Reset Toner Counter on Brother HL-3170CDW

Quick Note

I thought I would make a quick post about how I reset the toner counters on my brother HL-3170CDW.  I find myself having to search for these steps every few months.

The Request:

I love my brother HL-3170CDW printer (CLICK HERE).  It performs great and always works for us.  The one thing I do not like is buying toner cartridges…and I have yet to do so!  I have owned this printer since August 13, 2013 and have yet to replace the toner even though I use it regularly.  My current page count is a total 1,432 pages with 1,009 being color and 423 being monochrome and I am still using the starter cartridges that came with the printer.  The brother spec sheet (CLICK HERE) states that the starter cartridges are good for 1,000 pages each, but I have been given the “Toner Low” error almost 3 times now.

The Solution:

The secret behind the continual use of the toner cartridges is the ability to reset the counters so the printer thinks the cartridges are new again.  I will continue to do this until print quality decreases.  Below are the steps to reset the counters.  I always reset all cartridges…just to save myself time.

  1. Open the top lid of the printer and leave ajar.
  2. Press and hold the “Secure” and “X Cancel” buttons.
  3. Use the arrow keys to select the cartridge model you would like to reset and press “OK”.
  4. Press the UP arrow to reset the cartridge.
  5. Once reset is selected you will see “ACCEPTED” on the screen.

After you perform the reset for the needed cartridges just close the printer lid and hit “X Cancel” to exit back to the main menu.  DONE! From time to time I also use the cartridge sliders to clean the wires and preventative maintenance to keep the printer running in good shape.


I would like to say thank you to the following resources:


dick merrill
Monday, Dec 28, 2015

holding down the two buttons as the first step does not work on my printer. I wonder if Brother fixed that workaround to sell more toner!
Reply to dick merrill

In reply to dick merrill
Monday, Dec 28, 2015

Oh no! I will not be updating any firmware if that is the case! Hope you are able to find another workaround.

In reply to dick merrill
Wednesday, Mar 30, 2016

Had the same problem. Try turning off and unplugging printer for 30s then back on. I had jobs in the print queue that I think prevented the cartridge reset.
Reply to Thread

Wednesday, Jan 13, 2016

FYI, firmware version 1.08 dated 15.05.26 seems to work. I can scroll through a variety of values. This is from a new printer installed today and getting familiar with the unit.

And I agree, so far the printer seems okay for everything 8½—11, but still wishing I could find a reasonably priced and easy to maintain 11×17 color laser. The only caveat so far is that it does pick up the pre-printed information from my checks.

Reply to Dan

Monday, Apr 11, 2016

Make sure the LCD display shows “Cover is open” before holding down the Cancel and Secure buttons. The first time I tried this my printer had just woken from sleep and did not register the cover being open.
Reply to Brian

Tuesday, May 17, 2016


Thank you very much for this. I found that if the printer stops in the middle of a job because it's “out of toner,” it is necessary to cancel the print job before it will allow you to reset the printer.

Reply to Chris

In reply to Chris
Wednesday, Feb 22, 2017

That kind of thnnikig shows you're an expert
Reply to Thread

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

IT WORKS - YEA Thank you - What a frustration reliever
Reply to Harry

Khulthum Russell
Saturday, Jun 11, 2016

All praise is due to the Most High! I thank you very much for your post. I followed your instructions, and my printer is up and running again. Thank you, many times over :)
Reply to Khulthum Russell

Friday, Jul 22, 2016

I wish I knew if the 3180CDW had a workaround like that!
Reply to Suzy

Susannah Francis
In reply to Suzy
Monday, Nov 21, 2016

There is! Took some searching online, but I found it! This works on my 3180CDW printer.

In reply to Suzy
Wednesday, Nov 23, 2016

Reply to Thread

Wednesday, Aug 24, 2016

Just as an FYI - about every 10th time I try it it works. So, don't give up on the first try if it doesn't work!
Reply to johnnyb61820

Wednesday, Sep 21, 2016

Thank you so much for this fix - you've saved us a boatload of money, sir!!
Reply to Jeff

Wednesday, Dec 28, 2016

Worked like a charm, I love this printer. To bad you need to do this reset, but I was able to keep using it after my black ink ran out and hoping it will last for much longer with these reset options.
Reply to Charleen

Monday, Apr 10, 2017

At first it seemed that holding down the 2 buttons did not work with the cover “ajar” - open just a bit. Then I tried with the top cover completely open, and it worked. Thanks.
Reply to Nando

In reply to Nando
Monday, Apr 10, 2017

I'm glad you got it to work!
Reply to Thread

Friday, Jul 28, 2017

Sometimes when I change the toner in the middle of a large printing job, the printer says: “ready” and the computer shows that the printer still has the print job. But I can't get it to continue the print job. To continue, I've been canceling the print job both on the printer and the computer, revising my mailing list and starting a new mail merge printing. This is really tedious.
Reply to Mary

Saturday, Aug 12, 2017

Wow, it really works. You're a boss!!!

You literally saved me hours of work and, not to mention, a bunch of cash.

