Fix ‘Printer Offline’ error in Windows 10, 8 or 7 (once and for all)

By: John Nedelcu
8 minute read

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Many Windows 8 users have reported issues regarding printer connectivity and a glitch which set active printers to offline even if they are connected and fully operational. The error is usually encountered when speaking of network printers, but home users with a direct connection to their printer have also complained.

We’ll go about fixing this issue just like most other connectivity related problems, as in most cases, there is a simple explanation to the problem.

It should be noted that different manufacturers have their own diagnostics software which can inform the user of what problems come up (HP’s Print and Scan Doctor comes to mind here), and if your printer’s manufacturer provides this feature, we encourage you to use it at its full extent. More often than not, it will set you in the right direction for finding solutions to your problems.

How to fix the Printer Offline error in Windows 8

There are many problems that can occur with your printer, and in this article we’re going to cover the following issues:

  • Printer offline Canon, HP, Ricoh, Epson – This is a common problem with printers and it can affect any brand of printer. Many Canon, HP and Epson users reported this issue.
  • Printer offline error processing command – Sometimes you might get Error processing command while trying to use network printer. This is a common problem and you can fix it by using one of our solutions.
  • Wireless printer offline – This problem can appear with all sorts of printers, and many users reported it while using a wireless printer.
  • Printer offline unable to ping – In some cases your PC won’t be able to recognize your printer. In fact, many users reported that they are unable to ping their network printer.
  • Printer offline SNMP – Sometimes SNMP feature can cause this issue to appear. To fix the problem, you just need to disable SNMP feature.
  • Network printer offline VPN – Several users reported this issue only when using a VPN. To solve the problem, you might have to change your VPN configuration.
  • Printer not responding, printing, working, connecting, showing up – According to users, they encountered a variety of issues and many reported that their printer isn’t responding or not working. In fact, sometimes the printer won’t even show up.

Before we talk about the fixes to this problem, you should know why this actually occurs. The error appears when Windows 8 sees that the printer is unavailable, but unfortunately, most times it can’t tell if the printer is really offline or if it has connectivity problems or printing errors. The might occur when:

  • The connection between the computer and the printer is slow/unresponsive
  • The printer has encountered an internal error
  • There are multiple unfinished print jobs in the queue

Solution 1 – Change printer settings

In most cases, finding a solution to this problem is fairly simple. All you might need to do is to restart the printer and the computer or unplug its USB cable. If you are using a network printer, either wired or wireless, the problem is with the connection, and you should restart your router.

Here are some guidelines for dealing with the Windows 8 Printer Offline error, try to follow these steps and hopefully your problem will be fixed:

  1. Open Control Panel and navigate to your Printers window.
    Printer offline Canon
  2. Check if the correct printer is set to Default (Please watch the video below for more information).
  3. Right click on your default printer and select the print queue (See What’s Printing).
    Printer offline error processing command
  4. If there are any unfinished tasks, remove them from the list.
  5. From the queue window, select Printer and uncheck the Use Printer Offline option.
    Wireless printer offline
  6. Optional: If the Use Printer Offline option is off, check the option, leave it a few seconds and uncheck it.
  7. Check if the printer is correctly connected to your computer (unplug the USB cable and plug it in again).
  8. If you own a network printer, try doing a connection test (also, try restarting your router/switch).
  9. Turn your printer and computer off and on again.
  10. If by now the problem isn’t solved, reinstall the printer’s drivers.

Note: if you are using a wireless printer, then you should try to connect to its IP address. To find its address, go to Control Panel > Devices and Printers > Right click on your printer and select properties.

Under the “Web Services” or “General” tab, you should be able to see your printer’s IP address. Copy the address and write it down in your browser’s address field. An alternative to this is to open CMD and type ping followed by your printer’s IP address and hit Enter. If it returns an error, then the connection with the printer might not be working.


Solution 2 – Restart the Print Spooler service

If you’re getting Printer Offline message, you might be able to solve it simply by restarting the Print Spooler service. Your printer uses this service in order to print, and by restarting it you might fix this problem. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + R and enter services.msc. Press Enter or click OK.
    Printer offline unable to ping
  2. When Services window opens, locate Print Spooler service, right click it and choose Restart from the menu.
    Printer offline SNMP

After restarting the Print Spooler service, check if the issue still appears. Keep in mind that this might not be a permanent solution, so you’ll have to repeat it if the issue reappears.


