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HP DeskJet, ENVY 6000, 6400 printers - No black ink, wrong colors, other print quality issues

The quality of a printed document or photo is not as expected. The following tasks help resolve missing black ink, colors are faded or do not match the original, and lines or streaks in printouts.

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

Clean the printhead (HP Smart app)

Use the HP Smart app to clean the printhead and fix many print quality issues including incorrect colors, streaks, and faded printouts.

  1. Load plain white paper into the tray.

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

  3. Under Tools, click Print Quality Tools, and then select Clean Printhead or Clean.

    A Cleaning printhead message displays, and a test page prints.

    Example of test page printouts

    Examples of a test page
  4. Examine the print quality on the test page.

    • If the print quality is acceptable, you are done troubleshooting.

    • If the print quality is unacceptable, touch Yes in the HP Smart app to perform a second-level and third-level cleaning, which are more thorough and take a few extra minutes to complete.


      Printheads that are badly clogged might require another printhead cleaning cycle. Wait at least 30 minutes before cleaning the printhead again.

Clean the ink smears (HP Smart app)

Use the HP Smart app to clean printhead contacts and improve any print quality issues.

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

  2. Under Tools, click Alignment & Maintenance.

    If the Alignment & Maintenance is not available, click Advanced Settings to open the printer Embedded Web Server (EWS), and then click Tools. Click Utilities, and then click Print Quality Toolbox.

  3. Under Clean Up, click Clean Smear or Clean Ink Smear.

    A Rib Smear cleaning in progress message displays, and the printer feeds one page slowly. The printer might make some noise for a minute before it is done.

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.

Align the printer (HP Smart app)

Use the HP Smart app to align the printhead, which can improve print quality and resolve alignment errors.

  1. Load plain white paper into the tray.

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

  3. Under Tools, click Print Quality Tools, and then select Align Printer, Align Printheads, or Align.

    An Aligning printhead message displays and an alignment page prints.

  4. If listed on the printout, follow the instructions to scan and finish the alignment process.

    Example alignment page with instructions to scan it with the printer

    Example alignment page with instructions listed to scan it

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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