Updated 10/11/2023

Is your Samsung, HP, Brother, Canon, Ricoh or Epson printer not recognising a replacement ink or toner cartridge? This is something that we find our customers experience every now and again so you aren’t alone!

A printer not recognising a new ink or toner cartridge is one of the most common issues that print owners experience when changing or replacing an empty one, irrespective of what brand printer you have, and one that our customers frequently ask us about.

This can mostly affect your printer when you a replacing compatible, remanufactured, generic or refilled ink cartridges (cartridges not made by the printer manufacturer) and you may be looking for a way to fix this issue. Read below where we’ll explain why this happens and how to fix your printer.

Firstly, try our 8 tips to help solve this problem, then if you need further help we have tips for specific brands at the bottom of this guide.


What happens?

Printer is not recognising my cartridge

Computer error message when printer cartridge not recognised.

There may be occasions when, after installing a new ink or toner cartridge in your printer, you might see a message on your printer like:

  • Your printer says ‘toner is not compatible.
  • Your printer says ‘printer cartridge not detected,‘ or your printer cannot detect ink.
  • A low or empty level of ink and toner is displayed on your computer.
  • An HP Printer displaying ‘cartridge error‘, ‘HP cartridges locked‘,  ‘cartridge protection enabled‘ or ‘HP ink cartridge not compatible‘.
  • A message on your printer warning ‘no cartridge installed‘, ‘cartridge not recognised‘, or words to that effect.


Here are the most common reasons why your printer isn’t recognising a cartridge:


Internal memory reset needed:

Your printer should automatically recognise when you install a new cartridge and reset its internal memory, ensuring that it’s displaying full ink and toner levels. However, sometimes the printer just doesn’t do that correctly and believes that the old one, or no cartridge, is currently inserted instead. Click here for the solution below on how to fix this


Protective strips haven’t been removed:

Problem: – You forgot to remove protective covers or plastic strips that are attached to a new cartridge when you first take it out of its packaging.

Solution: – Take the cartridge out of your printer and make sure all strips, tabs or plastic covers are removed before installing the cartridge again.


Dirty / damaged contacts stop chip data from being read:

The new ink or toner cartridge has a number of metal contacts that connect to similar metal contacts in the printer allowing them to communicate. Dirt or damage on the contacts inside the printer, or on the cartridges can prevent the contacts from connecting and can stop the printer from reading the information on the chip. Click here for information on how to clean metal contacts.


HP Cartridge Protection is enabled

Whilst updating the firmware is often necessary if you have an HP printer an update may be installed to ‘enable cartridge protection’ this then prevents your HP ink cartridges from working in any other printer. Cartridge protection may also stop compatibles from working in your machine at all. This can be switched off. See how to fix HP cartridges locked to another printer.


The Incorrect consumable installed in a slot:

It’s an easy mistake to put a colour ink or toner cartridge into the incorrect slot or purchase the wrong cartridge model for your printer. Also, suppose a drum or fuser or other maintenance item was accidentally purchased instead of a toner cartridge and installed without the toner. In that case, the printer will not work and still needs a new cartridge.

Take all the cartridges back out of the printer and double-check they were in the correct colour slots and all the required cartridges are present. If not, reinstall them and switch the printer off and back on to reset the system.


An Ink cartridge has not been inserted in its slot correctly:

If an ink cartridge isn’t fully clicked into its designated slot, the printer can’t detect the new ink cartridge and will display an error message. All you’ll need to do is lift your cartridge cover again and double-check each of the inserted cartridges to make sure that they have been clicked in properly, then close the cover again and try once more.

In the case of toners, sometimes broken plastic parts can cause the toner to not sit correctly in the printer slot. The toner would need to be replaced to fix this issue.


A printer software update has rendered the chip data useless or stamped it with an ’empty’ status

This is a very grey area of legality for printer manufacturers as it’s against the law for them to stop you from using a compatible or remanufactured cartridge in your printer. However, printers that are connected to the internet frequently automatically update their firmware (software). These updates can fix bugs, but can also stop compatible cartridges from working in your printer, displaying messages like ‘cartridge not compatible‘ or ‘cartridge not recognized,’ or even ‘counterfeit cartridge installed‘.

HP printers also contain anti-counterfeit software in all of their machines. This software is meant to stop the use of fake cartridges (ones that are made by criminals and pretend to be original HP cartridges) but it can also stop compatible or remanufactured cartridges from working. The only solution here is to replace the cartridge with a new one or bypass the warning.

If you have a Canon printer, click here to read how to bypass this error.

If you do plan to use compatible or reman inks and toners, it may be wise to disable automatic software updates on your printer. You can do that on your computer via the printer properties (Control panel > printers and devices > right-click your printer in the list > properties > software tab > un-tick ‘automatically update’ your printer).



