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


359 Comments

  1. Philogos says:

    This didn’t work for me. What I have found, however, was that the printer is set up for a dynamic IP address and this is different from the IP address in the port config. Win 7 won’t let me reset the port IP address, so I’m trying to switch to a fixed IP address (which I’ll set to what is in the port). This is a fiddly issue. Can anyone recommend a good piece of diagnostic software that looks after this sort of thing?

  2. Laura Blakeman says:

    Yay! This worked, took me about 2 seconds. Thank you!

  3. jay says:

    going to configure port wont let me sayis in is not supported

  4. ann says:

    Robin

    thank YOU very much for your information.
    it works.
    I appreciate you greatly.

  5. renisha says:

    hi im trying to print using my laptop and it keep saying use print error?
    I have the Minolta c360 bizhub and it has never done this before please help

  6. a says:

    omg thank you!!!! This has wracked my brain and drove me crazy for years!!!!!

  7. vinod kamat says:

    thank you very much for this information. now my printer working perfectly.

  8. vinod kamat says:

    thank you very much for this information. now my printer is working perfectly.

  9. Lynn says:

    Yay! Worked for me too

  10. Eddie says:

    Thanks a lot. it works perfectly

  11. Bala says:

    am using ricoh printer… that snmp public doent work… it shows offline..

  12. Patricia Daly says:

    When I click on the Configure Port box, I do not see “checkbox saying something like SNMP Status Enable.” The only thing that pops up is box indicating how many “Transmission Retry”. Can you help??

  13. Pavel Krolatov says:

    Worked for me

  14. Thank YOU!! ITS working as perfect as you explain

  15. Scarlett says:

    it worked….
    the box was checked, in-checked it and checked it again….and this adds number 4 fix…..but so far.. its printing

  16. arun says:

    thank you very much

  17. garit says:

    my printer comes up with the error
    “An Error Occurd While Printing”

    then it will not print, i can print from the CPU information like on board Paperwork, But it will not print E-Mails …

  18. Dana says:

    I’m a 25 year network engineer. I just had this start happening on my home network with an HP LJ P3005dn that I have had running perfectly fine for years. My is a pretty beefy Dell Optiplex with Win7 x64 and the only workaround was to start/stop the Printer Spooler service every time I needed to print (simply because I was annoyed and didn’t have time to lookup a real fix). Found your post ant that was exactly the issue! A huge thank you for solving such an annoying problem.

  19. Andrew says:

    I had been restarting everything, checking cables and IP addresses, nothing worked.
    Found your post and a minute later back up and running. Many thanks.

  20. Kurt says:

    Thanks for all the comments. I’m on Win 10. My brother HL2135W was offline, the troubleshooter helped, I’m printing once again !

  21. José says:

    Also have Ricoh, how did you fix this?

  22. Simon says:

    I have a Ricoh C3500 and this worked following the Configure Port step disabled SNMP. I have pulling my hairs out for weeks. Thanks!

  23. Simon says:

    For those with Ricoh, make sure you try disabling both in your printer setting in Windows AND on Ricoh printer web utility.

  24. Amanda says:

    Hi, this seemed to work, it made printer say ready instead of offline, but after testing it, it now says “error” instead of ready, and not printing… any idea what I should do next? thanks!

  25. Alex Romp says:

    I’ve been doing this a VERY long time but for some reason, despite this being a default setting on IP printer ports, I was yet to run into this problem.

    I think the fact that there seven pages of comments and counting speaks to the fact that you are largely alone in finding a simple yet effective solution to this issue.

    Thank you very much for writing it up and sharing it.

  26. Sharon says:

    When I clicked on Configure Port I got this message “An error occurred during Port Configuration. Access is denied.” What does this mean?

  27. Jordan says:

    Thank you very much for this fix! I spent hours yesterday trying to get a certain laptop to print properly, but it would only print while powering on.

    This guide fixed the issue in no time!

  28. 123printers says:

    thank you very much for this information. now my printer is working perfectly.

  29. edan says:

    work like a chram!

  30. Jim says:

    Thanks! This was driving me crazy on a Window 7 laptop.

  31. Margaret says:

    I have a Brother multi function centre, connected wirelessly, and it is showing offline. This fix is not working for me as I am not able to Configure the port, getting the message “An error occurred during port configuration. This operation is not supported.” So the window doesn’t open for me to turn the SNMP off. Open to suggestions.

