Why is My Printer Offline? How to Get Printer Online on Windows 10

If you ever wonder why is your printer offline most of the time on Windows 10 computer, there could be several reasons for that. In this guide, we will talk about the possible reasons why a printer can go offline and how to make an offline printer online in Windows 10 or 8.1. Usually, printers may go offline due to network or USB cable connectivity issue, paper jam, out of paper, any other printer hardware faults and driver corruption. Mostly it will come back to online automatically when these issues are solved, but sometimes we need to make a printer online manually, and let’s see how to do it on Windows 10 or 8.1.

The below methods are applicable for Windows 7 users also. I hope you have upgraded your Windows 7 OS as it is not under direct Microsoft support any more.

Making a printer online on Windows 10 or 8.1 is changed compared the steps we followed in earlier Operating Systems such as  XP, Vista (except Windows 7) which is by right-clicking it and making online. Microsoft changed the way of making a printer online from offline in Windows 7 and later Operating Systems.

Printer offline Windows 10

Right-clicking the printer option does not give the option to bring the printer online like earlier Operating Systems. If you could remember, it used to work like below in Windows XP and Vista.

In Earlier OS

But, if you right-click in Windows 10 or 8.1, you will see a completely different menu as shown below,

windows 7 printer options

Printer Offline in Windows 10 or 8.1? Let’s Fix it

1) Go to control panel or search for printer options.

In Windows 10, you can search for devices and printers by entering ‘devices’ as shown below and click on the ‘Devices and Printers’. It doesn’t matter whether you have USB, network, or wireless printer or any brands such as HP, Brother Epson, the following methods are same to bring back the printer online in Windows 10/8.1.

search printers on Windows 10

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

Printers in Control Panel3) Now you will see the offline printer (slightly faded). Right-click on it and select ‘See what’s printing’.

see whats printing in windows 10

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

Remove offline

If the above steps did not help you,  keep reading further troubleshooting steps below.

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Why still my Printer Offline? Here are the additional Steps

4) If it is a Network Shared Printer:

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

  • File and Printer sharing settings
  • Make sure the Network Discovery is turned on and Network sharing services are running
  • Check the firewall and Antivirus/network protection software. These programs might be blocking the incoming connection to the shared printer.

5) Restart The Spooler Service

Sometimes this method helps in bringing back the offline printer to online in Windows 8.1 and 10. Instead of restarting the computer, you can stop and start the print spooler service (which is one of the Windows services). We have already published a detailed guide about restarting the print spooler in GUI of Windows OS that can be done by any users with administrative rights. Read the guide here.

print spooler service start in Windows 10

Open the command prompt as administrator and type:

Net stop spooler

and

Net start spooler

This will stop and start the print spooler services which will clear some of the printer related issues.

Few Extra Steps to Troubleshoot Printer Issues on Windows 10

1) Check the Printer’s power

Sometimes smart people do miss simple things. Make sure that printer is powered on and there are no warning lights blinking  – that confirms the printer doesn’t have any hardware issues. Even doing the power cycle of the printer is advisable in this case. Either switch off and on from the power button or remove the power code and connect back.

2) Check for physical printer issues

Most of the printers have amber light which indicates some hardware issues. Few common hardware issues are; paper jam, cartridge jam or improper fix of cartridges or cartridges dried out, top, rear or any other covers not fixed properly and out of paper.

Solve all physical printer warnings to bring a printer online.

3) Check the connectivity

If it’s connected via USB or LPT cable, check the connection at both ends (computer and printer sides). You can unplug from both ends and connect back properly again, try to connect the same USB port on the computer. If it doesn’t work, try the different USB ports.

For network printers, find out the IP address and check the connectivity by pinging. Follow these steps to find out the IP address of a printer in Windows OS.

ping IP address of printer

If the printer is connected through a shared computer, you can check the connectivity by accessing the Windows share. Find out the name or IP address of the shared computer where the printer is connected, enter the name or IP with \\ in the Run box or Windows explorer. Something like below;

\\192.168.200.251

4) Use the Printer Software

As we have been trying these all methods in Windows built-in tools, and if still, the printer is offline, you can try the printer software which came with the Printer driver. Mostly once you install your HP, Canon, Epson or any other printers the first time, it would have installed the printer management software also.

Open the printer software and see for any warning messages it detected about the printer. These software work better with the printer as it was developed by the vendor for a specific printer model.

If there is a way to make a printer online from the offline state by this vendor software, why should not we give a try?

5) Check the Printer Driver and Install Again

The printer driver and software should have been installed properly by installation CD provided or downloaded. If you have to download, do download the correct or similar model driver from the official site. Installing or assigning a completely wrong printer driver will cause the issue in printing and Operating System as well.

Accidentally or automatically a wrong driver could have been assigned to a printer you are trying to print. Cross-check the model of the physical printer with the installed driver on your computer.

Also, the System Restore and Windows OS recovery may damage the printer driver files sometimes. If you have done these activities recently, it is better to uninstall and reinstall it again to solve the issue.

printer driver

6) Clear the Old Pending Jobs

Sometimes the old pending jobs will block new print jobs. These old jobs should be cleared manually to print new jobs.

Go to Devices and Printers in the control panel and double click the printer where pending jobs need to be cleared. It will list out the old jobs with ‘Error’ state. Right-click and Cancel them.

delete pending jobs

If the pending jobs not getting cleared by the above method, then you need to restart the print spooler service as mentioned earlier or restart the computer.

I hope this guide is useful to fix printer offline issue and how to get back a printer online in Windows 10 and 8.1/Windwows 7. This should solve the problem mostly if your printer is not having any major hardware or network communication problem.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

75 thoughts on “Why is My Printer Offline? How to Get Printer Online on Windows 10”

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

    Reply
  2. 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.

    Reply
  3. 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.

    Paul

    Reply
  4. 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

    Reply
  5. 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?

    Reply
  6. 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

    Reply
  7. 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.

    Reply
  8. 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?

    Reply
  9. 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!

    Reply
  10. 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.

    Reply
    • 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.

      Reply
  11. Hi
    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

    Reply
  12. 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

    Reply
  13. 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.

    Reply
  14. @ Dinesh

    It lived up to expectations, set the printer online/logged off.

    I entirely know thusly. Be that as it may, I am exceptionally cheerful to peruse the tips in this website.

    Exceptionally helpful for ordinary life.

    regards
    rakhi

    Reply
  15. Thanks for this article, I spent a day try to print my important tax document, after rebooting the printer and PC, run the HP maintenance software, none of them working.
    Printer printed the test page while supposedly offline.
    Other laptop working but not my win7 desktop. With this article, my wireless connected HP 8610 start to working.

    Reply
  16. I have tried several different ways to get into the”printer spooler.” I tried the off-and-on trick, and got only could print the items in the printing queue. Offline printing is not checked, automatic run is indicated, yet it goes back to “offline.” This started yesterday after a paper jam, which I fixed, and I am able to make copies, just not print from the computer. I’ve: used Recovery, Restart, printer spooler off and on, unplugged everything, checked modem connections. I also suddenly had notices at the copier that my ink had all expired – true, but one, not all colors.
    I’ve got a MAJOR address list to print for my Civic Association by the end of the week – it’s stored only in my Documents file, and, that’s another issue. I’ve never been able to set up emailing for those documents. I have to compose, copy, and paste to my email and send from there. I’m running Windows 7 Home Premium, and have an HP Officejet, 7500 series printer. Also, I’m scheduled to download Windows 10 Tuesday – do you think that will cure the problem, or make it worse?!?!?

    Reply

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