What To Do If Printer Is Offline

This post has actually ended up being quite popular so I have actually updated it with a bit more detail, plus some people's experiences from the remarks. If you discover it beneficial then please leave a comment-- or, even better, if I have actually conserved you money and time then donate a bit to cover my hosting costs.

You might discover, as I have done recently, that a network printer set up on a Windows Vista begins suddenly showing as Offline even when other machines on the network can access it fine. What To Do If Printer Is Offline I originally believed it would be an IP address problem, however, it turned out not to be anything to do with that. In truth, the option was far simpler-- however likewise somewhat unusual ...

It turns out that Windows Vista automatically makes it possible for SNMP assistance for networked printers, and if it cannot get a reaction to an SNMP message then it assumes the printer is offline. SNMP stands for Easy Network Management Procedure and is a way of getting details from network gadgets (such as routers, servers, and printers), generally for the functions of finding out if there are any problems with the gadgets. What Does It Mean When Your Printer Is Offline

A number of networked printers implement SNMP and will react to SNMP questions with details, however, some don't. My printer (a fairly old Lexmark T640) is one of the ones that doesn't implement it-- so naturally, Vista will never ever get an action to an SNMP message. The result of which is that the printer will start showing as offline at a seemingly random time due to the fact that Vista has simply sent out an SNMP message to it, and it hasn't responded.

Luckily there is an easy way to fix this-- and it simply involves telling Vista not to attempt and interact with the printer by means of SNMP. Merely right-click on the printer in the Printers window, select the Ports tab, and choose Configure Port. At the bottom, you will see a checkbox saying something like SNMP Status Enable. Untick that, and the printer needs to start showing as online again.

What To Do If Printer Is Offline

That should be it ... however here are a couple of other tips/observations from people who've commented on this post:

  • This has actually been found to work on a range of versions of Windows consisting of
  1. Windows Vista
  2. Windows 7
  3. Windows 8
  4. Windows 8.1
  5. Windows 10
  6. Windows Server 2003
  7. Windows Server 2008
  8. Windows Server 2012
  • You could have to be logged in as an administrator prior to you can change the SNMP status
  • If you're running Windows 8 then this might be the problem instead (thanks, Gompo).
  • If you discover that this fixes it for a bit but it keeps going offline again then editing the registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ SYSTEM \ CurrentControlSet \ Control \ Print and including a new DWORD called SNMPLegacy with the value 1 and rebooting may resolve it (thanks, Coxy).
  • The concern can be caused even when the printer does support SNMP, however, somehow the SNMP communications aren't making it through-- for instance, due to a firewall or port configuration problem someplace on the network (thanks, Jonathan).
  • Setting the SNMP 'group name' to "public" can likewise help (thanks, PP). What To Do If Printer Is Offline