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

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

Computers using Windows Vista often have problems recognising a connected printer for several reasons and list it as “Offline” in error. Communications problems are particularly prevalent in instances where the printer has been networked, but can also occur due to issues with a physical connection or even the drivers used. Whatever the case there are simple steps that can be taken to resolve it.

This guide covers printers by Brother, Canon, Epson, Dell, HP, Kodak Lexmark and should also work with machines manufactured by other lesser known companies.

How Do I Get My Printer Back Online?

The steps listed below have been sorted into an order that takes into account how easy the step is to complete and the likelihood of it resolving the issue.

As tempting as it may be to skip some of the early steps I would implore you to trust me that all steps are worth the time they would take to perform. The fact is that your USB cable is much more likely to get tugged out of the printer than the driver to cause an obscure conflict on your PC.


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

Check Connections

  • Make sure both ends of your USB A-B cable are plugged in. If you are using a networked printer make sure your CAT45 Ethernet cable is fully inserted.
  • Try the end of the USB cable in several different ports on your computer (if applicable).
  • If you have another printer with a cable it will almost certainly have the same connections. Try this USB cable with your currently offline printer and PC/laptop.

SNMP Settings (Networked Printers Only)

  1. Go to Start>Control Panel>Printers on your PC.
  2. Right-click on the relevant printer and select Ports tab, and select Configure Port. At the bottom you will see a check-box saying something like SNMP Status Enable. Un-tick that, and the printer should start showing as online again.

Change Printer Status to “Online” Manually

  1. Click Start>Control Panel>Printers again (or stay put if you are there already).
  2. Right-click the relevant printer and select “Use Printer Online” if available.

Remove All Other Print Jobs

  1. Double click your printer to open the print queue
  2. Right-click and select “Cancel” on any print jobs present..
  3. If any suborn print jobs remain then try restating both your PC and printer and try again.
  4. Select Printer from the bar at the top of the print queue.
  5. If there is a tick next to “Use Printer Offline” in the drop down menu click on it.

Un-Installing and Reinstalling the Printer

  1. Right-click the printer from Start>Control Panel>Printers and select “Delete”.
  2. Click “Add a Printer” again from the options on the top of this window..

Removing Printer Drivers and Software

  1. Make sure you are using windows as an Admin or sign-in as one.
  2. Go to Start>Control Panel>Programs and Features.
  3. Right-click the relevant software from this list and select Uninstall.
  4. Re-install your printer again using the software disc provided or downloading them directly. Our driver installation guide can be found here.

With any luck your printer should now show as being online and allow you to carry on 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

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.

Refresh Cartridges


  1. Howard


    Unchecking the SNMP fixed the printers only printing once and then going offline.

  2. Greg

    help. I tried what I could. Can't get the printer off line

  3. PC Download

    Nice job

  4. lianna

    nice.. i'm lucky my problem is solved tq a lot..

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