How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error

Printers are notorious mechanical beasts that at times can be difficult to handle for laymen who don’t have too much knowledge about their inner workings.

Whether it’s printing an entire block of pages with one single click, or the infamous “printer driver is unavailable” error, a printer can present its user with a range of problems, all with their own unique solution.

The only unique solution we’re concerned with in this guide though is a fix for the “printer driver is unavailable” error that seems to plague the majority of printer users.

The “printer driver is unavailable” error can have a number of root causes. In this guide, we’ll be going through each and every one of them in addition to all their related fixes.

So, if you really are looking for a permanent fix to the “printer driver is unavailable” error and looking to prevent it from happening in the future, you’re going to want to see what we’ve got in store for you in the following paragraphs.

What Causes the “Printer Driver is Unavailable” Error

Fortunately for you, this printer driver error is one we’ve seen pop up plenty of times, and even though it can have a number of different causes, all of them can be easily dealt with, provided you follow along with all the fixes we’re about to mention.

Each cause is pretty easy to troubleshoot and doesn’t require users to even touch their printer, let alone replace it.

However, it is still important that every printer user understands the problem that’s causing the error.

Keeping all of this in mind, we’ve come up with a list of probable causes for the “printer driver is unavailable” error that we’re sure you’ll want to take a look at.

  • The printer’s driver is corrupted.
  • The driver was never installed correctly.
  • The driver isn’t compatible with your system.
  • The driver needs to be updated.
  • Your operating system needs to be updated.
  • Your OS is dealing with some sort of malware.

With all of these causes firmly planted in your mind, let’s now find a way to fix these errors in a way that the error never shows up for you in the future.

6 Methods To Fix “Printer Driver is Unavailable” Error

Now that we’ve mentioned all of the probable causes for the error to you, it’s now high time that we just get straight into the fixes and provide you with a long-lasting solution that doesn’t require you to replace your existing printer.

So, without any further ado, here is our list of 6 methods that’ll help you fix the “printer driver is unavailable” error.

Check and Reconnect the Printer Connection

Sometimes the easiest fixes are the most obvious ones and also the ones we tend to ignore most of the time. Speaking from a place of experience, we can confidently say that you might have thought about reconnecting your printer yourself but scrapped the idea later thinking it was too obvious of a fix.

However, machines can have a mind of their own and the only thing you need to do to fix them is to re-establish their connections. This brings us to our first fix in the list; disconnecting and reconnecting your printer entirely.

To accomplish this feat you first need to disconnect your printer from your computer using the control panel. Follow these steps to do so:

  1. Navigate to:

    Settings app >> Bluetooth & deviuces >> Printers and scanners
  2. Click on the printer to disconnect.

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 1
    Select printer to disconnect
  3. Click Remove.

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 3
    Remove printer
  4. Confirm printer removal.

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 5
    Confirm printer removal
  5. Unplug the printer for a while and then plug it back in.

  6. Wait for Windows to detect and install the relative drivers and set up the printer again.

If the error pops up again, chances are you might need to update your driver.

Update the Printer Driver

A printer driver is software that could become outdated if you refused to update it when the system asked or if you’re using the built-in drivers that came with the system. Perform these steps to update the printer driver:

  1. Open the Device Manager by typing in “devmgmt.msc” in the Run Command box.

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 7
    Open Device Manager
  2. Expand “Print Queues.”

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 9
    Expand Print Queues
  3. Right-click on the problematic printer and click “Update driver.”

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 11
    Update driver

    The driver updating wizard will now open.

  4. Click “Search automatically for drivers.”

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 13
    Search for drivers automatically

    The wizard will now search, download, and install the latest driver if one is available.

  5. When the driver has been updated, close the wizard.

Some printers can have multiple versions of their drivers that you might be asked to choose from. Your job at this point is to select the latest one so that you don’t run into any problems in the future.

