Chromebook Printer Problems? Won’t Print? Printer Offline? Use USB Mode? Not Showing Up? Fix It.

If you’re having Chromebook printer problems, or troubles with getting your printer to print, try these tips.

Getting your Chromebook to connect to a printer, especially a Google Cloud-Ready printer, makes it super easy to print wirelessly from your laptop to your printer.

Cloud-Ready basically means that you can print to your printer from anywhere, as long as your Chromebook is connected and configured properly.

However, sometimes it may not print, or may not connect to your laptop properly. Or may have other issues, such as driver problems and such. This guide should cover all the common problems you may have tried to get it to print. Woot.

Setting up a Chromebook with your printer is easy, but you may run into some issues after doing so, so I made this guide for troubleshooting the most common issues users get.

If you’re having issues getting it to print, go through these steps systematically (from the start of the list to the end until you resolve your problem). If you already know what’s wrong with your printer, then you can skip ahead to that section.

Last updated: 8/3/19.

Okay, let’s fix up your printer problems.

Is your printer on? Is your Chromebook on? Are they offline?

Troubleshoot your printer by making sure it's connected to the Internet.
Make sure both your printer and Chromebook are on and connected to the Internet. This is the most obvious step and where many get problems.

Make sure that your Chromebook is powered on and has an Internet connection. Sign into your Google account and make sure there’s a printer detected and connected to your Chromebook.

You’d be surprised to see how many people troubleshoot for an hour just to see that they’ve either never turned on the power!

Do the same for the printer. If you have a cloud-ready model, make sure it’s on and connected to your Chromebook over an Internet connection. If you have a regular printer, do the same and make sure it’s properly connected to your Chromebook via USB or WiFi.

Make sure it’s on as well.

These steps may seem obvious, but many people don’t even recognize that one device may be off.

If both devices are on, and you still can’t print, restart them before moving onto the next step. This will fix any caching or driver installation issues and give you a clean slate to work with. If it works, now you know why it wasn’t. Easy-peezy.

Is your printer connected to your Chromebook?

Your printer must be connected to your Google Account for it to work.
Make sure your printer is connected to your Google Account under your “devices” section.

Check that your Chromebook is linked to a specific printer. Most Chromebook printer problems stem from this very same problem- they haven’t been set up properly.

And make sure you do the same for the printer. If you’ve never set one up before, make sure that you’ve set it up correctly according to the manual. Your Chromebook should be able to detect your device as soon as it’s connected to the cloud.

You can check if your printer is properly connected to your Google Account by doing the following:

If you have a cloud-ready printer:

  1. Launch Chrome browser.
  2. Type “chrome://devices” in the address bar and hit Enter.
  3. Look for the “My devices” section.
  4. Look for your printer under this section. If you’ve properly set it up, you’ll see your printer show up.

If you have a regular printer:

  1. Launch Google Chrome on your computer.
  2. Type “chrome://devices” in the URL bar and hit Enter.
  3. A list of devices connected to your Google Account will show up. All these are Google Cloud Print registered. Look for “Classic printers.”
  4. Click on “Add printers.”
  5. After you click on the button, you’ll see a box pop up that state’s Cloud Print is enabled.
  6. Click on “Manage your printers” to verify that your device has been connected to your Chromebook.

Verify that your printer is properly set up

Use this guide and check to make sure you’ve followed the steps.

If you’ve checked the guide and your printer still isn’t printing, then keep reading.

If you have a cloud-ready model, make sure that the connected printer is tied to the same Google Account you’re to print from. You may be trying to print from an account that’s not tied to any specific printer yet.

Try to print a document as a test.

If you have a regular, traditional printer (not cloud-ready), then do the following:

Sign into the Google Account connected to the printer using the same account that was connected to your printer originally.

To connect a regular USB printer, you should’ve used a Mac, Windows, or Linux computer to set up the initial connection. Use that same account that you used previously on whatever printer you used to connect it.

