Robin's Blog

How to: Fix a network printer suddenly showing as offline in Windows Vista, 7 or 8

This post has become quite popular – so I’ve updated it with a bit more detail, plus some people’s experiences from the comments. If you find it useful then please leave a comment – or, even better, if I’ve saved you time and money then donate a bit to cover my hosting costs.

You may find, as I have done recently, that a network printer installed on a Windows Vista starts suddenly showing as Offline even when other machines on the network can access it fine. I originally thought it would be an IP address issue, but it turned out not to be anything to do with that. In fact, the solution was far simpler – but also slightly strange…

It turns out that Windows Vista automatically enables SNMP support for networked printers, and if it can’t get a response to a SNMP message then it assumes the printer is offline. SNMP stands for Simple Network Management Protocol and is a way of getting information from network devices (such as routers, servers and printers), mainly for the purposes of finding out if there are any problems with the devices. A number of networked printers implement SNMP, and will respond to SNMP queries with information, but some don’t. My printer (a fairly old Lexmark T640) is one of the ones that doesn’t implement it – so of course Vista will never get a response to a SNMP message. The result of which is that the printer will start showing as offline at a seemingly random time because Vista has just sent a SNMP message to it, and it hasn’t responded.

Thankfully there is a simple way to fix this – and it just involves telling Vista not to try and communicate with the printer via SNMP. Simply right-click on the printer in the Printers window, choose the Ports tab, and select Configure Port. At the bottom you will see a checkbox saying something like SNMP Status Enable. Untick that, and the printer should start showing as online again.

That should be it…but here are a few other tips/observations from people who’ve commented on this post:

  • This has been found to work on a variety of versions of Windows including
    • Windows Vista
    • Windows 7
    • Windows 8
    • Windows 8.1
    • Windows 10
    • Windows Server 2003
    • Windows Server 2008
    • Windows Server 2012
  • You could need to be logged in as an administrator before you can change the SNMP status
  • If you’re running Windows 8 then this could be the problem instead (thanks Gompo)
  • If you find that this solves it for a bit but it keeps going offline again then editing the registry at HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print and adding a new DWORD called SNMPLegacy with the value 1 and restarting may solve it (thanks Coxy)
  • The issue can be caused even when the printer does support SNMP, but somehow the SNMP communications aren’t getting through – for example, due to a firewall or port configuration issue somewhere on the network (thanks Jonathan)
  • Setting the SNMP ‘group name’ to “public” can also help (thanks PP)

Categorised as: Computer Help, Computing, How To, Windows


245 Comments

  1. Equ says:

    3 weeks? 3 WEEKS for that f****** shit? OMG!!! Thank you very much for this post!!!!! Great!

  2. Dan says:

    +1 Robin. In my case adding the port in Win2008R2 couldn’t auto-detect the HP CLJ 4700. Ping and http were successful, so comm was OK. I manually setup the port & printer, But prints weren’t going through. Enabling SNMP on the printer fixed everything. Furthermore, read-only SNMP on the device is enough.

  3. Scott Drinkard says:

    THANK YOU! THANK YOU! THANK YOU!!! I’ve had one workstation on my network that has been unable to use one of the printers. It’s been driving me INSANE trying to figure it out. I’ve deleted the port. Removed the registry entries referring to it, you name it, I tried it. I was about to reinstall the OS when I came across your blog article. That was a life saver (or at least a sanity saver).

  4. Marius says:

    My network printers are configured over the WDS protocol therefore I dont have a SNMP option.It’s not supported.What can I do in this case ?

  5. YS says:

    Thank you so much! That simple after going crazy …!

  6. Yvonne Young says:

    Configure port is there, on 8.1, but nothing happens when I click on it..it’s sort of mute…disabled. We really shouldn’t have to go through all of this to get a printer to work!

  7. Cookie says:

    Worked! Thank you for posting this simple solution. I was going to put a help ticket in with the IT folks

  8. KuvanSpacey says:

    I followed these instructions and it fixed my issue. Turns out the cooporate network was blocking SNMP but this fixed it.

    http://spacecitytech.com/blog/removing-snmp-from-xerox-printer-drivers-un-grey-snmp-check-box/

  9. tukang says:

    Thanks it’s help me..

  10. Sven Svensson says:

    Dude! It’s 5 year later, and you just solved a several year old problem for me! Suddenly all printers is online and working! Pat youself on your back and feel good tonight! You just saved me from a mental breakdown! I love you!

  11. Janice says:

    I removed the check on SMNP but then I received error message the printer could not print the item. I tried several items that I have printed in past with no problem and same message. Network shows printer is connected. Put check back on SMNP and printer comes up “offline”. I don’t know what else to try. Help

  12. Abid says:

    i have made the registry changes but still facing the same issue. all the network printers are going offline in wondows 7 PC. is there any other solution which you can provide for the same issue.

  13. sharon says:

    You are totally the best! I always have to turn my computer off and back on again to solve this. I think this will work! Thanks for solving this for me!! : )

  14. Sibin says:

    Excellent….was trying to find the root cause for days……This totally solved my issue!!!

  15. Mel says:

    I have the same problem as Marius, whereas it’s configured to WDS. So when I click on configure port, the pop up window tells me that the operation is not supported. Further help would be very much appreciated, thank you!

  16. Laurie says:

    Thank you!! Thank you! Helped me! Fixed it right up. After trying for an hour, found your post. Thank you!

  17. Keith says:

    Everything is grayed out on the Printer Properties and I don’t see the SNMP Status Enable checkbox anywhere.

  18. Guido says:

    Thank you Sir!

