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HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw Color Multifunction Printer support

Resolving Print Quality Issues

  • PrintPrint

Issue

Print quality or paper output is not as expected.
If you are experiencing any of the paper quality or paper output symptoms listed below, these solutions can help resolve most issues. Even if your symptom is not listed, these solutions might help.
Garbled, illogical text, and incomplete printout (graphic)If you are experiencing garbled, jumbled or illogical text, incomplete printouts, or missing text or graphics, go to Resolving Strange, Garbled or Illogical Text, Incomplete Printouts, or Missing Text or Graphics (c02267070) (in English).
Sample defectSymptom
Fuzzy, blurry, or bold areas (graphic)Blurry, fuzzy, or dark print
Page with skewed print (graphic)Crooked or skewed output
Creased or wrinkled paper (graphic)Creased or wrinkled paper
Curled or Wavy paper (graphic)Curled or wavy paper
Printout with a character shadow (graphic)Character shadows
Distorted characters (graphic)Distorted characters
Dropped out text (graphic)Dropped-out text
Dropped edges (graphic)Dropped edges
Dull, faded or light text (graphic)Dull, faded, or light print
Gray shading or background (graphic)Gray shading or background
Vertical repetitive marks (graphic)Repetitive toner marks
Vertical lines or streaks (graphic)Streaks or vertical lines
Image with white vertical linesStreaks or vertical lines (photos)
Printout with smeared toner (graphic)Toner Specks (graphic)Toner smears, specks or other marks
Vertical white stripes (graphic)Vertical white stripes
Water droplets on the printed page (graphic)Water droplets on the printed page
NOTE:For unexpected print quality or paper output causes, see the Causes section.

Solutions

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.

Solution one: Adjust, reload, and change the paper

The most common cause for print quality issues is paper that is not compatible with the product. This can result in poor paper feeding, or in poor toner adhesion. Make sure that the paper or media type meets HP's specifications.

Step one: Adjust and reload the paper

  1. For the best paper-feeding conditions, make sure of the following:
    • Examine the paper for dust, lint, or signs of humidity. If the paper is dusty, too dry or too moist, replace it with fresh paper.
      NOTE:Extreme temperatures or humidity can directly affect paper quality. If you live in an area with extreme conditions, protect your paper supply by storing it in a plastic airtight container.
    • Turn over the paper stack, rotate it 180°, and then reload the paper into the input tray.
    • Adjust the media guides so that they are not too tight or too loose against the paper stack.
      NOTE:A small amount of skew is normal and might be noticeable when using preprinted forms. Largely crooked or skewed printouts can result if the guides are not fit snugly against the paper.
    • Make sure that the main input tray is in place, and that it is not loaded too full.
  2. Try again to print.
  • If these steps resolve the issue, you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists, continue to Step two.

Step two: Change the paper

  1. Change the paper to a high-quality paper that is compatible with laser printers.
    • If you are experiencing curled or wavy paper , the paper might be too light, too thin or too moist.
      Replace the paper with fresh, dry paper, or change the paper type to one with a heavier basis weight.
      You can also lower the fuser-temperature setting. To do this, see Solution five, Step 6.
    • If you are experiencing creased or wrinkled paper , the paper might be too textured, too thin, or too moist.
      Replace the paper with fresh, dry paper, or change the paper type to one with a heavier basis weight or a smoother texture.
    • If you are experiencing distorted characters , the paper might be too glossy or too textured.
      Change the paper type to one with a matte finish or a smoother texture.
    • If you are experiencing faded text , dropped-out text , or toner scatter , the paper might be too moist, too thick or too glossy, and is resisting the toner.
      Replace the paper with fresh, dry paper, or change the paper type to one with a matte finish or a smoother texture.
      NOTE:While small amounts of toner scattered on the paper is normal for laser printing, if large amounts of toner scatter occur, the paper might be resisting the toner. Some paper manufacturing processes can cause paper to reject toner.
  2. Try again to print.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next solution.

Solution two: Rock the print cartridges to distribute the toner evenly, and then check the printer environment

Follow these steps to rock the print cartridges and to check the product environment.

