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8 Ways to Fix Printer in Error State (5 Brands)

Your printer’s efficiency plays a huge role in your workflow — which is why it’s important to know what to do when it malfunctions. The “Your Printer is in Error State” notification can be especially frustrating, but we have found 8 ways to remedy the problem when it happens. 

printer in error state

Why Is My Printer In Error State?

There are several reasons why your printer sent an error message. There could be a faulty printer drive, software changes, or a lost connection between the printer and computer.

Follow the troubleshooting steps below to determine what’s wrong with your printer and how to fix it.

8 Steps to Fix Printer in Error State

From easiest to most difficult, there are 8 things you can do to get rid of the “printer in error state” notification.

These steps will work for HP, Canon, Brother, Epson, and Lexmark printers.

1. Check Printer and Computer Connections

As simple as it sounds, issues with the physical chord connecting the printer to the computer often get overlooked.

It’s important the cord is in good condition, plugged directly into an outlet instead of a surge protector, and plugged securely into the computer and printer. 

If your printer connects wirelessly to your computer, navigate to settings to make sure the printer is recognizable from your computer. Settings > Devices > Add printer or scanner.

Be sure the correct printer is selected, and the status says “Online.” 

2. Make Sure Paper Tray Is Loaded

If you have sent a print job to your printer and there is no paper loaded in the tray, the printer may hiccup in its functions. 

Physically lift the tray and inspect if there is a paper jam. Lift the printer tray and load it with a small stack of paper, pushing it in completely, then try to resend the print job. 

More help: 4 Easy Ways to Fix Printer Printing Blank Pages

3. Check Ink Cartridges

Similar to the paper situation, printers need to have the correct ink cartridges loaded before successfully printing anything. Refer to your printer’s manual to ensure the ink cartridges you’re using are correct for that model. 

Also, make sure the ink cartridges have enough ink. Your printer should tell you when cartridges are low, but the notification could have been missed due to the “error state” notification. 

Before you load just any paper stock (like construction paper), it’s good to make sure your printer can handle it.

4. Restart Printer and Computer

If all the above features seem to check out and the “error state” message persists, you should restart your printer and computer. 

To restart the printer, press and hold the power button until it powers down. Unplug the cord from the wall and printer for 15 seconds. Some brands suggest holding the power button for 15 seconds while it is unplugged. Plug the power cord in and power the printer back on. 

5. Confirm Printer Is Online

If you’re trying to send a print job and the printer is not online, the “error state” message may appear on your screen. Most printers also have a “Use Printer Offline” mode, which restricts the printer from connecting to the computer. Some printers will also go into a “Sleep Mode,” appearing offline. 

Click on Settings > Devices > Printers & scanners, then click on your printer. Click ‘Open queue,’ then select your printer from the menu. Make sure ‘Use Printer Offline’ is unchecked. 

The printer should also be connected to the same WiFi as your computer. 

6. Update or Reinstall Printer Drivers

If none of the above options have helped, you may need to update or reinstall the printer drivers. Manufacturers regularly release updated drivers to improve printer performance. Reinstalling a printer driver is very similar to reinstalling your entire printer. 

Navigate to Device Manager, right-click or press and hold on your printer, then click ‘Update driver’ or ‘Update driver software.’ 

Click ‘Uninstall’ and restart your computer if neither of the above is an option. When your computer is back on, navigate to the same area and click ‘Install.’ 

7. Reset Print Spooler

The print spooler is an application that manages print jobs sent from the computer. Print spoolers get jammed if too many jobs are sent to the printer too quickly, which is often an issue with shared printers. 

You can use Task Manager to reset your print spooler by navigating to the Services tab. Find ‘Spooler’ service, right-click and press ‘Restart.’

If a restart is not an option, click to turn the spooler off, wait 30 seconds and turn it back on. 

8. Update Printer Firmware

If you believe your printer may have an older version of firmware and needs an update, you can download the most recent firmware on your computer from the printer manufacturer’s website. 

Research the firmware on the printer’s website to ensure you download the correct firmware update. Printer firmware updates should fix minor problems, including error messages, and make printers function more effectively. 

how to fix printer in error state

Sometimes a printer will pause unexpectedly. Here’s how to unpause a printer.

How to Fix HP Printer in Error State

If your HP printer is in an error state, troubleshoot the problem by restarting the printer manually. Unplug the cord from the printer while still on, then hold the printer’s power button for 15 seconds. Plug everything back in and turn it back on.

If issues persist, you can ask HP community members and professionals about their issues on the HP Support Page. Here’s how to reset an HP printer.

How to Fix Canon Printer in Error State

Canon printers in error state are most frequently a response to hardware or driver issues.

Follow the above steps to ensure your Canon printer has updated print drivers. If you are unable to photocopy with your printer, this could signify a larger issue. 

Canon offers specialized support for their printers through the Canon help website. 

More reading: How to Connect Canon Printer to WiFi And how to reset a Canon printer – including hard and factory resets.

How to Fix Epson Printer in Error State

Inadequate power supplies have reportedly been a common issue leading to an error state with Epson printers. 

Issues with the power outlet may cause an issue with the printer’s functions. After checking through the 8 ways listed above, try plugging the printer into a different outlet to see if that helps. 

Additional help with Epson printer problems can be found at the Epson support website. 

How to Fix Brother Printer in Error State

Of the 8 reasons listed above, Brother printers have the most issues with corrupted printer drivers. You may need to uninstall and reinstall printer drivers to get rid of the error state notification. 

Detailed information on how to reset Brother printer drivers is located on the Brother support page.

How to Fix Lexmark Printer in Error State

Some Lexmark printers may issue an error code when sending the notification, which will help you determine the cause for the error. Take special care to ensure the paper tray is clear, ink is loaded, and the printer is connected correctly. 

Detailed assistance for all printer-related questions is available at the Lexmark printer support site.

Here’s more about How to Fix a Printer Not Responding Error


Printer problems are high on the list for causing headaches and frustration in your workday. 

Next time an error message pops up from your printer, carefully follow the 8 methods above to get rid of the notification and resume normal printer operations. 

How to Reset an HP Printer: 7 Methods (Factory, Network, Firmware) - Click Like This

Wednesday 13th of April 2022

[…] Printer is displaying an error message […]

Jim Ballor

Thursday 31st of March 2022

My Canon PIXMA 8120 printer has 5B00 (InkPad full) error. When powered on it shows that error and is frozen in that state. None of the electronic buttons come on, that area stays all black.

If you depress the power button and then plug the cord in I get it to where the electronic button show but they are displayed only and do not work.

The only physical button on this model is the on/off button. All the rest are electronic and don't do anything.

When I look online I see various ways to reset it by using the power button and a reset button or a stop button.

How do I do a reset or a factory reset on this machine which only has one physical button?


Jim Ballor