Can’t Print to a Local Printer?

Diagnosing printing problems is an extremely common task. If the problem ends up being the printer’s hardware, often companies maintain support contracts with the printer’s manufacturer and the printer vendor will send out a repair person. The sort of printer problems you’ll be asked to investigate involve faulty connections, configuration settings, and driver issues.


You receive a trouble ticket that the manager of the finance department can’t print to his new local printer. You pack up your toolkit and report to the manager’s office. The manager isn’t in but his executive assistant shows you to his computer and printer. You notice that there is one printer connected to the PC via a USB cable. The PC is powered.

Scope of Task


Ideally, this task should take about 15 minutes


You can simulate this task with a computer that is connected to a local printer.


There are an almost endless number of causes of a complaint such as “I can’t print”. It is important to gather all information available about the problem to try to narrow down the likely causes.


This task will show you the process of diagnosis local printer problems


  • Ask the executive assistant what she knows about the print problem. Here is a list of some of the appropriate questions to ask in this situation
    • When did the problem first occur?
    • Has the user ever successfully printed to the printer?
    • Have there been any recent configuration changes to the printer settings on the PC?
    • Were any changes made to the hardware, software or configuration settings of the computer just prior to the problem occuring for the first time?
    • Do any error messages display when the user attempts to print?