How to Set or Make Printer Online in Windows 8 and 8.1, Offline Too

Are you new to Windows 8 or Windows 8.1?, have you started using it directly from Windows XP or Vista?, then you might be wondering how to make a printer online from offline state in Windows 8 or 8.1. Usually printers go offline due to network or USB cable connectivity issues, paper jam, out of paper or any other printer hardware faults. Mostly it will come back online mode automatically when these issues are fixed, but sometimes you need to make a printer online manually in Windows 8 or 8.1.

Making a printer online in Windows 8 or 8.1 is not like how we did in earlier Operating Systems XP, Vista (except Windows 7) by right clicking it and making online. Microsoft changed the way of making a printer online from offline in Windows 7 and latest Operating Systems, we have already covered here how to make printer online in Windows 7.

Windows 8 printers

How to Set/Make Printer Online in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

1) Go to control panel.

Press Windows Key with I ( WIN+I) or by using charm bar or else use these ways to reach control panel from this guide.

2) Click on Devices and Printers in Large or Small icons view of control panel.

Untitled3) Now you will be seeing the offline printer (slightly faded). Right click on it and select ‘See what’s printing’.

see whats printing in windows 8

If the printer is in offline state you would be seeing the tick mark front of ‘Use Printer Offline’. Remove the tick mentioned below and wait for some time printer to come online and resume printing.

Remove offiline

If the printer comes online and goes offline again, that could be due to real connectivity or hardware issue on the printer. Better you fix those issues and restart the printer.

If It Is A Network Printer

If the printer still shows offline, then you need to check the settings of the computer where the printer is attached (if it is a network printer for you). The following settings need to be checked;

1) File and Printer sharing settings

2) Make sure the Network Discovery is turned on and Network sharing services are running

3) Check the firewall and Antivirus/network protection software. These programs might block the incoming connection to shared printer. You can find more details about these steps here.

If it is a network printer, you can find out the IP of the printer and check the communication. Since Windows 8 is something different from earlier Operating Systems, you can check here how to close metro apps.

Restart The Spooler Service

Sometimes this method also helps in bringing back the offline printer to online mode in Windows 8.1. Instead of restarting the computer, you can stop and start the print spooler service (which is one of the Windows service). Sysprobs already published a detailed guide about restarting the print spooler in GUI of Windows 8.1 easily which can be done by any users with administrative rights. Read the guide here.

print spooler service start on Windows 8.1

I hope this small guide would be useful to make printer online from offline and vice versa in Windows 8 and 8.1.


    • Raj says

      Sometimes the printer will show offline in disabled mode and you will not be able to change the status. If you have this problem then click the Troubleshoot menu to fix the issues in the printer.

  1. This is says

    completely worthless. Checking that or unchecking it makes no difference for a network printer. Perpetually offline, not a hardware issue (works perfectly with other computers).

        • Denis says

          I totally agree as well, if windows loses connection with the printer it will Never connect again on it’s own… Ever….

          • IHate Microsoft says

            I totally have the same problem. Windows 8 SUCKS! Why does it take my printer offline in the first place and then make it impossible to figure out how to fix it. It still prints from my ipad.

  2. Kim says

    My pull down box, does not show “Use Printer Offline” line. How do I do it without this box?

  3. says

    @Kim you have to choose the option ”run as administrator” to see the printer offline option. Anyway didn’t work for me, trying to find another solution.. I really hate Windows 8.

  4. Phil says

    When I try to uncheck ‘Use offline’ nothing happens and a notice comes up – “error processing command”

  5. deborah says

    I think windows 8 and 8.1 should not be in service until they know the answers to troubleshooting these issues. I have called to resolve these issues and they don’t even know. Stop trying to move so fast with updates until you really know their ins and outs.

  6. paul says

    The suggestion to check the “Off Line” does not work. Windows 8 keeps loosing the printer, it must be a software problem, it is worse since 8.1 came on line.


  7. Sue says

    WOW Thank you so much!! I’ve had this offline issue for ages and operated my printer via cable. Have just changed router and managed to get it back on line again. But then suddenly it went off line and I thought Oh No! not again!! Google brought me to you, and I hadn’t tried this before and it worked!! :-) I’m now one happy printer again. The amount of time I had previously spent on this was obscene — all for a few seconds of mouse clicking. I don’t know why Windows decided to “hide” this instruction but I’m so glad I’ve found it again. Thanks again

  8. Natalie says

    I’ve followed these steps and they’ve worked before…weeks later printer wouldn’t come back on again, so I find these same instructions again – and now it won’t work. I’ve tried to print the same document probably 10 times.

    I know we all agree…Windows 8 is awful. Can’t I just have Microsoft 2010 back?

  9. Chris Mifsud says

    Hi there

    The only way i found to be able to make the printer online is that before printing a document, i restart the print spooler service.

    Run Command (window + R ) >> services.msc

    Find print spooler and restart the service. Print and then it will put it back to offline, but at least you manage to print

  10. L says

    Restarting the Print Spooler service on Windows 8.1 worked for me. I might make a batch file that does this automatically that will be run when the computer boots up.

  11. Jana says

    I was thinking it was the last windows update that broke the printing function, and then come here and find out others have been dealing with the same thing. Here’s what happened when I stopped the print spooler and restarted it: The check boxes for offline and connecting to the printer disappeared. I haven’t logged off and am still signed in as admin, so what happened there?

  12. Dave Gilbert says

    I removed the printer and added it again. It re-installed and came back on line. Simples

  13. JRT says

    In Windows 8.1 —

    Will not kick a network printer out of standby. 8.1 marks the printer as “turned off” even though I physically punched the wake-up. I cannot get it to reconnect with the printer (connect is grayed out in the printer queue window) and short of a reboot, nothing works!

  14. Bill C says

    Windows 8.1 is very interesting. I got to “print” and the document prints. Then I get a message that the item did not print and there are 30 items in queue. Lot’s of f un.

    • Beverly McCormick says

      I have windows 8.1. I used the radio button in the printer dialogue box to put it off line and now it does not work as a toggle switch to get it back on line. When I follow the instructions here the printer icon does not change. It stays gray and the trouble shooter “cannot complete the action”. It reports an error code as 0x803C010B. This printer gave me no trouble like this before. BUT…

      This is in response to someone who has piled up 12 documents in the printer and cannot print or delete them.
      My problem was often getting documents stuck in the Spooler. The only way I could get the printer to work was to deleted all of the documents. The ONLY way I could do that is as follows:
      Right click the computer icon, left click “Manage”, left click “Services and Applications” in the bottom left column. Double left click “Services” in the top middle column. Scroll down and single right click “Print Spooler”. In the upper left choose “Stop” then “Start”. That should delete the documents and restart the Spooler. When the printer box indicates no documents in Que then it should print. However, you may need to repeat the “Stop” and “Start” selection 3 or 4 times. The directions I found said to re-select “Print Spooler” in between selecting “stop” and “Start”. I don’t ever need to do that. Play with it. Good luck. These instructions took days of searching.

  15. raju says

    am using dell lap top windows 8 am canfigure the printer . but it the printer is showing on line .when i going to print print is not coming. but in my company all are able to print is fine

  16. michael bailey says

    Restarting the spooler service worked here too. Its been driving us nuts for months. W8.1 really is quite pants.

  17. Workinlate says

    Get the HP Print and Scan Doctor via printer properties, download it and follow instructions

    really good tool. Well done HP pity about the lack of clear info to find it

  18. Chris says

    In my case the “Work Offline” was grayed out. I deleted the network printer then did “Add a Printer” as if it was a new printer. That solved my problem.