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HP DeskJet 2600, 2700, 4100, 4800 printers - No black ink, wrong colors, other print quality issues

The quality of a printed document is not as expected, color or black ink does not print, or printouts are smeared, fuzzy, dark, or faded.

Perform the following tasks in the order given. Use the printer after each task to see if the issue is resolved.

Run the automated printhead or ink cartridge cleaning tool

Clean the printhead and cartridges to resolve print quality issues including incorrect colors, streaks, and faded prints.

  1. Load plain white paper in the tray.

  2. Open the HP Smart app, and then click the picture of your printer to open the settings and management tools.

  3. In Print Quality Tools or in Advanced Settings > Tools > Utilities > Print Quality Toolbox, select Clean Printhead to start the cleaning tool.

  4. Review the Print Quality Diagnostic page that prints for defects and any instructions to resolve the issue. Run up to two more cleaning cycles, if necessary.

Check for ink smears on the back of printouts

Use an automated cleaning tool if there are smears of ink on the back of documents or photos.

  1. Load plain white paper in the tray.

  2. Open the HP Smart app, and then click the picture of your printer to open the settings and management tools.

  3. In Print Quality Tools or in Advanced Settings > Tools > Utilities > Print Quality Toolbox, select Clean next to Clean Smear to start the cleaning tool.

Check ink cartridges

Very low ink levels, using non-HP cartridges, and rough handling can cause print quality issues.

  1. Replace any non-HP or refilled cartridges with genuine HP cartridges. HP supplies are available from the HP Store and local retailers.

    HP cannot guarantee the quality or reliability of non-HP or refilled cartridges. Go to HP Anti Counterfeiting and Fraud Program for more information.

  2. Check the ink levels and replace any low or empty cartridges.


    The printer features a 'backup mode' that enables printing with one cartridge. Remove the low or empty cartridge to continue printing if a replacement is not available. Depending on the cartridge removed, blacks will not be as dark and color prints will be in grayscale.

    Ink levels
  3. Rough handling of cartridges during transport or installation can cause print quality problems. Wait a few hours for the automatic servicing routine to complete, and then try to print again.

  4. If a cartridge is bad, replace it. If you have a defective HP cartridge, it might be under warranty. Go to About Original HP Cartridges for page yield and HP Limited Warranty information to see if a cartridge is still in warranty.

Check the paper, print settings, and quality of the file being printed

Make sure your print job is set up for optimal print quality results.

  1. Check the paper type and condition: Make sure the paper is appropriate for the print job and in good condition.

    • Some paper might not absorb ink as well as others, causing faded or smeared prints. Plain paper with ColorLok technology works well for text and documents with graphics. For photos, use HP Advanced Photo Paper for best results.

    • Use clean, wrinkle-free paper. Wrinkled or curled paper can cause dark, horizontal defects.

  2. Load paper according to the print side: Typically, the smoother or glossy side is the print side.

    • For inkjet printers with a rear load tray, load the print side facing up.

    • For inkjet printers with a front load tray, load the print side facing down.

  3. Check the print job settings: From the application you are printing from, click File > Print, and then click Options, Printer Setup, or Preferences, or open the Paper Type/Quality or Media & Quality menu.

    Make sure the color, paper type, paper size, and quality settings are correct for your print job.

  4. Check the quality of the photo or document: Use editing tools to improve colors, brightness, contrast, and any other appearance settings. Higher resolution photographs and graphics result in clearer prints with more accurate colors.

Perform an alignment

Align the printheads or cartridges in your printer when you replace them, to improve print quality, or to clear an alignment error.

  1. Make sure paper is loaded in the input tray.

  2. Open the HP Smart app, and then click the printer image.

  3. Click Print Quality Tools, and then select Align or Align Printheads.

  4. If prompted by the software or printer control panel to scan the Alignment Page, follow the instructions on the page to complete the alignment.

If the alignment issue persists, continue with the steps and perform an alignment after each one.

Clean the ink cartridge and carriage electrical contacts

Remove any debris or buildup from the contacts on the cartridges and in the carriage.

  1. Open the ink cartridge access door on the front of the printer.

    Opening the cartridge access door
  2. Gently press down on the cartridge to release it, and then pull it out of the slot.

    Removing the ink cartridges from the carriage
  3. Holding the cartridge by the sides, remove any protective tape that might be on the contacts.


    Do not touch the ink nozzles or the copper-colored electrical strip. Touching or trying to remove these parts can result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections.

    Removing tape from the ink cartridge
  4. Lightly dampen a lint-free cloth with distilled water, and then wipe the copper-colored contacts on the cartridge.

    Cleaning the ink cartridge contacts
  5. Lightly dampen a lint-free cloth or swab with distilled water, and then clean the electrical contacts in the carriage.

    Cleaning the contacts in the carriage
  6. Wait 10 minutes for the contacts to dry, and then reinsert the cartridge into its color-coded slot.

  7. Repeat these steps for the other cartridge if it was indicated in an error message.

  8. Close the door to the cartridge access area.

    If the error persists, clean the cartridge and carriage contacts a second time.

Service the printer

Service or replace your HP printer if the issue persists after completing all the preceding steps.

Go to Contact HP Customer Support to schedule a product repair or replacement. If you are in Asia Pacific, you will be directed to a local service center in your area.

To confirm your warranty status, go to HP Product Warranty Check. Repair fees might apply for out-of-warranty products.


Keep a print sample that shows the problem. If the printer, ink or toner cartridges, or the imaging drum are replaced under warranty, the support agent might request the print sample.






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