How Do I Change My Printer from Offline to Online in Windows 7: A Step-by-Step Guide

Changing your printer from offline to online in Windows 7 is a breeze once you know how. All it takes is a few clicks in the ‘Devices and Printers’ section of your control panel, and your printer will be back online and ready to print all your important documents.

After completing the action, your printer should show up as ‘Online’ on your computer, and you’ll be able to start printing immediately.


Picture this: You’ve got a critical document that you need to print, and you go to your computer, only to find that your printer is offline. It’s a frustrating situation that many of us have encountered at least once. But fear not—this is a common issue that can be fixed easily, even if you’re not particularly tech-savvy.

Being able to change your printer from offline to online is a handy skill to have, especially if you work in an office environment or rely heavily on printed materials for school or personal use. This guide is particularly relevant to users who are still using Windows 7, which, despite being over a decade old, is still a widely used operating system. Whether you’ve encountered a one-time glitch or regularly face this issue, this guide is here to help you troubleshoot and resolve your printer’s offline status in no time.

Step by Step Tutorial: Changing Your Printer from Offline to Online

The following steps will guide you through the process of changing your printer from offline to online on a Windows 7 system.

Step 1: Open the Start Menu

Click on the Start button in the bottom left corner of your screen.

Opening the Start menu will allow you to access the Control Panel, which is where you’ll find the settings to change your printer’s status.

Step 2: Navigate to Devices and Printers

Click on ‘Devices and Printers’ in the Start menu.

This will take you to a list of all the devices connected to your computer, including printers, keyboards, and mice.

Step 3: Find Your Printer

Locate your printer in the list of devices.

Your printer might be listed under ‘Printers and Faxes’ or simply ‘Printers’, depending on how many devices you have connected.

Step 4: Change Printer to Online

Right-click on your printer and select ‘See what’s printing’. If the printer is offline, click on ‘Printer’ from the menu bar and uncheck ‘Use Printer Offline’.

This action will change the printer from offline to online, and your printer should be ready to start printing again.


Easy to doThe process is straightforward and doesn’t require any technical knowledge beyond basic computer skills.
Quick solutionIt usually takes less than a minute to change your printer from offline to online.
No additional softwareYou don’t need to download or install any third-party software to complete this task.


Temporary fixSometimes the issue may reoccur and you’ll have to repeat the process.
Printer-specificThe steps might vary slightly depending on the printer model.
Dependent on OSThese instructions are specific to Windows 7 and may not apply to other operating systems.

Additional Information

While the steps above will usually resolve your printer’s offline status, there are a few more things to keep in mind. Sometimes, the issue might lie with the printer itself, such as a paper jam or an error message that needs to be cleared. It’s also worth checking if your printer has the latest drivers installed, as outdated drivers can cause communication issues between the printer and your computer.

Checking your network connection is also crucial if you’re using a wireless printer, as the offline issue could be due to connectivity problems. Lastly, if you’re in a shared office environment, make sure that the printer hasn’t been intentionally set to offline mode by someone else who might be performing maintenance or troubleshooting.


  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Navigate to Devices and Printers
  3. Find Your Printer
  4. Change Printer to Online

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my printer keep going offline?

There could be several reasons, including connectivity issues, printer errors, or problems with printer drivers.

Can I change my printer status using a shortcut?

No, you’ll need to go through the ‘Devices and Printers’ section in the Control Panel.

Will this process work for network printers?

Yes, but you might need additional steps to troubleshoot network connectivity.

Is there a way to prevent my printer from going offline?

Regular maintenance and ensuring that your drivers are up-to-date are good practices to minimize the chances of your printer going offline.

What if my printer doesn’t show up in the list of devices?

This might indicate a connection problem. Check that your printer is properly connected to your computer or network.


Fiddling with printer settings might not be everyone’s idea of a good time, but knowing how to change your printer from offline to online is a valuable skill. This knowledge can save you from a lot of frustrations and delays at those critical moments when you really need a document printed.

Remember to check your printer for errors, ensure it’s properly connected, and confirm that the drivers are up to date. If you keep running into this issue, consider reaching out to a professional for a more permanent solution. And if you’re on Windows 7, keep in mind that support for this operating system is waning, so it might be time to consider an upgrade.

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