes the issue.  However, when reinstalling the drivers you may need to reconfigure the printers ports.

•  Restarting your computer is often a simple, but overlooked fix.

•  Unplugging, waiting 30 seconds, and replug your printers USB cable can also be a simple fix.

•  Check and be sure your printer’s power cable is plugged into the wall all the way and is attached firmly to the back of your computer.  Also check your USB cords that they are connected firmly to the back of the computer and the printer.

•  If your printer is attached wireless through a print server, router, or hub, be sure to reboot these devices first before attempting any of the above for the sake of a communication error between the computer and wireless devices.