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While they're generally very reliable, even in the most demanding of environments, HP printers are still problematic from time to time. And we all know printers fail at the most inopportune moments. For an IT support professional, it's critical to know how to fix the most common problems associated with these printers.

I've identified 10 problems you can expect to run into most often when dealing with an HP printer, and I've included suggestions on fixing them.

Paper jams Among the most common problems with any make of printer are paper jams. A printer will jam for any number of reasons: While cleaning the printer periodically and using the correct paper type are easy fixes, roller replacement can be a difficult job depending on the model of HP printer.

For some HP printers, the rollers are easily accessible, but you'll need to completely tear down other models to remove the rollers. Regardless of the cause, when removing a paper jam, always pull the paper in the direction of the paper path, because pulling it backwards can severely damage the printer. Certain HP printers are more susceptible to paper jams than others.

In my experience, any printer that holds the paper vertically and then pulls it down through the printer invariably ends up having paper jam problems. These models aren't designed for heavy use, but many organizations make use of them on individual systems and should be aware of this flaw. In addition, some people have trouble with the newer HP series printers' paper pickup rollers—which is odd, because the older and series HP printers are considered rock solid and don't seem to have any trouble with their pickup rollers.

Some or all of the printing on the page is faded A faded print image is normally the result of one of three conditions: The printer is getting low on toner, the print density is set too low, or Economode printing is turned on.

For the last two settings, a printer self-test typically a separate button on the printer will show what the current settings are. If the toner is low, simply removing the cartridge and shaking it to redistribute the toner more evenly can temporarily resolve the problem until you can replace the cartridge. Ghosting Ghosting is a condition where the image prints properly, but a much lighter copy of the image also prints elsewhere.

This can be due to a problem with the power outlet that is supplying power to the printer. Check the power outlet by plugging in a different printer to see if the same results occur. Ghosting can also be caused when consumable printer parts such as the drum or imaging kit are near the end of their life.

All of the consumable parts in a printer are rated for a certain number of pages. Once a printer gets near that magic number, you'll need to replace those parts to eliminate ghosting. Toner smears or does not stay on the paper If words and images come off the paper when a hand is run across them, there are a few possible problems.

First, the fuser assembly may be damaged or at the end of its life. The solution is to replace the fuser assembly. Repairing a fuser assembly is generally not recommended because the fuser is considered a consumable printer part and not worth the time or effort to fix.

Then you'll know if the warnings are legit or premature, and have a better idea of how long to wait until you really need to replace that ink. If you're starting a large and important print job, though, you may want to err on the side of caution and change the relevant ink tank s anyway.

I can't print from my mobile device to my printer. Even if your printer is old or a non-Wi-Fi model, you probably can print from a phone or tablet to it. Exactly what you'll be able to print depends on your particular situation.

Nearly all major printer makers have released apps so that iPhone, iPad, Android, and in some cases Windows Phone and BlackBerry users can print from their devices to that manufacturer's recent models, and some third-party apps let you print to a wider range of printers.

Many manufacturers' and third-party apps offer a wider choice of print options than AirPrint, and many can initiate scans as well. You can print to a non- Wi-Fi printer, as long as your network has a wireless access point, by using one of the programs that requires you to install a utility on a networked computer. Printopia requires a Mac, while Presto! These solutions tend to be limited to printing from a select set of apps. Some new wireless printers support printing via Wi-Fi Direct, a protocol that lets two compatible devices make a direct wireless connection without needing a wireless access point.

Some HP and Kodak printers support printing via email. In either case, your printer gets assigned an email address, and you can email attached documents to it, and the printer will automatically print them out.

Unlike the other methods here, this doesn't require a WiFi link, only an Internet connection. Wi-Fi printing takes too long. Placing your printer very close to your router should increase throughput and reduce printing time, but there are other ways to improve Wi-Fi performance while retaining the flexibility of printer placement that wireless printing promises. Be sure your router is adequate—it should support You could add a wireless extender or a repeater to increase performance if need be.

Tech for Home Projects. As Analyst for printers, scanners, and projectors, Tony Hoffman tests and reviews these products and provides news coverage for these categories. Tony has worked at PC Magazine since , first as a Staff Editor, then as Reviews Editor, and more recently as Managing Editor for the printers, scanners, and projectors team. In addition to editing,

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