How to Fix: The Printer Driver is Unavailable

So, you’ve got a fancy printer that worked great until you upgraded to Windows. Then, suddenly, your printer’s like, “Nope, I’m outta here; I ain’t printing nothin’.” If you’re encountering the frustrating error message “The printer driver is unavailable,” you’re not alone. This common issue can prevent you from printing important documents and cause headaches.

However, fear not! In this guide, we’ll delve into the causes behind this error and provide you with a step-by-step solution to fix it. Whether you’re a tech-savvy individual or a novice user, this article will help you troubleshoot and resolve the “printer driver is unavailable” problem, getting your printer back up and running in no time.

What Does It Mean When Driver Is Unavailable on Printer?

Ah, the classic “printer driver unavailable” error! The printer is throwing a tantrum and refuses to work with your computer. This error means your printer’s drivers are not playing nice with your computer. It could be because the drivers are outdated or corrupted, or you may need to update your Windows.

Ah, the printer driver! The unsung hero of the printing world! Without it, your printer is like a musician without an instrument. It’s pointless!

Most printers have dedicated drivers designed to get the most out of them. But, if you’re not careful, installing the wrong driver can lead to many problems. Your computer might speak a different language than your printer, and let’s be honest; no one wants that kind of miscommunication!

Fortunately, Windows has some generic drivers that can be backed up.

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Why Is the Printer Driver Unavailable?

The “Printer Driver is Unavailable” error typically occurs due to:

  1. Outdated or incompatible printer driver: Your driver may be as outdated as our sense of humor or incompatible with your fancy operating system.
  2. Driver conflict or corruption: Or maybe there’s a conflict between different printer drivers like there’s a conflict between me and any semblance of morality. And let’s remember corruption within the driver files.
  3. Faulty connections or hardware issues: Poor connections between the printer and the computer, faulty USB cables, or hardware problems within the printer itself can prevent the driver from being recognized or functioning correctly.
  4. Windows service or system issues: Certain Windows services or system components responsible for managing printer drivers might encounter problems, leading to the driver becoming unavailable.
  5. Software or settings conflicts: Another potential culprit could be conflicts with other software or settings on your computer, especially pesky security software or third-party printer management tools.
  6. Other factors: And, of course, there’s always the chance that other factors like power outages, interrupted driver installations or issues with printer spooler services are at play. 

Following the troubleshooting steps mentioned in the previous response, you should be able to resolve the “Printer Driver is Unavailable” error in most cases.

How to Fix: The Printer Driver is Unavailable

Fix 1: Reconnect the Printer Device

How something as simple as a printer can cause frustration could never cease to amaze us. Try disconnecting it entirely from your system. Then, unplug that pesky machine and reconnect it again. It’s possible that doing so will not only fix potential driver issues but also give you a clean slate to work with.

So, let’s cut the cords and start fresh! Here’s what you need to do:

  1. Invoke the Search interface by pressing the Windows key + S on your keyboard. Type in “Control Panel” in the bar and select the matching application from the search results. xo
  2. In the Control Panel, locate and click “View devices and printers.” If you don’t see this option, ensure your view mode is set to Category. View Devices and printers
  3. Right-click on the printer causing trouble and select “Remove device” from the context menu. Remove Device
  4. Click Yes if prompted by the User Account Control (UAC) screen. Suppose you’re using a local account without administrator permissions. In that case, you may have to convert your user account to an administrator account.
  5. After removing the device, disconnect it from your computer. Wait approximately 2-3 minutes before reconnecting the device and allowing Windows to complete the setup process.
  6. Once the setup is finished, test the printer to see if it functions correctly.

Following these steps, you can address issues with the printer and its connectivity in Windows.

Fix 2: Update Your Printer Driver via Windows

Hey there, friend! Did you know that sometimes your drivers can get outdated? Yeah, just like fashion sense! Don’t worry, and it’s an easy fix. If you’ve been neglecting your printer drivers like an old pair of socks, let’s update them in Windows!

Just follow these points, and you’ll be good to go. And remember, always keep your drivers up to date, just like you should with your style! 

Now, let’s get to it and update those drivers in Windows!