  32. Bogdan says:

    Worked for me !
    Printer : Dell 1720 DN with Vista x64 drivers (same as for Win 7) running on Windows 10 PRO x64

  33. Deasn S says:

    I love you. Thanks.

  34. Bill says:

    Thank you! This has been a mini-thorn in my side for quite some time and I’m glad to see it’s just a simple tweak.

    HP 1518ni Color Laser.
    Windows 7 32bit.

  35. Brent says:

    In case this helps anyone else:

    My version of this problem was caused by my router changing the IP address of my printer.

    The printer had been refreshing its lease for 7 years without trouble but after a power outage, the router gave it a new ip address over dhcp so my manually configured ports (in windows) pointed to the wrong address.

    I manually added the printer to the router table so that future dhcp requests would give it the correct address.

    Fixed.

  36. Alexa says:

    This article finally helped me fix a problem communicating with my printer, after trying so many other things! I’m running Windows 10 and an Epson WF3620 connected wirelessly. The printer constantly appeared to be offline, even when it clearly wasn’t. I tried setting the printer’s IP address to static (Epson’s advice, didn’t work) and tried so many different ways to access the “Configure Port” option from my computer (which is what all the other blogs suggest), but kept getting “An error occurred during port configuration. This operation is not supported” (which seems to be a common problem). Then finally after reading this article, I tried unchecking “Enable bidirectional support” on the ports tab, and crossed my fingers, because I have no idea whether bidirectional support has anything to do with SNMP. But it worked straight away! And has kept working so far.

  37. bele says:

    nice one, gr8.

  38. TomHollandPA says:

    Hoping this fix works. In Windows 10 I had an additional problem. The port was a WSD? port with the printer’s mac address as the port id. This type port cannot be configured. I had to remove the printer, then install the printer by its IP address. Once it was discovered and installed, I could go in to its port and turn off SNMP.

  39. TomHollandPA says:

    I was reading other comments and the one by Sharon on Jan 24, 2017 relates to the problem I’m describing…
    When you install a printer in Win10 and allow it to be found, it is installed with a ‘WSD port’. If you go into Printer Properties and click on ‘Configure Port…’, you get a pop-up that says, “An error occurred during port configuration. This operation is not supported.”
    For this reason, I had to re=install the network printer anew by its IP addresss… Add printers & scanners, The printer that I want isn’t listed, add a printer using a TCP/IP address or hostname, enter the IP address.
    Once the ‘new’ printer was installed and the port was now its IP address, the port could be configured and SNMP turned off. Now I had to go to the PCs that use the printer and assign the ‘new’ one.

  40. Great.
    Thank you for support and sharing this information.

  41. RajQSL says:

    I was seeing the same issue on BROTHER MFC-8850CDW and removing the SNMP setting helped. Brother has a network repair tool that changes the IP address to get it working but it kept stopping again. Will have to see how long this work. Today, I used the brother tool, rebooted both PC and the printer, nothing worked and ran into this post and tried changing the snmp setting. Had to login as admin from the printer menu. It gave an error “resource in use” but I had an old job stuck in the queue and after deleting that job, I was able to change the snmp setting.

  42. Azar says:

    When i try to open the Configure port it showing a diaglog box ‘ An error occured during port configuration. This operation is not supported.’
    What I have to do next

  43. Rachel says:

    THANK YOU! Started having a problem after switching cable service providers. Your fix solved the problem in 2 seconds. Epson 310 on Windows Vista

  44. Doug Kraft says:

    Windows 10 when I click configure port I get error message not supported. How do I fix that.

  45. Fastrack says:

    I have a Canon MX890 series. I’ve tried the full suite of recommendations on this page and nothing worked…well it briefly worked when I used Kyle’s advice about the two step process but then it went straight off line again. Windows 10 sucks!

  46. Alex T. says:

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!
    I’ve had this problem for quite a while and your solution works like a charm. You’ve made my day!

  47. Thankyou so much for your support and sharing information.

  48. Baf says:

    Awesome!!! Thank you!!

  49. Shellipe says:

    You are the person man or woman. I had the opposite problem after I changed the IP address for printers on our Print Server. Afterwards the printer would be grayed out and say offline even though it would print for some people. Weird, but I selected SNMP (previously un-selected) and it worked. My printers are no longer grayed out and not saying offline. Thanks.

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