Troubleshoot a Computer Scanner

Computer scanners are used to scan images, including documents and photos. Simple computer scanners are flat bed---they just have a sheet of glass on which you can place the document or photograph to be scanned. 
More elaborate scanners have flat beds and automatic document feeders (ADFs) that are good for scanning a stack of documents at one time. Problems with the scanners are related to poor images or to ADF failures including jams. Troubleshooting scanners can be accomplished by following some steps.

  1. Remove any shipping materials if you can't achieve a good scan result. Many scanners ship with a protective sheet over the glass. Remove it and any tape from the ADF.
  2. Clear any document jams in the ADF by pulling paper out in the direction it was originally traveling. Fan the paper, verify that it is undamaged, dry and try the scan again.
  3. Clean the glass with some isopropyl alcohol if you experience poor scanning results. Dirty glass is often the cause of image quality issues.
  4. Try a scan and check the results on a computer screen rather than by printing the scan. Printing the scan introduces another element---the printer---that may be causing the quality problem. If the scan looks good on screen but poor printed, the problem is with the printer, not the scanner.
  5. Calibrate the scanner if you continue to experience bad scans, in particular all black scans or all blank scans. Place a blank piece of paper on the glass. From the Windows Control Panel access the Scanners and Cameras area. Click on "Advanced" and choose "Calibrate" Allow the calibration to take place with the blank paper.

    Place the calibration sheet that came in the scanner box on the glass and calibrate again. Allow the second calibration to take place and try the scan again.

  6. Reinstall the software that came with the scanner if you continue to experience problems. Insert the disk that came in the box into the computer's drive bay and follow the onscreen prompts.