What does it mean if a printer driver is unavailable

Video What does it mean if a printer driver is unavailable

While using your printer, you may receive an error message saying that your “printer driver is not available”. what do you do in this situation?

the printer is still an important tool, especially in the office. with it, you can print, scan and copy documents and share them. a working printer is very important; this means that a faulty one can cause bottlenecks.

If a reliable printer suddenly fails with this error message, it may be linked to an outdated or incompatible driver. it could even be that the printer driver crashed and stopped responding to system commands.

Of course, not all printer problems are software related. could be due to wear and tear on an old printing device. a printer that has fallen out of use or is underutilized may also not perform as well when it is put back into operation. Dust, dirt, bits of paper, and caked-on ink can also cause clogging and even damage the printer.

Still, most of the time, the “printer driver is not available” error boils down to a software problem related to the printer driver installed on the computer. if the problem is not resolved, you will not be able to perform print jobs.

If the problem occurs on your windows 10, don’t let it stop you. The error can appear on many printers, although most reports have been made by HP printer users. there are easy solutions that will have your printer up and running again in no time.

why do i get printer driver not available error in windows 10?

Several instances of the printer driver not available error are linked to a software update. Users who recently made the jump to Windows 10 from a previous version may find that the process corrupted some device drivers. your printer or its driver may also be incompatible with your current version of windows.

this happened by design on microsoft’s part. Unlike previous versions, Windows 10 does not have backwards compatibility with certain devices. if your printer is one of them, your options are limited to downgrading your operating system or getting a new printer.

This error can also occur when the printer driver is not installed. some plug and play printers may actually require manual driver installation. the driver could also have been mistakenly removed by your security software. it could also be installed incorrectly, meaning that neither the printer nor the operating system can interact with it.

In rare cases, you may experience the printer driver not available error due to a corrupt file or driver. this becomes more complicated if the driver in question is the latest version you can use. you may need to downgrade or uninstall the software and hope it works.

explanation of the printer driver

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Before we delve into solutions for the “printer driver is not available” error, it’s worth pointing out what exactly a printer driver is. A printer driver is small software that allows your printer and operating system to communicate with each other.

The printer driver links the operating system to your printer so that the former can read and understand the specifications and capabilities of the latter’s hardware. it also decodes the print instructions into a language that the printer can understand. without it, no print, scan, or copy jobs can be performed.

Most printers, especially newer ones, have dedicated drivers in Windows 10. Each driver is optimized to take full advantage of its equivalent printer. therefore, the computer may not detect the printer if you installed the wrong driver or misconfigured the correct one.

Still, some printer models can use the generic printer drivers built into windows 10. This gives you an additional option if you are unable to use the specific printer driver for whatever reason. although a generic driver may not work as well as a dedicated one, it’s better than nothing.

fix “printer driver is not available” in windows 10 if you keep getting “printer driver is not available” error when you try to print something, you need to apply some fixes. here are five possible solutions that can get your printer working:

  1. apply a windows update
  2. update the printer driver automatically
  3. manually update the printer
  4. completely reinstall your printer
  5. use the generic printer driver
  6. Let’s go into more detail for each of them.

    fix 1. apply a windows update

    an outdated operating system is a possible reason why the printer driver is not available. for this reason, you should try to apply the latest updates as soon as they are available. doing this may not only solve your immediate problem, but it may also fix underlying issues that you’re not aware of.

    here is how to run windows update:

    1. press the windows key on your keyboard to open the start menu.
    2. click the gear icon on the left side panel to open the settings app.
    3. once in setup, go to update & security > windows update.
    4. click the “check for updates” button.
    5. after windows downloads and installs all available updates, reboot the system.
    6. This step is the fastest way to possibly restore functionality to your printer when you are facing this error under discussion. you can run a test job to see if the problem is fixed.

      fix 2. update printer driver automatically

      In the same way that windows needs regular updates, so do your major hardware drivers. If it’s been a while since you last updated your printer driver, you might want to do it now, if you get the driver not available error. it may be that the current printer driver is too old and no longer suitable.

      A driver that normally works fine can also fail. a recent windows update might have made it incompatible with the current operating system. whatever the case, updating the driver automatically may solve your problem.