Step one: Rock the print cartridges

Follow these steps to rock the print cartridges.
CAUTION:If toner gets on any clothing, wipe it off with a dry cloth and wash the clothing in cold water. Hot water sets toner into the fabric.
  1. Open the front door on the product.
    Figure 1: Open the front door
    Illustration: Open the front access door.
  2. Pull out the print cartridge drawer. Keep the print cartridge door open.
    Figure 2: Pull out the print cartridge drawer
    Illustration: Pull out the print cartridge drawer.
  3. Grasp the handle on the first print cartridge, and then pull the cartridge straight up to remove it.
    Figure 3: Remove the print cartridge
    Illustration: Remove a print cartridge.
    CAUTION:Do not touch the green roller (imaging drum) on the bottom of the print cartridge. Fingerprints on the imaging drum can cause print quality problems.
    Figure 4: Do not touch the green roller
    Image: Do not touch the green roller.
  4. Gently rock the print cartridge from front to back to distribute the toner evenly inside the cartridge.
    Figure 5: Gently rock the print cartridge
    Illustration: Gently rock the print cartridge from front to back.
  5. Hold the print cartridge so that the green drum faces the bottom of the print cartridge drawer, and then insert the print cartridge into the correct slot.
    Figure 6: Insert the print cartridge back into the correct slot
    Illustration: Insert the print cartridge back into the correct slot.
    Tip:
    Look for color-coded icons on the print cartridge slots to insert the print cartridge in the correct slot.
  6. Repeat these steps for each print cartridge. Make sure you reinsert each print cartridge in its correct slot.
  7. Close the print cartridge drawer.
    Figure 7: Close the print cartridge drawer
    Illustration: Close the print cartridge door.
  8. Close the front access door.
    Figure 8: Close the front door
    Illustration: Close the front door.

Step two: Check the product environment

The product environment can directly affect print quality and is a common cause for print quality or paper feeding issues.
  1. For the best possible print quality, make sure of the following:
    • Move the product away from drafty locations such as open windows or doors, or air conditioning vents.
    • Make sure the product is not exposed to high temperatures or extreme humidity.
      • Very dry (low humidity) conditions can increase the amount of background shading .
      • Very wet (high humidity) conditions can fog up the laser scanner optics, cause drop-outs , cause uneven dark, light or fuzzy print , or leave water droplets on the printed page.
    • Remove the product from confined spaces such as a cabinet.
    • Remove anything blocking the top vents. Make sure that there is good air flow throughout the product, including the top.
    • Protect the product from airborne debris, steam, grease, or other elements that can leave residue inside the product.
  2. Try again to print.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next solution.

Solution three: Check the product connections

Devices attached between the computer and the product, or between the product and the wall outlet, can sometimes interfere with communication to and from the product. This can result in character shadows, areas of fuzzy or dark print, or toner marks. To resolve this issue, follow these steps:
  1. Connect the product directly to the computer.
  2. Connect the product directly to the wall outlet.
  3. Try again to print.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next solution.

Solution four: Print a cleaning page

During the printing process, paper, toner, and dust particles can accumulate inside the product. Over time, this buildup can cause print quality issues such as toner specks, smears, or marks. To resolve this issue, clean the product paper path.
This product has a cleaning mode that can correct and prevent print quality problems. Use the following steps to clean the paper path.
  1. On the Home screen, touch the Setup icon ( ).
  2. Touch Service , and then touch Cleaning Page .
  3. Load plain letter or A4 paper when prompted.
  4. Touch OK to begin the cleaning process.
  5. A page feeds through the product slowly. Discard the page when the process is complete.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next solution.

Solution five: Check the driver settings

Try to resolve the issue by adjusting the driver settings.
NOTE:This solution might require the full HP software. If you did not install the full version of the software when you installed your product, go to the Software and Drivers page to download and install it now.

Step one: Check the printer default

  1. Open the Printers and Faxes, Printer, or Printers and Devices window.
    • Windows XP : Click Start , and click Printers and Faxes .
    • Windows Vista : Click the Vista icon ( ), click Control Panel , click Hardware and Sound , and then click Printer .
    • Windows 7 : Click the Windows icon ( ), click Control Panel , and then double-click Printers and Devices .
  2. Find your product, and check whether it is selected as the default printer.
    • If the product icon appears with a checkmark ( ), skip to the next step.
    • If the product icon does not appear with a checkmark ( ), right-click the product icon, and select Set as Default Printer .
NOTE:If the wrong printer driver is selected when installing the software, this can result in toner marks or smears.

