Thursday, March 12, 2009
Printers disappear or won't work in Mac OS X
I had a few OS X users who had their printers disappear this week. When I tried to add them, an error would pop-up saying "server-error-service-unavailable". I assumed the print spooler/service had stopped, but wasn't sure how to reset it. A simple restart fixed one of the machines, but the other continued having problems. I did a quick search and ran across Apple KB TS1975. It explains how to restart the printing system using Terminal. I ran through the steps quickly, restarted, and the printers were back, and working. First off, you must be logged in with administrative credentials to follow these steps:
1. Open Applications->Utilities->Terminal
2. In the prompt, change the directory to /var/spool using the command: cd /var/spool/ and pressing Enter
3. Use the command sudo mkdir cups. This will elevate your permissions to try to create a new folder called "cups". It may ask for your password, which you can Enter. Also, if you get an error saying the directory already exists, ignore it an continue on with the rest of the steps
4. Now use the command sudo chown daemon:admin cups. This will change the owner of the "cups" folder.
5. Now use sudo chmod 700 cups, which will change the permissions on the "cups" folder
6. After you're done running through those commands, quit Terminal and reboot. The printers that you had setup before should be back, and you should be able to print again.
While trying to find the link to that article for this post I also ran across Apple KB HT1341. You may want to try that first if you're running OS X 10.4 or 10.5, unless you're itching to go through the Terminal commands. There's less room for error, and it's just a few mouse clicks.