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


  1. Leah G. says:

    Doesn’t work for me either. I’ve tried every trick in the book but to no avail.

  2. Marco D says:

    Wow thank you so much! the untick snmp checkbox worked.

  3. Fredo says:

    Thank you.

    this resolves the problem with a KYOCERA TASKalpha 266ci.

  4. Frits says:

    @Richard Frenkel: That was it!
    I got the Brother printer now 2x in the control panel, both as ‘active’, but when I print from a program, it shows only 1 and it does actually print!

    OMG! Thanks a LOT1

  5. Elaine says:

    You are a star :) 3 days I have been looking at this.

    30 seconds with your directions and it is fixed

  6. blem says:

    I have TSP643 cutter printers connected via local ports. I shared them over the network and cna access them fine. however after the computer shuts off the printers come back as offline and i need to keep removing and re-adding them. There is no SNMP option in the port as it is shared and the actual printers are not networked.tried adding it as a local port however after a restart both the printers would not allow printing from the computer they are shared on.

    any idea of what could cause this?

  7. RacheinDerbys says:

    Thank you! Have been struggling with this ever since I got my new (Windows 10) computer. Now prints to my Brother DCP J140-W perfectly.

  8. NXU says:

    The SNMP line offered here is a good line to think along once you have exhausted all others. However it didn’t get us very far — at least yet.

    No option to configure SNMP for the printers we have. Also SNMP is active at the printer level. Not sure where to go from here.

    I will update if I find any other little gremlins.

  9. Beniamin says:

    Man, that saved my day. Thanks :)

  10. ABI says:

    Thank you
    snmp checkbox worked for me on Konica minolta(bizhub c552)Photocopier and Windows 7.

  11. Librarian says:

    When I click on the “Ports” tab, everything is grayed out. I can’t select anything. I can’t get to the configure button, therefore I can’t untick SNMP Status Enable.

  12. Librarian says:

    I fixed my own problem. My coworker unplugged and replugged the USB cable from the printer and now it works. I like simple. I just wished I had thought about “simple” an hour ago.

  13. dumb guy says:

    i unchecked the smnp box, switched to raw, and it looks like it’s working again. we’ll see if it stays that way.

  14. win10 noob says:

    when i went to ‘Configure Port’ in win 10 i got an error message.
    Right Click on the printer and chose ‘trouble shoot’ automatically reconfigured the printer and it worked. [HP colour laserjet CP1215]

  15. sharon cox says:

    I have windows hp printer 4630 says offline, but it’s not. What do I do.

  16. Paul R. Potts says:

    THANK YOU! This worked great for me. I have a laptop that I bring home every weekend, and every weekend without fail when I hooked it up to my local network, my Brother laser printer under my desk would show up as “offline.” Microsoft’s printer troubleshooting tool had absolutely nothing to offer. The only thing that worked was to delete the printer and add it again, and it would start working, until the next time I had taken my computer off the network and then brought it back. This seems to have fixed it!

  17. Danylo PROSPER says:

    Solution worked fine for me on Windows Server 2003. Thanks for you help…I tried everything but could not resolve it, can’t believe it’s that simple.

  18. Jade Ohlhauser says:

    Turning off SNMP as described immediately fixed a network printer from a Windows 10 machine that would only print what was in the queue when Windows logged on.

  19. mamami says:

    Turning off SNMP worked for me with Windows 7. Thank you!! This has been an ongoing headache for months and the solution you offered was so simple.

  20. Jeff DB says:

    I have a Kyocera Taskalfa420i at my office and cannot find the solution. When i go to ports–>configure port there is no SNMP option- only a port number which I can change. Does anyone have the solution for this? It is running on a LAN through a cisco 16 port switch. I can see that the switch is recognizing the printer- but all the computers on the HomeGroup are telling me the printer is offline. PLEASE HELP, Ive been banging my head of hours over this

  21. almar says:

    Brother HL-2135W laser wouldn’t print wirelessly after ethernet card crashed and was re-enabled. Internet working fine, but couldn’t print, printer was offline. Tried disabling this SNMP thingy and now all is well! Ta muchly!