Solution 3 – Change printer properties

According to users, you can fix Printer Offline message simply by changing your printer properties. This is relatively simple and you can do it by following these steps:

  1. Go to Control Panel > Devices and Printers.
  2. Right click your printer and choose Printer properties from the menu.
    Network printer offline VPN
  3. Go to the Ports tab. Select your printer’s IP address from the list and click on Configure Port button.
    Printer not responding
  4. Uncheck SNMP Status Enabled and click on OK to save changes.

After doing that the problems with your printer should be completely resolved. Keep in mind that this solution works only if you’re using a network printer.


Solution 4 – Reinstall your printer drivers

According to users, you can easily fix the Printer Offline message by reinstalling your drivers. To do that, you need to do the following:

  1. Go to Devices and Printers section in Control Panel.
  2. Locate your printer, right click it and choose Remove device.
    Printer offline HP
  3. When confirmation dialog appears, click on Yes.
    Printer offline error processing command

After your printer is removed, download the latest driver for it from your printer manufacturer and install them. After doing that, the problem should be resolved.

Update drivers automatically

If you do not have the necessary computer skills to update/fix the drivers manually, we strongly suggest to do it automatically by using Tweakbit’s Driver Updater tool. This tool is approved by Microsoft and Norton Antivirus. After several tests, our team concluded that this is the best automatized solution. Below you can find a quick guide how to do it.

  1. Download and install TweakBit Driver Updater.driver updater start window
  2. Once installed, the program will start scanning your PC for outdated drivers automatically. Driver Updater will check your installed driver versions against its cloud database of the latest versions and recommend proper updates. All you need to do is wait for the scan to complete.
  3. driver update dignozingUpon scan completion, you get a report on all problem drivers found on your PC. Review the list and see if you want to update each driver individually or all at once. To update one driver at a time, click the ‘Update driver’ link next to the driver name. Or simply click the ‘Update all’ button at the bottom to automatically install all recommended updates.

driver updater updates finished

Note: Some drivers need to be installed in multiple steps so you will have to hit the ‘Update’ button several times until all of its components are installed.

Disclaimer: some functions of this tool are not free.


Solution 5 – Install the latest updates

If you’re getting Printer Offline message frequently, you might be able to fix the problem simply by installing the latest updates. Windows 10 automatically downloads updates in the background, but sometimes you might skip an important update. However, you can always check for updates manually by doing the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. When Settings app opens, go to Update & security section.
    Wireless printer offline
  3. Click on Check for updates button.

If any updates are available, Windows will download them in the background. After installing the latest updates, check if the issue still persists.


Solution 6 – Add a second printer device

According to users, you can fix Printer Offline error simply by adding a second printer device. Users reported that this solution works when using a network connection, and to add a second printer, do the following:

  1. Follow Steps 1-2 from Solution 4.
  2. Select the Ports tab and click on Add Port button.
    Printer offline unable to ping
  3. Select Standard TCP/IP Port and click on New Port.
    Printer not printing
  4. Printer Port Wizard will now start. Click on Next.
    Network printer offline VPN
  5. Now enter the required information. You can get the necessary information from your printer’s instruction manual. Click on Next.
    Printer not working

After doing that, your printer will start working again without any problems.


Solution 7 – Check if your using a VPN connection

Printer Offline message can appear if you’re using network printer and VPN. To fix this problem, it’s advised to disconnect from VPN and try to access your printer again. If you want to use VPN and your printer, you need to connect the printer directly to your PC using the USB cable.

Alternatively, you might be able to fix the problem by adjusting your VPN configuration and granting yourself a local network access.


We hope this guide will help you solve your printer problems in Windows 8. If you’ve tried all of them and your problem still persists, then you might have a hardware-related problem. In this case, try printing from another computer or try a different printer. Also, if you’re running a wired printer, use a different USB / network cable.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in February 2014 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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