How to Avoid PC Printer Problems

Understanding Printer drivers

A printer driver is software that controls the operation of the printer. It converts the data from the computer to a format that is understood by the printer. The printer driver passes data that is to be printed, to the printer. The printer driver has to be installed for the printer to work. The printer driver can also be replaced if there are the latest versions of the driver available. You can download a printer driver from the printer’s manufacturer site.

Simple Printer Maintenance

Periodic checking of the printer is called preventive maintenance. It includes maintenance of printers, systems and modems. Preventive maintenance ensures that a printer will reach its greatest potential.

Dot matrix printers

  1. Do not place any electronic items close to the printer.
  2. Do not use bad quality ribbons. These ribbons may use ink which needs lubricants or uses an acid that can hurt the print head over the time.
  3. Do not turn the platter head using the knob when the printer is ON. This can damage the stepper motor.
  4. Use the printer regularly. If it is not used then the printer ribbons will dry out.

It is economical to get the standard spares from the local electronic stores rather than ordering it by part number from the printer’s manufacturer.

Inkjet printers

  1. Turn OFF the printer before cleaning. Never spray cleaner on the printer itself.
  2. Use hand blower or a vacuum cleaner to remove dust inside the printer.
  3. Remove the tape on the ink cartridge before inserting it in the cartridge cradle.
  4. Replace the ink cartridge if the print out appears faded.
  5. Clean the face of the ink cartridge using a clean swab dipped in isopropyl alcohol.
  6. Use a swab that has isopropyl alcohol and rub on the underside of the cartridge cradle to clean it.
  7. Ensure that the ink cartridge is secure in the cartridge cradle before placing it in the printer.
  8. Do not switch ON and OFF the printer very frequently which results into nozzle clogging.
  9. Proper shutdown of the printer helps capping off the nozzles properly without drying the residual ink there.

Laser printers

  1. Turn OFF the printer before cleaning.
  2. Never spray cleaner on the printer itself.
  3. Use a lint free dry cloth for cleaning the inside of the printer and the paper feed guide.
  4. If toner gets on clothing, wipe with a dry cloth and then wash in cold water.
  5. Store toner in a cool, dry place as it is sensitive to changes in temperature, humidity.
  6. Clean the corona wire and the roller every time when changing the print toner.
  7. Refilled toner, cartridges work fine and save money, as long as they have only been refilled once. After that, they can become unreliable.
  8. Do not use envelopes and address labels in laser printers. If the glue melts during fusion, there could be expensive damage.
  9. Do not expose the filled toner to the sunlight as the photoreceptor drum inside it is sensitive to light and can be damaged.

Printer driver does not function properly

The printer driver can cause many printing problems. These problems are very difficult to detect and trace. This is because the printer driver is very complex software. A problematic printer driver can cause some fonts or formats to cause errors while printing, while others work fine. Some of the possible symptoms are:

  1. Appearance of block boxes all over the print out.
  2. Formation of nonsensical characters in the print out.
  3. The application crashes as the printing progresses.
  4. Missing characters or lines in a printout

Junk or unknown characters printout.

  1. Update the printer driver. For this, contact the printer manufacturer or download the driver from their site.
  2. If an uploaded driver is not available, try to find a printer driver that is compatible with the printer.
  3. Install the new printer driver.

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