“Printer is in Use” Error on Mac and Windows Computers

Encountering the “Printer is in Use” error can be a perplexing and frustrating experience, especially when you urgently need to print documents. This comprehensive guide explores various scenarios under which this error might occur, whether you’re using a Mac, Windows 10, or connecting to a network. We’ll delve into effective troubleshooting methods, from simple restarts to more advanced steps like resetting print spoolers and updating drivers, to help you resolve this issue swiftly.

Initial Steps: Restarting Your Printer and Computer

Begin with the basics:

  1. Turn off the Printer: Power down completely. This helps clear any errors or conflicts that may be occurring within the printer itself.
  2. Restart Your Computer: Similarly, restarting your computer can resolve issues related to software or drivers that may be causing the error.

Checking the Print Queue for Stuck Jobs

A common culprit for the “Printer is in Use” error is a jammed print queue:

  1. Access the Print Queue: Navigate to your settings and open the print queue.
  2. Clear Stuck Jobs: If there are any documents stuck in the queue, cancel them. This can often free up the device for new tasks.

Updating Printer Drivers on Windows and Mac

Outdated or corrupt printer drivers are a frequent cause of printer issues:

  1. Visit the Manufacturer’s Website: Download the latest drivers for your model.
  2. Install the Drivers: Follow the installation instructions to ensure it has the most up-to-date software.

Selecting the Correct Printer Settings for Optimal Performance

Why Selecting the Right Settings Matters

Choosing the correct settings is crucial. It’s not just about quality and speed; it’s also about ensuring compatibility between the document you’re printing and your printer’s capabilities. Selecting the right paper size, type, and print quality in your settings can prevent many common issues.

Steps to Select the Best Settings

  1. Navigate to Printer Preferences: Access your settings from the print dialog box in any application.
  2. Choose the Appropriate Options: Select the correct paper type, size, and quality. Consider the nature of your print job – is it text-heavy, or does it include images?

Navigating Network Issues When Using a Shared Printer

Network printers can experience unique issues:

  1. Check Network Connection: Ensure the device is properly connected to your network.
  2. Verify Printer Accessibility: Make sure your computer can access the printer over the network.

Resolving the Error on Windows 10

Windows 10 offers specific solutions:

  1. Set Printer as Default: Sometimes, setting the printer as the default device in ‘Printers & Scanners’ settings can resolve the issue.
  2. Run Windows Troubleshooter: Use the built-in troubleshooter to diagnose and fix such problems.

Read more here.

Addressing the Issue on MacOS

Mac users can take the following steps:

  1. Reset Printing System: This can clear any errors causing the device to malfunction.
  2. Re-add the Printer: After resetting, re-add the printer to your list of devices.

Utilizing the Printer Troubleshooter on Windows

The Windows Printer Troubleshooter can automatically fix many common issues:

  1. Access the Troubleshooter: Find this tool in your system settings under ‘Update & Security.’
  2. Run the Tool: Follow the prompts to let Windows diagnose and fix issues.

Restarting the Print Spooler Service

The Print Spooler manages print jobs, and restarting it can resolve many errors:

  1. Access Services: Type ‘services.msc’ in the Run dialog box.
  2. Restart the Service: Find the Print Spooler service, right-click, and choose ‘Restart’.

Advanced Steps: Deleting and Reinstalling the Printer

If all else fails:

  1. Remove the Printer: Delete  from the list of devices on your computer.
  2. Reinstall the Printer: Add again, either automatically or by following manual setup procedures.

Streamlining Your Printing Workflow: Overcoming the ‘Printer is in Use’ Challenge

In conclusion, the this error, while common, is typically a solvable issue. By systematically applying the various troubleshooting methods outlined in this guide, you can often quickly resolve the problem and resume your printing tasks. Whether it’s a simple restart, clearing the print queue, updating drivers, or more advanced steps like resetting the print spooler, these solutions are designed to get your printer back in action with minimal downtime. Remember, maintaining your printer, ensuring software is up-to-date, and understanding your network setup is key to preventing future issues. With these tools and techniques in hand, you’re well-equipped to handle this common printer error and ensure a smooth, efficient printing experience.

You can reach out to GeeksOnSite for the most affordable printer repair services.

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