The printer is one of the simple and integral parts, useful for everyday activities. However, if you notice that the printer is not working and displays—Printer driver is unavailable—error message in the Control panel, then it needs a fix. This post helps you find the reasons behind the error and possible solutions to the problem.
Why Am I Getting Printer Driver Unavailable Error on Windows?
If you are wondering what it means when the driver is unavailable on a printer, then here you go:
- The printer driver might be missing or may not have been installed correctly ever.
- You have a corrupted printer driver.
- Your printer driver is not compatible with your Windows system.
- Your printer driver needs the latest updates.
The different reasons for the “Printer driver are unavailable” issue can confuse users. However, simple fixes could help you solve the error within minutes.
So, if you want to make the printer driver available, follow this post until the end, but before that, let’s get to know about the Printer Driver.
What Is Printer Driver?
The printer driver is software that facilitates interaction between the printer and Windows operating system. It bridges the gap between the OS and the printer so that the operating system can understand the features and hardware specifications of the printer. The printer driver is an essential aspect of the working of your printer, and you cannot print, scan or copy anything if it is not available on your Windows PC.
How to Fix Printer Driver Is Unavailable on Windows
You have arrived at the right place looking for answers to the Printer is unavailable error on Windows. Here are some solutions to your problems with the printer driver on your Windows computer.
- Reconnect Printer
- Run Printer Troubleshooter
- Reinstall your printer
- Update Windows
- Install the Printer driver manually
- Install the generic printer driver
Follow the given guide below to fix the printer driver unavailable on Windows.
1] Reconnect Printer
The easiest solution to your problems with the Printer driver’s unavailable error is to use the conventional way of troubleshooting computer peripherals. All you need to do is remove the printer’s connections with your PC and connect again. After detecting the device in another port, your computer might recognize the printer driver.
2] Run Printer Troubleshooter
You can find the in-built troubleshooting capability with Windows operating system as a vital tool for dealing with common problems and errors. If your printer shows the driver is unavailable error even after reconnecting your printer, you can use the Printer Troubleshooter with the following steps.
- Access the Settings window after pressing the Windows, and I key together.
- Open the System option on the left pane and then select the Troubleshoot option on the right pane.
- Locate the option for Other troubleshooters and click on it.
- Find the option for Printer in the list of Other troubleshooters and click on the Run button on the Printer tab to run the troubleshooter.
- Once the wizard completes the process, check if the error is not there anymore.
3] Reinstall Your Printer (Remove and Add Again)
You can reinstall your printer by uninstalling it from the control panel. Here are the steps for reinstalling your printer from the control panel itself.
- Open the Control Panel and select the Devices and Printers option.
- You must select the printer you want to reinstall and then click on the Printer server properties in the toolbar at the top.
- Once you have opened the Print Server Properties window, you can select the Drivers tab and then click on the Change Driver Settings options at the bottom.
- After providing administrator privileges, you can choose one or more drivers you want to remove and select the Remove button.
- Specify whether you want only to Remove the driver or the driver and package and click on the OK button.
- Confirm each subsequent step, and you can click the Close button on the Print Server Properties window when you are done.
- Disconnect your printer from your Windows PC and restart the system. Once your system is running, you must connect the printer again.
The printer driver would install automatically when you reconnect it to the computer. Check if the issue persists.
4] Update Windows
You will need to look under Optional Updates to check if a printer driver is available. A faulty printer driver should not stop you from using your printer, as you can try the following steps to get optional updates for your printer driver.
- Open Windows Settings (Win + I)
- Access the Update & Security tab and find the Windows Update option on the sidebar.
- Select the View all optional updates on the right-side menu.
- Choose the Windows updates and driver updates you want to install by checking the boxes and selecting the Download and install option.
- Restart your PC once you are completed with the installation process to enable the effect of the optional updates.
5] Install the Printer Driver Manually
Another proven solution for the Printer driver is unavailable is to choose the manual route for installing printer drivers. The most favorable method to install the printer driver manually would be the official website of the OEM.
You can find the latest drivers for your printer on the device manufacturer’s official website, which helps you verify the credibility of the new drivers.
In addition, you can also rely on third-party driver aggregators, which can find suitable recent drivers for your printer. However, you should do it only if the printer is old and there is no way to get the driver.
6] Install the Generic Printer Driver (From Microsoft)
Regarding the latest printer drivers, some manufacturers are extremely slow in releasing the latest ones. It might create a massive issue for you. If you are facing a printer driver unavailable on Windows, you should go with a generic printer driver from Microsoft. Follow the steps below to perform the complete process.
- Open the Device Manager from the Windows search bar, locate and right-click the Printer, and select Update driver.
- Now in the next window, select Browse my computer for drivers
- On the next step, select Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.
- Now select Generic software device and click Next. After this, Windows will install the generic printer driver from your printer, and you can use your printer again.
The basic fixes for the Printer driver are unavailable errors showing that you can solve the problem by finding the proper updates for your printer. Always make sure you choose the authentic driver to avoid any issues in compliance.
What Does It Mean When a Printer Needs a New Driver?
Printer manufacturers introduce new updates and drivers for bringing additional features and methods for effectively fixing bugs. When you receive, the Printer driver is unavailable error, your computer signs that the driver for your system is not updated or compatible. In some cases, a corrupt driver can also be one of the reasons for which a printer needs a new driver.
What Is a Generic Printer Driver?
As the name implies, the generic printer driver is the most basic version of the driver used for printer operations. You would not receive the additional functionalities as specified in other manufacturers’ drivers.