Printer reset to make the printer work again

A printer reset is rarely necessary, but can be a solution to a warning message or a stuck device issue.

The reset resets the printer’s internal counter. This is primarily necessary for inkjet printers. The reason is the integrated overflow container. An alternative is to reset back to the factory settings. If you want to know the shelf life of the printer toner then read this post.

Why is a reset necessary at all?

For the internal counter: The inkjet printers already mentioned at the beginning work with an overflow container that is integrated at the factory . This collects excess ink that is produced during printing or cleaning processes, among other things. These containers usually contain smaller sponges that absorb the ink. Sometimes a chemical is also present that has a solidifying effect on the ink itself.

A reset is necessary when the printer reports that the overflow container is full. However, this does not necessarily have to be true, because printers do not really work with a real-time check, but instead with an internal counter. This counts until it displays this message after a certain number of prints. The overflow container is not always actually full. With the reset you can reset the counter to continue your printing work.

For “hung” printers: Printers can also be reset to the factory settings, for example if an error message no longer disappears or the device no longer works properly for other reasons. The factory settings reset returns the internal printer software to its original state. Warning: all settings made will be lost.

Perform a printer reset

There are differences between manufacturers and models as to how a reset is actually performed. The mechanism behind the reset is similar to the standard password that is used with printers. The latter can be changed, but you have to memorize the reset mechanism itself. You can find out exactly how this works on your model in the operating instructions. Sometimes the respective manufacturer also provides information online.

Below you will find an overview of the common reset mechanisms of popular manufacturers. However, as already mentioned, these can vary in detail depending on the model.

With Epson printers, the reset is usually carried out using software. There is no classic key combination on the printer. The software required for this is called “Epson Service Tool” and can be downloaded free of charge. In this you will find a separate menu item that is used for the reset. The current version of the software does not always support all printers on the market. Sometimes you have to search manually for a (paid) alternative on the Internet. In this you can reset counter and software separately (via the respective menu item).

With Brother printers, the reset works as usual on the device itself. To do this, press the menu and the start button of the device at the same time. Then either the plus sign or the up arrow (depending on the model) are pressed four times in a row to get to the main menu. Navigate to the “Purge Counter” or “Reset” item and follow the instructions. After the reset, the displayed counter is at «0000». The HL-1050 model prints the counter instead of displaying it. Factory settings are reset using the «BRAdmin» software. The menu item in the English-language software reads “Restore Factory Defaults”.

On many Canon models (e.g. the BJC series) you can perform a reset by pressing and holding the Power , Formfeed and Print Mode buttons at the same time while connecting the printer to the power supply. The printers then give an audio signal to confirm the reset and then reconnect automatically.

Pixma models are powered off for factory reset, then press (hold) the On button and press the Stop button 5x – then release both. It then resets itself to the factory settings.

With HP printers, the reset for the counter is selected via the menu – if it is available. This is usually not the case with the Laserjet series; instead, they have to go to the HP workshop for a general overhaul after 50,000 prints. They work with an operating hours counter which cannot be reset automatically. If this is possible for the device, the factory settings are reset using the “HP Print and Scan Doctor” software. Sometimes there is no “hard” reset, but the software simply fixes the existing error.

You can view the printer history to see which documents you have printed. This works both under Windows and directly on the printer – if you have activated the right options beforehand and your printer supports the function. We will show you how to do this in this practical tip.

Show printer history in Windows

If the corresponding function was previously activated under Windows, you can display all print jobs.

  1. To do this, go to Settings > Devices > Printers and Scanners .
  2. From the list of available printers, click to select the printer for which you want to activate logging.
  3. If you are using Windows 10 , then click on ” Open queue ” under the respective printer. In the new window, select the ” Properties ” option under ” Print ” (see image 1).
  4. On the ” Advanced ” tab you can now tick the ” Do not delete print jobs after printing ” option (see Illus. 2).
  5. Confirm the new settings by clicking ” OK “.
  6. About the directory” C:\WINDOWS\system32\spool\PRINTERS ” you can now track the print jobs.
  7. The files contained there with the extension ” .shd ” or ” .splv ” can then be read out with a tool such as the ” Universal Viewer Portable “.
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