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Archived - Mac OS X 10.5 or earlier: Troubleshooting printing issues

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

Symptoms

Learn how to troubleshoot printing issues in Mac OS X v10.5 or earlier.

Resolution

Print a test page

If your printer has a test page feature, try to print one. If the test page does not print, turn the printer off and on then try again. Make sure the power cord is connected to a power source.

For more information about how to print a test page, review the documentation that came with your printer or look at the manufacturer's website. If printing a test page is unsuccessful, review the documentation that came with the printer for further troubleshooting steps specific to the printer.


Check cables and connections

  1. Disconnect and reconnect every cable between the computer and the printer. Make sure all cables are firmly inserted.
  2. USB printers only: Switch the USB cable connection from the current USB port to another USB port.
  3. USB printers only: Open Apple System Profiler and click the Devices and Volumes tab. If the printer still does not appear, try a different cable.
  4. Try to print again.


Did it work before?

If your printer previously worked with Mac OS X, continue to the next section. If not, go to "Update or reinstall printer software" below.


Delete old print jobs

Save the files you are trying to print, then delete old print jobs.


Print from another application

Try to print from another Mac OS X application, such as TextEdit. Can the issue be isolated to one application?

If the issue occurs when you try to print from a Classic application, try printing from other Classic applications, then from a Mac OS X-native application. Can the issue be isolated to one application? Does it only occur in the Classic environment?

Any time that an issue seems to be application-specific or environment-specific (Classic versus Mac OS X native), the issue could be related to either the application software or the printer drivers. Check the website of both the application developer and the printer manufacturer, and contact them if necessary. If your issue is not a known issue, you could post it to Discussions.

Print Center troubleshooting (Mac OS X v10.2)

If the printing issue only occurs in Print Center (Mac OS X v10.2 through 10.2.8), see "Mac OS X: Print Center Troubleshooting"


If more than one application quits when printing

If this happens with Mac OS X v10.3, see Mac OS X 10.3: Applications unexpectedly quit when you print. If the article's tips don't resolve the issue, continue to the next section.


Check the print queue

Open Print Center or Printer Setup Utility in /Applications/Utilities. Make sure that "Stop Jobs" is deselected in the Printers menu. For more information, see:


Isolate the printer and computer

USB printers

  1. Disconnect all USB devices except the printer, Apple keyboard, and Apple mouse. Make sure the printer is connected directly to the computer, and that any hubs or extension cables are disconnected.
  2. Be sure that the printer appears in Apple System Profiler (located in /Applications/Utilities/). Look for the printer in the Devices and Volumes tab of Apple System Profiler.
  3. If another printer is available, try printing to it. Verify that the connections are working, that network preferences are correct, and that any required software for the additional printer is installed.

Network printers

  1. Verify that other network services, such as file sharing and Web browsing, are available and work.
  2. If the printer is an AppleTalk printer, verify that AppleTalk is active in the Network pane of System Preferences.
  3. If there is another node on the network that can successfully print to this printer, move the computer to this node. It may be necessary to change network settings at this point.
  4. If another printer is available, try printing to it. Verify that the connections work, that network preferences are correct, and that the any required software for the additional printer is installed.


Delete the printer from the printer list

See "Mac OS X: How to Delete Printers and Print Job Lists in the Print Center".

To add printers, see "Mac OS X: How to Add a Printer to the Printer List"


Delete all printers and print jobs

Tip: If you see a large number of printers in Print Center or Printer Setup Utility and are uncomfortable deleting all of them, contact your network administrator first.

See "Mac OS X: How to Delete Printers and Print Job Lists in the Print Center".


Update or reinstall printer software

If software for your printer was included with the Mac OS X installation, check the printer manufacturer's website for updated versions. Install a printer driver available from the manufacturer's website only if it is a newer version than the one included with Mac OS X.

If the printer software included with Mac OS X is the latest version available, use Optional Installs (available in Mac OS X 10.1 or later) on Mac OS X Install Disc 1 to reinstall the printer software.

If the driver for your printer was not included with Mac OS X, check the Mac OS X downloads web page, the printer manufacturer's website, and the in-box materials that came with it to see if software is available. Reinstall this software if possible.

Use a different printer driver

You can try using one of the of the Gimp-Print drivers included with Mac OS X if you cannot locate printer software for your specific printer model. If your printer supports PostScript Level 2 or PostScript Level 3, select Generic PostScript Printer as the print model. If you are experiencing an issue using the driver designed for your printer model, you may be able to workaround the issue by adding the printer via a Gimp-Print driver or the Generic PostScript Printer Description file.


Repair disk permissions

Tip: For more information about Repair Disk Permissions and Mac OS X v10.2, v10.3 or later, see "About Disk Utility's Repair Disk Permissions feature".

  • Mac OS X v10.3 or later: Open Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities/). Select your Mac OS X startup volume in the column to the left of the Disk Utility window, then click the Repair Disk Permissions button.
  • Mac OS X v10.2 through 10.2.8: Open Disk Utility (/Applications/Utilities/). Select your Mac OS X startup volume in the column to the left of the Disk Utility window, then click the First Aid tab. Click the Repair Disk Permissions button.
  • Mac OS X v10.1.5: Update to Mac OS X 10.1.5 if you have not already, then use the Repair Privileges Utility. See "Mac OS X: About the Repair Privileges Utility 1.1".



Use the latest version of Mac OS X

Update Mac OS X to the latest available version. If the issue persists, contact the printer's manufacturer for further assistance.
 

Reset printing system (Mac OS X v10.4 and later)

If other steps haven't helped, you can reset the printing system. Important: This should only be used as a "last resort" when troubleshooting a printing issue.

Important: Information about products not manufactured by Apple is provided for information purposes only and does not constitute Apple’s recommendation or endorsement. Please contact the vendor for additional information.
Last Modified: May 31, 2011
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  • Last Modified: May 31, 2011
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