Common HP printer problems and how to solve them

Printers, like most machines, require proper care and maintenance for optimal performance. Sometimes, though, a tricky problem may pop up. Some issues will be specific to either inkjet or laser, but others will be common to all types of printers. It’s also important to realize that more complex problems may need the expertise of professionals, so make sure you’re confident before opening up your printer.

Check the basics first
If your printer isn’t printing, check the paper, power and connection first. Make sure the printer has paper, that it’s plugged in and that it’s connected, either by cable or wirelessly to your computer.

If the printer is out of ink or toner, follow the specific model’s instructions on how to replace it. You can find the instructions online by searching for your printer model at

Visit the doctor
HP has developed free downloadable tools to help you resolve common printer problems. One of the most useful is the HP Print and Scan Doctor. The Print and Scan Doctor quickly and automatically performs several troubleshooting tasks known to resolve common issues. The doctor is only available for Windows operating systems; for Mac OS X and other operating systems, the HP Support Center should be your first stop to help diagnose errors.

Paper Jams
Paper jams annoying and they will occur occasionally, but if your printer is jamming more often than it should, there are a few simple ways to reduce or eliminate the issue.

The following factors can cause paper jams:

  • Foreign objects (such as paper clips, coins, or rubber bands) might have fallen into the input tray.
  • Paper loaded incorrectly in the paper tray.
  • Damaged or dirty paper rollers.
  • Torn, wrinkled, or damp paper loaded in the paper tray.
  • The access door (on the rear or underside of the printer) might not be closed securely.
  • Paper was added to a stack already in the tray while the printer was printing.
  • The tray contains more than one type of paper.
  • The paper is jammed inside the HP product where you cannot see it.
  • An obstruction is blocking the paper path.
  • Torn pieces of paper from a previous jam are stuck in the product.
  • The tray is too full.

Check for these common jamming causes and then follow these steps, in order, to help reduce paper jams.

  • Turn the printer off and on again
  • Make sure that the printer rests on a flat surface
  • Clear the jam from the printer
  • Clean the paper rollers
  • Reset the printer
  • Service the printer

You can find more detailed instructions on the HP Support Center by searching for your printer model number and “paper jams.”

Print Jobs Stuck in Print Queue
If your printer can’t print from a computer because a print job is stuck in the Windows print queue and this stuck print job cannot be cancelled or deleted, it can prevent further print jobs from printing.
This issue can occur because of a variety of reasons, such as power outages, but it always involves the print job spooling process in Windows.

To resolve this problem, follow visit and follow the instructions.

50.4 error
This is an error that occurs in laser printers. It refers to the fuser, a critical, but replaceable component. Depending on the model it can be an infrared oven, a heated pressure roller, or a xenon flash lamp.
If you are seeing a 50.4 Fuser Error on your HP printer, you probably need to replace the fuser. The printer is registering a “fuser heater wire failure”. Fusers are a consumable part; it is expected over the life of the printer you will replace the fuser several times. HP estimates average fuser life to last about 100,000 pages; but a fuser can fail much earlier depending on printing conditions, heavy paper jams, and the quality of the fuser installed.

For a temporary fix, you can try turning the printer off and back on again, sometimes the reboot will reset the fuser so you can continue printing a few more pages. If the 50.4 Fuser Error returns, you should replace the fuser.

This is something best left to the experts, but you can search for how to do it at the HP Support Center by searching for the 50.4 error and your printer’s model number.

Printing pretty
It’s impossible to cover every possible error message or printer issue in one article, but these tips should give you the right place to start looking for solutions. Happy printing!