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Continuous Pages of Strange or Garbled Characters Print in Windows

  • PrintPrint
This document is for HP printers that are set up to print from computers using Windows.
Communication issues between a computer running a Windows operating system and your HP printer might result in pages of garbled text that look like gibberish, or nonsense, or the letters could be scrambled. The text might include a partial page or a full page of random or unrecognizable letters and numbers. This issue is not related to ink or print quality. Do not perform common print quality troubleshooting steps, such as cleaning the printheads.
Figure 1: Example of garbled or scrambled text in a printout
Image: Example of garbled or scrambled text in a printout
NOTE:Some of the following steps require restarting the computer. Consider bookmarking or printing this page for ease of reference.
Follow these solutions if your computer is using Windows 8.

Solution one: Cancel the print job, and then select the correct printer

Follow these steps to cancel the print job, and then select the correct printer.

Step 1: Cancel the print job

  1. Right-click the Start button ( ) in the lower left corner of the screen, click Search , and then type Devices and Printers .
  2. Double-click the printer icon, and then double-click See What's Printing . The print queue opens.
  3. Click to select the print job you want to cancel, and then click Document .
  4. Click Cancel , and then click Yes to confirm the action.
    NOTE:If the lights on the printer continue to blink after you cancel the print job, the computer is still sending the job to the printer. Either delete the job from the print queue or wait until the computer finishes sending information. The printer returns to its ready state.

Step 2: Select the correct printer

Follow these steps to find the correct printer for your document.
  1. In the program where the issue occurs, click File , and then click Print . The Print dialog box opens.
  2. In the Printer drop-down list, select your printer, and then click Print .

Solution two: Print an alternate file in the same program

Follow these steps to print a different file in the program where the issue first occurred.
  1. Open another file in the program where the issue occurs. Use any other file that opens in the same program, or create a new file for this step.
    NOTE:For example, if printing from Microsoft Word, close the file you were trying to print, and then open another file. If another Microsoft Word file is unavailable, create a new document, and then type some text to test.
  2. Try to print the alternate file.
    • If the alternate file prints successfully , do not continue troubleshooting. The original file might be causing the issue. Recreate the original file, or contact the manufacturer of the program for help.
    • If the alternate file also exhibits the garbled text issue , continue to the next solution.

Solution three: Print from another program

Follow these steps to print from a program other than the program where the issue occurs.
  1. Open any program other than the program where the issue occurs.
    NOTE:For example, if you used an image viewing program when the issue occurred, try opening a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.
  2. Open a file in the new program, or create a new file for this step.
  3. Print the file.
    • If the document in the alternate program prints successfully , do not continue troubleshooting. The program where the issue occurs might be the cause. Print from another program, or contact the manufacturer of the program for help.
    • If the document in the alternate program also exhibits the garbled text issue , continue to the next solution.

Solution four: Check the USB connection

The USB cable could be damaged. Follow these steps to replace the USB cable that connects the printer to the computer.
  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the rear of the printer, and then disconnect the USB cable from the computer.
    Figure 2: Disconnect the USB cable from the printer
    Image: Disconnect the USB cable from the printer
  2. Connect a new USB cable to the printer and to the computer, and then make sure the connection is secure. Push each end all the way into the port.
  3. Try to print again.

Solution five: Connect the printer directly to the computer

External hard drives, switches, security keys and other devices can cause communication issues when connected to USB hubs with the printer. Follow these steps to connect the printer directly to the computer.

Step 1: Determine if the computer has an available USB port

If the computer has an available USB port, disconnect the printer from the USB hub, and then connect the printer to the USB port on the computer.
If the computer does not have an available USB port, use the following steps to disconnect each device from the USB hub, to disconnect the USB hub, and then to connect the printer directly to the computer.

Step 2: Safely disconnect each USB device from the USB hub

Follow these steps to remove each USB device (including the printer) from the USB hub.
  1. Click the Safely Remove Hardware button ( ) in the taskbar (usually near the bottom of the computer screen). A list of devices displays.
  2. Click a device to remove. A message displays indicating that you can safely remove the device.
  3. Disconnect the device from the USB hub.
  4. Repeat these steps for each device you want to remove.

Step 3: Disconnect the USB hub, and then connect the printer directly to the computer

  1. Disconnect the USB hub from the computer.
  2. Connect the printer's USB cable directly from the printer to the computer.
  3. Press the Power button to turn off the printer, and then turn off the computer.
  4. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, and then turn on the computer.
  5. Try to print again.