Step two: Check the paper type setting

  1. Right-click the product icon, and click Printing Preferences to open the Printing Preferences window.
  2. Click the Paper/Quality tab.
  3. Check the paper or media type setting.
    1. Find the Type is: drop-down list.
      Figure 9: 'Type is:' drop-down list in the Printing Preferences window
      'Type is:' drop-down list in the Printing Preferences window, Paper/Quality tab (screenshot)
    2. Select the paper or media type you are using.
      • For thinner paper, select Light , Thin , or Vellum .
      • For thicker paper, select Heavy or Thick .
      NOTE:HP does not recommend the use of heavily textured paper, extremely thin paper, or paper with a basis weight heavier than 90 g/m2 (24 lb).
  4. Make sure the paper or media type setting is appropriate for the fuser temperature.
    NOTE:Unlike ink printers, laser printers use heat to fuse a plastic toner to the surface of the paper. Make sure to use heat-resistant paper, and labels and envelopes that use adhesives compatible with the heat and pressure of the product’s fusing process.
    If you are experiencing any issues in the following list, adjust the setting.
    • If the paper is curled or wavy , try the following:
      1. Decrease the fuser temperature setting. To do this, select Light , Thin , or Transparency .
      2. Use the archive print feature to improve toner fusing. To do this, select Archive or Bond .
    • If the printout has areas of fuzzy or dark print , or toner scatter , increase the fuser temperature setting.
      1. Select Heavy or Thick .
        If this does not resolve the fuzzy, dark print, or toner scatter issues, use a lower basis weight or thinner paper.
  5. Click Apply .

Step three: Check the print density settings

Follow these steps to check the print density settings in Printing Preferences and in Properties.
  1. In the Printing Preferences window, click the Paper/Quality tab, and find the Print Quality section.
    Figure 10: 'Print Quality' section in the Printing Preferences window
    'Print Quality' section in the Printing Preferences window, Paper/Quality tab (screenshot)
  2. If you are experiencing any issues in the following list, adjust the settings.
    • If the entire page is too dark , change the dpi setting, and turn on EconoMode .
      1. Select 600 dpi from the drop-down list.
      2. Select the EconoMode check box.
    • If the entire page is too light , change the dpi setting, and turn off EconoMode .
      1. Select FastRes 1200 from the drop-down list.
      2. Clear the EconoMode check box.
  3. Click Apply , click OK , and then close the Printing Preferences window.
  4. Open Printer Properties. To do this, right-click the product icon, and click Properties .
  5. Click the Device Settings tab, and find the Print Density section.
    Figure 11: 'Print Density' section in the Properties window
    'Print Density' section in the Properties window, Device Settings tab (screenshot)
  6. If you are experiencing any issues in the following list, adjust the setting.
    • If the printout has areas of gray shading or a gray background , decrease the print density setting.
      To do this, slide the bar to the left .
    • If the printout has light, dull or faded areas , increase the print density setting.
      To do this, slide the bar to the right .
  7. Click Apply , click OK , and then close the Properties window.
  8. Try again to print.
    If these steps do not resolve the light, dull or faded issue, the print cartridge is almost empty. Skip to Solution eight: Replace the print cartridge .
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next solution.

Solution six: Print a Supplies Status page from the control panel

Follow these steps to print a Supplies Status page.
Figure 12: Supplies Status page
Illustration: Supplies Status page.
  1. On the Home screen, touch the Setup icon ( ).
  2. Touch Reports , and then touch Supplies Status .

Solution seven: Reset the product

  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.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next solution.