If you find that the latest driver has already been installed, you can reinstall the same driver by deleting the device, or manually download the latest driver from the manufacturer’s website and perform a manual installation instead (method given below).

Install Pending Windows Updates

Something we ourselves have discovered during our search to find a fix to the infamous “printer driver is unavailable” error is that it’s most often your operating system that’s not up to date rather than the actual driver.

Thus, the only logical way to proceed at this point is to update your OS to its latest version and since Windows updates tend to roll in thick and fast, we reckon this could be the root cause for your error as well.

Follow these steps to check and download all pending Windows updates:

  1. Navigate to:

    Settings app >> Windows Update
  2. Click “Check for updates.”

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 15
    Check for Windows updates

    The app will now search for pending updates.

  3. Download and install all of the updates. Note that this can take a while, depending on the speed of your internet connection.

  4. When installed, restart your computer to finalize the installation.

Reboot your System

The one universal fix for all computer-related problems including ones that include your printer driver is rebooting or restarting your computer.

Now, normally we don’t normally recommend that you restart your computer for every little problem you encounter but because the error itself is so wild in its nature, rebooting your computer may actually lead to permanently fixing it and preventing it from happening in the future.

We’re pretty sure everyone who’s used a computer knows how to turn it off and on again but just for argument’s sake we’re going to include our own method on how to reboot your system in this list.

Firstly, each user must click on the start menu on the desktop. They should then select the power options in the menu and then select the restart option to reboot or restart their system from scratch. This should ideally remove the error from your system.

Install Printer Driver Manually

In some rare cases, the version of your printer or device that you’re printing from could be so rare that even the built-in printer drivers in your Windows OS won’t be able to cater to them.

In these rare cases, you’ll have to go on a bit of a journey to install the printer driver manually from the registered website of the manufacturer of your printer. No need to worry about how to go about this though because we’ll be outlining the entire process for you.

  1. Begin by downloading the correct and the latest driver for your printer, compatible with your OS.

  2. Open the Device Manager by typing in “devmgmt.msc” in the Run Command box.

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 7
    Open Device Manager
  3. Expand “Print Queues.”

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 9
    Expand Print Queues
  4. Right-click on the problematic printer and click “Update driver.”

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 11
    Update driver
  5. Select “Browse my computer for drivers.”

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 23
    Browse the computer for driver
  6. Click “Browse” and then select the downloaded driver. When selected, click Next.

    How To Fix “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error 25
    Select driver manually

    The wizard will now install the driver.

  7. When the driver is installed, close the installation wizard.

Scan PC for Malware

As weird as it sounds, there could be a chance that the “printer driver is unavailable” error has nothing to do with your driver at all, and everything to do with some malware that might be plaguing your system and making it difficult for you to access your driver.

In cases like these, users can definitely rely on Windows’ own security services which can again be accessed from the security tab in the start menu. Perform the following to scan your computer for malware using Windows Security:

  1. Navigate to the following:

    Settings app >> Privacy and security >> Windows Security >> Virus and threat protection
  2. Click “Scan Options.”

    Open scan options
    Open scan options
  3. Select “Full scan” and then click “Scan now.”

    Perform a full scan
    Perform a full scan

Once the scan is performed and any malware has been quarantined, try turning your printer on again and it should be back to normal.

Final Thoughts

And that, folks, is how you deal with the “printer driver is unavailable” error whenever it pops up on your system.

We’d tried our best to include as many different tips and tricks as we could to further enable you to deal with the problem on your own.

On top of that, we’ve also included all the causes that could result in this error so that you can deal with the problem yourself if it ever pops up in the future.

A piece of advice though, before we leave you is to always deal with any computer related issue with patience because stressing out, more often than not, almost always makes the problem worse.

Thus, if something like this does happen to you again, stay calm and visit one of our guides on the topic because they’re sure to provide you with a long-term solution that you can be satisfied with.

Leave the first comment

Related Posts