My poor dad has the worst luck when it comes to technology. Seems like every day he’s bumping into some new problem with his phone, laptop, or an accessory.
The latest: His Lexmark inkjet printer suddenly refused to print.
Because my dad lives some 1,300 miles away, I used my favorite remote-access solution—LogMeIn Free—to connect to his laptop and poke around for problems.
What I discovered was that the print queue contained a number of failed print jobs—and Windows wouldn’t allow me to delete them. Thankfully, I know about Stalled Printer Repair, a free utility that does what Windows seemingly can’t.
But even then, the Lexmark would not print. I had Dad power-cycle the printer, unplug it from the laptop, reboot the laptop, and so on. I uninstalled and reinstalled the printer driver. In other words, I tried every troubleshooting step I could think of, but nothing worked.
Then Dad mentioned in passing that the printer was fine with the old ink cartridge, which he’d recently replaced because the output was getting light. (How quaint: Lexmark doesn’t force you to buy a new cartridge the moment the ink level gets low.)
Aha! I asked Dad if he still had the old cartridge, and, luckily, he did. I told him to swap it back in, and guess what? The printer printed. Clearly the problem had been the new cartridge.
For more than 20 years, Rick Broida has written about all manner of technology, from Amigas to business servers to PalmPilots. His credits include dozens of books, blogs, and magazines. He sleeps with an iPad under his pillow.