How to override the ink cartridge error – 8 steps to try


The first thing to do is not to panic! Whether you’ve bought your ink cartridges from us or another supplier, there really shouldn’t be any reason why a good quality original or compatible cartridge wouldn’t work in your printer so, with a little patience, we’ll get you through it. Try the following 8 steps to correct your issue.


How to reset the printer memory:


  1. Remove your new cartridge and replace it with the old one. Leave your printer and go and do something else for 10 minutes.
  2. Replace the old cartridge with the new one again. These two steps alone often resolve the issue, so see if your printer now recognises your new cartridges. However, if you’re still having trouble…
  3. Remove the new cartridge. Make sure you place it in a clean and safe place where the cartridge or the surface won’t be damaged.
  4. Turn the printer off using its power button
  5. Unplug your printer at the wall. It’s important to do both steps 4 and 5 separately, as some printers can remain in sleep mode if you’ve only switched off the power button on the printer control panel. Leave your printer like this for about 10 minutes or so.
  6. Plug your printer back in at the wall (but don’t press the power button just yet)
  7. Insert your new cartridge
  8. Press the power button on your printer

Hopefully, you should be able to now print with your new compatible ink or toner cartridge! If this doesn’t work, move on to the next step.



Clean the metal contacts:


The metal contacts can usually be seen on one side, the back of a toner cartridge or the back of an ink cartridge and look like a flat piece of copper, metal or even like circuit board (please note that some ink cartridges have no contacts at all). Here are the steps to follow:

  1. Power down and unplug your printer (for inkjet printers ignore this step as cartridges must be removed before powering off)
  2. Carefully remove your toner or ink cartridge and place it to one side on a flat surface where it will be safe.
  3. Inspect the cartridge for the metal contacts
  4. Inspect the inside of the printer for the connection point
  5. With a lint-free/dry cloth lightly wipe the contacts on both cartridges and printer to remove any dirt, or residue being careful not to cause any damage.
  6. Replace the cartridges in the printer
  7. Power the printer back on
  8. Try to print again.

This should now fix any issues you may have with dirty contacts or microchips. 

Contact pins inside printer.

Contact chip/pins on toner cartridge


Still having trouble?


If you are still having trouble there are a few more things to check:

  • Make sure all protective covers and strips were removed from your new cartridge when it was installed. You normally get instructions in the box that will indicate how to do this.
  • Make sure that you purchased the correct consumable. Believe me this does happen to the best of us. Make sure you purchased an ink or toner and not a new drum unit or other maintenance item. If you need help, we can check this for you.
  • Update your printer software by following the instructions manual on how to update the firmware. You can normally do this by visiting the manufacturer website and searching for your printer.

If you have exhausted all these options, then there’s a possibility that you may have faulty cartridge or faulty microchip and providing you made your purchase with a reputable supplier, you should be covered. Also with modern technology in printers some manufacturers are making it even harder for you to use a compatible or remanufactured cartridge such as HP locking cartridges to a specific printer.

If this is the case, simply get in touch with your supplier and they will check if you qualify for a refund or exchange it for a new cartridge.



What about Refilled ink cartridges?


If you’ve used a refill service or refilled ink / toner cartridges yourself, you may encounter any number of issues. Ink cartridges that have been refilled can damage the integrity of the ink cartridge which can sometimes cause leaks in your printer.

The manufacturers chip would also need to be reset as the printer may read the chip and think that it is empty. Once a cartridge has been used until it is empty the chip records that the cartridge has no remaining ink or toner and so when it’s refilled, the chip needs to be reset. If this isn’t done, then the printer will fail to recognise the cartridge. You would need special tools to reset the chip and as firmware is updated on the printer, the chip may need to be reset again.


How to get a refilled cartridge to work


One thing to try to get around any issues with refilled inks is to go to your printer’s general settings and navigate to preferences and switch off any setting that would be set to send usage data to the printer manufacturer.

The message might say something like, ‘Store anonymous usage information’.

This setting is normally default to on, and it’s the setting that allows the printer to monitor the use of the cartridges. By switching it off, you’re telling the printer it can’t monitor what inks are being used and it should allow refilled inks to work. However, this would prevent you from knowing how much ink is left in the cartridges at any given time.

If you did purchase your cartridge from us, you’ll be covered by our 3-year guarantee for our compatible ink and toner and a 6 month guarantee on any original cartridge and we’ll be more than happy to help you out. You can contact us on 0845 365 3605 or click live chat on TonerGiant.co.uk.



Tips for specific Brands


Here are some tips for specific brands that are different to the 8 tips above. However, it’s best to first try the tips above which are more common.