Try to print a document and see if works.

Getting the dreaded “PWG Error” while printing?

This is a common issue among Chromebook users trying to print using a Google Cloud Printer. They get mixed results. Typically, it’ll print on the initial setup. But then it’ll work intermittently.

A common error will be printed on a blank page with an error that reads something along the lines of:

“PWG ERROR – Incomplete Session by time out”

There will also be some other details following like Position, System, Line, Version, and an Error Code.

This is a known bug and is listed all over the Google Product Forums.

If you have this error, please use either resource and report it so Google can fix it.

To remedy it, there are just a few solutions you can try.

Update your drivers

This is the first solution you should try to rid the issue once and for all. Outdated drivers are usually the number one problem for printers that don’t print.

After all, a driver is necessary for communication between the printer and the Chromebook, so updating it would be a good place to start.

Since there are dozens of printer models out there, the easiest way to find your driver is to do a search for your printer brand and model.

For example, if you have a Canon MX942, you’d search “canon mx942 driver” with your favorite search engine. Find a page with a download (should be the official manufacturer’s page), download it, and install it. You can read the next section for more details.

After you’ve tried that, test it by printing something. Drivers are probably the hardest part for most people because drivers are such a weird concept for a lot of people.

If you need help finding your driver, post a comment below and let me know!

Reboot it before printing

Next is an unconventional method that sometimes works, but doesn’t rid the problem. If you’ve tried the driver approach without success, you can try rebooting the printer before each print.

This is inconvenient, but just may work and is a band-aid solution until Google gets their issues fixed.

Enter the pages to be printed

Lastly, there’s one more solution you can try that has an awesome success rate.

This neat little trick came in from a reader, and to my knowledge, it works for select printers using Google Cloud Print.

(Thank you MBD of Ohio! You’re awesome! And freakin’ ingenious =]).

The trick is to find the document you want to print, click print, and then look for the “Pages” field in the little window that pops up. By default, it’s set to “All” so your printer will queue a print job that highlights every page.

Try entering the specific pages you want to be printed instead.

So if have a 10-page document, instead of hitting Print > All, try punching in (manually) each page you want to be printed.

In this example, you’ll be punching in page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, and 10 in the “Pages” input field. The suggestion seems to work after a quick experiment and is definitely worth a try if you’ve already exhausted all your other options.

After the pages are entered, press the “Tab” key a few times for reassurance (it’ll deselect the field) and then cross your fingers and hit the “Print” button.

Seeing success? Leave a comment.

If you still can’t print…

Try to delete your printer from Google Cloud Print:

  1. Sign out of your Chromebook, then sign back in.
  2. Launch the Chrome browser.
  3. Type chrome://devices in the address bar and hit Enter.
  4. Find your list of printers in the Google Cloud Print section.
  5. Delete all printers, including yours, and any duplicates from the list.
  6. Add your printer to Chrome again.
  7. Try to print a test document.

Are you using a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer?

If you’re using a Windows, Mac, or Linux computer, make sure your drivers are up to date. You can do this by giving a check that your device’s drivers are updated.

This is a common problem with setting up printers for the first time, and it’s usually the most annoying to fix. You’ll have to research your device’s manufacturer and model, then look for the proper and newest drivers for your computer’s OS.

For example, let’s assume you have Windows 10 and you’re trying to connect an HP printer to Google Cloud Print, you’d do the following to look for drivers:

  1. Open your favorite Internet browser.
  2. Search for “HP [your printer’s model] Windows 10 drivers.”
  3. You’ll likely find a page on HP’s website with your device’s specific model and drivers to download. Find and verify that the driver is the newest version and that it matches your printer, model, make, and operating system.
  4. Download it. Then install it after it downloads.
  5. Restart your computer. Add your device to Chrome again. Then try to print a document.

Of course, you’d swap your printer’s specific model name for whatever type of model you have, so you need to type that in.

Yes, printers have a model and a brand, just like cars.

And you have to find the drivers for your operating system. If you have Windows 10, then search for that. If you have Windows 8.1, then search for that. If you really don’t know what you’re doing, then go directly to the manufacturer’s website. It’s listed in the owner’s manual or on the box.

You can find drivers on the website by searching for it.

Or just call them and ask for the URL to the driver download page, though you need to know your computer’s operating system for this to work. Driver issues are usually the most difficult to fix due to finding the driver, but once you do, it’s easy.

It’s not hard to fix, it just takes more effort to fix compared to other problems you may encounter with connecting a printer.

Did that fix your Chromebook printer problems?

Choose a cloud-ready printer for an easy time making it work with your Chromebook.
Use a cloud-ready printer to connect easily to your Chromebook. These models should work as they’re designed for maximum integration.

That should fix the issue. If you’ve made it to the bottom of this list and you still can’t print, there may be a network issue, printer driver issue, or some other issue with your device (most likely). I’d suggest directly contacting your model’s customer support hotline. Or if you can return it, go for it.

Grab a cloud-ready printer (see my review of the best Chromebook printers) instead, as it makes it seamless to print from your Chromebook from anywhere on the planet. It also makes setup a cinch (and you’d be avoiding what you’re trying to fix now). If you have any issues or questions, post them in the comments and I’ll try to help out however I can help out.

This guide covers the most common problems users encounter but obviously doesn’t cover everything. If you have a very specific issue getting your device to do what you want, you should contact the customer support line that should be available in the manual or packaging.

You may be able to get your problem resolved over the hotline.

If you have any issues or questions, post them in the comments and I’ll try to help out however I can help out.

About Andy Z.

Andy is a casual-hardcore Chrome OS fan and contributes to the site regularly. He likes computers, tech, sports cars, videogames, and of course, Chromebooks. Thinker. Introvert. Geek. You can find him on Twitter (@platytech), or send him an email (check the "Contact Us" page).

6 thoughts on “Chromebook Printer Problems? Won’t Print? Printer Offline? Use USB Mode? Not Showing Up? Fix It.”

  1. I have a Chromebook and a HP Deskjet printer. I have been priniting happily for weeks then it will suddenly stop and when i set to print the Loading Print preview just spins. I cannot access any of the parts to change the destination or pages or anything. I have now tried 2 new printers and am about ready to ditch the Chromebook and go back to windows

  2. I have a HP photo envy 7155. It has been printing fine for 1 yr and then we got a cartridge error message. Cartridge was replaced, but it still reads cartridge error and will not print either black or color. Have called hp support 3x times and no one seems to know what the problem is.

  3. My chromebook is going to have flying lessons soon!! Despite trying all suggestions it won’t print. I have printed from it just a few days ago – now it doesn’t recognise the printer. More than frustrating. The printer is working as it can print from a laptop and PC. What can I do – help please

    • Hey Cherry,

      What kind of printer do you have? Does it have Google Cloud Print enabled or are you using a USB connection? Did you add it to your list of devices in Chrome?

      Let’s try to troubleshoot it before it books a ticket out the window =].

      Thanks for your comment.

  4. I have done ALL of the above SEVERAL times before. Each time, I get it to work again. We can print from both Chromebooks. Then, all of a sudden, a few days later, while *everything* is on/working etc. we can’t print anymore. I am really getting sick and tired of this and am ready to throw both printer and Chromebook out of the window…. :(( I use Linux Ubuntu, HP Officejetpro 8500A, eprinter and, as said, Chromebook.

    • Hey,

      I know those feels of frustration. And so do many readers. That’s why I felt compelled to write up a troubleshooting guide to help out those in whatever way I can.
      But I apologize that it didn’t work for you.

      Are you getting any errors when you try to print? Or does it just send the task, but it doesn’t follow through? Are you using cloud print or plugging it in via USB? Does it work when you print from Chrome OS rather than Ubuntu?

      I’ll see if I can help you out.


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