How to printer is in an error state: Comprehensive Troubleshooting Guide

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Printers have become an integral part of both personal and professional settings, making it exceptionally frustrating when they encounter errors that disrupt their functionality. The “printer is in an error state” issue is a common problem that many users encounter. This article aims to provide a comprehensive guide on how to troubleshoot and resolve this error, allowing you to get your printer back up and running without unnecessary hassle.

Understanding the “Printer in Error State”

The “Printer in Error State” error message can manifest in different ways, but it essentially means that the printer is unable to perform printing tasks due to an underlying issue. This could range from connectivity problems to software conflicts or even hardware malfunctions. The error often results in a non-responsive printer that fails to execute print commands from connected devices.

Troubleshooting Steps

Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you fix a printer in error state:

Step 1: Check Connections

The first thing you should do is ensure that all connections are secure. If you’re using a wired connection, ensure that the USB cable is properly connected to both the printer and the computer. If it’s a wireless connection, check that both the printer and the computer are connected to the same network. Sometimes, connection issues can trigger the error state.

Step 2: Restart Your Printer and Computer

Simple as it sounds, a restart can often resolve minor glitches. Turn off your printer and computer, wait for a few seconds, and then turn them back on. This can refresh the system and clear any temporary issues that might be causing the error state.

Step 3: Update or Reinstall Drivers

Outdated or corrupt printer drivers can lead to communication problems between your printer and computer. Visit the printer manufacturer’s website and download the latest drivers for your printer model. If you suspect your current drivers are causing the error, uninstall them first and then install the new drivers.

Step 4: Clear Print Queue

An overloaded print queue can overwhelm the printer’s memory, leading to the error state. Open the print queue on your computer and cancel or remove any pending print jobs. This can alleviate the load and potentially resolve the issue.

Step 5: Check for Paper Jams or Hardware Issues

Sometimes, a simple paper jam can put your printer in an error state. Open up the printer’s covers and inspect for any paper jams or obstructions. Additionally, ensure that ink or toner cartridges are properly seated, and there are no visible hardware issues.

Step 6: Run Troubleshooters

Both Windows and macOS offer built-in troubleshooters that can detect and fix common printer-related problems. These tools can be found in the settings or control panel sections of your operating system. Run the troubleshooters and follow any recommended solutions.

Step 7: Disable Conflicting Software

Certain software applications can conflict with printer functionality. Temporarily disable or uninstall any recently installed software that might be causing issues. Test the printer after each change to identify the problematic application.

Step 8: Reset the Print Spooler

The Print Spooler is a service that manages print jobs in Windows. Sometimes, restarting this service can resolve issues related to the error state. Open the Run dialog (Windows key + R), type “services.msc,” locate the Print Spooler service, and restart it.

Step 9: Check for Firmware Updates

Printer firmware updates can provide fixes for various bugs and issues. Visit the printer manufacturer’s website to check if there are any available firmware updates for your printer model.

Step 10: Contact Customer Support

If you’ve tried all the steps above and the printer is still in error state, it might be time to reach out to customer support. They can provide specialized assistance based on your printer’s make and model, and guide you through more advanced troubleshooting steps.

Preventive Measures

Preventing the “Printer in Error State” issue is equally important. Here are some preventive measures to consider:

  1. Regular Maintenance: Clean your printer regularly to prevent dust buildup, which can lead to hardware issues.

  2. Quality Supplies: Always use genuine ink or toner cartridges recommended by the manufacturer to avoid compatibility issues.

  3. Software Updates: Keep your operating system and printer drivers up to date to ensure optimal compatibility and performance.

  4. Paper Handling: Load paper correctly and avoid overloading the paper tray to prevent paper jams.


Encountering the “Printer in Error State” issue can be frustrating, but with the right approach, it’s usually fixable. By following the troubleshooting steps outlined in this guide, you can identify the root cause of the error and take appropriate measures to resolve it. Remember that regular maintenance, software updates, and cautious paper handling can help prevent such issues in the future, ensuring a smooth printing experience.