The “Printer driver unavailable” error signifies that the printer driver may be corrupted which is preventing the system from recognizing it. It would also mean that the printer is outdated or incompatible.
The system’s failure to recognize or work with the printer means that you will be unable to access the printer to print documents or pictures. Thankfully, this is a common issue that has a fix using some simple methods that don’t require professional help. First, let’s understand what the error means and then take a look at ways to resolve the issue.
What does the “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” error mean? As mentioned at the beginning of the article, this error typically means that there is a problem with the printer’s driver or the printer itself.
Why am I receiving the Printer Driver Is Missing error message in Windows 10?
A software upgrade has been linked to several occurrences of the missing printer driver error. Users who recently upgraded to Windows 10 from an older version may discover that the procedure corrupted some device drivers. The printer or even its driver may also be conflicting with the current edition of Windows.
This was intentional on Microsoft’s side. Unlike previous versions, Windows 10 does not support backward interoperability with specific devices. If your printer is one of them, your choices are restricted to downgrading your operating system or purchasing a new printer.
This error could also occur if the printer software is not installed. Some plug-and-play printers may necessitate manual software installation. Your security software may have also deleted the driver by accident. It might also have been installed incorrectly, in which case neither the printer nor the operating system can communicate with it.
In rare instances, the unavailable printer driver error can be caused by a corrupt file or driver. This becomes more difficult if the driver in issue is the most recent version available. You might have to modify or uninstall the program and hope for the best.
What is a Printer Driver?
Before delving into the solutions for the “Printer driver is unavailable” problem, it’s essential to understand what a printer driver is. A printer driver is a type of software that allows your printer and operating system to communicate with one another.
The printer driver connects the operating system to your printer, allowing the former to read and comprehend the latter’s hardware specifications and capabilities. It also converts print commands into a language that the printer understands. There can be no publishing, scanning, or copying without it.
Most printers, particularly the most recent models, have specialized drivers in Windows 10. Each driver has been tailored to get the most out of its respective printer.
As a result, if you installed the incorrect driver or incorrectly configured the correct one, the PC may fail to identify the printer.
Nonetheless, some printer versions are compatible with the default printer drivers included with Windows 10. If you are unable to utilize the printer-specific driver for some reason, this provides an additional choice. Although a generic driver is unlikely to perform as well as a specialized one, it is still preferable to something else.
How to Resolve “Printer Driver Is Missing” in Windows 10
If you continue to receive the “Printer driver is unavailable” error when attempting to print something, you will need to make some fixes.
Now, let’s consider a few solutions listed below:
Solution One: Printer Uninstallation and Reinstallation Of Default Drivers
To resolve the “Driver Is Unavailable Printer” error we found two solutions that worked for most users. You can either uninstall the printer and the compatible software & then reinstall it or you can search the available driver and pick out the correct one for the printer.
For the first method, we will teach you how to successfully uninstall the printer and related software, then reconnect it to automatically install the default drivers.
- Press the Windows + R buttons together, in the dialogue box type “control” and press Enter. In the control panel select “View by Large icons” which will help you in locating Devices and Printers easily, click it.
- In the window, you’ll see a list of all the connected printers. Right-click the printer, which is causing the issue, and select “Remove device”.
- Again press Windows + R together and type “devmgmt.msc” in the dialogue box. Go-to the “Print queues” category, right-click the troublesome print, and select “Uninstall device”. If you can’t find the printer in the list after removing it in the first step, don’t worry and skip this step.
- Press together Windows + R to open the dialogue box and type “appwiz.cpl”, press Enter, which will take you to a window where all the applications are listed. Right-click on all printer related applications and choose “Uninstall”.
- Once the printer is removed, and the applications have been uninstalled, disconnect the printer from the computer and turn it off. Shut down the computer and unplug the printer and computer from the power supply.
- Wait for 10 minutes before reconnecting the printer to the computer and plugging everything back and turning them on. Wait for the system to detect the printer and allow it to install the default drivers.
- Go to the control panel, find the printer, right-click, and choose “Set as default printer”. Print a test page to check if the error has been fixed.
Solution 2: Manually Reinstalling The Latest Drivers
In case if solution one does not solve the issue, then the next best solution is to update the printer drivers manually. In some cases, the printer gets broken due to a Windows update because the updated Windows drivers might be problematic and may not support all systems.
The best way to solve this issue is to manually update the selected driver from the manufacturer’s website and then disabling Windows update from driver updates.
Before proceeding to the next step, it is important that you download the specific/required drivers according to your hardware requirements to an accessible location.
- Click “Windows” + R to open RUN. In the RUN’s dialogue box type “devmgmt.msc” and press enter to launch the device manager of your computer.
- Find and open the sub-menu “Print queues” – then right-click on your printer hardware and click on “Update driver”.
- Once you click the “Update driver” option, you will then find a dialogue box that will confirm your preferred method of updating your driver. Choose the option no.2 and proceed.
Use the browser button to select the driver file that you have downloaded.
Note: In many cases, the printer might not visible in the “device manager”. In such a situation, run the installer to install the driver automatically.
- Now recheck whether or not the printing is functioning properly. If it is working properly, then go to Microsoft’s official website and download “wushowhide.diagcab”.
- Next Run the package and select “Next”.
- Next choose “Hide Updates” from the available options.
- Now initiate the printer updates (if any available) and select continue. Now the Windows update will no longer update the printer drivers automatically without your permission.
Solution 3: Run SFC scannow
In most cases, corrupt or damaged system files cause the “printer driver unavailable” error on Windows 10. You can fix this issue by using Windows inbuilt utility SFC scannow. The System File Checker (SFC) utility check the integrity of all Windows system files and repairs them if necessary. Follow the steps below to Run SFC scannow utility.
- Open the Windows menu. In the Windows search bar, type and search Command Prompt.
- Right-click open the context menu and select Run as administrator.
- Type SFC/scannow in the cmd window and hit enter.
- In the cmd window, type SFC/scannow and press Enter key.
SFC utility will now scan your Windows 10 files for damaged or corrupt files. Once detected, the SFC utility will repair the files. The “printer driver unavailable” error will resolve now. If you have a Plug-and-Play, then you can try the following method.
Solution Exclusively for Plug-and-Play Printers
If you are using a Plug-and-Play printer, then then you are in luck because you can quickly solve the “printer driver unavailable” issue with the following method:
- Completely disconnect your printer from your computer by unplugging all attached cables and cords.
- Now follow the Printer Setup Wizard’s step-by-step instructions and reconnect all cables and cords.
- If the Printer Setup Wizard doesn’t appear automatically, open start, click on Settings, select Devices, and press Add a Printer or Scanner.
- Windows will then automatically detect all external devices connected to your PC. Once the printer is detected successfully, follow Printer Setup Wizard’s instructions to complete the process.
We hope that this guide will help you permanently fix printer driver unavailable error. Please share other printer-related errors on Windows 10 in the comments section below.
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