Solution six: 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 seven: Check for updated drivers

Follow these steps to uninstall and reinstall the printer software.

Step 1: Uninstall the printer software

  1. Perform the following step for your connection type:
    • USB connection : If your printer connects to the computer with a USB cable, disconnect the USB cable from the printer, and then disconnect the cable from the computer.
    • Network connection : If the printer is connected to the network through a wired (Ethernet) or wireless connection, disconnect the printer from the network.
      NOTE:If you plan to reinstall the printer software, leave the printer connected to the network.
  2. Right-click the Start button ( ) in the lower left corner of the screen, click Search , and then type Devices and Printers .
  3. Click Devices and Printers .
  4. Right-click the icon for your printer, and then click Remove Device . The computer uninstalls the printer software.

Step 2: Reinstall the printer software

  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Disconnect the USB cable from the printer and the computer (if you already connected it). If the printer is connected to your network, leave it connected.
  3. Go to HP Drivers & Downloads . If prompted, type your printer model number, click Go , and then click Drivers .
  4. Make sure that your operating system is selected, and then click Next .
  5. Scroll down the page, and then click Driver .
  6. Click Download , and then follow the on-screen instructions to save the software to your computer.
  7. Open the folder where the software file saved (usually Downloads ), double-click the file, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
If your printer does not have a full feature driver available for your Windows operating system , skip to the next solution to install an alternate print driver.

Step 3: Try to print

Open a document and try to print again.

Solution eight: Install an alternate print driver

Installing an alternate print drive might help resolve the communication issue between your computer and printer.

Step 1: Uninstall the printer software

  1. Perform the following step for your connection type:
    • USB connection : If your printer connects to the computer with a USB cable, disconnect the USB cable from the printer, and then disconnect the cable from the computer.
    • Network connection : If the printer is connected to the network through a wired (Ethernet) or wireless connection, disconnect the printer from the network.
      NOTE:If you plan to reinstall the printer software, leave the printer connected to the network.
  2. Right-click the Start button ( ) in the lower left corner of the screen, click Search , and then type Devices and Printers .
  3. Click Devices and Printers .
  4. Right-click the icon for your printer, and then click Remove Device . The computer uninstalls the printer software.

Step 2: Install alternate print driver

Step 3: Try to print

Open a document and try to print again.

Solution nine: Service the printer

If the steps above have not solved the problem, see the steps at the end of this document to service the printer.
Follow these solutions if your computer is using Windows 7 or Windows Vista.

Solution one: Cancel the print job, and then select the correct printer

Follow these steps to cancel the print job, and then select the correct printer.

Step 1: Cancel the print job

  1. Click the Windows icon ( ), and then click Devices and Printers .
  2. Double-click the printer icon, and then double-click See What's Printing . The print queue opens.
  3. Click to select the print job you want to cancel, and then click Document .
  4. Click Cancel , and then click Yes to confirm the action.
    NOTE:If the lights on the printer continue to blink after you cancel the print job, the computer is still sending the job to the printer. Either delete the job from the print queue or wait until the computer finishes sending information. The printer returns to its ready state.

Step 2: Select the correct printer

Follow these steps to find the correct printer for your document.
  1. In the program where the issue occurs, click File , and then click Print . The Print dialog box opens.
  2. In the Printer drop-down list, select your printer, and then click Print .

Solution two: Print an alternate file in the same program

Follow these steps to print a different file in the program where the issue first occurred.
  1. Open another file in the program where the issue occurs. Use any other file that opens in the same program, or create a new file for this step.
    NOTE:For example, if printing from Microsoft Word, close the file you were trying to print, and then open another file. If another Microsoft Word file is unavailable, create a new document, and then type some text to test.
  2. Try to print the alternate file.
    • If the alternate file prints successfully , do not continue troubleshooting. The original file might be causing the issue. Recreate the original file, or contact the manufacturer of the program for help.
    • If the alternate file also exhibits the garbled text issue , continue to the next solution.

Solution three: Print from another program

Follow these steps to print from a program other than the program where the issue occurs.
  1. Open any program other than the program where the issue occurs.
    NOTE:For example, if you used an image viewing program when the issue occurred, try opening a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.
  2. Open a file in the new program, or create a new file for this step.
  3. Print the file.
    • If the document in the alternate program prints successfully , do not continue troubleshooting. The program where the issue occurs might be the cause. Print from another program, or contact the manufacturer of the program for help.
    • If the document in the alternate program also exhibits the garbled text issue , continue to the next solution.

