Last week a long-time computer client texted me with a problem on their HP laptop. It has Microsoft Windows 7 as its operating system and is connected to their HP inkjet printer via a USB cable. My client was printing reports for work and the first one was perfect. They sent the second one thinking they were home free, but nothing came out of the printer and no errors on the computer. I arrived on-site the next day and began interviewing my client. They did a HP test page from the printer’s front control panel so I knew the printer mechanics were alright. I was going to completely power-down the printer and disconnect the electrical power and my client already did this so I deferred.
I then looked at the Windows printer in Control panel and found the print job in the queue from last night. It wouldn’t let me restart it, or pause it and the status was “Printing”. It really wasn’t, but Windows thought it was. I killed the print job and tried sending a test page and the job went to the queue but nothing materialized on the printer. I removed the printer from the Windows Printer settings and then let Windows search for the HP plug-n-play printer again. The printer was found and installed by Windows. We had the same issues again where some print jobs worked and others didn’t so I had a hunch it might be the Windows driver causing the problem. I went into the printer control panel and played with the driver settings. All the details escape me now, but it was related to searching Windows updates. It never gives the version number of the current driver and I wish it did. After several minutes of searching, the driver update was complete and print jobs printed as expected. A follow up text to my client the next day verified the printer was working and it must have been a driver problem.