I can't print from my Mac OS X Lion MacBook Air, when all else fails reset printing system

My primary computer is a MacBook Air 13" 256GB SSD running Mac OS X Lion.  After 14 years of being a Microsoft employee and 5 more years of using Windows as an independent I switched back to Mac.  I worked at Apple from 1985 to 1992 and part of what I worked on was the MacOS graphics, printing, and font system, so I am pretty tech savvy.  Well extremely tech savvy.  

Lately I have been watching print degrade on the Mac to where I could no longer print to two different network printers I have at home.  For a while I could print to one printer, but not the other and thought it was the printer problem.  One in our house and one in my office.  I could print to both of these printers reliable from a Windows PC.  

Last week I spent 45 minutes trying to print a powerpoint presentation and never was able to print.

I had deleted all installed printers, reinstalled drivers.

Finally, today I found Apple Support article to reset the print system as my guess was the print spooler was messed or the discovery of network printers was corrupted.

What does Reset Printing System do?

  • Deletes all queues and jobs.
  • Resets all printer settings to their default by deleting configuration files.
  • Performs a permissions check on the /tmp directory.

Any printers, scanners, or fax modems that previously appeared in System Preferences will need to be added again after resetting the printing system.

Resetting the printing system in OS X Lion

To use the Reset Printing System function in Lion, follow these steps:

  1. Choose System Preferences from the Apple menu.
  2. Choose Print & Scan from the View menu.
  3. Hold down the Option key while clicking the "-" (Remove printer) button. If no printers are currently added, hold down the Control key while clicking in the box that appears above the "+" (Add printer) button, then choose Reset printing system… from the contextual menu.

More and more i am running I see data center people running Macs, a lot of them Macbook Airs.  In case you pull your hair out in frustration, I hope this saves you some time.