If your computer or a peripheral fails it might be easy to panic, but there are steps you can take to distinguish what, if anything, might be broken. Printer failure is a common problem and an annoyance for computer users, but determining if the problem is with the USB cable that connects your printer to the computer is a pain-free task. Like any connection made between a computer and a device, the problem could be with the device, the cable, the connection jack, or your computer itself.
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Turn off your computer and disconnect all peripherals that aren't required. Leave only the monitor, mouse, and keyboard plugged in. Make sure the printer is disconnected.
Boot your computer and log in to your operating system.
Connect your printer to the computer via the USB cable, making sure the printer is still turned off.
Turn on the printer and watch your computer's desktop. Windows' support for USB plug and play allows the ability to connect devices while the computer is turned on. In the bottom right-hand corner of the screen, a message should appear showing that new hardware has been connected. If so, your USB printer cable is working correctly.
Unplug the USB cable from your computer if the device was not recognised after a few minutes. Connect the USB cable to another USB slot on the back of your computer. If the message appears this time then you have a faulty USB jack (the first slot you tried to connect to) and the cable is fine.
Disconnect the USB cable if it still does not connect in the second USB slot. Use a different USB cable to connect the printer to the computer and wait for the new hardware message. If the message appears, then your initial USB cable is faulty; if it still does not appear, you may have a faulty printer.
Connect a different USB device, such as an external hard drive, or another printer, to your computer using the first USB cable. If the device appears as new hardware, then it is your printer that is faulty, rather than the USB cable. If the plug and play message for the device still does not appear, you will need to test the printer and cable on another computer.
Connect your printer with the original USB cable to another computer, if the computer recognises the device, then your computer is at fault and not the peripheral or the USB cable. In this case, consult your manufacturer for further help.
Tips and warnings
- Run Windows Update and make sure all your drivers are updated before testing the USB cable.
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