  19. sagari says:

    Same as keith

    Everything is grayed

  20. Gabriele says:

    Thank you so much for posting this, I knew it had to be something simple but could not figure it out on my own. I have Windows 10 & Xerox ColorCube 8570.

  21. Linda Miller says:

    I tried this but it wouldn’t let me click “configure”.
    I have no idea what’s going on. Any other ideas?

  22. Linda Miller says:

    Forgot to mention its on Windows Vista and a Canon MP210 printer.

  23. Kyle says:

    If you get the error “An error occured during Port configuration” along with access denied or this operation is not supported try these steps (Both of them!)
    Step 1: go to control panel ->Programs and Features–>Turn Windows Features on or off (link in top left corner)–>Simple Network Manager Protocol (SNMP) and TURN IT ON!!! (put a check in the box)

    Then Step 2:
    Click Start, click Run, type regedit, and then click OK.
    Locate and then click the following registry subkey:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print
    On the Edit menu, point to New, and then click DWORD Value.
    Type SNMPLegacy, and then press ENTER.
    Right-click SNMPLegacy, and then click Modify.
    In the Value data box, type 1, and then click OK.

    Note This hotfix does not work if the SNMPLegacy registry entry is set to 0. If this registry entry is set to 1, the print queue status is displayed as “Ready” instead of as “Offline” when a printer device does not respond to SNMP commands.
    Exit Registry Editor.

    Hope this helps. I was frustrated just like you and all the links pointing to the obvious solutions (restarting and right click to select printer online) options were from people that have no business posting solutions to computer problems and were getting really annoying while finding the solution. I found the regedit solution that didnt work by itself, then I realized SNMP was disabled and put 2 and 2 together. Hope it helps!
    Regards, Kyle

  24. Abe says:

    Nice time saver. This helped resolve issue that has been a problem for a couple of hours and thank you so much for the post. This is resolved now.

  25. Patty says:

    Could not configure my port due to error message popping up. “An Error Occurred during Port Configuration. The filename, directory name, or volume label syntax is incorrect.” Switching ports did not work with my HP Officejet 6600 since it apparently used it own unique port config.

    Long story short, Unchecking “Enable bidirectional support” fixed my issue.

  26. Mel says:

    Thank You. This solved my issue first go!

  27. Mark says:

    My issue is different, when “SNMP status enable” is ticked, it goes to offline, but when I disabled it, it goes to online. I need to check the check box of “SNMP status enable” for us to monitor the volume of printing. I hope someone encounter this and solved.

  28. Sheryn says:

    HUGE THANK YOU!!!

    I have spent months of the printer going online and offline whenever it wanted – hugely frustrating.

    Can’t thank you enough

  29. Ed says:

    Thank you sooooo much! Saved by a blog forum again.

  30. Thang says:

    Thanks a million, it’s a good piece of instruction!
    This problem took me hours trying to fix before getting your help!
    Thang

  31. Deb Hoshor says:

    When I click on Configure Port, I get a message that an error occurred during port configuration and access was denied.

    My administrator “side” of the computer was password protected. However the password written down at that time is not working.

    Any suggestions?!? Thanks for all your help. I really appreciate all the FREE help I can get as I am currently unemployed.

  32. Matan says:

    I did this but it still show offline.. Are there any other solution?

  33. Jax7778 says:

    One more possibility to add to this list. There is another known issue that may cause this, and this may help user’s in an enterprise environment that cannot disable SNMP.
    Microsoft Article:

    https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/kb/2713128

  34. AJ365 says:

    Thank you!!x4
    I look like the office genius! By the way we are using windows 8.

    THANXXXX

  35. Hilary Milne says:

    Kyle’s Step 1 on its own fixed things for me. Previously my printers had been working fine on Windows 10. This problem appeared to come out of the blue. Major headache over. Thank you all SO, SO much!

  36. James says:

    Worked for me too. EPSON WF-3620 the culprit in this instance.

    cheers!

  37. Gokhan says:

    I really can not decide how to thank you. Great job. Thanks 🙂

  38. Shahul says:

    This worked superbly in a big corporate environment like mine. Not sure how it got autoticked but unchecking it helped. Thank you!

  39. Linzy says:

    I have been back and forth with my IT department for about 8 months with this issue. They refuse to admit it’s a networking problem, and keep telling me to contact the printer vendor. So I took it upon myself to fix it and came across this article, as soon as I unchecked that box the printer came back online!

    I’m going to give it a few days before I toot my own horn to the IT dept.

    Thank you so much!

  40. VINCENT says:

    woooow it works

    Thanks alot

  41. Rick says:

    I wasted over a week with Brother Support trying to understand their broken English over 5 or 6 phone calls. My problem was that 3 of 4 network computers suddenly developed a 15-20 min. print delay to just one printer while Printing normally to a second printer. Even more confusing, was that one computer continued to print normally to both printers. It took about 20 min. to apply your fix to all 3 affected computers and now every one is printing normally as before to both network printers.

    Thank you very much for this post.

  42. Rocha says:

    Work so good, and easy to do. Thanks

  43. Christian says:

    Oh my god! I have spent months without a printer, hours at a time.

  44. Paul says:

    Thank you so much, My Dell WIFI printer stayed offline when I “upgraded” to Windows 10 – Following your instructions did the trick. 🙂

  45. Χωρίς ΟΝΟΜΑ says:

    It’s amazing how much misinformation exists on the Internet. Luckily, I stumbled on your website and in 30″ I was able to solve my printer stuck on “offline” for the last …30 days. A good question of course is what cause SNMP to be enabled. The printer used to work, driver installed fine, test page printed OK, and kept printing until some unknown force decided to change SNMP to “enabled”. Thank you for the help, you did make my day!

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