Thank you sir

Reply to Ari

Wednesday, Aug 23, 2017

Hi, Did the reset of all cartridges and they all show OK in the printer utility (IMac) however it still shows a “printer low on toner” as a sort of overall warnimg . Still…. it seems to work


Reply to Alan

Wednesday, Sep 27, 2017

Hi there! This is my first comment here so I just wanted to give a quick shout out and say I truly enjoy reading through your posts. Can you recommend any other blogs/websites/forums that cover the same subjects? Thanks! 賓果賓果開獎程式
Reply to 賓果賓果開獎程式

Monday, Oct 30, 2017

I'm still looking for a work around for the toner in my 3180CDW. The link someone noted above is for a different printer & will not work (there is no ‘fax’ option on mine & no keyboard). Anyone else have a solution for the 3180cdw?
Reply to DJ

In reply to DJ
Monday, Oct 30, 2017

Update to my comment above…I found an option for fax & getting a keyboard to show BUT it disappears as soon as I lift the top (then, it just shows to close the lid). No way to get the keyboard to stay on once the lid is open).
Reply to Thread

Thursday, Nov 9, 2017

THANKS for the hint! Worked like a charm!
Reply to Jacqueline

Sunday, Jan 7, 2018

Works on HL-3142CW aswell. However, you need to try quite a few times (worked after my 6th attempt). Thanks, everyone!
Reply to Henrik

Friday, Jan 26, 2018

HL-3170CDW. I noticed that if there is a job pending, once I open the lid, I am unable to get the attention of the printer with the SECURE and CANCEL buttons. I must close the lid and hit CANCEL to kill the pending job. Once I confirm the CANCEL I can then open the lid and, following the steps outlined above, successfully reset the toner. It is worth mentioning that—at least on my printer/firmware version—I must choose from amongst three toner cartridge types, yields, to reset. I have high-yield cartridges but just selected STD for each of the four cartridges.
Reply to Hap

Monday, Mar 19, 2018

I finally got this to work, thank you. Problem was, on STEP 2, you did NOT make it clear whether we should continue to hold down the “Secure” and “X Cancel” buttons through STEP 3. You just said “hold” them. What does “hold” them mean–for HOW LONG???

I finally figured out that we were NOT supposed to continue to hold them through Step 3, and it worked.


Reply to Paul

Tuesday, Apr 24, 2018

What a beautiful piece of breathtakingly simple information. I take this model of printer home from my work office because they couldn't get it to run properly. A free printer, fixed by pressing 4 buttons.

I'm crying. Thank you!

Reply to Troganite

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Well hell, thanks for saving my sanity. I had replaced an HL-3170 CDW (bad board) and out of greed I kept the existing drums and toners. When the first one emptied I went ahead and picked up the unused (and still sealed) unit that shipped with the new printer. It kept insisting that the toner was empty, and this is an unused drum and toner set. Your reset procedure worked beautifully.

Thanks so much for the tip!

Reply to Pedro

In reply to Pedro
Saturday, May 26, 2018

I can't believe that worked. I can't tell you how many toner cartridges I have replaced the last couple of years. Could not believe they were already dry.

Thank you so much for this simple hack

Reply to Thread

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Thanks so much. You really got me out of a bind!
Reply to Peter

Wednesday, Jul 25, 2018

Thank you so much! Fixed in two minutes!
Reply to Denise

Saturday, Aug 11, 2018

Thank you so much. My printer stopped working in the middle of a job and I have been trying to reset for at least 2 hours this morning. Like someone else said it did not work at first but don't give up. I ended up totally opening printed cover and pressing both button about 15 times repeatedly before I got the correct message. Just had to let you guys know it does work and don't give up.
Reply to Charlene

Tuesday, Sep 11, 2018

Thank you
Reply to Jerry

Friday, Nov 9, 2018

My HL-3170CDW just plain will not reset. I have tried turning off, unplugging, directly wiring to my computer, it just will not reset. Any suggestions?
Reply to Tom

Wednesday, Dec 5, 2018

For the Brother HL-3180CDW printer, open the toner bay, then press the asterisk key (*) for at least 5 seconds. The toner counter reset screen opens in which you can select the toner cartridge you want to reset.
Reply to John

In reply to John
Friday, Mar 22, 2019

My printer does not have the secure button or asteric buttons it's all touch screen if u hold the toner level icon for 5 seconds it will allow you to reset drum and belt life but not the toner any help would be greatly appreciated brother HL-L3270cdw
Reply to Thread

Sunday, Dec 9, 2018

Thank you so much, that did the trick!!
Reply to Larry

Friday, Mar 8, 2019

hahaha this is a test
Reply to nice

Printer Dude
Friday, Mar 22, 2019

Works on:-

Model Name: Brother HL-3140CW series Main Firmware Version: 1.28 Sub1 Firmware Version: 1.07

Just after I ordered a full set !

Reply to Printer Dude

laura longhi
Tuesday, Sep 3, 2019

Worked today on Broker HL-3170CDW. Thanks
Reply to laura longhi

Friday, Sep 27, 2019

Worked for me. THANK YOU.

Brother has been sued over this toner BS and yet they are still at their games.

Reply to BJR

Hussain Alhadad
Saturday, Oct 26, 2019

👍🏻 I did it and the black toner is back to work and shows that it is full 100% after showing (replace black toner) THANK YOU
Reply to Hussain Alhadad

Michael William
Wednesday, Nov 13, 2019

Thanks for posting article…keep posting up
Reply to Michael William

Michael William
Friday, Nov 15, 2019

Thanks for posting article…keep posting always
Reply to Michael William

Michael William
Saturday, Jan 25, 2020

Thanks for posting article, keep posting always.
Reply to Michael William

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