Easy Fixes for a Scanner

Scanners — like all mechanical devices — are prone to jams, blockages and worn parts.But it's always worth checking for simple mechanical faults before delving into software for a solution.

Easy Fixes for a Scanner

My scanner won’t scan

Make sure it's recognized by the computer

First, check that you have power. Does the power light on the scanner body come on? If the scanner is part of a combined scanner and printer unit, can you still print? Make sure the unit is switched on and connected to a power source.

  • Check the connection to the computer; try using a new USB cable and plugging into a different USB port. Restart both the scanner and the computer and attempt another scan.
  • Most scanners have a transit lock — a physical switch that locks the scanner bed in place so that it can be transported safely. Make sure that this is disengaged.
  • Download and install the latest software driver to ensure that your computer can recognize and communicate with the scanner. You can find the latest driver software by visiting the scanner manufacturer's website.

I’ve scratched the surface of my scanner

Smooth away the marks with an eraser

The clear scanner plate may be made from plastic or glass — check before you begin work. First, drag your fingernail over the scratch. If it catches, the scratch is most likely too deep to repair.

  • If the plate is plastic, gently clean it with a fresh lint-free cloth soaked in water and wipe dry with a second cloth. Smooth over the scratch with a pencil eraser.
  • If the plate is made of glass and the scratch isn't too deep, try erasing the scratch with a mild abrasive or use an eyeglass scratch repair kit
  • If the scratch on the glass isn't deep, apply a normal (non-gel) toothpaste over the scratch using a lint-free cloth. Allow the paste to dry and harden for a few minutes. Wipe off the toothpaste and gently buff the scratch with a clean, lint-free cloth.

Make the scanner last

Cover up the scanner with a sheet when not in use to keep out the dust. If particles work their way under the glass and on to the scanner head, ugly bands will appear across all your scans.Check your documents before scanning. Remove any staples or paper clips that could scratch the scanner plate.

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