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 atÂ HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SYSTEM\CurrentControlSet\Control\Print and adding a new DWORD called SNMPLegacy with the value 1 and restarting may solve it (thanksÂ 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 (thanksÂ Jonathan)
- Setting the SNMP ‘group name’ to “public” can also help (thanksÂ PP)
Categorised as: Computer Help, Computing, How To, Windows
Thanks so much. Been without a printer for a week. Fianlly decided to do something about it and guess what? SNMP, Some Nonsense Machine Problem. Thanks for the help!
When I tried this, I received the message “An error occurred during port configuration. Access is denied.” What do I do now?
It sounds like it could be a permissions problem. You could try running this as an administrator and seeing if that helps.
Referring to Windows 8.1 please see:
Excellent find. Thank you very much for your assistance!
Hi Robin, I’ve been trawling through the net all day. Microsoft Chat/Epson Chat, no one can help. I have a call with geek365.com in the morning I’m that desperate. OK, we have 3 networked printers feeding 28 computers. All of them are now showing offline! I have done the usual checks like turn everything off and on again. Turned SNMP off. They were working fine last week. HEEEEELP ! Cheers Jay
Thank you SO much!!
Thanks you for very much!!!
Many thanks from me too !
man, I’ve been searching for a solution to this printer offline problem for weeks. no one could provide an answer that worked…
you saved my day…your answer was spot on…
thank you very much!!!
Really thanks for the solution.
holy cow, problem solved. this was hugely helpful. i wish everything was this easy. many thanks.
Fantastic! It worked immediately. Thanks soooooo much.
Excellent, thank you! I wish I had tried this before installing a Microsoft hotfix and changing the print spooler dependency. Both didn’t solve the problem, but your suggestion did. I wonder how the SNMP setting got there in the first place, because the printer used to work just fine in the past.
Thanks a ton !!! I was so annoyed because of the offline printer .. Even my Network Admin could not figure it out… Saved me a lot of trouble…Thanks again.
I also unclicked the SNMP box, and yes the Offline message went away, but now I get an error message that the printer won’t print. Like all others I’ve tried to get more information from Brother, and am having difficulty finding anything on line. SIGH. I’ve had this problem once before and ended up reinstalling the printer. That might be my best option.
Thanks Robin…. I was searching for article like this because it happened with me many time..
and now it works for me.. i like it
Worked awesomely for me!
Looks like it`s working! We have been struggling for weeks with no result. But now we have.Thanks
Solved the problem.
Thank you so much my friend!
I couldn’ t find the solution for many days….
I could print only each time I was restarting my computer…
Thanks for the help! Problem solved!!!
My wife’s printer goes offline on her computer .when I shut my computer off ( printer is on my network)
Any solution? Or must I leave my computer on at all times?
Excellent !!! Thank you so much 🙂 been without printer for a week now, saved me all the trouble
thanks for the help – I think mine is related to my laptop going into sleep mode when I wake it the printer sometimes goes offline – this fix worked great.
Your solution was just fantastic and I could resolved the issue with which I was struggling for 2 weeks in only 10 minutes with your brilliant resolution.
That was a BIGGGGGGGG BIGGGGGG Help.
Really appreciate it.
Sounds good…but my shared printer is on USB port on another computer. No SNMP from USB.
thank you so much, your web site helped me rectify my problem of offline printer. your instructions were so simple THANK YOU ….
Great, Thanks Robin for me it worked.
Robin, thank you very much!!! This issue has been giving me fits for weeks. A simple check box was the solution.
Wow, Thanks! Worked for me.
Thank you very much. This solve the problem. I will tell our IT Manager the solution.
Legend, it worked, best piece of online help ever!
Worked like magic, thanks
Thank you Robin worked like magic
Thank you! Our IT guy couldn’t figure this one out. But this worked! <3
Great info, it worked for me !!!!
OMG, I’ve been trying to find an answer to this problem for years! I’ve read so many useless answers on Google. This worked a charm! Thank you!
This worked on Windows 7 Pro. Thanks for the post.
Can’t configure port “This operation is not supported”.
I thought it was a great solution when I did bring my Ricoh SPC252SF printer back to online…Until I tried to print a page but it won’t print 🙁
Thank you so much for this. Saved me a great deal of time on a potentially big problem.
I had port 192.168.0.1, unchecked SNMP but apply was greyed out and OK didn’t do the job.
So I added port 192.168.0.4, unchecked SNMP hit Apply box which wasnt greyed out, and the printer is working again.
Sorry first port was 192.168.0.3 not 192.168.0.1
moderator can change my original post ?
Thanks a lot.It fixed the problem.
Thank you so much !! I thought it would be the IP address too. Turns out it can be solved so easily. Thanks for sharing this ! 🙂
Your wonderful little tip finally ended our weeks of agony. On behalf of all my family who suffered from our “offline” printer, I thank you sooo much!
Finally! after all the troubleshooting on the Lexmark forums and help page this simple fix was the answer. Works with W8.1 and a brand new Lexmark CS410 Series. No more having to uninstall and reinstall every few days.
After years of fighting this and finding no help on the net!!! Thank you so much.
Thanks; had trouble with this for weeks, thought router was dropping us. Had two laptops dropping out. Have a older HP photosmart D7260 always reliable but not accepting the snmp query, too old I guess. They add this unnecessary “new tech stuff” to create work for technicians. 47 years as a auto shop owner and saw it all unfold. Always somebody out there that can beat them at their game. Thanks again JD