Solution four: Check the USB connection

The USB cable could be damaged. Follow these steps to replace the USB cable that connects the printer to the computer.
  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the rear of the printer, and then disconnect the USB cable from the computer.
    Figure 3: Disconnect the USB cable from the printer
    Image: Disconnect the USB cable from the printer
  2. Connect a new USB cable to the printer and to the computer, and then make sure the connection is secure. Push each end all the way into the port.
  3. Try to print again.

Solution five: Connect the printer directly to the computer

External hard drives, switches, security keys and other devices can cause communication issues when connected to USB hubs with the printer. Follow these steps to connect the printer directly to the computer.

Step 1: Determine if the computer has an available USB port

If the computer has an available USB port, disconnect the printer from the USB hub, and then connect the printer to the USB port on the computer.
If the computer does not have an available USB port, use the following steps to disconnect each device from the USB hub, to disconnect the USB hub, and then to connect the printer directly to the computer.

Step 2: Safely disconnect each USB device from the USB hub

Follow these steps to remove each USB device (including the printer) from the USB hub.
  1. Click the Safely Remove Hardware button ( ) in the taskbar (usually near the bottom of the computer screen). A list of devices displays.
  2. Click a device to remove. A message displays indicating that you can safely remove the device.
  3. Disconnect the device from the USB hub.
  4. Repeat these steps for each device you want to remove.

Step 3: Disconnect the USB hub, and then connect the printer directly to the computer

  1. Disconnect the USB hub from the computer.
  2. Connect the printer's USB cable directly from the printer to the computer.
  3. Press the Power button to turn off the printer, and then turn off the computer.
  4. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, and then turn on the computer.
  5. Try to print again.

Solution six: 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 seven: Check for updated drivers

Follow these steps to uninstall and reinstall the printer software.

Step 1: Uninstall the printer software

  1. Click Start ( ), click Control Panel , and then under "Programs," click Uninstall a program .
  2. Find your HP printer driver in the list of installed programs. If you do not see the printer name, look for the printer type, such as Photosmart, Officejet, PSC, or Deskjet. For example:
    • HP Photosmart C4600 All-in-One Driver software 13.0 Rel .5
    • HP Photosmart All-in-One Software 13.0
    If your printer does not display in the list of installed programs, continue to the next method to uninstall the software.
  3. Click the driver, click Uninstall/Change , and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Step 2: Reinstall the printer software

  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Disconnect the USB cable from the printer and the computer (if you already connected it). If the printer is connected to your network, leave it connected.
  3. Go to HP Drivers & Downloads . If prompted, type your printer model number, click Go , and then click Drivers .
  4. Make sure that your operating system is selected, and then click Next .
  5. Scroll down the page, and then click Driver .
  6. Click Download , and then follow the on-screen instructions to save the software to your computer.
  7. Open the folder where the software file saved (usually Downloads ), double-click the file, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.
If your printer does not have a full feature driver available for your Windows operating system , skip to the next solution to install an alternate print driver.

Step 3: Try to print

Open a document and try to print again.

Solution eight: Install an alternate print driver

Installing an alternate print drive might help resolve the communication issue between your computer and printer.

Step 1: Uninstall the printer software

  1. Click Start ( ), click Control Panel , and then under "Programs," click Uninstall a program .
  2. Find your HP printer driver in the list of installed programs. If you do not see the printer name, look for the printer type, such as Photosmart, Officejet, PSC, or Deskjet. For example:
    • HP Photosmart C4600 All-in-One Driver software 13.0 Rel .5
    • HP Photosmart All-in-One Software 13.0
    If your printer does not display in the list of installed programs, continue to the next method to uninstall the software.
  3. Click the driver, click Uninstall/Change , and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the process.

Step 2: Install alternate print driver

Step 3: Try to print

Open a document and try to print again.

Solution nine: Service the printer

If the steps above have not solved the problem, see the steps at the end of this document to service the printer.
Follow these solutions if your computer is using Windows XP.

Solution one: Cancel the print job, and then select the correct printer

Follow these steps to cancel the print job, and then select the correct printer.

Step 1: Cancel the print job

  1. Click Start ( ), and then click Printers and Faxes .
  2. Double-click the printer icon. The print queue opens.
  3. Click to select the print job that you want to cancel, and then click Delete or Cancel .
    NOTE:If the lights on the printer continue to blink after you cancel the print job, the computer is still sending the job to the printer. Either delete the job from the print queue or wait until the computer finishes sending information. The printer returns to its ready state.

