My printer output has a streak!

February 21, 2009


A customer with a laser printer is complaining of a long black streak extending down the length of their printouts. What is the most likely cause of this problem?

A) A damaged optical drum

B) Bad or incorrect toner in the cartridge

C) Incorrect paper weight

D) Bad or incorrect printer drivers


Answer: A) A damaged optical drum



If a laser printer’s optical drum becomes damaged due to age or scratching, the damaged area attracts the toner and eventually becomes fused to the paper. Since the damage sometimes occurs around a section of the entire drum, it’s not usual for the final output to have a streak that runs the length of each page.

The incorrect answers:
B) Bad or incorrect toner in the cartridge
Since toner cartridges are completely self-contained and are specific to a printer model, it’s unusual to have incorrect toner. Many reconditioned cartridges often use poor quality toner, but the output from those cartridges are usually lighter or less sharp than the manufacturer’s original cartridges.

C) Incorrect paper weight
Paper that is too thick or too thin tends to end up as jammed or misfed paper, not as a streak down part of the page.

D) Bad or incorrect printer drivers
Incorrect printer drivers can be very unpredictable, but usually they manifest themselves as odd graphics or pages of garbled text. It’s very easy to update drivers to test for a solution, but single page streaks are most commonly a hardware problem.

Want to know more about fixing printers? Watch “Troubleshooting Printers and Scanners”


When the printer or scanner is down, where do you start the troubleshooting process? What tools will you need to solve the problem? In this video, we’ll show you where to start troubleshooting, what tools to bring to the job, and what common problems you can expect to see with printers and scanners.

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Category: CompTIA A+ Pop Quizzes

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