Updated: Jun 4, 2019
We get numerous calls on this HP laser printer issue, and if you know how to decipher and trouble-shoot the differences between these two error messages, it’s usually fairly simple. Usually, this is a setting miscommunication, rather than a laser printer hardware failure.
Decoding HP Laser Printer Manual Load Paper and Tray 1 Load Paper Messages
What is the difference and what do you do when your printer tells you to either manually load tray 1 or load tray 1 with a specific size and type of paper?
With manually load tray 1 the printer is asking you to single-sheet feed each page, while the load tray 1 with a specific size and type message occurs because the machine does not see that specific paper in any of the other trays.
Manually load paper tray 1 can be caused by two things; either a setting in the print driver on the computer prompting the message, or because the printer menu’s manual feed option is turned on.
Print a configuration page
One way to distinguish them is to run a configuration page from the panel of the laser printer. If the display says manually load tray, then it is turned on in the menus of the printer.
For most HP printers, simply go into the Configure Device Menu, choose the Printing Menu, then scroll through and find where it says Manual Feed and select Off. If the printer asks you to load tray 1 with a specific size and type, it is not finding what it’s seeking in any other trays.
This could be a setting discrepancy between the driver and print job settings and the way the printer is set up. Run a configuration page from the machine. Does it ask to load tray 1 or does it print from your cassette trays?
If it is asking for tray 1 put paper into tray 1 to print out the configuration page. On the configuration page, look under paper trays and option to find out how it recognizes the trays’ set up. You will also have to look at this if this only happens when sending print jobs to compare your driver settings with that of the machine.
If the configuration page is not saying what you think you should have in the tray, then check the tray and make sure your paper guides are in the correct positions. Depending on the model of machine it could have a bad paper size sensing board.
For example: If the printer is telling you to load tray 1 plain letter and this only happens when sending a print job with internal tests working fine with no issues, then check the print drivers on the computer and see how you have the trays set up.
Another example: The machine says load tray 1 plain letter and it does this even when it is trying to print a configuration page.
Open up the menus and go into the Paper Handling menu. Check the type of paper the tray is set up to handle, and make sure it is plain. The problem could be caused by something as simple as someone changing it to bond by accident.
If that is OK and it is set to plain, then check the guides in the tray, and check on the configuration page to make sure it sees it as letter. If it shows that it sees the setting as legal and the tray is set correct, then you have a bad size sensing board for the tray.
What do you do if it is seeing it as plain and letter and it is still asking for plain letter in tray 1 even running a configuration page? Try a cold reset, sometimes this is needed to kick start the machine. This is usually not the case, but every now and then you will get a stubborn printer.
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