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Troubleshooting Connectivity and Quality Issues with HP Printers, Part 1
Fast, error-free printing remains a staple of business productivity, even with the rise of newer technologies such as cloud storage and document collaboration that would seem to reduce long-term demand for paper. A 2014 white paper from Iron Mountain revealed that the ideal of a "paperless office" was still just that - a wish rather than the reality on the ground for most organizations.
Surveying 600 senior business executives, Iron Mountain's report found that about one-third of the respondents' businesses were actually increasing their paper usage over time. Moreover, 77 percent of their invoices that arrived as PDFs were eventually printed, while only 45 percent of their scanned paper documents were created digitally.
Printers are prone to many possible connectivity and performance issues.
Why is printing still so entrenched in everyday workflows? There are many forces at play, including large volumes of paper-based legacy records, the need for physical signatures on certain types of documents and general unawareness of the benefits of paper usage reduction.
Another thing to consider is the difficulty of troubleshooting some common issues with office devices such as HP printers from your HP reseller. These problems can result in having to redo paper-intensive printing jobs or sink more money into repairs, toner, etc. Let's look at some workarounds for these predicaments.
Understanding the Basics of HP Print and Scan Doctor
Like pantibiotics for many ailments, the HP Print and Scan Doctor is your first line of defense against a wide range of troubles related to printing and scanning. Print and Scan Doctor is free to download here, and it is available for printers supported on Microsoft Windows XP and later. For tips for Apple OS X, check out the first expandable subhead on this page.
Print and Scan Doctor combines the features of legacy tools such as Print Diagnostic Utility and Network Diagnostic Utility. It is especially useful for uncovering incompatible and missing components as well as fixing connectivity issues with networked printers.
HP has provided a helpful video guide to installation here. If you run into other issues with your printer or need to download absent drivers and software, go to the Customer Support page and enter your model number to find the relevant solution.
Connectivity Issues in Depth
The most common printer connections are done via wireless, wired Ethernet and USB. Here are some things to keep in mind when encountering roadblocks with each one:
Ensure that the printer and the source device are connected to the same SSID. Also, use the 2.4 GHz band on your router, since HP printers do not support the 5 GHz one. If possible, restart your router, printer and computer to rule out any simple error possibilities.
Performing manual setup may also be useful here. Bypass the wizards that automatically connect your printer and instead enter the network and password details by hand. Entering an IP address manually may also help.
Troubleshooting is a bit easier with a wired Ethernet connection. Above all, check to see that you have a cable that is in good shape and that is, in fact, an actual Ethernet cable. Plugging in a phone cable instead is a common error, due to its similar shape.
Unplug and re-plug in the cable if needed. Check all light indicators on the printer and around the Ethernet port, including the typical orange blinking indicating normal Ethernet activity.
Try out different cables or ports to make sure that the issue isn't with a particular one. Ensure that the cable is less than three meters long.
You may also want to try disconnecting other USB devices from your PC so that there's enough power for the printer to be detected. Bypassing a docking station or hub for a direct connection is another possible solution to USB troubles.
Navigating firewall issues
Firewall policies can be problematic for wireless connections in particular. You will want to configure them to accept connections from HP printer services during setup and afterward, so that the printer can be found on the network.
Furthermore, you can use Print and Scan Doctor to help with firewall issues. Go to Network -> Troubleshoot Firewalls and follow the instructions.
We will look at a few other HP printing tips in the second part of this series. We will mainly dive into particular issues with scanning and print quality.