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Inability to print after installing OS X 10.6.8

After installing the OS X 10.6.8 update, a number of people are finding their printers become stuck in a paused state and will not print. Here are some options for clearing this issue.

A number of Mac users have run into a problem after applying the OS X 10.6.8 software update that was released yesterday, in which their printers have stopped working. The printer will still be installed, but print jobs fail and the printer is stuck in a paused state. People experiencing this problem may see an error in the system console (shown in the Console utility) that mentions a problem related to "backend" such as the following:

printer-state-message="/usr/libexec/cups/backend/lpd failed

Backend returned status -8 (crashed)
Printer stopped due to backend errors

If this has happened to your system after applying the latest OS X 10.6.8 update, try the following options to see if they fix the problem:

  1. Run general maintenance routines
    Try booting the system into Safe Mode (restart while holding the Shift key) and then running a permissions fix on the boot drive using Disk Utility when in Safe Mode. In addition, you might try using a maintenance tool to remove system and user caches. This can be done with the utilities mentioned in our General Maintenance guide.

  2. Reset the print subsystem
    If maintenance routines do not help, go to the Print & Fax system preferences, right-click the printer list, and select the option to reset the printing system. Your printers will disappear, and you will then need to set them up again.

  3. Reinstall the latest Combo update for OS X
    If resetting the print system has not fixed the problem, try reinstalling the OS X update to see if that fixes the problem. You can do this by downloading the OS X 10.6.8 Combo Updater, then booting to Safe Mode and running the installer from there. Consider doing this after running the general maintenance and printer reset routines on the system. Once the update has been applied, reboot and set up your printers again.

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