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)

If you found this post useful, please consider buying me a coffee.
This post originally appeared on Robin's Blog.

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


  1. Wanless Southwick says:

    My network printer’s OFF-line problem was caused by the printer port being set to “WSD Port” instead of “Standard TCP/IP Port.”

  2. julius says:

    ooohhh… Thanks a lot this worked for me.

  3. Ana says:

    Seriously, thank you so much! I’ve been deleting and reinstalling my printer every time and now, I’m saved!

  4. ThankfulGuy says:

    Not sure how to move this link to the top of a google search but it should be. Thanks for the help.

  5. BBJ says:

    Thank u very much just a life saver.

  6. Thanks your soled out my problem.

  7. thank you so much.your article was really helpful for really helped me with my issues

  8. James says:

    Fantastic. You were right it is a simple fix and very well expanined.

  9. nice post thanxs for sharing.

  10. Sam Sharma says:

    Thanks for sharing this blog with us. Its working with windows 10 computer also. Thanks again

  11. AD says:

    YES!!! Thank you!!!

  12. Sandy says:

    I have Windows 10, and when I right click on the printer, nothing happens. Manage printer option only lets me see my queue, print a test page, and other nonsense.

  13. nice robin blogs wonderfull and more work

  14. Corne Bergakker says:

    Hi Sandy.

    Please see if this helps. Open Control Panel. Open Devices and Printers. Right-click on the printer and select printer properties. Click on the ports tab. Click on Configure Port at the bottom.

  15. Debbie Gore says:

    Trying your directions. When I click on configure ports an error comes up saying error cannot configure ports. Yikes. Help. My printer was fine, then I could not get online and had to uninstall a firewall and since then cannot access printer

  16. Debbie Gore says:

    Also, it keeps telling me my printer is off and it is on..Thanks

  17. Nat says:

    Worked for me

  18. Xolo Msolo says:

    Thank you very much it worked on my windows server 2012 r2

  19. Travis Kurtz says:

    Um… That worked!!!!!!!! Thanks

  20. Tia says:

    I just wish I came across your blog a lot sooner. That was pretty quick and easy.

    Thanks a lot!

  21. Tia says:

    I just wish I came across your blog sooner.
    That was quick and easy.

    Thanks a lot!

  22. nice article more information

  23. Hemant Rathore says:

    yes, its working perfectly thanks for this artical.

  24. Stephanie LaVergne says:

    when I click configure port, I get an error message saying this operation is not supported. Anyone know the next step after that? Thanks.

  25. Davy Boy says:

    Sandy right click on printer icon and choose printer Properties (not properties at bottom) then printer properties box opens, then Follow Robins instructions. Copied below

    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.

  26. Thank you so much for posting this. This problem was driving me crazy and I was so glad to come across your post! Such a simple fix…..I just Found your site and it led us to discovering that our network printer had it’s SNMP group name disabled. Set it to “public” and the printer queue immediately started working.

  27. Correz Pond says:

    Worked for me on Windows 10 client connected to a networked HP Officejet Pro 8740. I have shared it with the wider HP community at Thanks!

  28. Ben A says:

    Thanks you so much, this was a good guide. I followed the step as seen in the article “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.” but when click on configure port, i got an error message and later realised that the selected port option is WSD. So i click on “add port” and selected Standard TCP/IP then entered the ip address of the selected printer then click next. the next page was automatically populated with the printer details, then I saved. I wen back to “configure port” with Standard TCP/IP selected and uncheck SNMP (note that mine is a small office, disabling snmp may not be a good idea which ), then save. All pending document started printing….

  29. kristo says:

    thanks a lot My network printer’s OFF-line problem was caused by the printer port being set to “WSD Port” instead of “Standard TCP/IP Port.”

  30. Michael Foster says:

    Windows 7 Ultimate 32 bit. I have disabled the SNMP Status, and yes the printer shows “Ready” but it fails to respond. I can see the documents stacking up when I double click the printer icon in the printer settings (with the SNMP Status enabled no documents will show up), but no response – any suggestions?
    My only solution has been to switch the printed off at the mains and back on again. Once in a while it will respond!

  31. Helen says:

    This issue is driving me nuts – I am unable to click on “configure ports” though as it’s is greyed out. How do I make this button accessible?

  32. Wiza says:

    Thanks Problem sorted, as many have attested my problem was also sorted by simply changing to standard TCP/lP from WSD port

  33. ScottyCeee says:

    I followed Ben A and it worked like a charm.

  34. Faisal Hussain says:

    In my case windows 10 enterprise, Clicked on printer properties, then on ports tab, It was connected to a WSD port and I just unchecked my ” enable bidirectional support” in line with the concept of the post. It worked. 🙂

  35. Dan Schneider says:

    I have Vista 64 and that fix didn’t work, I had a power outage after that it shows printer offline but on the printer itself says connected 🙁

  36. Mayo M says:

    Like ScottyCeee I followed Ben A’s suggestion.

    It certainly did the trick and meant that I did not have to delete and reinstall the printer yet again on our Windows 7 home network.

    For once advice that is 100% applicable.

  37. PeterM says:

    Worked a treat on Windows 7.
    SMTP – Who would have thought?!

  38. Pradeep says:

    Superb post simply done the job

  39. Pradeep Kumar Softlogic says:

    Superb post simply done the job

  40. Nice piece of information, Thanks for sharing.

  41. Rhonda says:

    Awesome!! We thought that we tried everything and then bought another printer out of frustration and had the SAME issue! I found a simple fix here. Changed port from WSD to TCP/IP port. Now I have two printers but at least they work!

  42. Faith Uesoo says:

    HP Color laserjet 4700 work good when SNMP is disabled on network

  43. D. Thomas says:

    tc/ip worked for my vista comp

  44. jim stell says:

    worked for me…on Lanier
    disabled SNMP and came to life.
    Had reinstalled and deleted no luck.

  45. Ariel says:

    It worked! :’D

  46. yankee says:

    Thank you so much..!

    ricohmp2852sp to winserver2008r2, its fixed.

    issue solved by untick SMNP.

  47. ITNate says:


  48. Jen says:

    You are awesome! Thank you!!!

  49. Slava says:

    I had two separate issues with my M-254: offline status when printer is online and printer not printing from the queue after coming online. The first one is resolved by switching from WDS port to TCPIP port with SNMP off. The second one is resolved by restarting Spooler service, but when I got tied of restarting it every few days found another solution – install the second printer. The first one is WDS, the second one is TCPIP and is used for printing. Somehow together they work stable with no printing queue issues. And this is what HP’s Print Doctor utility does, just adding the second printer.

  50. Scott Connary says:

    May the IT gods shower you with endless glory!

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