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An 'Incompatible Cartridge' or 'Print cartridge is missing, incorrectly installed, or not intended for your device' Message Displays on the Computer

  • PrintPrint
This document is for the Photosmart C4200 and C4300 All-in-One printers.
When you try to print, the error message 'Incompatible Cartridge' or 'Print cartridge is missing, incorrectly installed, or not intended for your device' displays on the computer.
These errors, including 'Incompatible cartridge' can occur with genuine 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 cartridge or printer failure.

Solution one: Use genuine HP cartridges

Make sure that the cartridges are compatible with your printer.
To purchase cartridges or check cartridge compatibility for your printer, go to HP Home & Home Office Store (US only), and then click Ink Toner & Paper.
If you are located outside of the US, follow these steps to purchase cartridges using HP SureSupply.
  1. Scroll to the bottom of the page and make sure that the country/region location is correct.
Genuine HP cartridges can also be purchased from other retailers.

Solution two: Remove, inspect, and then reinstall the cartridges

A cartridge error message might display if a cartridge does not have full electrical contact with the printer. Follow these steps to remove and then reinstall the cartridge.
  1. Turn the product on.
  2. Make sure to have letter or A4 unused, plain, white paper loaded in the input tray.
  3. Open the cartridge door.
    NOTE:Make sure that the carriage holding the cartridge moves to the right. If it does not move to the right, turn the product off. If it is a new product, make sure all the packaging material is removed. Close the cartridge door and then turn the product on again. The carriage should move to the right.
    Figure 1: Opening the cartridge door
    CAUTION:The product must be turned on before the cartridge door is opened. If the product is off when the cartridge door is opened for access to the cartridges, the product will not release the cartridges. The product can be damaged if the cartridges are not docked safely before removal.
  4. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent, and then lightly press down on an cartridge to release it. The error message should indicate the problem cartridge by displaying an icon that represents it.
    • The tri-color cartridge is in the slot on the left.
    • The black or photo cartridge is in the slot on the right.
    Figure 2: Pressing down on an cartridge to release it
    1 - Cartridge slot for the tri-color cartridge
    2 - Cartridge slot for the black and photo cartridges
  5. Pull the cartridge toward you out of its slot.
  6. Make sure that the protective tape has been removed from the cartridge If the tape has not been removed, remove it now.
    Figure 3: Removing the tape
    CAUTION:Do not touch the copper-colored contacts or reattach the tape.
  7. Hold the cartridge with the HP logo on top.
  8. Reinsert the cartridge into its slot by gently pushing the upper part of the cartridge forward until it clicks into the socket.
    CAUTION:When installing the cartridge, do not rest your hand on top of the product for leverage. This might cause the carriage to lift out of position.
    Figure 4: Incorrectly grasping the top of the product for leverage
    Figure 5: Pushing the cartridge in firmly
    • When installing the tri-color cartridge, slide it into the left slot.
    • When installing a black, photo, or gray photo cartridge, slide it into the right slot.
    Figure 6: Tri-color cartridge in the left cartridge slot and black cartridge in the right cartridge slot
  9. Close the cartridge door.
If the error message persists, continue to the next solution.

Solution three: Clean the cartridge and carriage electrical contacts

Follow these steps to clean the contacts.
  1. Gather the following items to clean the cartridges and carriage:
    • Clean cotton swabs, lint-free cloth, or any soft material that will not come apart or leave fibers (coffee filters work well).
    • Clean, distilled, filtered, or bottled water. Tap water might contain contaminants that could damage the cartridge.
      CAUTION:Do not use platen cleaners or alcohol to clean the cartridge contacts. These can damage the cartridge or the printer.
    • Sheets of paper or paper towel to rest the cartridges on during cleaning.
  2. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the far right side of the printer.
  3. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent, and then unplug the power cord from the rear of the printer.
  4. Lightly press down on the cartridge to release it, and then pull it toward you out of the slot.
    NOTE:Do not leave the cartridges outside of the printer for more than 30 minutes. If the cartridge is outside of the printer for too long, the ink can dry and clog the nozzles.
  5. Inspect the cartridge contacts for ink and debris buildup.
  6. Dip a clean swab or lint-free cloth into the distilled water. Squeeze it to remove any excess water. The swab should be only slightly damp.
  7. Hold the cartridge by its sides, and then clean the copper cartridge contacts.
    CAUTION:Do not clean the ink nozzles.
    Figure 7: Clean the cartridge contacts
    Illustration of cleaning the cartridge contacts.
    1 - Copper-colored contacts
    2 - Ink nozzles
  8. Lightly moisten another cotton swab with distilled water, and then squeeze any excess water from the swab.
  9. Use the swab to clean the electrical contacts in the carriage, located inside the printer on the carriage slots.
    Figure 8: The electrical contacts in the cartridge slots
    Image: The electrical contacts in the cartridge slots
  10. Repeat these steps for the other cartridge.
  11. Wait 10 minutes to allow the cartridge and carriage electrical contacts to dry.
  12. Insert the cartridge back into the correct slot. Push the cartridge forward until it clicks into place.
    Figure 9: Insert cartridge
    Illustration of inserting the cartridge into the slot.
    • When installing the tri-color cartridge, insert it in the slot on the left.
    • When installing the black cartridge, insert it in the slot on the right.
  13. Close the cartridge access door.
  14. Reconnect the power cord to the back of the printer.
  15. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  16. Try to print a page.
  17. If you are still unable to print, repeat these steps to clean and reseat the cartridges. Multiple cleanings might be necessary to restore printing.

