Printer Offline? 10 Fixes to Get It Back Online in Windows 10


Printers are certainly not a new technology, so you’d think they’d be problem-free by now. Sadly, that’s not the case. One issue you might encounter is when your printer says it’s offline in Windows 10.

Any good modern printer has the ability to connect to your computer via Ethernet or Wi-Fi. However, what can you do when you get the dreaded “printer offline” status error? How do you turn your printer back online?

We’re going to provide troubleshooting steps to help solve the printer offline error.

1. Check the Computer and Printer Connection

First things first: check all the printer cables. Ensure they are securely plugged into both the printer and the computer.

Second, check that your network is working. If you are having trouble connecting to the internet, it’s not a problem localized to the printer. In which case, our guide on how to fix Windows 10 Wi-Fi problems will be handy.

Third, if possible, use a different method for connecting your computer to the printer. If you’re using Wi-Fi, switch to Ethernet, and vice versa.

2. Restart the Printer and Computer

Power cycling is the act of turning something off and on again. It’s the age-old tech advice, but you’d be surprised how often it works.

First, turn your computer and printer off. Then unplug the printer’s power cable, wait 30 seconds, and plug it back in. Wait again for the printer to fully boot up—it won’t be returning from standby, so it might take longer than usual.

Once the printer is turned on, switch your computer back on and see if the printer is now online.

3. Run the Printer Troubleshooter

printer troubleshooter windows 10

Windows 10 includes a number of troubleshooters that aim to detect and automatically resolve any issues. There is a printer troubleshooter that you can run and hope it fixes the printer offline error.

Press Windows key + I to open Settings and click Devices > Printers & scanners. On the right-hand menu, beneath Related settings, click Run the troubleshooter.

The troubleshooter will then open and run through a series of checks. If it encounters any problems, it will tell you what they are and the steps taken to resolve them. Even if it doesn’t find any issue, you can click View detailed information to get a breakdown.

4. Disable “Use Printer Offline” Mode

use printer offline

You should check that the “Use Printer Offline” mode isn’t enabled. You may have done this accidentally or your printer or some software may have turned it on.

Press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Devices > Printers & scanners. Select your printer and click Open queue. Click Printer on the toolbar and ensure Use Printer Offline doesn’t have a tick next to it. If it does, click it to disable this.

5. Clear the Print Queue

printer cancel all documents

A clogged print queue can be the cause of many issues, not least the printer offline error.

To clear the print queue, press Windows key + I to open Settings, go to Devices > Printers & scanners, select your printer, and click Open queue.

On the top toolbar, go to Printer > Cancel All Documents.

6. Set the Printer as Default

set printer as default

Windows can automatically set the last printer you used as your default printer. This can be helpful, but it might be the reason why the printer you want to use is offline.

To resolve this, press Windows key + I to open Settings, click Devices > Printers & scanners, select your printer, and click Open queue.

Click Printer on the top toolbar and click Set As Default Printer. You might see a message that reads: “Setting this printer as default means that Windows will stop managing your default printer.” If you do, click OK.

If you ever want to enable this feature again, return to the Printers & scanners page and tick Allow Windows to manage my default printer.

7. Restart the Print Spooler Service

print spooler service

The print spooler is a service that handles interaction with the printer. Restarting this service can get your printer back online.

Open the Start menu, search for Services, and open the relevant app. Scroll down until you see Print Spooler in the Name column. When you find it, right click it and click Restart.

8. Update the Printer Drivers

device manager update driver

If you don’t have a problem with your computer, it isn’t necessary to update your drivers. However, sometimes you do need to find and replace outdated drivers, and the printer offline is one such situation where updating the drivers could help.

To do this, press Windows key + X and select Device Manager. In the new window, double click the Printers category. Right click your printer and click Update driver.

If no updates are found, double check the printer manufacturer’s website (be it HP, Canon, Brother, or whoever).

9. Use the Printer Software

Some printer manufacturers have their own software to help you manage and troubleshoot your printer. If this is the case, you should install the software (your printer may have come with a CD that has the software, otherwise find it on their website).

You can check if you already have it installed. Press Windows key + I to open Settings. Click Devices > Printers & scanners, select your printer, and click Manage. You will see a button that says Open printer app if the software is installed.

Open the software and check for any section that lets you restart, troubleshoot, or fix the printer.

10. Remove and Reinstall the Printer

remove printer device

If all else fails, you can remove the printer from your computer and then add it back.

To do this, press Windows key + I to open Settings. Go to Devices > Printers & scanners. Select your printer, click Remove device, then click Yes.

Next, click Add a printer or scanner. Follow the wizard through to connect the printer back to your computer.

Get a New Printer With Cheap Ink

Hopefully, you have solved the printer offline issue and your printer is now back up and running. If not, try contacting the manufacturer for further support.

If you decide you want a new printer entirely, check out our recommendations for great printers with cheap ink.

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