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


389 Comments

  1. Rick Wagner says:

    This saved me a bunch of time and the company money. Thanks. We were working on a Konica Minota biz hub pro 1200 bt the way. Customer was using about 5 hubs all day chained together for some reason. At any rate this got them printing again.

  2. Tanya Kevorkian says:

    THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU!!!! I HAVE BEEN HAVING THIS PROBLEM FOR QUITE SOMETIME AND IT WAS EASY PEEZY WITH YOUR HELP. PAY IT FORWARD!!!

  3. Anji Spialek says:

    Thanks a bunch! What a relief when the printer finally started working again!

  4. Kathleen Lynch says:

    You are a lifesaver! Like others, I have spent many many hours researching this problem, uninstalling and re-installing my printer, talking to the Brother technical rep, all to no avail. The problem would be fixed sometimes and then suddenly – printer offline again! This simple solution worked the first time and my printer continues to be seen as ready, days later. Thank you for saving me from going totally crazy!

  5. Al Sarmiento says:

    You Da Man, thanks VERY much for the assist!

  6. phil says:

    AHHH this is good info to have right here!!!

    Thanks so much

  7. Suma says:

    Thank you so much, would have never thought to try this Thank you very much

  8. Kathy Grayson says:

    WE FIGURED IT OUT! After trying everything else suggested, we realized that too many Android phones in our school environment were on Wi-fi and were interfering with the IP address of the BizHub. The BizHub IP address should not be affected, but possibly we hit a network threshold of some sort. IT is coming to change the printer IP address, but in the meantime, as long as some of keep our Androids off Wi-fi, we can print with no problem! TRY IT.

  9. Bruno says:

    Thanks so much for the great information.

  10. Pat says:

    Thank you, worked with windows vista.

  11. Hi, on occasion I see a 404 site message when I view your webpage. I thought you may wish to know, cheers

  12. Ann says:

    Just wanted post this in case it helped someone – My printer said Connected, but my computer said printer was Offline. This happened after the electricity went off for just a few seconds! I unplugged the router connection from my computer for maybe 30 seconds, and it starting printing before I could even get it plugged back up… I know nothing about computers and don’t know how its possible that happened, but it did. All ok now, for some reason.

  13. teo says:

    thanks!! Very good piece of information!! I had this issue with a Hp2600 network printer.

  14. Paul Robb says:

    Im afraid this did not help as the SNMP is not enabled. We tried with a brother wireless printer and got this offline issue. Now again with a new Epson printer with wireless and ethernet connections via a hub still offline on some PCs/& laptops. Kinda driving me nuts. Any other suggestions peeps before i lose my mind?

  15. dracos says:

    cannot send job to printer…..keeps going offline and jumping port….????????

  16. Ahmad Malik says:

    Thanks a lot dear, this post means me lot.

  17. Robert says:

    I’ve solved this issue by changing my printers cable actually it too old and look like any rat bit it. Thanks for information.

  18. Al says:

    I’ve got the same problem as Angel and Frits: “error occurred at port configuration,” “operation not supported.” Can someone suggest another solution? Thanks if you can help.

  19. christopher masila says:

    Wow my savior

  20. Michael says:

    Unable to de-select the SNMP. Received message “operation could not be completed” error 0x000000aa
    Have had the problem with the Samsung 3400 series printer for several years. Any suggestions?

    Using windows 7

  21. Sherry Kelly says:

    I had my Windows 10 on sleep mode all night and I found after doing everything else suggested that if I restarted my laptop, it worked fine again. Thanks for the help, great tip article. great a

  22. Augie says:

    When I click on the configure port tab it gives me an error saying an error occurred during port configuration. This operation is not supported

  23. Paul says:

    Thank you!

    I can verify this method worked on Windows Server 2008.

  24. Paul says:

    Thank you!

    I can verify this method worked on Windows Server 2008.

  25. Shai McGowan says:

    Do you have any idea how to fix this on a MAC? Since I have received my new computer from work, my home printers won’t stay online, although the wifi network on the printer says excellent. In order for me to print, I have to reset the wifi and password.

  26. Jona Jonah says:

    Tech Giggs Thanks

  27. Brenda Lauzon says:

    I am having this problem, but I am using a Mac, and do not see any way to configure the ports, at least I do not know how

  28. SA Moreno says:

    It still works in 2017 on Windows 7!! Thank you!

  29. Richoline says:

    I nearly called in a Tech,,..thnks a Mill.

  30. George S says:

    Thanks for this tip. I am running Win10 and figured it out where the check box is and I am finally printing again. Been so frustrating for the last several weeks.
    Thank you, thank you!

  31. Great !!! Thank you for the solution.
    It works like a charm

    Thanks again

  32. Tim says:

    Big thumbs up, this was just the ticket for me as well.
    Thank you for the fix.

  33. Caprilyeous says:

    Thanks, TomHollandPA! Your comment helped so much! Whenever I tried to configure the port it kept coming up as “An error occurred during port configuration. This operation is not supported.”
    But as soon as I tried your fix the printer started printing right away. For those who can’t find TomHollandPA’s comment, you can find it copy/pasted below…

    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 address… 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.

  34. Achira Dasanayake says:

    Seem to be fix my issue by Registry editing. Thank you all….

    This save lot of valuble time of our office people.

  35. that was really good but i just want alittle bit more help that when i open the configure port it does not opens it …! how can I change the SNMP settings.

  36. sabrina says:

    Thank you so much, save my money to call technician.

  37. JG says:

    And this worked perfectly 😉
    Thanks a lot mate 😀

  38. Sifuas says:

    I love you stranger. This was driving me nuts until now!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *