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'Cartridge Problem', 'Incompatible Cartridge', or 'Cartridge Missing or Damaged' Message Displays on the Computer

  • PrintPrint


After installing a cartridge or during normal use, the product does not print. The status lights blink and an error message might display on the product control panel:
  • 'Cartridge Problem'
  • 'Incompatible Cartridge'
  • 'Cartridge Missing or Damaged'
These errors, including Incompatible cartridge can occur with the correct HP cartridges under certain circumstances. The cartridge might need to be reinstalled, the electrical contacts could be dirty, the cartridges might need to be aligned, or there could be a failure of the cartridge or printer.


NOTE:If you installed two new cartridges, perform these steps on both cartridges.
First, make sure that the newly installed cartridges are compatible with your product.
Click this link, HP Home & Home Office Store (US only), and then click Ink Toner & Paper to purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer.
If you are located outside of the US, follow these steps to purchase cartridges using HP SureSupply.
  1. Click this link, HP SureSupply .
  2. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country or region location is correct.
Try the following solutions in the order presented to resolve the issue. When one of the solutions resolves the issue, there is no need to continue troubleshooting.
When the power light stops blinking, you have solved the problem.
Figure 1: Printer control panel
Control panel
NOTE:Your product model might look slightly different, but the steps remain the same.

Solution one: Remove, inspect, and reseat the cartridges

The cartridge might not have full electrical contact with the product. Removing and reinstalling the cartridge might help.
NOTE:HP cannot guarantee the quality of remanufactured or refilled cartridges.
  1. Make sure that the product is turned on.
  2. Open the product cover and wait until the carriage is idle and silent.
  3. Press down lightly on the end of the cartridge to release it.
    Figure 2: Remove the tri-color cartridge
    Remove cartridge
  4. Slide the cartridge out.
    CAUTION:Do not touch the copper-colored electrical contacts or the ink nozzles.
    Figure 3: Copper-colored electrical contacts and nozzles
    1 - Copper-colored electrical contacts
    2 - Nozzles
  5. Inspect the cartridge.
    1. Check the copper-colored electrical contacts for debris.
      CAUTION:Do not attempt to remove the copper electrical strip.
    2. Ensure all the clear protective tape is removed from the nozzle area.
      Figure 4: Remove clear protective tape
      Protective tape
  6. Reinstall the cartridge.
    • Cartridges marked with a triangle go into the left carriage slot.
    • Cartridges marked with a square or pentagon go into the right carriage slot.
    Figure 5: Slide the cartridge into the carriage
    Slide cartridge in
    Figure 6: Push the cartridge into place
    Push cartridge into place
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution two: Clean the cartridge contacts

  1. Gather the following items to clean the cartridge and carriage:
    • Clean distilled water. Use bottled or filtered water if distilled water is not available. Tap water can contain contaminants that damage the cartridge.
    • Clean cotton swabs or any soft, lint-free material that will not stick to the cartridges (coffee filters work well).
    • Sheets of paper or a paper towel to rest the cartridge on during cleaning.
  2. Open the product cover and wait until the carriage is idle and silent.
  3. Remove the cartridge and place it on a piece of paper with the nozzle plate facing up.
    NOTE:Clean the contacts quickly so that the cartridge is not outside of the product for more than 30 minutes. If the cartridge is outside of the product for too long, the ink can dry and clog the nozzles.
  4. Unplug the product from the electrical outlet.
  5. Dip the swab or other cleaning material in the water and squeeze it to remove most of the moisture. The swab should be only slightly damp.
  6. Clean the cartridge contacts.
    CAUTION:Do not touch the ink nozzles.
    Figure 7: Cartridge contacts
    Cartridge contacts
  7. Clean the contacts in the carriage.
    Figure 8: Carriage contacts
    Carriage contacts
  8. Either let the cartridge sit for 10 minutes to allow the cleaned area to dry, or use a new swab to dry it.
  9. Reinstall the cartridge.
  10. Reconnect the product to the electrical outlet.
  11. Close the product cover.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution three: Repeat reseating and cleaning steps

If the problem is not solved, repeat the previous reseating and cleaning procedures.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.

Solution four: Replace the cartridge

Replace the problem cartridge with a new, compatible HP cartridge.
Important: To check if your ink supplies can be replaced under warranty, go to hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies , select your country, and look for ‘ink supplies warranty’.
  1. Remove the new cartridge from its packaging and, being careful to touch only the black plastic, gently remove the plastic tape by using the pull tab.
    Figure 9: Remove the clear nozzle protective tape
    Remove tape
    CAUTION:Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or ink nozzles. Also, do not retape the cartridges. Doing so can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.
  2. Hold the cartridge with the HP logo on top, and insert the new cartridge into the empty cartridge slot.
    • If installing the tri-color cartridge, slide it into the left slot.
    • If installing a black, photo, or gray photo cartridge, slide it into the right slot.
    Figure 10: Inserting the cartridge
    Insert cartridge
  3. Push the cartridge firmly into the slot until it snaps into place.
  4. Close the cartridge door.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , continue to the next solution.
Ink backup mode might not be available for your product, but if it is, you can print with just one cartridge until the problem cartridge is replaced.
If you do not have a replacement cartridge, you can still print in ink backup mode. Simply remove the problem cartridge, and print with the remaining cartridge.
  • If you remove the tri-color cartridge, printouts will be in grayscale.
  • If you remove the black or photo cartridge, the product prints slowly and the colors in the printouts might differ.

Solution five: Service the product

If you have completed all the preceding steps and are still experiencing a problem, service the product.
Determine if your product is in warranty or out of warranty. If you need help determining your product’s warranty status, go to HP’s Warranty Check Tool .
  • If your product is in warranty , contact HP.
  • If your product is out of warranty , fees might apply for contacting HP.

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