HP printer won’t recognize new ink cartridge:


  1. Remove the unrecognised cartridge and put in an older one
  2. Leave your printer alone for around ten minutes
  3. Take the old cartridge out and put the previous one in again.
  4. Restart the machine and it should now work. If not, you may have to clean the cartridge.
  5. Some of HP’s newer model laser printers have a setting that only allows original HP toners to be used in the printer. If this is switched on, it will reject all non-original toners.
  6. You can switch it off from the security section of the printer menu. 
  7. Newer HP machines also have automatic seal removal which can cause issues if you don’t pre-remove seals and tabs from a generic cartridge.

It’s frustrating if you’re trying to get ink cartridges to work in your HP printer. The main culprit is HP’s new printer setting that locks cartridges to another printer. you can find out more information about that and how to fix it here.

The final culprit could be a ‘supply memory error’ similar to the Samsung issue above, where metal contacts on the cartridge don’t connect to the printer. You can read how to fix a supply memory error here.


Brother printer not recognizing cartridges


If you specifically have a Brother printer and you’ve tried the 8 tips above without success, the following extra tip will help you to get your printer to recognize your compatible cartridge.

Firstly, try to reset the printer by pressing the power button 7 times. This will clear the error message and the printer should start to print again.

For Brother machines it’s also possible to reset the cartridge via the menu on the printer. Follow the steps above, then lift the cover on your printer, press the clear or back button and use the arrow keys to scroll to the reset options. You can then choose which cartridge to reset. Click OK, and press 1 to reset. The Clear or back button will allow you to leave the menu. To enter the ‘Reset menu’ for inkjet printers, hold the cancel and print buttons at the same time and follow the same instructions.


Canon printer not recognising a new ink cartridge


If your Canon printer isn’t recognising a compatible ink cartridge, this may be because the data on the cartridge chip is stamped with an empty status before it was remanufactured or it may be remembering the status of the last cartridge that you used.

You can fix this by disabling the printer function that monitors the cartridges.

Hold down the stop / cancel button for 5 seconds to bypass the ‘ink has run out’ message and your cartridge should work.

The cancel button is a red button that normally looks like a triangle in a circle.

Image showing button to bypass canon printer not recognising ink

Your ink cartridges will no longer report ink levels but they will start to work correctly.

Epson Printer Doesn’t recognise a new cartridge


  1. Remove the unrecognised ink cartridge and reinstall. This is to ensure it has clicked in place properly. 
  2. If this doesn’t work, remove and inspect the cartridge chips. Clean away any dirt or ink that may be preventing it from being recognised. Refit and check if this has solved the problem.
  3. Take out all the cartridges and turn the printer off. After 30 seconds, power the printer up and fit the ‘not recognised’ cartridge alone. Close the lid, press the ‘ink’ button and see if this has solved the issue. If it now recognises the cartridge, refit all of the other cartridges and press the ‘ink’ button.
  4. Try reinstalling the original cartridge that came with your Epson printer, if you have it. If the error doesn’t appear, it may mean that the ‘not recognised’ cartridge is faulty. 
  5. Remove all cartridges and check the model’s chip contacts. Epson printers contain thin gold wires that the chip will press against once the cartridge is installed. If it breaks, the cartridge won’t work correctly. To fix this, you’ll have to see a professional or get a replacement model.
  6. On your computer, go to the control panel or settings cog and find the printers & devices section. Right click on the Epson printer and click ‘preferences’. Click the ‘speed & progress’ tab, and then deactivate the ‘status monitor’ and click save.

It can be frustrating when your Epson printer won’t recognise compatible cartridges, so give our above steps a go to see if it fixes the problem. If your Epson printer still doesn’t recognise the new cartridge, try our general tips. You should also ensure your printer is working correctly rather than assuming it is an issue with the cartridge.



Ricoh Printer Not Recognizing new toner


Ricoh laser printers often suffer with known firmware issues that can cause the toner cartridges to not be recognized. Sometimes the incorrect firmware version can be installed, causing the problem.

Search Google for Ricoh [your printer model] firmware, then find the correct firmware version for your machine and products and install the most up to date available firmware via your computer. This will normally correct the issue and get your toner cartridge to be recognised again.


Samsung Printer not recognising toner


The most common reason for Samsung printers not recognising a toner cartridge is due to the golden metal contacts on both the cartridge and inside the printer not connecting properly, check the contacts and make sure that no dirt or damage is present. Once cleaned, the printer will normally start to work again.

Lastly, as HP manufacture cartridges for Samsung printers across the world, they are also regionally encoded. Check that the cartridge you have installed is the correct cartridge for your region as this can cause the same error and the toner will need to be replaced.



Did this work for you? Let us know in the comments below, or tweet us @TonerGiant.