What’s the first step when troubleshooting a printing problem?

You’ve just arrived onsite to a customer location, and the users are complaining that they can’t print to the printer using their desktop publishing application. What’s the best first step for troubleshooting this printing problem?

A) Print a Windows Printer Test Page

B) Power cycle the printer

C) Connect your laptop directly to the printer

D) Update the printer driver

3 thoughts on “What’s the first step when troubleshooting a printing problem?”

  1. Actually, I would do none of the above. The first thing I would do is check the cabling on the printer. Inasmuch as multiple “users” are complaining of a printing problem, I would check the simplest common point of failure. After that I would print a Windows test page.

    1. Lon –

      Unfortunately, making any type of change to the printer prior to determining the scope of the problem is the wrong course of action. Although it’s true that cabling problems can be a common problem, your current printing problem may be intermittent and resetting the printer cable may give you a false sense of security. For your CompTIA A+ exam, you’ll want to focus on approaching problems very systematically.

  2. First, let me say I really love the video series and am THRILLED that you offer it online for FREE! How cool is that?! It is really good stuff. (I just don’t think this one question is that good.)

    In the wording of the question there is no implication of the problem being intermittent. However, the problem is affecting multiple users. Really, the FIRST thing I would do is ask a lot more questions of the users and make sure I am familiar with their normal work environment.

    I agree that of the 4 options given the best option is a test print. I just don’t think the 4 options give all of the best options for a first step with the information provided. What I glean from the question is that there is a printing problem, multiple users are affected, and it MAY be limited to one specific application. What I infer from the question is that multiple people are using a network printer. What I presume is that they are using a server-based application publishing application. What I know from the question is that the problem is likely with a shared resource: network printer or network application.

    The initial trip to the print is to verify that it is plugged in, turned on, and there are no error messages on the display, not to make any changes to the printer configuration. No point in doing a test print to a printer that is unplugged.

    Does that really seem not systematic?

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