How To Fix Printer Offline Status?

How To Easily Fix Your Printer If Its Status Is Offline In Windows 10

A printer is an electronic output device that transforms computer data such as graphics or text into human-readable hard copy. Today, the most common ways to connect printers to computer are using USB cables or Wi-Fi connections. Laser, inkjet, and 3D printers are all very popular and can vary in speed, cost, size, and sophistication. Higher resolution printers are usually more costly, whilst cheaper printers often print at up to 600dpi and at a rate of three to six sheets per minute.

Normally, when you wish to print a document, photo, or text/graphic file, the operating system 'spools' it to the printer and it starts printing. For this to happen, the printer must display an 'Online' status. If the printer status is Offline, it will be unable to communicate with the computer or print any documents. This is a common problem and can be very frustrating, especially if you need to print documents quickly or your daily work depends on a printer. There are various reasons for the computer to show an offline printer status, including connectivity issues and powered-down printers.

If your printer displays an offline status, there are a number of solutions available and detailed in the guide below.

printer is showing offline status. how to fix it

Table of Contents:

Check Your Printer Connection

Check the computer-printer connection to see if it is a hardware problem. First, restart the printer by turning it off and on. Wait a short while until it is ready. If the printer is connected to the computer via a USB cable, ensure that the cable is properly connected at both ends. Also check that it is connected to a working USB port on the computer. If it uses a Wi-Fi connection, check if the printer is connected to your computer network. If the printer is connected via hard-wired network, ensure that the cable to the printer is properly connected to the Ethernet port. If there are no physical problems with the cables, USB ports etc., this is likely to be a software problem. Proceed to the next step.

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Run Windows Troubleshooter

As a simple check, run the Windows troubleshooter. Windows includes a number of troubleshooters designed to quickly diagnose and automatically resolve various computer problems. Troubleshooters cannot fix all problems, but they are a good place to start if you encounter a problem with your computer, operating system, or connected devices. To start troubleshooting, go to Settings and type "troubleshoot", select "Troubleshoot" from the list.

run windows troubleshooter step 1

Find "Printer" under "Get up and running", select it and click "Run the troubleshooter". The troubleshooting process will start. Follow the instructions and check if it locates any problems relating to the printer. Restart the computer and see if this solves printer problem.

run windows troubleshooter step 2

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Check Your Printing Settings

If you recently updated the Windows 10 operating system, Windows Update might have changed the printer settings without your knowledge. To check how those particular settings are adjusted, go to Settings and click "Devices".

check your printing settings step 1

Select the "Bluetooth & other devices" section on the left pane, find "Devices and printers" under "Related settings" on the right pane and click it.

check your printing settings step 2

Right-click the printer icon with the green check-mark and select "See what's printing". If your printer does not have a green check-mark, right-click it and select "Set as a default printer". Then, right-click again and select "See what's printing".

check your printing settings step 3

Now, click "Printer" and see if the "Pause Printing" and "Use Printer Offline" options are enabled. If they are enabled, you will see a tick beside both of these options. Click these options to disable them (if enabled). See if this solves the printer problem.

check your printing settings step 4

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Add Second Printer

Try is to add a 'second printer'. This method will only works if your printer is connected to the computer via a network (and not via USB). To proceed, you will need to have the IP address of your printer. You should be able to find it in the printer manual or on the manufacturer's website.

Go to Settings and click "Devices" and select the "Bluetooth & other devices" section on the left pane, find "Devices and printers" under "Related settings" on the right pane and click it. Right-click the default printer and select "Printer properties".

add second printer step 1

In the printer properties window, select the "Ports" tab and then click "Add Port...".

add second printer step 2

If you are unable to click "Add Port..." (the option is greyed out), right-click the printer and select "See what's printing" option from the contextual menu. Click "Printer" and select "Open as administrator". Then, click "Printer" again and select "Poperties". Return to the Ports tab - you should be able to click the "Add Port" button now.

add second printer step 3

In the Printer Ports window, select "Standard TCP/IP Port" and click "New Port...".

add second printer step 4

In the Printer Port Wizard window, click "Next". Ensure that the printer is turned on and the network is connected and configured.

add second printer step 5

Enter the printer's IP address and port name for the desired device. Click "Next". Follow the instructions and see if this solves the printer problem.

add second printer step 6

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Restart The Print Spooler Service

Windows Services (also know as services.msc), are used to modify how Windows services run on your system. These services are responsible for running available programs and managing many system settings and resources. You can modify a service's settings for security, troubleshooting, and performance-related reasons. One of these services is the Print Spooler service. This service spools print jobs and handles interaction with the printer. If you turn this service off, you will not be able to print or see your printers listed on the system. To restart the Print Spooler service, first open the Run dialog box by pressing the Windows key (Win key) + R on the keyboard. You can also open it by typing "run" in Search and clicking the "Run" result. In the Run dialog box, type "services.msc" and press Enter on the keyboard or click "OK".

restart the print spooler service step 1

You will see a list of services. Find the "Print Spooler" service and right-click it. Select "Restart" from the contextual menu. See if this solves the printer status problem.

restart the print spooler service step 2

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Disable VPN

Some users have reported that disabling or disconnecting a VPN (Virtual Private Network) solved the printer status problem. If you are using a VPN  client, we recommend that you to temporarily disable it. Some users have reported that the printer status is shown as "Offline" when they are connected to a VPN. In this case, connect the printer via USB cable or to disconnect from the VPN when printing documents. Alternatively, solve the problem by adjusting the VPN configuration settings and granting yourself 'local network access'.

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Re-add Printer

In this section, we describe how to remove the printer and then add it again. Windows should install the correct drivers for printers and ensure that they are installed correctly. To remove the printer, go to Settings, select "Devices" and click "Devices and printers" in the Bluetooth & other devices section. Right-click the printer and select the "Remove device" option from the contextual menu. Click "Yes" when asked if you are sure you want to remove this device.

re-add printer step 1

Restart the computer (recommended) and then return to Devices settings. Click "Printers & scanners" and then click "Add a printer or scanner". Windows should automatically detect and install the connected printer.

re-add printer step 2

Another way to add (reinstall) your printer to download its drivers from the printer manufacturer's website or do this automatically by using third-party software such as Snappy Driver Installer. You will need a computer with a working Internet connection to download it.

Snappy Driver Installer (SDI) is a powerful free driver updater tool for Windows that can store its entire collection of drivers offline. Having offline drivers gives Snappy Driver Installer the ability to have access to fast driver updates, even if there is no active Internet connection on your computer. Snappy Driver works with both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 10, Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows Vista, and also works with Windows XP. Drivers are downloaded through Snappy Driver Installer in 'driverpacks', which are simply collections (packs) of drivers for various hardware such as sound devices, video cards, network adapters, etc. It can also show duplicate drivers and invalid drivers. It separates the updates that require you to restart your computer so that they are easier to distinguish. You can download Snappy Driver Installer from here. 

re-add printer step 3

We hope that one of these solutions solves your offline printer status problem. If you know of another method that solved the problem, please share it with us by leaving a comment in the section below.

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Video Showing How To Fix Printer Offline Status:

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About the author:

Tomas Meskauskas

I am passionate about computer security and technology. I have an experience of 10 years working in various companies related to computer technical issue solving and Internet security. I have been working as an editor for pcrisk.com since 2010. Follow me on Twitter to stay informed about the latest tech news or online security threats. Contact Tomas Meskauskas.

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