II. Precautions: Printer Security

  1. Change all printer default passwords (not secure, published on the web)
  2. Stick to private, non-routable IP Addresses for printers (default configuration)
  3. Limit printer administration to authorized administrators
  4. Limit printer use to authenticated users
  5. Configure printer to regularly delete/purge its spool cache
    1. Printer hard drive otherwise retains sensitive document images

III. Types: Devices

  1. Multifunction Printer or Device (MFP or MFD)
    1. Able to print, copy, scan, fax from network (typically ethernet or wireless)
    2. Use the MFP manufacturer's specific driver
    3. Configuration typically via network (or by intergrated screen display)
    4. Modern network printers typically have their own integrated print server (spools/stores jobs)
      1. Older printers lacked their own server, and required a separate integrated spooling device (ISD) for sharing
      2. Larger organizations will often designate a server to manage print jobs (built-in Windows Server functionality)
  2. Laser printer
    1. High quality grayscale and color printing via laser
    2. Toner cartridge contains photoreceptor drum
    3. Photoreceptor is activated by laser within the printer chassis
    4. Fuser bonds toner to the paper
    5. Dry toner powder is a health hazard (return to manufacturer for disposal, do not refill)
    6. Primarily on network via ethernet
  3. Inkjet printer
    1. Ink droplets, dispensed from color-specific cartridges applied to matte or glossy paper
    2. Printers are inexpensive, but the actual inks can be expensive to maintain
  4. Dot Matrix (Ink Jet) Printer
    1. Very old, first generation printers following typewriters
    2. Print head impacts paper through a ribbon
    3. Paper lined with holes is tractor fed through the printer, line-by-line
  5. Thermal printer
    1. Dot-matrix type printers imprint paper via head, and are fed by rollers (not tractor fed)
    2. Often used to generate receipts

IV. Types: Remote and cloud printing options

  1. Internet Printing Protocol (IPP)
    1. Protocol for discoverable printers over Http/IP
    2. Allows printing from even non-networked devices
  2. Apple AirPrint or Bonjour
  3. Google Cloud Print
  4. Virtual Private Network (VPN) printing

V. Approach: Printer Maintenance

  1. Keep replacement toner cartridges, ink cartridges, paper on hand
  2. Ink jet printers requires periodic calibration and print head cleaning (using included software); start by printing test pages
  3. Review printer status messages periodically
    1. Networked printers may be reviewed via web interface
    2. Some printers have functionality to email warning messages to administrator
  4. Tools
    1. Compressed air (do not use with loose toner - hazardous)
    2. Printer Maintenance Kit (manufacturer and model specific)
      1. Laser printer maintenance kits are available for most printers
      2. Use to replace most commonly worn parts, except toner
    3. Toner vaccuum (for toner spills which are toxic, use protective clothing, gloves, mask)
  5. Windows Command-line
    1. Net
      1. Net stop spooler
      2. Net start spooler

VI. Differential Diagnosis: Printer Troubleshooting - Quality

  1. Printing Streaks
    1. Low toner (replace toner)
    2. Dirty rollers (clean with maintenance kit)
    3. Dirty print nozzles (printer software cleans nozzles)
  2. Faded prints
    1. Toner saving enabled (change printer properties to disable)
    2. Clogged print nozzles (replace ink bottles)
  3. Ghost image (duplicate image offset on the printout)
    1. Imaging drum wiper blade problem in the laser cartridge (replace the toner cartridge)
    2. Fuser problem (replace fuser with one from the laser maintenance kit)
  4. Toner not fused to the paper (incomplete text on page)
    1. Fuser problem (replace fuser with one from the laser maintenance kit)
  5. Vertical lines on page
    1. Laser toner cartridge issue (replace toner cartridge)
    2. Inkjet rollers have loose ink (clean the ink bottles, rollers)
  6. Nonsense characters are printed
    1. Printer driver dysfunction (confirm correct printer driver version and reinstall, update or rollback driver)
    2. Connection problem (cable or port)
      1. Try printing via direct connection from another computer (confirms a non-printer issue)
  7. Wrong print color
    1. Color Toner low or empty
    2. Ink Cartridge low, empty or clogged print nozzle
  8. Blank pages are printed
    1. Toner sealing tape still attached after installation
    2. Clogged print nozzles

VII. Differential Diagnosis: Printer Troubleshooting - Paper Feeding

  1. Creased Paper
    1. Paper guides pinching paper (check that width between guides is adequate for paper size)
    2. Paper too wide or narrow for guides
  2. Paper not feeding
    1. Worn pickup rollers (replace rollers with those in laser maintenance kit)
  3. Frequent paper jams
    1. Paper too thick for paper path (use thinner paper or load one page at a time)
    2. Paper damp, creased or otherwise damaged (remove from paper stack)
    3. Paper stuck together (ruffle paper on all sides before loading)

VIII. Differential Diagnosis: Printer Troubleshooting - Connectivity and Permissions

  1. No connectivity
    1. Cable disconnected or USB port dysfunction
      1. Check connections and try a different port
      2. Reboot system and printer
    2. Network connection configuration issue
      1. Check for valid IP Address on the printer display
      2. Confirm valid switch connection and on the same subnet as the computer needing access
  2. Unable to install printer
    1. Insufficient privelege (requires administrator rights)
  3. Access denied print error
    1. Insufficent Network Permissions (modify group permissions or add user to group that has permissions)
  4. Printer queue frozen
    1. Offline printer (check printer settings on the device)
    2. Check printer queue (unpause, clear)

IX. Differential Diagnosis: Printer Troubleshooting - Miscellaneous

  1. Printer low memory error
    1. Lengthy or complex documents (break-up documents or print in lower resolution)
    2. Printer RAM too low (increase RAM installed on printer)
  2. Printer will not print
    1. Laser printer Toner cartridge problem
    2. Ink jet printer ink cartridges empty
    3. Printer offline (check web interface)
    4. Printer ports or cables problems
  3. Printer display off
    1. Printer is off or in sleep mode
    2. Display defective

X. References

  1. Warner (2015) CompTIA A+, Pluralsight

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