One of the most frequently received Chrome OS-related questions has to do with the cloud printing system. Although Google Cloud Printing is easy to use and rather handy, it isn’t perfect.

On one hand, you have to purchase a Google Cloud Ready Printer (which a vast amount are these days). On the other hand, if your printer isn’t Google Cloud Ready, it must be attached to an always-on desktop machine that is associated with your Google account.

SEE: Cloud computing policy (Tech Pro Research)

But let’s say you’ve got that printer set up and running smoothly. You’re printing from your desktop, your Chromebook, and even your Android devices…all without a hitch. And then one day, Murphy strikes and you can no longer print from those Chrome OS or Android devices. What gives? The printer is working just fine from the desktop, yet on the Chrome and Android devices…not so much.

A simple solution

What do you do? Uninstall/re-install the printer and re-link it to your Google account? No. I have a much easier solution…one you can do from either your desktop or your Chrome OS device. Before you undertake this incredibly simple task, first make sure:

  • Your printer is actually on.
  • Your desktop machine hasn’t gone into a state of suspension or hibernation, and networking is disabled.

Also, if your printer is what Google calls a “classic” printer, make sure Chrome (on the desktop the printer is connected to) is still logged into your Google account.

Once you’ve verified the above, if your printer is still showing up as offline on your Chrome OS or Android device, all you have to do is this:

  1. Open Chrome on your Chrome OS device.
  2. Point your browser to chrome://devices.

If the printer doesn’t automatically switch from offline to online, click the Manage button associated with your printer (Figure A) and that should do it.

Figure A

Just by visiting the Devices page, your printer should be switched back online.

A quick visit to the Devices page should wake your printer up. If there are queued documents that have yet to print, the printer will fire up and start printing.

An anomaly

The reason why cloud printers go offline is unknown–at least getting them back online is not only known but simple. Give this trick a try and see if it doesn’t bring those Cloud Ready printers back to life, ready to print from all your Google-connected mobile devices.

Shopping for a new printer?

If you’re in the market for a new printer, check out sister site CNET’s best printers for 2019. CNET offers a buying guide and reviews that can be filtered by price, manufacturer, tech, and more.

Editor’s note on March 18, 2019: This article was first published in March 2016. Since then, we have added details about buying a new printer and updated the related resources.