From the desk of: Sam C. Chan

DIFA Checklist: Printer Problems

July 15, 2007

Scenario: You're local level 1 tech support for in-house staff, outside contractors and guest users of your location. A user complains of a printer not working. You're faced with the questions of whether to take on the problem or not, and if so, what exactly do you do...

  • GUIDELINES for determining scope/severity:
    • escalate to me or vendors as warranted
    • some tasks/incidences are obviously (or explicitly) within your jurisdiction and abilities
    • others might have been formally declared as my domain
    • grey area: use your judgment
      • use precedent (or similar) cases as guide
      • take it on if: low risk, been trained/briefed, frequent/recurring, tedious
      • hand over if: risky, new to you, rare/infrequent, technically complex
      • when in doubt, err on the safe side
  • CHECKLIST - User complains of "printer not working":

    • all-is-well at the printer in question?
      • power on and ready?
      • paper available (right size as requested by document)?
      • error message/prompt on control panel?
      • network cable in tight and LED lit?
      • reset via control panel as required
      • print self-test page at printer
    • at the workstation in question
      • confirm correct default printer selected
      • confirm it's not "grey out"
      • any stuck print jobs?
      • note any crashed print job (which document)
      • is that printer in print offline mode?
        • if so, uncheck it, does it stay online now?
        • if not, what's causing it to go offline?
      • Send Test print page from "printers & faxes"
      • Test from the application in question
    • pre-process the case prior to sending SOS
      • narrow down to user/application/document/network/printer issue
      • have others send to the same printer (if applicable) for test
      • test with other applications at same workstation
      • login as a different user and test
      • document the case and track progress


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