Keeping your printer operating smoothly and free from technical bugs can seem like an ongoing battle, and, with the key role they play in the office, when things go wrong with them it can be a miniature crisis. Here are some suggestions for how to arm yourself pre-emptively against the sea of troubles that can crop up with the modern printer.
Clean your printer heads and cartridges
Occasionally, you will see white lines streaking across your text when printing a document, even if the cartridges are full. This usually means that the printer heads or cartridges are clogged with dust, toner or other debris and have to be cleaned up. Some models are self-cleaning with the press of a few buttons, but for others you will need to open up the machine and handle it manually. You can do this with a small vacuum, or in some cases with a cotton swab and some purified water (do check the manual carefully to see if it's okay to get water on the part you're cleaning). Avoid using compressed air canisters, as these can just blow the pollution around the printer rather than removing it.
Be patient with mechanical errors
Printers never respond well to force. If and when paper jams happen, check the manual to see the best way of getting the paper out. Often, the best method is, using both hands, pull the jammed paper out of the printer slowly. This way you'll be able to prevent any ripped paper from being left behind and avoid damage to the internal parts of the printer. Another way to prevent jams is by ensuring the paper you put into the printer isn't slightly ripped, crumpled or stuck together. You should also make sure that the tray isn't overfilled.
Keep your software up to date
As printers become expected to take on more and more complex jobs, they in themselves become more elaborate machines. Software updates, while a chore, keep the printer free from bugs and make sure that all the devices connected to it are communicating correctly. Outdated drivers can lead to print jobs coming out with strange dimensions, incorrect margins and oddly sized text.
Give the printer a happy home
One lesser known issue that can cause printers to degrade faster than usual is where they are placed. Both laser and ink jet printers can suffer problems when exposed to too much heat and direct sunlight, so keep them in a cool and shady spot if possible.
Cisco Gold Partner, The Copy Cat Group, recertified for the year 2018.
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