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HP Deskjet F4100 All-in-One Series - Missing, Faded, or Dull Colors

This document is for the Deskjet F4100 All-in-One printer series.
The printer is working, but colors in the printed output are missing, faded, or dull in comparison to the original.


Step one: Check the paper

Verify that the paper type is appropriate for the project. If the paper is too fibrous, the ink applied by the printer might not fully cover the print surface.

Step two: Check the print settings

  1. In the software application you are trying to print from, click File and then click Print. The Print dialog box opens.
  2. Verify that your printer is selected and then click Preferences. The printer Preferences dialog box opens.
  3. Click the Features tab.
Options on the Features tab include:
  • Print quality: If you are unhappy with the quality of your printouts, try increasing the print quality. To print more quickly, try decreasing the print quality.
  • Paper type: If one of the options matches your paper type exactly, choose it rather than Automatic.
  • Resizing Options : Make sure this matches your paper.

Step three: Check the ink levels

If you have installed a refilled or remanufactured print cartridge, or a cartridge that has been used in another printer, the ink level indicator will be inaccurate or unavailable.
  1. Open the Printer Toolbox.
    1. Open HP Solution Center.
    2. Click Settings.
    3. Click Print Settings.
    4. Click Printer Toolbox.
    You can also open the Printer Toolbox from the Print Properties dialog box. In the Print Properties dialog box, select Printing Preferences, click the Features tab, and then click Printer Services.
  2. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab.
    Figure : Estimated ink levels - both cartridges low
    A cartridge might be running out of ink even if the graphic shows that there is ink remaining in the cartridge. Lines or streaks always appear in printouts when the cartridges begin to run out of ink. Replace print cartridges that are out of ink or low on ink.

Step four: Print a self-test page

If the steps above have not resolved the issue, print and evaluate a self-test page to determine if the cartridges or printer is causing the problem.
  1. Load the input tray with unused plain white paper.
  2. Press and hold the Cancel () button and then press the Start Copy Color () button.
  3. Release both buttons. The self-test page prints.
    Figure : HP Deskjet F4100 series self-test page

Step five: Note which cartridges printed which areas of the self-test page

You must identify which cartridge printed which part of the self-test page, so that if you find defects on the page, you will know which cartridge is the problem.
However, you can install different combinations of print cartridges in your printer, and different cartridge combinations print different self-test page patterns. Your self-test page may not look exactly like the picture below, but the right and left cartridges will print in the same areas of the page no matter which cartridges are installed.
    Figure : Self-test page layout
  1. Printed by the right cartridge
  2. Printed by the left cartridge

Step six: Look for defects

In general, if the printer and print cartridges are working properly, the patterns (which look like grids of lines) should contain few or no missing lines. None of the colors should be missing. Also, there should be no streaks of ink on the report.

Missing lines or streaked bars

If a pattern shows more than a few missing lines, or a bar is streaked, that print cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : The magenta pattern shows missing lines and the bar is streaked
If the self-test page shows missing lines or streaked bars, click here to continue troubleshooting.

Color mix

If any of the colors of the bars are very different from the color dots on the cartridge label, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
Figure : One of the bar colors is very different from the color dot on the cartridge
If your self-test page shows colors that are very different from the colors on the cartridge label, click here to continue troubleshooting.

Missing colors

If any of the color patterns or bars are entirely missing, the cartridge is not functioning properly.
If you are printing in reserve mode, without all the cartridges installed, the patterns associated with the missing cartridge will also be missing.
    Figure : Missing colors
  1. All colors printed - no missing colors
  2. Yellow missing - the tri-color (left-side) cartridge is not printing properly
If any of the patterns or bars are entirely missing, click here to continue troubleshooting.

Ink smears

If the self-test report shows smeared ink, you might need to clean your cartridges.
Figure : Smeared ink
If the self-test report shows smeared ink, click here to continue troubleshooting.

Step seven: If you saw no defects

If no defects appear on the diagnostic page, the cartridges and product are probably working correctly. Click here to continue troubleshooting (c00635950) (in English).






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