It's not your WIFI printer....it's Windows 10

Kull

wannabe merloni
SoSH Member
Nov 1, 2005
1,549
El Paso, TX
Haven't seen anything posted on this, but a lot of WIFI printers don't work properly in Windows 10. Specifically, everything works great right after you first install the printer, but from then on it won't "wake up" when you send it a print job, and the only solution is rebooting the printer, the PC, or both, and even then it only works until the next time either machine goes to sleep. Pretty annoying, to put it mildly.

The problem: Windows 10 (and it might have started with Windows 8) assigns a new kind of Printer Port (WSD - "Web Services Device") to any printer that is installed using the "autodetect" installation option. The whole idea was that it "makes things easier" since you don't have to tell the O/S what print driver to use and so forth. Unfortunately, since WSD is broken, the path of least resistance automatically becomes the path of total frustration.

The solution: The good news is, there IS one, but it's rather complicated:

Part I: The fix will ONLY work if your printer has an assigned (or “fixed”) IP Address (IP = “Internet Protocol”, not that you probably care or need to know). All IP addresses have the same format: Four numbers (each one up to 3 digits long) separated by a period (for example, my Dad’s printer is 10.0.0.7). Most WIFI printers have one, but the process of FINDING the IP address of a printer is completely different from one make and model to another. So I can’t give you any immediate step-by-step help on this other than to suggest you consult your printer manual (looking for “finding the IP address”) or trying an internet search or (worst case) post a plea for help in this thread (to include printer Make & Model) and I'll try to assist you.

Part II: Once you know the fixed IP Address of your printer, the next step is to assign it in Windows (because your printer knows it, but right now Windows 10 does not).

Rather than list out the umpteen steps involved, please take a look at this Youtube video as it's only 2:41 long and the guy does a pretty good job of showing exactly how to change an existing printer from a USB port to a fixed TCP/IP port. At the 1:00 minute mark the WSD port makes it appearance, and that's the one you need to switch from. However, at the 2:02 mark he skips over the process of getting a driver for a specific printer and instead recommends the "Generic Network Card". That *might* work for you, but I recommend hunting through the drop-down list to find one that's specific to your Make & Model, as that's more likely to give access to your printer's full set of features (ink checking, scanning, etc), and it *should* be on the list (especially if you installed it earlier)

The one caveat is that if you are installing a new printer, the correct print drivers might not show up on the drop-down list, in which case you'll either have to hunt for them on disks/internet or just install the printer using the broken Windows 10 process and then switch it over from WSD to TCP/IP.

Backstory: FWIW, my girlfriend's printer had this problem for a year and my Dad's for the last few months and my early searches turned up nothing but complaints from printer customers and mutual finger pointing between Microsoft and the manufacturers. But once I finally realized they were experiencing identical symptoms from two different manufacturers, that clued me in to start looking deeper and that's when I eventually found that a (very) few people had figured what was really going on.

Anyway, it's a real issue so hopefully this helps a few of you. Probably those on the verge of beating their old printer with a sledgehammer and then buying a new one.....which also wouldn't have worked!
 

Couperin47

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SoSH Member
Or you could just use a simple usb 2 or 3 cable to connect to the printer and eliminate the entire problem, but then if it involves 'cords' today we always try and find the most convoluted, failure prone alternate option, even if the connection is only 5 feet away...anything to avoid the horror that is wires.
 

Tangled Up In Red

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Lifetime Member
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Nov 8, 2004
2,628
Bernal
Thanks @Kull
Been having the same/similar issue at the office for the past few months with one (not all) of the wireless printers. I'll give your fix a shot later today.
 

