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How to Make Your “Offline” Printer “Online” (Windows 7)

How to Make Your “Offline” Printer “Online” (Windows 7)

A common problem for printer users is finding that their computer thinks a printer is offline, when it is clearly on and ready to print. This is caused by a communication error between your PC and printer. Normally it will be something as simple as a cable coming loose at one end or a knock-on effect from a paper-jam. However a printer appearing as “Offline”  in error can be down to problems with your printers driver or software which is a little more difficult to fix.

The advice given here is universal and can be used in conjunction with a variety of printers including those manufactured by Brother, Canon, Epson, Dell, HP, Kodak Lexmark and many others.

Video Guide

How can I make my offline printer show as online again?

In this brief guide I will take you from the most simple solution for this problem to completely removing your printers driver and software.

It may be tempting to skip the earlier steps and assume that all cables etc are still connected. It could however save you a lot of time in the long run to follow each bit of troubleshooting offered here.


Please check to see if your printer is showing as online at the end of every bullet-point or set of steps.

Physical Checks

  • Ensure that both ends of the USB cable are firmly inserted. If the printer is networked then make sure the Ethernet cable is firmly inserted.
  • Try the end of the cable in multiple ports on your PC/laptop if available.
  • If you own another USB A-B cable then try this cable in conjunction with your printer and computer.

Set the Printer to “Online” Manually

  1. Go to the Start icon on the bottom left of your screen then choose Control Panel and then Devices and Printers.
  2. Right click the printer in question and select “See what’s printing”.
  3. From the window that pops up choose Printer from the bar at the top.
  4. Select “Use Printer Online” from the drop down menu.

Remove All Pending Print Jobs

  1. From the “See what’s printing” menu mentioned previously right click and “Cancel” any print jobs present.
  2. With the print jobs removed select “Use Printer Online” again.
  3. If any suborn print jobs remain then try restating both your PC and printer.

Removing and Reinstalling Your Printer

  1. Right click the printer from Devices and Printers and select “Remove device”.
  2. Now add the printer again by selecting the Add a Printer option from Devices and Printers.

Removing Drivers and Packages

  1. Make sure you are using windows as an Admin or sign-in as one.
  2. Go to Start>All Programs>Accessories>Command Prompt.
  3. With command prompt open type “printui /s /t2” including the spaces to open the Print Server Properties window.
  4. Now remove the Driver and Package for the printer in question.
  5. You can now add your printer again by selecting Add a Printer from Devices and Printers.

Your printer should now be showing as online and allow you to continue printing. If not there is likely to be an issue with the printer electronically and I would advice contacting the printers manufacturer or a printer technician.

If however you have anything to add or any further questions please don’t hesitate to let us know in the comments.


About the author

Matthew Stevenson

I have been involved in the printer industry since I was 18 and have been an employee of Refresh Cartridges since early 2009. I am a dedicated family man, gamer, music fan and friend to all. I write the majority of the content here on Igloo and am responsible for its upkeep.





    4.Select “Use Printer Online” from the drop down menu

  2. Dee

    Thanks Matthew! My printer is working again thanks to you. 🙂

  3. R.M.Harrison

    Thank you. Fixed my Pixma ip7200 offline problem.

  4. martin

    Simple ABC stuff – got me sorted – thank you. I was lost Martin

  5. Pat Brearley

    I have same problem as Dennis above- I clicked on Printer-scrolled down but it only showed "Use Printer Offline" there was no "use Printer Online" for me to choose??

    1. Justine Robinson

      same here!
      how do we change this?

  6. Betty Bassler

    I lost you on the last part as you said it to fast for me. Then you said to make sure put in the — Lost me. I am 82 trying to do my own thing. thank you.

  7. Our Busy Life

    I tried everything including "delete the printer". Now i cant add it back because it can't find in! Everything was fine until I pulled out a piece of jammed paper then it said it was offline and didn't recognize the USB port. I've rebooted twice.

  8. gesent

    All you need to do is to is Start -> Run -> services.msc . Find "Print Spooler" and right click restrat

    1. Bifeaza

      This worked just fine for me. Thank you.

  9. Garry

    I tried to follow all the above advice, but no matter what I did, I could not find either the "Use printer off line" nor the "Use printer on line" tabs.
    Anyone know where it went please?
    I am using a Sony laptop running Windows 7 Home Premium. The offline printer (which worked last night) is a Canon MG5500

  10. shivjeet


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