  1. Employ a combination of the Windows key and X on your keyboard, pressing them simultaneously and selecting “Device Manager” from the menu. device manager windows 11
  2. Expand it by tapping on the arrow next to it. x
  3. Right-click on your printer, listed elegantly within the menu, and choose the “Update Driver” option.
  4. If your printer seems to have eluded detection within the list, check the category “Unknown Devices.”
  5. Pick the “Search automatically for drivers” option from the available choices. This particular course of action will allow Windows to establish an online connection, enabling it to unerringly locate and procure the latest drivers suitable for your printer. Search Automatically For Drivers
  6. Wait for the driver installation to complete. Once done, restart your system to apply the complete changes.

Fix 3: Install Your Printer Driver Manually

Suppose Windows fails to detect the latest drivers for your printer automatically. In that case, it becomes necessary to embark on a manual quest to procure them. The first step in this endeavor involves investigating the printer’s manufacturer and device name. Once armed with this knowledge, you can follow the steps outlined below, enabling the manual installation of the most up-to-date and functional drivers.

  1. To begin, identify the model and manufacturer of your printer. Look for stickers on the printer or navigate to Control Panel to Hardware and Sound to ‘Devices and Printers’ to find the specific model.
  2. Take note of the printer’s name, manufacturer, and version. Then, visit the manufacturer’s website and search for the driver download page.
  3. Head to the manufacturer’s website and look for the newest drivers compatible with your system and printer. Make sure you choose the correct version, 32-bit or 64-bit, depending on your operating system is running.
  4. Once you’ve downloaded the right driver, locate it and run the installer. You can even give it some extra oomph by right-clicking on the installer and choosing “Run as administrator” from the context menu.
  5. After the driver is installed, give your computer a good ol’ restart and check if your printer is functioning as intended.

Fix 4: Install the Generic Printer Driver

So, sometimes those manufacturers take their sweet time releasing new drivers. Then, suddenly, your printer stops working after upgrading to Windows. Ugh, so annoying, right? No worries! If there’s no update in sight, go ahead and use the good ol’ generic printer driver from Microsoft.

  1. Suppose your printer is not functioning after upgrading to Windows, and no updated driver is available from the manufacturer. In that case, you can temporarily utilize the generic printer driver provided by Microsoft.
  2. Start the Device Manager by tapping the Windows key + X and opting for “Device Manager” from the menu.
  3. Locate your printer in the Device Manager. It might be listed under the “Printers” category or as an “Unknown Device.” Printers in Deivce Manager
  4. Right-click on your printer and opt for “Update Driver” or “Update Software.”
  5. Select the “Generic software device” option from the list that appears, and then click on “Next.”
  6. Windows will proceed to install the generic drivers for your printer. This installation of generic drivers may resolve any issues related to the unavailable printer driver.

Following these steps, you can use the generic printer driver from Microsoft as a temporary solution until an updated driver becomes available.

Fix 5: Update Windows 

Have you tried updating your operating system? It may solve many underlying issues, such as the printer driver appearing unavailable when you try to print. So, go ahead, download and install the latest version of Windows and see if it does the trick! Not only will it solve your printer issues, but it may also fix some underlying problems that you didn’t even know existed. It might make your computer run faster than a cheetah on steroids.

  1. Tap the Windows key + I simultaneously to open the Settings app.
  2. Click on Update & Security.
  3. Click on the Check for Updates button to search for any available updates. Update and Security
  4. If updates are available, click the Install Now button to install them. Install Now


While encountering the unavailability of the latest compatible printer drivers can be frustrating, utilizing the generic printer driver from Microsoft can provide a temporary solution to keep your printer functioning. Following the steps in this article, you can install the generic drivers and potentially resolve issues preventing your printer from printing. Remember, it’s always recommended to watch for updated drivers from the manufacturer to ensure optimal performance. With the temporary workaround, you can continue using your printer while waiting for the appropriate driver update.

Why is my printer showing an offline status?

The printer’s offline status can occur due to connectivity issues, network problems, or misconfigured settings. First, ensure the printer is connected correctly, and try restarting the printer and the computer.

What do I do if my computer does not recognize my printer?

Start by checking the connections between the printer and the computer. Ensure the printer is powered on and appropriately connected via USB or wirelessly. You can also update the printer drivers or restart both devices.

How do I install a printer driver?

To install a printer driver, you can usually use the installation CD with your printer or download the driver from the manufacturer’s website. Follow the provided instructions for a successful installation.

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