Why Won’t My HP Printer Recognize New Ink Cartridges?

Is your HP printer not recognizing your new ink or toner cartridges? This kind of problem is fairly common among HP users around the world. It mostly happens when you’re using refilled, compatible, or remanufactured cartridges.

HP 902XL Ink Cartridges
HP 950XL 951XL Ink Cartridge
HP 564XL Ink Cartridge

After replacing your empty ink cartridges with new ones, you may suddenly encounter any of these error messages or displays:

  • Toner is not compatible
  • Printer Cartridge Not Detected
  •  Low ink or toner levels “HP cartridges locked” or “cartridge protection enabled.
  • No Cartridge Installed

Why are the Ink Cartridges not detected?

If you receive any of the above error messages, then your printer’s ink cartridges are not detected. Let’s take a look at some of the possible causes of why it happens and the troubleshooting steps you can follow to resolve the issue.


1. Printer Internal Memory Needs Resetting

Normally, your HP printer can accurately detect full ink levels or new ink cartridges. In some instances, however, it fails to do so primarily because its internal memory is full. When this happens, the printer will still “think” that it’s using an old or empty cartridge even though you already replaced it with a new one. You can resolve this problem by resetting your HP printer’s internal memory:

  1. Remove the new ink cartridge and reload the old ink cartridge back into the printer. 
  2. Wait for about 10 minutes before you proceed to the next step.
  3. Remove the old ink cartridge and install the new ink cartridge again. 

Your HP printer should be able to recognize your new ink cartridges by now. If it still doesn’t, try these alternative steps instead:

  1. Remove the new ink cartridge from the printer
  2. Turn off your HP printer and detach its power cord for 10 minutes
  3. Reconnect the power cord but don’t turn on the power button just yet
  4. Reload the new ink cartridge back into the printer

2. Metal Contacts require Cleaning

HP ink cartridges feature numerous metal contacts responsible for transmitting electronic signals to the printer. This link allows the printer to instruct the cartridge to release ink to apply it to the paper during printing.

When metal contacts become dirty or damaged, it disrupts the flow of communication between the printer and ink cartridge resulting in HP ink cartridge, not working errors. Make sure that your metal contacts are clean with these steps:

  1. Turn off your HP printer and unplug its power cord.
  2. Remove the new cartridge from the printer.
  3. Check the metal contacts. They are usually found on the side or back and resemble a flat piece of copper, metal, or sometimes circuit board.
  4. Check the printer carriage for the connection point. It’s the part that the metal contacts touch when they are installed in the printer.
  5. Using a clean, lint-free, and dry cloth, gently wipe the metallic contacts and the connection point.
  6. Make sure that all dirt and residue are wiped clean.
  7. Reload the new ink cartridge back into the printer
  8. Turn on the printer and do a test print to see if the ink cartridge gets detected.

3. Protective Tape or Strip aren't removed

Did you forget to take out the protective covering before installing the new toner or ink cartridge into the printer? If you did, then the printer won’t be able to recognize the cartridge. Make sure that the protective taping is removed to prevent printing errors from arising.


4. Disable HP Cartridge protection

HP has integrated its printers with a firmware that helps ensure smooth performance and functionality. Sometimes though, this same firmware can be a source of headache, especially if you’re using compatible or remanufactured HP ink cartridges. It prevents these types of cartridges from working by putting a “cartridge protection lock” on the printer.

Remanufactured ink cartridges offer plenty of benefits, especially on the economic side, so if you’re planning to use them, it would be best to disable HP cartridge protection first.

  1. Go to Control Panel and select Printers and Devices
  2. Locate and right-click on your printer on the list
  3. Select properties followed by the software tab
  4. Un-tick “automatically update” your printer

5. Wrong / malfunctioned ink cartridges

There’s also a chance that you purchased faulty or defective ink or toner cartridges. It could be the reason why the HP ink cartridge isn’t working. Try contacting HP if you receive problematic ink cartridges. If you purchase compatible or remanufactured ink cartridges, make sure it’s from a legit and trustworthy source like YoyoInk.


6. Improper Cartridge Installation

Your printer doesn’t recognize your new ink cartridge because you may have installed it the wrong way. Because the ink cartridge wasn’t loaded properly in the designated slot in the right position, it doesn’t get detected by the printer resulting in the error message “No ink cartridge found.” Try and see if your ink cartridges are installed correctly inside the printer.


  • Tanya Wagner

    MY black ink 564 HP (new) cartridge will not print. Installed 3 color cartridges at same time…they all work. I have cleaned contacts, turned printer off and on again, aligned cartridges, run the troubleshooter, printed test pages, reinstalled old empty cartridge and then new one. Never have had any problem installing new cartridges until this time.

    • Julia Page

      Hello Tanya! If you have performed a cleaning cycle, alignment, and other tests, but still nothing happened, It is possible that your new cartridge is defective. Try requesting for a replacement and have it tested on your printer again. I hope this helps!

  • lillie

    does 304 in cartridges work for 3831 hp printers

    • Julia Page

      Hello Lillie! 304 ink cartridges are not compatible with an HP 3831 Printer. An HP 63/63XL ink cartridge is compatible with the said printer model. I hope this helps!

  • Jane Gangemi

    my setup inks don’t work (old and dry) How do I bypass I installed new ink cart. TY

    • Julia Page

      Hello Jane! In most cases, once you install new ink the printer will read the chips and update the ink levels. Please let us know if this does not answer your question.

  • GW Mc Donald

    I’ve installed new color and black ink cartridges, and get an error message to remove and reinstall the magenta and yellow cartridges repeatedly, cleaned the contacts, unplugged and plugged in the printer as well turning it off and on. I can’t print, clean, or run a test page.

    Suggestions please

    • Julia Page

      Hello GW! Have you tried the other ink cartridges? Are you only getting the error for the Yellow and Magenta cartridges? If you have performed the suggested steps on how to go about this issue and the error still persists, the ink cartridges are possibly defective.

  • Loretta

    Hi I installed genuine HP 564 black cartridge (2-times), and cleaned contacts, but the printer won’t recognize either black ink cartridge. Help!

    • Julia Page

      Hello Loretta! The ink cartridge you have might be defective? Or have you tried checking your printer for possible defects? Maybe you can try the following steps: Remove the new ink cartridge from the printer then turn off your printer and detach its power cord for 10 minutes. Reconnect the power cord but don’t turn on the power button just yet. Finally, reload the new ink cartridge back into the printer. I hope this helps!


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