Windows XP / Networking

Protecting Printers

You should regularly perform a few maintenance chores to make sure that your printed documents look terrific and that your printers perform without errors:

  • Don't overfill paper trays - doing so results in printer jams.
  • If you have to clean up a printer jam, unplug the printer. Never yank on the jammed paper. Pull it steadily and gently.
  • Always clean a laser printer when you change toner cartridges, following the directions that came with the cartridge.
  • Don't put label sheets back into the printer for a second pass. If you only used a couple of labels on the sheet, throw away the sheet. The chemicals on the sheet can damage the internal mechanisms of the printer.
  • Dust is the printer's biggest enemy. Keep printers covered when they are not in use.
  • When you use heavy paper stock, labels, transparencies, or envelopes in a laser printer, open the back door to let the paper go through the printer in a straight path. That way, the stock does not have to bend around the rollers.
  • Use the features in the software that came with your color ink jet printer to check the alignment of the color cartridge. (No alignment maintenance is required for monochrome cartridges - you simply replace the cartridges when they run out of ink or dry up.)
  • Use paper that is compatible with your printer. (Check the documentation that came with your printer.)

Besides protecting your printer, you also need to protect your computer from your printer, especially if you use a laser printer or a powerful color ink jet printer. These printers use a lot of power, and if they are on the same circuit as your computer, you are probably causing minor brownouts for the computer, which can harm your hard drive and your data.

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