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      This is usually a simple process, but can be complicated if you are inexperienced with updating drivers. you don’t want to install the wrong driver and complicate things. therefore, it is recommended to use special driver update software like auslogics driver updater to save time and effort. You can use the tool to update all the outdated drivers on your pc including the printer driver to their latest versions. you can do it with one click and the tool will even help you detect and resolve other driver related issues.

      Alternatively, you can use windows to automatically update the driver as follows:

      1. hold down the windows key and press x.
      2. select device manager.
      3. Locate the printer for which you want to install the drivers. you can find it under printers or “print queues”. If the printer driver isn’t working properly, you may find it under “unknown devices” or “other devices”.
      4. right click on the printer driver and select “update driver”.
      5. Update the printer driver automatically

        1. in the next window, select the option “search for drivers automatically”.
        2. Select the "Search automatically for drivers" option

          windows will search online and download drivers if found. Whether you use special software like driver updater or if you use windows, restart your pc after installation.

          fix 3. manually update the printer

          You can install the printer driver manually if the above method does not work. To do this, you must know the brand and model of your printer. this will allow you to choose the correct driver to download.

          First, find your printer model. check for identification labels on the hardware surface or go to control panel > hardware and sound > devices and printers. note the brand, version, and manufacturer.

          then go to the manufacturer’s support page and locate the precise driver you need. These are some of them:

          • hp
          • samsung
          • sharp
          • canon
          • epson
          • Download the appropriate driver for your computer and install it as you would a normal program. to avoid possible problems, you can run the installer as administrator.

            If the driver does not install normally, follow these steps:

            1. press windows key + x and select device manager.
            2. locate the printer device, right click and select “update driver”.
            3. In the next window, select “Browse my computer for driver software”.
            4. Select "Browse my computer for driver software"

              1. click the browse button and locate the driver you previously downloaded. select and run the file.
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                Click the Browse button and locate the driver you previously downloaded

                When windows finishes installing the file for you, restart your computer and test your printer to see if the problem is solved.

                fix 4. completely reinstall your printer

                you may need to unplug your printer and then plug it back in to resolve the printer driver not available issue in windows 10. remove the printer and its drivers from your pc, physically unplug it, then reinstall all. this may take a bit of time, but the payoff will probably be worth it.

                1. open the control panel on your computer and set the display mode to category.
                2. Open Control Panel on your computer and set the view mode to Category

                  1. click the “view devices and printers” link under hardware and sound.
                  2. here you will find your printers and other devices. right click on the problematic printer and select “remove device”. click yes if uac prompt appears.
                  3. Right-click the problematic printer and select "Remove device"

                    1. open device manager, locate the printer device, right click and select “uninstall device”. if you don’t see the device here, don’t worry; it means it was already removed after doing step 3.
                    2. Locate the printer device, right-click it and select "Uninstall device"

                      1. go to control panel > “uninstall a program”. find any printer app here and uninstall it.
                      2. You can now disconnect your printer from the computer. remove the plug if it is a usb connection or unplug it from the router. turn off everything (pc, printer, router) and unplug the power supply of all of them.
                      3. wait about 10 minutes, then plug everything back in and reconnect all devices. your pc should detect the printer and install the necessary drivers.
                      4. once the printer starts working again, you can set it as your default printer. go back to devices and printers in step 3 above, right click on the printer and select “set as default printer”.

                        fix 5. use generic printer driver

                        some manufacturers are slow to release the latest compatible printer drivers. This could make your printer unusable after upgrading to Windows 10. If the device doesn’t work and there is no new update, you can use Microsoft’s generic printer driver in the meantime.

                        1. open device manager, locate and right-click the printer and select “update driver”.
                        2. in the next window, select “browse my computer for drivers”.
                        3. in the next window, select “let me choose from a list of available drivers on my computer”.
                        4. Select "Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer"

                          1. select “generic software device” and click next.
                          2. windows will install the generic printer driver for your printer. you will be able to use your printer again, even if you lose some specific functions.

                            conclusion

                            by carefully following the article, you have probably isolated your printer problem and found the best solution. Updating, reinstalling, or replacing the printer driver will most likely resolve the “printer driver is not available” error.

Content Creator Zaid Butt joined Silsala-e-Azeemia in 2004 as student of spirituality. Mr. Zahid Butt is an IT professional, his expertise include “Web/Graphic Designer, GUI, Visualizer and Web Developer” PH: +92-3217244554

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