  22. Bob says:

    I have Converted to Windows. 10 Printer shows off line, tried to configure port got Error message says operation not supported

  23. Amy B says:

    Robin Wilson, you’re my hero! (Windows 10 with a Brother MFC-J475DW)

  24. Martin says:

    0/10 you need to explain MUCH better.

  25. Steve S says:

    Googled problem and was confronted with complex bothersome fixes that i felt would surely create other issues. I happened upon your solution and within moments solved the problem. Excellent work….you are my new computer GURU !!!

  26. John Gray says:

    We have a server on which printers are defined, to appear as networked printers on a number of Windows 7 PCs.
    It isn’t clear to me whether the suggested changes to the Port setting and/or the Registry change should be applied to the server, or to all the PCs, or to both.
    Can anyone say? Thanks!

  27. Mike Wardell says:

    Thanks, this worked for me. I have been reading different ideas all morning nothing worked. I finally copied what I wanted to a disc and printed from a different computer. This fixed the problem

  28. Russel Edgar says:

    Thank you so much, would have never thought to try this. Worked like a charm

  29. Tots says:


    Home network, HP LaserJet M475dw connected via WiFi to virgin router, household & his wife connected by both wifi and wired. “all of a sudden” getting the dreaded ‘printer is offline’ narrative when it was stable for some time.

    Disabling SNMP worked a treat, which suggests that either “recent patches” [we’ve been putting up with this problem!!] to either windows 7 (nearly all our devices are win7) or AntiVirus software (Avast) have tripped something. CBA to dig deeper as the relief of being able to print has exhausted me lol :-))

  30. Max Evans says:

    Wish it was that easy. Tried to configure port, but got an error that says “This operation is not supported.” Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 before that both have given me trouble with the “offline” problem. The troubleshooting function says the printer is turned off, but it is not and all the other computers in the house have no trouble and also run Windows 10. All on WiFi network. Any advice would be appreciated.

  31. Jack S. says:

    Thanks, this worked for me :)

  32. Mohd Saleem says:

    I can’t configure port even i am logged in as an administrator ( The error message is :- An error occurred during port configuration. This operation is not supported).

    I changed registry setting too.

    Kindly guide me what to do?

  33. […] what are these people coming to read? Well, a lot of them are coming to find out how to fix a network printer suddenly showing as offline in Windows – in fact, 51% of all of my page views have been for that post! It’s actually become […]

  34. JK says:

    You are AWESOME!!! I have been Googling this problem for the past 2 days and even had our IT Dept. try and help,to no avail (just goes to show you the capabilities of our IT Dept…yikes!)! Thank you so much for sharing this solution…worked like a charm! You saved me from another day of aggravation and research on this topic!

  35. Daniel says:

    I was having a heck of a time trying to install my Canon printer on my new windows 10 Pro laptop. At first I couldn’t install the drivers when logged into my normal (domain) account while not actually connected to the domain, because it said I didn’t have sufficient privileges (this account has ALL the privileges). I found that logging in to the local “user” account did allow me to install it. But then, even though it printed a test page once it was installed, I could never print anything else because the printer would show offline despite everything being online and being able to print from a different pc. I found this page and planned to change this SNMP setting, but when I installed the printer, instead of letting the installer disable my firewalls, I manually disabled my firewall prior to installing the printer drivers. This seems to have done it. Good thing too, because when I go into the printer properties and select “change properties”, then go to ports>configure port, there is no such option. So far the printer seems to work simply due to installing it with the firewall disabled.

  36. John Henry says:

    I have Windows 10, and intermittently, now consistently for about 10 days have the Offline message. When I clicked on Configure Port to change the SNMP setting, I get “An error has occurred during port configuration. This operation is not supported.” I have tried all the basic Disconnect-reconnect printer, off-on (PC and printer), etc, etc.

  37. John Moyse says:

    I had the same “operation not supported” error” so can not proceed with this fix. However I decided to try adding a new TCP/IP port. This asked me to enter the printer name which I did and when I finished this process the printer began to print. So far it is still working.

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