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Archived - Mac OS 9: How to Troubleshoot a Printer

This document discusses troubleshooting a printer that does not print.  Your printer does to print, or the computer stops responding (a "hang" or "freeze") when you try to print.

This article has been archived and is no longer updated by Apple.

A. Check for power and cabling issues

    1. Make sure there is power to the printer, and that it is turned on.

    2. If the printer seems to have a hardware or power-related issue, try unplug the printer from any power supply or power strip and plug it directly into the electrical outlet. Remove any extension cords, plug splitters, or similar devices.

    3. Verify all cables are firmly connected. It is a good idea to disconnect and reconnect all cables, and to directly connect the printer to the computer.


B. Check for printer "error state"

Make sure the printer is not in an error state. Read the documentation that came with your printer. It should explain what the printer uses (such as lights) to indicate an error state. It may also give you instructions on how to reset the printer.



C. Print a test page

    1. Be sure that the printer has ink and paper loaded, and that any paper jams have been cleared.

    2. Disconnect the printer from your computer and verify that it works by printing a test page. Documentation included with the printer should explain how to do this. If the printer cannot print a test page, it likely has a hardware issue, and you should contact its manufacturer.

    3. If the test page prints correctly, then the issue is probably software related. Reconnect the printer to your computer.


D. Software troubleshooting

    1. Go to the Web site of the printer manufacturer an download the latest version of the printer drivers that are compatible with Mac OS 9. Reinstall the drivers.

    2. Open the Chooser. Make sure that the printer type is selected in the upper left, and that the corresponding port is selected on the right.

    3. In the Finder, choose Print Desktop from the File menu. If you can print from the Finder, then a failure to print from other applications indicates application-specific settings or issues.

    4. Be sure that any affected application is compatible with Mac OS 9 and is up to date. If necessary, contact the applications manufacturer after visiting their Web site.

    5. In the application from which you are trying to print, choose Page Setup from the File menu. Be sure that the settings are appropriate for your printer.

    6. Cancel any pending print jobs and be sure that any print monitor application is quit. Open the System Folder. Look for the PrintMonitor Documents folder. If a backlog of previously sent print jobs is here, drag the items to the Trash, then try to print again. You should also delete unfinished jobs for any desktop printer, print spooler, or spool folder.

    7. To identify any potential extension conflict, create an extension set that includes Mac OS 9 All plus the printer extensions. See "Mac OS: Extension Conflict Troubleshooting/Extensions Manager Features".

    8. To be sure that no other device is interfering, disconnect all peripherals, PCI cards, or other devices. The only devices left connected should be the printer and the original Apple mouse and keyboard. Try this hardware combination with the extension set you made in the last step.

    9. Check the "Related documents" section below to be sure that you are not experiencing a symptom described there.

    10. If all other software troubleshooting steps fail, try performing a clean installation of system software, then reinstall the printer drivers. See "Mac OS 8.5, Mac OS 9: Performing a Clean Installation".
Last Modified: Nov 27, 2011
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  • Last Modified: Nov 27, 2011
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