My Printer Is Printing Random Things

Complexity rises with increased capabilities. When dot-matrix printers were the only form of hard-copy output for corporate computers and networks were uncommon, diagnosing unusual behavior was easy. Early printers, which could just print text, didn’t need any specific print drivers as long as the printer was plugged in and the computer’s configuration file directed output to the right port. However, the possibility of output issues has multiplied with developments in printer technology such as color, graphics, networking, and wireless printing.

Print Drivers

The digital output from your computer is filtered through specialized software called a print driver in order to replicate the colors and graphics you see while creating a document on your screen. This software is unique to the printer model and contains guidelines for how the print mechanism should interpret each character and feature in the document. The target printer interprets the data stream as random characters when the print driver is corrupt. Reinstalling the print driver or checking the printer settings in the Control Panel can typically fix this issue.

Cables and Ports

Data loss may be brought on by broken cables or communication ports. A properly prepared data stream is necessary for printers to output a page. Dropped or damaged data packets that are transmitted over a network or through a faulty cable cause the stream to be improperly formatted and result in random output. These issues can be ruled out as the cause of the issue by checking port reliability and cable continuity.


By writing to print spoolers rather than directly to write-protected drives, some intrusive malware programmes try to bypass standard system security. These files interfere with normal computer-to-printer communication because they are improperly formatted for printing, which leads to unrecognizably generated output. The risk of this issue can be decreased or completely eliminated by regularly updating anti-virus and malware protection software, running system scans, and restricting access to websites known to host malware.

Improperly Terminated Sessions

Print spool corruption could be caused by a variety of factors. Just enough data can be left over from a print session that was improperly ended to affect any subsequent jobs. Rebooting the printer, print server, or any other computer acting as a spooler to the printer is the best way to fix this problem.

Simple Tests

There are a few non-intrusive tests you may run to identify the issue before you stop your company’s network from functioning normally. One is to send the printer a different file. If the second file displays correctly, the problem is probably with the first file’s formatting. Sending a second file from a different machine is an alternative strategy. If the second computer can output a file correctly, the print driver on the first computer may be damaged or ineffective. By using the printer’s self-test feature, you can test the printer independently. Random characters appearing on the printer’s test page indicate that the printer is most likely the problem.

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