Step 2: Select the correct printer

Follow these steps to find the correct printer for your document.
  1. In the program where the issue occurs, click File , and then click Print . The Print dialog box opens.
  2. In the Printer drop-down list, select your printer, and then click Print .

Solution two: Print an alternate file in the same program

Follow these steps to print a different file in the program where the issue first occurred.
  1. Open another file in the program where the issue occurs. Use any other file that opens in the same program, or create a new file for this step.
    NOTE:For example, if printing from Microsoft Word, close the file you were trying to print, and then open another file. If another Microsoft Word file is unavailable, create a new document, and then type some text to test.
  2. Try to print the alternate file.
    • If the alternate file prints successfully , do not continue troubleshooting. The original file might be causing the issue. Recreate the original file, or contact the manufacturer of the program for help.
    • If the alternate file also exhibits the garbled text issue , continue to the next solution.

Solution three: Print from another program

Follow these steps to print from a program other than the program where the issue occurs.
  1. Open any program other than the program where the issue occurs.
    NOTE:For example, if you used an image viewing program when the issue occurred, try opening a word processing program such as Microsoft Word.
  2. Open a file in the new program, or create a new file for this step.
  3. Print the file.
    • If the document in the alternate program prints successfully , do not continue troubleshooting. The program where the issue occurs might be the cause. Print from another program, or contact the manufacturer of the program for help.
    • If the document in the alternate program also exhibits the garbled text issue , continue to the next solution.

Solution four: Check the USB connection

The USB cable could be damaged. Follow these steps to replace the USB cable that connects the printer to the computer.
  1. Disconnect the USB cable from the rear of the printer, and then disconnect the USB cable from the computer.
    Figure 4: Disconnect the USB cable from the printer
    Image: Disconnect the USB cable from the printer
  2. Connect a new USB cable to the printer and to the computer, and then make sure the connection is secure. Push each end all the way into the port.
  3. Try to print again.

Solution five: Connect the printer directly to the computer

External hard drives, switches, security keys and other devices can cause communication issues when connected to USB hubs with the printer. Follow these steps to connect the printer directly to the computer.

Step 1: Determine if the computer has an available USB port

If the computer has an available USB port, disconnect the printer from the USB hub, and then connect the printer to the USB port on the computer.
If the computer does not have an available USB port, use the following steps to disconnect each device from the USB hub, to disconnect the USB hub, and then to connect the printer directly to the computer.

Step 2: Safely disconnect each USB device from the USB hub

Follow these steps to remove each USB device (including the printer) from the USB hub.
  1. Click the Safely Remove Hardware button ( ) in the taskbar (usually near the bottom of the computer screen). A list of devices displays.
  2. Click a device to remove. A message displays indicating that you can safely remove the device.
  3. Disconnect the device from the USB hub.
  4. Repeat these steps for each device you want to remove.

Step 3: Disconnect the USB hub, and then connect the printer directly to the computer

  1. Disconnect the USB hub from the computer.
  2. Connect the printer's USB cable directly from the printer to the computer.
  3. Press the Power button to turn off the printer, and then turn off the computer.
  4. Press the Power button to turn on the printer, and then turn on the computer.
  5. Try to print again.

Solution six: 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 seven: Check for updated drivers

Follow these steps to uninstall and reinstall the printer software.

Step 1: Uninstall the printer software

  1. On the Windows taskbar, click Start ( ), and then click Control Panel . The Control Panel opens.
  2. Double-click Add or Remove Programs . A list of programs installed on your computer opens.
  3. Click the HP item you want to uninstall, and then click Change/Remove .
    NOTE:You can uninstall only one item at a time.
  4. Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the software removal.
  5. Turn off the printer, disconnect the printer from the power source, and then restart the computer.

Step 2: Reinstall the printer software

  1. Turn on the printer.
  2. Disconnect the USB cable from the printer and the computer (if you already connected it). If the printer is connected to your network, leave it connected.
  3. Go to HP Drivers & Downloads . If prompted, type your printer model number, click Go , and then click Drivers .
  4. Make sure that your operating system is selected, and then click Next .
  5. Scroll down the page, and then click Driver .
  6. Click Download , and then follow the on-screen instructions to save the software to your computer.
  7. Open the folder where the software file saved (usually Downloads ), double-click the file, and then follow the on-screen instructions to complete the installation.

Step 3: Try to print

Open a document and try to print again.

Solution eight: Service the printer

If the steps above have not solved the problem, see the steps at the end of this document to service the printer.

Service the printer

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.