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Brother printer offline: why does this happen?

The day finally arrives. You have been happy with your Brother printer and working with ease, and all of a sudden, your printer presents an error. You panic, and ask what can I do? We all know the scenario, panic turns to frustration and fear. Then you wonder, is the phone the first thing to reach for?

Brother printers are known for their great quality and low cost. They far exceed most expectations. However, what is considered an immediate answer? Here we give you the answers for any troubleshooting you can do yourself without calling for Brother Printer support.

Some of the the main reasons people call Brother Printer support are the following:
You finally have the comfort of being able to print from virtually any location your printer. Your deadlines have become easier to meet, and your work is easily accessible as long as your printer is online. Then, the day comes, when you need to print something and you get the awful message: “printer offline.” Suddenly, your printer does not execute your print jobs.

What exactly does “printer offline” mean? The “printer offline” message means that your printer and computer are not connecting. It happens when the connection is interrupted, or the printer is not responding to your print jobs. Printers can come in a variety of types. They include three major types :
local printers, network printers, and wireless printers; all of them can show “offline.” The differences between these printers are :


  • Local printers: these connect directly to a designated computer via USB cable.

  • Network printers: these connect to any number of computers via wired or wireless networks.

  • Wireless printers: these connect to any number of computers via wireless connection.


Local printers will sometimes appear offline. When you select the print option and select the printer, it will give the “printer offline” message and your job will automatically go into the printing queue. Because a local printer connects to one computer, it is typically an easy problem to repair.
  • 1. The first to do is check to make sure the correct printer driver is installed your computer.
  • 2. Erase the print queue if it has documents from more than one hour prior.
  • 3. Make sure the USB cable connects correctly to the computer and to the printer as well.
  • 4. Make sure the printer =has no paper jams (as this can cause the printer to stop receiveing print jobs)
  • 5. As a last resort, uninstall and re-install the printer, and restart both the computer and the printer. This process will be explained later.

This will usually fix the problem of your local printer. Like stated, not too much to handle.

Network printers are notorious for appearing offline. There is no “typical” reason with these printers shoot out the “printer offline” message. Because these printers connect to different computers and devices, this becoming a little harder to detect why it appears offline. Some of the reasons are :
  • The printer has been turned off, or is on sleep mode
  • The internet (or Ethernet) connection is not working correctly
  • The printing queue of print jobs is too long
  • A paper jam is present and has not been addressed
  • Printer driver updates and/or computer updates have changed your printer driver
  • Updates has changed your default printer to another
  • Time and date do not match from computer to printer
  • IP address has changed on printer and/or computer not allowing them to connect
These are just a few of the reasons for a “printer offline” message from a network printer. These printers require more troubleshooting when the offline message appears, but here we will explore some of the options you can try.
  • 1. The first thing to do is to make sure that the printer is on, and connected to the network you are using (whether through Ethernet or wireless).
  • 2. Erase all your print jobs in the print queues to avoid overloading the printer.
  • 3. Make sure there are no paper jams in the printer, if there are, clean them out carefully.
  • 4. Restart both the printer and computer.
  • 5. If everything checks out, then you will need to access your settings from your computer’s control panel.
  • 6. In the settings, you need to access the “printer and devices ” file.
  • 7. Select the printer icon that you want to access.
  • 8. Click on the “use printer offline” button in order to return the printer to online status.
  • 9. If this does not work, then you can uninstall and re-install the printer driver (and then restart both the printer and computer). This process is explained later.

These steps will most likely fix the problem, and allow the devices to connect. The printer should now print your jobs!

Wireless printers are very similar to network printers; they connect to more than one computer, and connect through a network. The difference with these printers from the other two is that they connect wirelessly to computers. These printers are very sensitive to change and are even more notorious for appearing offline. Why do these printers appear offline so often?
  • These printers need to connect through the same router and Wi-Fi to the computer(s) it will service, so if there is you have more than one router, it might cause a disconnection between the printer and devices
  • The distance can disturb the signal
  • Big or tall furniture can block the signal
  • Change of IP address on either device can cause a connection problem
  • Updates on the printer or computer can cause a signal malfunction.
  • Paper jams (they really do shut printers down!)
  • Long job queues (these also shut them down!)

In order to get wireless printers back to online mode, you can follow some of the following steps:
  • 1. Check the connection of both devices to make sure they are both connected to the same Wi-Fi.
  • 2. Make sure there are no paper jams.
  • 3. Erase a job queue of print jobs that have been waiting for longer than an hour.
  • 4. Access your control panel.
  • 5. Select the icon of the printer you want to access.
  • 6. Double click on the “Use printer offline” button in order to return the printer to online mode.
  • 7. Restart the printer and devices: computer, router
  • 8. If the printer continues to give the “printer offline” message, you might want to uninstall and re-install the printer drive on the computer (and restart both).

This should bring your printer back to online mode, and give the “printer online” message. You scan now resume your print jobs.

If none of these have solved your issue, then it is time for the uninstall and reinstall method.
To uninstall the printer follow these steps :
  • Unplug the printer from the computer, and turn the printer off.
  • Then, from your computer, access the “printers and devices” folder from the control panel.
  • Click on the printer icon you want to uninstall.
  • Select remove and follow the prompts to remove the printer driver.

To reinstall the printer do the following :
  • Restart the computer.
  • If the printer has a CD for installation, insert the CD and follow the prompts for installation.
  • If the printer does not have an installation CD, look for your printer driver online.
  • Download the printer driver and run the installation.
  • For local printers : restart the printer and computer, and plug the printer USB cable from the printer to the computer.
  • For network printers : Restart the printer and computer, check that both connect to the same wired connection
  • For wireless printers : Restart the printer and devices: computer and router. Check that the printer and computers connect to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • Most printers will automatically prompt an install window, when this happens, follow the prompts to install the printer. It is highly advised that you set the printer as default printer.

Now we break off. Once you have re-installed your Brother printer, follow these instructions for the type of printer you have:
• For local printers :
  • 1. Plug the printer into the energy socket.
  • 2. Connect the USB cable to the printer and computer ports.
  • 3. Turn on the printer and your computer.
  • 4. Resume your print job!
• For network printers:
  • 1. Turn the computer and printer on.
  • 2. Connect the printer USB cable to the computer.
  • 3. Check that the printer and computer connect to the same network (Ethernet or Wi-Fi)
  • 4. Resume your print job!
• For wireless printers:
  • 1. Restart the printer and devices: computer and router.
  • 2. Check that the printer and computers connect to the same Wi-Fi network.
  • 3. Resume your print jobs!

If you have followed the steps provided, the “printer offline” message should be long gone. The “printer offline” message is not one to be scared of, rather something we must be accustomed to troubleshooting with ease!

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