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Printer Mania

Friday, January 26th, 2007 by | Filed Under: Printing Help
 
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Q:
Lately, whenever I start up my computer, it’s as if something has taken over my printer, because it starts to spit out almost blank pieces of paper. Some of them have little special characters on them, but either way, why does it do this? And more importantly, how can I make it stop? Please help me!

A:
So, it sounds like your printer has been “kidnapped” by aliens. Am I right? Well, that may be taking things a little too far, but I bet that’s how it feels sometimes. For one thing, it’s a mystery as to why this is happening in the first place, but secondly, it’s wasting a lot of your printer paper! We just can’t have that, now can we? No, sir! So, let’s delve a little more into why this might be happening.

It’s most likely that your computer and your printer just aren’t communicating properly. Even though your computer has not told your printer to print, it still does what it wants to do. So, you end up with several pages of odd looking characters, hearts, smilies and just plain garbage that you don’t want!

The reason for this miscommunication goes back to when you first started a print job. When you send a document (or whatever you’re printing) to the printer, it is given instructions for a special font or code file, which then translates the information from your document to come out in a readable manner. So, I want you to think back now and see if you can remember a time when you may have interrupted a print job by suddenly turning off the printer or even your computer. I bet you have that moment in time in your mind right now, don’t you?!

When you happen to stop the flow of the print job, the printer still goes on to print out the “raw text” from your document, but the results from that are never pretty. When you stopped the printing, the printer lost its code file and basically, had nothing else to do but print out a bunch of gibberish that you just can’t understand. It will then continue to do that until you stop it.

So, what can you do to make this madness end? Well, the first thing you should do is check for any queued print jobs. If there are any, there should be a printer icon in your taskbar. It may have a question mark on it, because it doesn’t know what to do next. Double click that icon and the printer status box will open. Right click on any pending print jobs and choose Delete to cancel them completely. You can also click on the Print file and choose Cancel All Documents. (By the way, make sure your printer is turned off when you do this part).

Now, you can turn your printer back on and print out a test page to make sure it’s working properly. If you’re still not satisfied, the next best thing to do is uninstall your printer software and try redoing it. You can uninstall it by going to Start, Control Panel, Add/Remove Programs and find your printer in the list that comes up. Click on the Remove button and you’ll be all set. Next, be sure you restart your computer and then start all over by reinstalling the printer software that came with your printer when you bought it.

Now, if you’re still having trouble after you do all of that, you may need to contact some further help. There could be a basic hardware problem or there could be some trouble that lies even further than that. Look in your printer’s manual and find a customer support telephone number. Call it! The manufacturers know their printers the best and they should be able to help you get the problem solved for good.

After that, you can live a printer gibberish free life. Yes!

~ Erin

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