Kull

wannabe merloni
SoSH Member
Nov 1, 2005
1,549
El Paso, TX
Or you could just use a simple usb 2 or 3 cable to connect to the printer and eliminate the entire problem, but then if it involves 'cords' today we always try and find the most convoluted, failure prone alternate option, even if the connection is only 5 feet away...anything to avoid the horror that is wires.
I don't disagree with your general sentiment. But in cases where multiple people are sharing the printer or you'd like to position it without regard to length of cord, a cable isn't always the best solution. Plus, if the device has WIFI capability, it's kind of annoying to lose that feature simply because Microsoft Windows 10 is using a broken system - one which the majority of folks are relying on (i.e printer auto-detect and thus the WSD port)

The other thing is that good printers are getting a bad name because of this. My girlfriend's Canon MF227dw is a nice, reliable, reasonably priced Laserjet printer but it has a 13% 1-star rating on Amazon. And if you read those reviews, it sounds like most of them are related to this WSD issue! I'm not worried about the manufacturer's reputation, but rather that it's likely to steer people away from a product that is much more reliable than the reviews would indicate.
 

Couperin47

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Silver Supporter
SoSH Member
I don't disagree with your general sentiment. But in cases where multiple people are sharing the printer or you'd like to position it without regard to length of cord, a cable isn't always the best solution. Plus, if the device has WIFI capability, it's kind of annoying to lose that feature simply because Microsoft Windows 10 is using a broken system - one which the majority of folks are relying on (i.e printer auto-detect and thus the WSD port)

The other thing is that good printers are getting a bad name because of this. My girlfriend's Canon MF227dw is a nice, reliable, reasonably priced Laserjet printer but it has a 13% 1-star rating on Amazon. And if you read those reviews, it sounds like most of them are related to this WSD issue! I'm not worried about the manufacturer's reputation, but rather that it's likely to steer people away from a product that is much more reliable than the reviews would indicate.
I will also partially agree with you: back when having a 'remote' printer was more impractical since many, most needed to change paper size or switch to envelope which was largely difficult so the printer needed to be nearby. Today almost everything is 8.5 x 11 and I can go a month without printing an envelope or label. Still, most of the time the printer is nearby and laser multifunctions are so cheap I have one next to almost every computer (yes, except laptops). Still plugging in a usb cable is not exactly horrible and most of us still manage to live with doing that to charge our phones...

It also helps that I refuse to cede control of my hardware to MS, so no Win 10 anywhere, I will live with 8.1 which means I still own my computers.
 

SumnerH

Malt Liquor Picker
Dope
Jul 18, 2005
25,850
Alexandria, VA
I will also partially agree with you: back when having a 'remote' printer was more impractical since many, most needed to change paper size or switch to envelope which was largely difficult so the printer needed to be nearby. Today almost everything is 8.5 x 11 and I can go a month without printing an envelope or label. Still, most of the time the printer is nearby and laser multifunctions are so cheap I have one next to almost every computer (yes, except laptops). Still plugging in a usb cable is not exactly horrible and most of us still manage to live with doing that to charge our phones...
Wiring in to print from my phone isn't really even possible, and from the laptop it's a pain in the ass. And I definitely don't want multiple printers cluttering up the place; the one I do have is tucked away in a closet for noise and aesthetic reasons.

Of course, I don't use Windows either.
 

gtmtnbiker

Member
SoSH Member
Jul 15, 2005
359
I don't have any issues in my household with the Brother WiFi laser printer that is about 5-6 years old. I use multiple Windows 10 PCs, iPhone/iPad without issues. If the printer loses power and gets a new IP address, no issues.

The only issue I've had was due to my wireless access point losing the 2.4Ghz signal. Then the printer was not connected to the network at all until I rebooted the router. Had this happen several times over the course of a year. It stopped when I factory reset the router. The theory (from the router manufacturer forum) iss that some firmware upgrade introduced a bug that caused the 2.4Ghz radio to stop working after a period of time.
 

Couperin47

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Wiring in to print from my phone isn't really even possible, and from the laptop it's a pain in the ass. And I definitely don't want multiple printers cluttering up the place; the one I do have is tucked away in a closet for noise and aesthetic reasons.

Of course, I don't use Windows either.
I understand completely. I decided long ago that I don't use my phone as a computer, I have never lost, had stolen or dropped and broken any computer I own, in fact the same goes for my phones, but I know any of those can easily happen to even the most careful phone owner. I don't bank or shop or have any of my passwords that matter on a phone, so I have absolutely no need to ever connect it to a printer and having no women pretty much ever in my home so I have no one who objects to the esthetics of any electronics anywhere in the house or my office.