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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

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





    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.

    1. Denise Evans

      Try rebooting your router, then turn on printer, then restart computer. Then try to add the printer back.

  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.

    2. Abigail Davis


    3. j_stl

      Worked great. Thank you very much.

  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


  11. Evelyn

    From the drop down menu I only get "printer offline". How an I get to printer "on line"?

  12. keria660

    Thank you for support. its work to me best. 🙂

  13. Steve

    Hi … Thanks for the Help! R&R worked perfect!

  14. Jacob

    Your instructions were very clear and concise. With the help of the video I was able to locate the problem immediately and solve the annoying "OFF LINE " status.
    Thank you so much.

  15. Icon

    Must be a specific set of instructions for the Epson XP-430 because nothing work. Any other ideas you can think of? It was working fine two days ago, yesterday printer wasn’t used and today early in the morning printer is Offline. Did the network rest in the printer and it printed a test page but still Offline. Restarted the computer and still Offline. Anything you can toss my way would be helpful. Thanks Matthew.

    1. Denise Evans

      Restart router. Sometimes they lose DNS settings. If you can access configuration settings for router, verify that the correct DNS settings are appearing (search for DNS {router model} {ISP name} to find suggested DNS settings that should work. Usually just restarting it updates the DNS settings.

  16. 6grandchildren

    Hi Matthew I have an Epson XP-620 wi-fi printer. I have recently had trouble with my home internet and had to replace my modem. it is all working well now but my printer is offline and I can't work out how to reconnect it.
    I have followed the steps on the home page but where it asks to select "Use Printer Online" that option is not listed. Hope you can help

  17. Jitin

    great!!!!! u are a life saver

  18. Friendly

    "Use Printer Online" is a mistake. There is only an option to "Use Printer Offline". Select that so that there's no longer a checkbox next to it. Also, rebooting is the first step as that usually fixes the offline printer bug.

  19. Janet

    My problem is I can print things just fine but I can't scan a photo and post it to my laptop.i always did this before..it says driver us unavailable /not connected..

    1. Denise Evans

      Could be related to changes in the web services that rolled out a few months back?
      There is an HP "Scan and Print" utility, or something to that effect, that I use on my personal laptop to make sure that the laptop is available to be scanned to. All else fails, I put a micro SD into an adapter, scan to card, and transfer it to the laptop. Unnecessary extra steps, but is certainly faster than troubleshooting.

  20. tim

    unfortunately this didn't work for me – as it said my printer was in use when I tried to remove driver and package – what do I do now?

    1. Denise Evans

      Restart your router. It may be that your router has lost its DNS settings or has incorrect DNS settings, and a restart will usually fix that. After trying everything here, restarting laptop and printer several times, printer telling me it was connected but I couldn't reach it through the browser or print to it, I restarted the router. BAM! fixed.

  21. Denise Evans

    IF you are using a networked printer over WI-Fi, when all else fails, REBoot your Router by turning it off/on (unplug and plug back in). Sometimes routers loose DNS settings if there is a network reset by the ISP overnight. Rebooting the router usually fixes the DNS settings. The router has to be able to access a Domain Name Server (DNS) in order to find network resources, whether that is a specific web page or a Wi-Fi connected peripheral like a printer.

  22. Jessica C

    Thank you very much! I would have never clicked on “PRINTER” in the Printing Que window. Fixed a problem I’ve had for a few months now.

  23. Diane

    Removing the device and then reinstalling the device solved my situation. I’m pretty sure that had I thought of that, or if I had read it as a suggestion during my continuous internet searching, the situation would have been resolved in less than two minutes.

    Everything on my new printer was working and printing this morning. A few hours later, it would not print and was shown as Offline. Around 5:15 pm, I started with the printer’s help pages, troubleshooting from the printer’s CD, then began searching the internet and trying different suggestions by helpful blogs. At one point, both my older printer and this new printer reported a paper jam (there WAS a jam in the older printer, but not in the new printer). I removed the jam, but the new printer continued to report a paper jam. After messing around with the Ports (about which I know nothing), I managed having both printers report as Offline. Eventually, I got the older printing working (no idea how it happened). Wanted to quit, but wanted to solve it even more. About 20 minutes ago, at 11:50 pm, I began following the steps provided here by Matthew Stevenson, and voila! the printer is now working! Thank you Matthew!!!

  24. Brenda Bridges

    Just got an EPSON ET 4750 and already spent 2 hours on the phone with customer service. Printer is (finally) set up to: WiFi Direct. Went to bed that night and tried to print next morning and no communication between printer and laptop running Windows 10 Professional. Printer error: “printer is offline”. Could not even print a test page. No option available to change status from use offline to use online. Followed steps given above by no luck. It seems as though the printer lost all of its settings overnight. A mention of video help?? Link to video would be appreciated. Any help greatly appreciated!!!!!!!!

  25. manjunath

    My printer working in sharing but printer does not work properly he has gone offline. I have done solving problem through website but i can not solve this problem. I have done every step but printer not come in online. please help me.

  26. Mohan Fernando

    Thank you. Problem solved in few seconds. Great

  27. Joesil Dianne

    I have an Epson L360. It scans but not prints.

  28. Irene

    Hi Matthew

    I can not find use printer online only use printer offline. I have a HP Envy

  29. Irene


    I can not find use printer online. Can’t seem to turn printer back online

  30. Tilly

    I tried to follow all the above advice, but no matter what I did, I could not find either the “Use printer off line” tab The only options are set as default printer, printing preferences, sharing, properties and close.

  31. Annie

    Thank you for the help Matthew!!!!!!!!!

  32. Cyndi Jackson

    THANK YOU!!!!!

  33. Corinne

    Thanks so much for this helpful list of steps. We’ve finally fixed our printer which has been “offline” for weeks now!

  34. Shanetta


  35. Karen

    I have reinstalled Epson wf 7620, rebooted WiFi, sent test page but does not print. I can delete the print queue but only states use printer offline in drop down box. Please help me!

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