Why Isn't the Lexmark Printer Communicating with My Computer?

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Printing success requires a properly set up printer.
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Lexmark manufactures a broad range of inkjet, laser and multifunction printing devices. If your Lexmark peripheral seems unable to receive and process data from your computer, displays communication-related error messages or simply ignores your attempts to use it, direct your troubleshooting efforts to some common -- and a few not-so-common -- malfunctions and mistakes that cause these types of problems.


Cover-Open Switch

Some Lexmark printers misleadingly report a printhead error or an open cover, preventing the devices from accepting and processsing data from your computer. Both messages reflect the same underlying problem -- a cover sensor with a malfunctioning lever. This triggers a cover-open warning message, which may leave you unable to shut down the printer without first disconnecting it from electrical power. The printhead error stems from the switch lever moving just enough to trigger the warning while the printer operates. Adjusting the lever or replacing the switch cures the problem. To avoid a recurrence of this issue, handle the printer gently instead of slamming covers closed.

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Network & Port-Sharing Problems

Your printer will fail to operate properly if you try to connect it to more than one computer at the same time without using Ethernet or wireless networking to do so. Some Lexmark printers include both parallel and USB ports, but these devices shouldn't be used through both interfaces simultaneously. If you connect through a wireless network, allow enough time for the printer to finish initializing itself and its network connection before you attempt to use it. You also may experience communication problems if you attempt to use the printer on the same port as a scanner or a multifunction device that includes scanning capability.



A faulty USB cable or one that runs too long to carry data properly can prompt your Lexmark printer to display communication errors. If the cable exceeds 10 feet in length, replace it with a shorter one. Unplug any USB hubs and plug the printer directly into your computer, trying more than one port if your computer includes them. Even if the cable worked properly yesterday or last week, try unplugging and replugging it or replacing it with a new one.


Internal Conditions

When your printer needs ink, toner or paper, or requires your attention to clear out a paper jam, it enters what Lexmark refers to as an "Intervention Requested" state. Print jobs clear out of the print queue but don't emerge on paper until you resolve the printer's problem and put it back online. Verify that you've installed fresh cartridges and that you're not trying to use a refilled consumable that comes from the Lexmark Return Program. These cartridges sell directly from Lexmark at discounted prices but can't be refilled, and must be returned to the manufacturer after you empty them.



Printer Driver

In addition to problems that stem from conditions inside the printer itself, you can experience communication errors that trace back to the driver software you installed or updated to manage printer operations. Although Microsoft Windows includes built-in support for many output devices, including Lexmark products, its plug-and-play support only operates correctly if your peripheral can operate under the Windows version you use. If you feel certain that your device can function under your current computer configuration but no automatic support appears, use the Windows Control Panel's ability to add drivers manually.



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