Solution four: Reset the printer

Follow these steps to reset the printer.
  1. Press the Power button () to turn on the product.
  2. With the product turned on, disconnect the power cord from the rear of the product.
  3. Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.
  4. Wait at least 15 seconds.
  5. Plug the power cord back into the wall outlet.
  6. Reconnect the power cord to the rear of the product.
  7. If the product does not turn on by itself, press the Power button () to turn it on.

Solution five: Replace the problem cartridge

If cleaning and reseating the cartridge does not fix the problem, replace the cartridge with a new, compatible HP cartridge. If you need to print immediately and the quality of the printouts is not a concern, you can print in backup mode .
If you have a defective cartridge or printhead, it might be under warranty. To check the warranty on your ink supplies, go to hp.com/go/learnaboutsupplies , select your country/region, and then review the limited warranty information for your supplies.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, if it is not already on.
  2. Load plain white, US or A4 size paper in the input tray.
  3. Open the cartridge access door.
    Figure 10: Open the cartridge access door
    Image: Open the cartridge access door.
    NOTE:Make sure that the carriage moves to the right. If the cartridge does not move to the right, turn the printer off, and then turn it on again.
  4. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent, and then lightly press down on a cartridge to release it.
    Figure 11: Press down on a cartridge to release it
    Image: Press down on the cartridge to release it.
    1 - Cartridge slot for the tri-color cartridge
    2 - Cartridge slot for the black ink and photo cartridges
    • When replacing the tri-color cartridge, remove the cartridge from the slot on the left.
    • When replacing the black or photo cartridge, remove the cartridge from the slot on the right.
  5. Pull the cartridge toward you out of its slot.
    NOTE:If removing the black cartridge in order to install the photo cartridge, store the black cartridge in the cartridge protector or an airtight plastic container.
  6. Remove the new cartridge from its package, and make sure that you touch only the black plastic.
  7. Gently remove the plastic tape by using the pink pull tab.
    CAUTION:Do not touch the copper contacts or reattach the tape.
    Figure 12: Remove the protective tape
    Image: Remove the protective tape
  8. Hold the cartridge with the HP logo on top, and then gently push the upper part of the cartridge forward into the cartridge slot until it clicks into place.
    CAUTION:Do not rest your hand on top of the printer for leverage. This might cause the carriage to lift out of position.
    Figure 13: Incorrectly grasping the top of the printer for leverage
    Image: Caution against grasping the top of the produt for leverage.
    Figure 14: Push the cartridge in firmly
    Image: Push the cartridge into the slot.
    • When installing the tri-color cartridge, slide it into the left slot.
    • When installing a black, photo, or gray photo cartridge, slide it into the right slot.
  9. Close the cartridge access door.
  10. Try to print again.

Solution six: Service the printer

Contacting HP for service in all countries/regions except Asia Pacific.
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 to obtain service.
  • If your product is out of warranty, Contact HP to find an authorized service provider or to setup service (fees might apply).

Workaround: Print in backup mode

If you do not have a replacement cartridge available, you can still print. Remove the problem cartridge, and then print with the remaining cartridge. If you remove the tri-color cartridge, the printouts are in grayscale. If you remove the black cartridge, the printer prints slowly and the colors in the printouts might differ.
  1. Press the Power button to turn on the printer.
  2. Open the cartridge access door. The carriage moves to the right side of the printer. Wait until the carriage is idle and silent before you continue.
  3. Push down on the top of the problem cartridge to release it, and then pull it toward you to remove it from its slot.
    Figure 15: Remove the problem cartridge
    Image: Remove the cartridge
  4. Close the cartridge access door.
  5. Wait a few moments for the cartridge to calibrate, and then send a print job.

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