Solution eight: Replace the print cartridge

If after you have completed the above solutions you are still experiencing print quality issues, you might have a damaged, empty or incompatible print cartridge.
NOTE:HP recommends that you use genuine HP cartridges. Genuine HP cartridges are designed and tested with HP printers to help you easily produce great results, time after time. HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP supplies. Warranty does not cover product service or repairs required from the use of a non-HP ink or toner supply. HP recommends that you make sure that you are using genuine HP cartridges before you continue.
To check the cartridge compatibility for your product, go to HP SureSupply . To identify your cartridge type in a language other than English, click the language link that appears near the globe icon in the top right corner of your browser.
Follow these steps to replace the print cartridges.
CAUTION:If toner gets on any clothing, wipe it off with a dry cloth and wash the clothing in cold water. Hot water sets toner into the fabric.
  1. Open the front door on the product.
    Figure 13: Open the front door
    Illustration: Open the front access door.
  2. Pull out the print cartridge drawer.
    Figure 14: Pull out the print cartridge drawer
    Illustration: Pull out the print cartridge drawer.
  3. Grasp the handle on the old print cartridge, and then pull the cartridge straight up to remove it.
    Figure 15: Remove the old print cartridge
    Illustration: Remove the old print cartridge.
  4. To open the box that contains the new print cartridge, pull down on the red tab on the side of the box.
  5. Remove the package from the box, and then remove the new print cartridge from the package.
    Figure 16: Remove new print cartridge from the package
    Illustration: Remove the new print cartridge from the package.
  6. Gently rock the print cartridge from front to back to distribute the toner evenly inside the cartridge.
    Figure 17: Gently rock the print cartridge
    Illustration: Gently rock the print cartridge from front to back
to distribute the toner evenly inside the
cartridge.
  7. Remove the orange, plastic shield from the bottom of the new print cartridge. Do not remove the protective tape from the print cartridge.
    Figure 18: Remove the plastic shield
    Illustration: Remove the plastic shield.
    CAUTION:Do not touch the green roller (imaging drum) on the bottom of the print cartridge. Fingerprints on the imaging drum can cause print quality problems.
    Figure 19: Do not touch the green roller
    Illustration: Do not touch the roller.
  8. Hold the print cartridge so that the green drum faces the bottom of the print cartridge drawer, and then insert the print cartridge into the correct slot.
    Figure 20: Insert the new print cartridge into the correct slot
    Illustration: Insert the new print cartridge into the correct slot.
    Tip:
    Look for color-coded icons on the print cartridge slots to insert the print cartridge in the correct slot.
  9. Pull the tab on the left side of the print cartridge straight up to completely remove the sealing tape. Discard the sealing tape.
    Figure 21: Pull the tab on the print cartridge
    Illustration: Remove the protective tape.
  10. Repeat these steps for each print cartridge that you need to replace. Make sure you insert each print cartridge in its correct slot.
  11. Close the print cartridge drawer.
    Figure 22: Close the print cartridge drawer
    Illustration: Close the print cartridge door.
  12. Close the front access door.
    Figure 23: Close the front door
    Illustration: Close the front door.
    The product control panel displays the message 'Initializing ' while the product prepares the new print cartridges.
  13. Recycle the old print cartridge. Place it in the box in which the new print cartridge came, and then follow the recycling instructions in the box.
  • If these steps resolved the issue , you do not need to continue troubleshooting.
  • If the issue persists , see the next solution.

Solution nine: 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.

Causes

SymptomCauses
Character shadowsPaper quality is poor
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Crooked or skewed outputPaper fed incorrectly due to paper type or poor paper quality
Media guides are too tight or too loose
Curled or wavy paperPaper quality is poor
Paper is too thin
Fuser temperature is too high
Toner fuser setting needs adjusting
Distorted charactersPaper quality is poor
Paper is too glossy or too textured
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Dropped edgesPaper quality is poor
Dropped out textPaper quality is poor
Paper is too thick or too glossy and is resisting the toner
Print cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Pickup roller is dirty
Dull, faded or light textPaper quality is poor
Paper is too thick or too glossy and is resisting the toner
Print cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Print settings need adjusting
Pickup roller is dirty
Fuzzy, blurry, or bold areasPaper quality is poor
Extreme humidity conditions
Product is exposed to environmental conditions
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Print settings need adjusting
Print cartridge is damaged
Gray shading or backgroundPaper quality is poor, likely due to extremely high or low humidity
Input tray is not correctly in place
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Print settings need adjusting
Print cartridge is damaged
Toner specksPaper is too thick or too glossy and is resisting the toner
Print cartridge is damaged
Pickup roller is dirty
Paper path is dirty
Streaks or vertical linesPrint cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Pickup roller is dirty
Paper path is dirty
Streaks or vertical lines (photos)Print cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Toner smearsPaper is too glossy and is resisting the toner
Print cartridge is damaged
Repetitive marks, regular intervalsPickup roller is dirty
Product is not connected directly to computer or wall outlet
Vertical white stripes or bandingPrint cartridge is almost empty
Print cartridge is damaged
Scanner is dirty
Water droplets on the printed pageExtremely high humidity
Wrinkled or creased paperPaper fed incorrectly
Media guides are too tight or too loose
Paper type is too thin, too textured, or too moist
Media path is obstructed
HP LaserJet Pro CM1415fnw Color Multifunction Printer

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