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HP Deskjet D4145, D4155, D4160, D4163 and D4168 Printers - Color Image Prints in Black and White


The printer is working, but the printed output is in black and white when it should be in color.


Step one: Check that color cartridge is installed correctly

Follow the steps below to install a print cartridge.

  1. Verify that the printer is turned on.

  2. Load Letter or A4 plain, white paper in the paper tray.

  3. Open the printer cover.

  4. Wait until the print cartridge cradle moves to the right side of the printer and is idle and quiet.

  5. Press down on the print cartridge, and then slide it out of the print cartridge cradle.

    Figure 1: Pressing down the print cartridge

  6. Remove the replacement print cartridge from its packaging and carefully remove the plastic tape. Hold the print cartridge so that the copper strips are on the bottom and facing toward the printer.

    Figure 2: Removing the tape

    1 - Plastic tape
    CAUTION: Do not touch the print cartridge ink nozzles or copper contacts. Touching these parts will result in clogs, ink failure, and bad electrical connections. Do not remove the copper strips. They are required electrical contacts.
  7. Slide the print cartridge at a slight upward angle into the cradle until the cartridge snaps into place.

    Figure 3: Sliding the print cartridge into the cradle

  8. Close the printer cover.

Step two: Check the Print in Grayscale setting

Check for and remove any grayscale settings. Use the following steps to check this setting.

  1. In the program being printed from, click File and then click Print. The Print dialog box appears.

  2. Select the correct product and then click Properties. The Properties dialog box appears.

  3. Click the Color tab.

  4. Look at the Print in Grayscale setting. If the checkbox is selected, click to clear it.

  5. Click OK to save the settings.

Step three: Check the ink levels

NOTE: The ink levels in non-HP, refilled, or remanufactured cartridges cannot be accurately read by the product.
  1. Open HP Solution Center using the steps appropriate for the computer operating system.

    • Windows Vista: On the Windows taskbar, click the Windows icon (), point to Programs, point to HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

    • Windows XP: On the Windows taskbar, click Start, point to All Programs, point to HP, and then click HP Solution Center.

  2. In HP Solution Center, click Settings.

  3. Click Print Settings.

  4. Click Printer Toolbox.

    NOTE: You can also open the Printer Toolbox from the Print Properties dialog box. In the Print Properties dialog box, click the Services tab, and then click Service this device.
  5. Click the Estimated Ink Levels tab.

    Figure 4: Estimated ink levels - both cartridges low

    Estimated ink levels
    NOTE: A cartridge might be running out of ink even if the graphic shows that there is ink remaining in the cartridge. Lines or streaks always appear in printouts when the cartridges begin to run out of ink.

Replace cartridges that are out of ink or low on ink. If the cartridges are not low or empty, continue to the next step now.

Step four: Print a self-test page

If the Print in grayscale option is not the problem and the print cartridges are not low on ink, print and evaluate a self-test page to determine if the cartridges or printer is causing the problem.

  1. Follow these steps to pen the printer Toolbox:

    1. Open the Printer Properties dialog box.

    2. Click the Features tab.

    3. Click the Printer services button. The Toolbox is displayed.

  2. Click the Print a Test Page button, and then follow the onscreen instructions.

Step five: Note which cartridges printed which areas of the self-test page

You must identify which cartridge printed which part of the self-test report, so that if you find defects on the report, you will know which cartridge is the problem.

Note though that different combinations of print cartridges can be installed in your printer, and different cartridge combinations print different patterns. Your self-test report may not look exactly like the picture below, but the right and left cartridges will print in the same areas of the report no matter which cartridges are installed.

NOTE: If there are no specific color blocks refer to cyan, magenta, and yellow for mixing.

Figure 5: Self-test report layout (the patterns in each area may look slightly different on your report)

1 - Printed by the left cartridge
2 - Printed by the right cartridge

Step six: Look for defects

In general, if the printer and print cartridges are working properly, the patterns (which look like grids of lines) should contain few or no missing lines. Also, the colors of the patterns and bars should be approximately the same as the color dots on the print cartridge label.

NOTE: Do not compare the colors on your self-test report to the colors on this Web page. Unless your monitor is calibrated, the colors will not be correct. Instead, compare the colors on the page to the colors dots on the print cartridge label. While the color dots may not be perfectly accurate, they are likely to be more accurate than the colors on the monitor.

Missing lines or streaked bars

If a pattern shows more than a few missing lines, or a bar is streaked, that print cartridge is not functioning properly.

Figure 6: The left cartridge shows missing lines and a streaked bar - the cartridge is not functioning properly

If your test page shows missing lines or streaked bars, click here to continue troubleshooting .

Color mix

If the color of the patterns or bars is very different from the color dots on the cartridge label, the cartridge is not functioning properly.

Figure 7: The color of one of the left cartridge bars is very different from the color on the cartridge label - the cartridge is not functioning properly

If your test page shows colors that are very different from the colors on the cartridge label, click here to continue troubleshooting .

Missing colors

If any of the color blocks or patterns is entirely missing, the cartridge is not functioning properly.

Figure 8: Missing color - the yellow pattern and bar is missing from example 2 below

1 - Good test page
2 - Yellow pattern and bar missing

If any of the patterns or color blocks is entirely missing, click here to continue troubleshooting .

Ink smears

If the test page shows smeared ink, you may need to clean your cartridges.

Figure 9: Smeared ink

If your test page shows smeared ink, click here to continue troubleshooting .

Step seven: If you saw no defects

If no defects appear on the diagnostic page, the cartridges and product are probably working correctly. Click here to continue troubleshooting (c00635950) (in English).

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