Fixing the “Driver is unavailable” Printer Error in Windows

Fixing the “Driver is unavailable” Printer Error in Windows

/ James Masterson

When a printer works well, it is a wonderful device, but it can be incredibly annoying when it malfunctions.

Your printer may run smoothly for a couple of yours, creating countless prints, but it may also malfunction or stop working altogether. We’ll look at some of the most frequent printer issues to see if any issues are printing your documents.

The cause may be anything as simple as excessive use and deterioration of the components of the printer. Surprisingly, underusing your printer can also cause printing issues, as dried-up ink can clog the nozzle of the inkjet printer. You may also discover that debris, such as lint, stop your printer, causing jammed paper or damage.

However, the issue could be more complicated, which can result in an error message such as the Printer Driver Unavailable error. An error message usually indicates that your printer’s driver is incorrectly installed on your computer or that your device drivers are malfunctioning.

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Thanks to this guide, a printer that won’t work on Windows 10 can be brought back to life with a few simple steps.

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Causes of the “Printer Driver is Unavailable” Error in Windows

If your printer is not responding, it could be for various reasons. It’s a good idea to start by looking at the basics, like making sure there’s paper loaded in the tray and there aren’t any empty toner cartridges before you do anything else. Check for lights that would indicate an error on the printer or errors displayed by your Windows computer, as well as any other possible indicators.

Furthermore, suppose you just updated your operating system from an older version of Windows to Windows 10, and now your device won’t print. In that case, it’s possible that the upgrading procedure corrupted the printer driver software. Additionally, you may have an outdated printer driver with your latest version of Windows.

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When Windows 10 was released, Microsoft stated that it would not provide backward compatibility for some software and applications. The same can be said for some printer drivers, which made the problem even more complicated because some printer manufacturers didn’t update their printer drivers quickly enough.

The Printer Driver Unavailable issue could be caused by an outdated printer driver or a faulty file. Fortunately, if you adopt a logical approach, you can quickly solve this. All you have to do now is check for new updates for your Windows device and install the most recent driver for your printer.

Why is Having the Correct Printer Driver Important

A basic understanding of what a printer driver is can help us solve the “Printer Driver Is Unavailable” Error on Windows. It is a simple program that allows your device to communicate with your printer.

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It has two primary roles. The first is to act as a link between your computer and your printer, allowing your computer to recognize the printer’s physical details and specifications. Next, the driver is in charge of converting printing data into signals that let your printer understand.

It is important to note that each printer has a specific driver for a particular operating system, such as Windows 10. It will be impossible for the computer to recognize the printer if the printer is not correctly set up or if the incorrect printer driver software has been installed on the computer.

On the other hand, a plug-and-play printer can use a generic printer driver that is included with Windows 10, which eliminates the need to install additional OEM drivers. However, this frequently prevents you from fully utilizing your printer because other printer-specific capabilities and settings may be unavailable with a generic software device.

“Printer Driver is Unavailable” Error Troubleshooting Steps

Changing printer ink cartridges won’t fix an issue preventing printing, and it also stops you from using similar features such as scanning and copying. Try one of the troubleshooting steps outlined below to fix the “Printer Driver Unavailable” error if you run into this problem.

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First Method – Check for New Windows Updates

If you haven’t yet installed any Windows Updates, you may be missing out on a potential solution for your printer driver issue. The importance of updating Windows is evident, and every new update includes new features, driver upgrades, virus database definitions, and bug fixes. This will also potentially fix outdated drivers not only for your printer but also for other drivers in Windows 10.

  1. Press the “Windows” key on your keyboard and press “R” to bring up the run line command and type in “control update” and press enter.
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  1. Click on “Check for Updates” in the Windows Update window. If there are no updates available then you should get a message saying “You’re Up to Date”.
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  1. If the Windows Update Tool finds a new update, let it install it and wait for the update process to complete and hopefully one of these updates will be able to fix printer driver issues in your computer. Take note, that you may be required to restart your computer for it to install.
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  1. After restarting your computer, try to print your document to see if this has fixed the “Printer Driver is Unavailable” error. If the computer fails to install drivers for your printer and you are still getting the driver unavailable error, move on to the next step.

Second Method – Reinstall Printer Driver

You may have a corrupt or an outdated driver on your computer. In this case, you may have to uninstall the current driver of your printer and install the latest drivers. You can follow the below guides to uninstall your existing printer driver and apply the same steps to download and install the correct one.

Third Method – Manually Update Your Printer Driver in Device Manager

If you find that the automatic update through the Windows Update tool did not work for you, you can do it manually yourself. Follow the steps below to manually install all the drivers for your printer driver in Device Manager.

  1. Press “Windows” and “R” keys and type in “devmgmt.msc” in the run command line and press enter to open the Device Manager window.
  2. In the list of devices, expand “Printers” or “Print Queues”, right-click on your printer and click “Update Driver” and click on “Search automatically for drivers”.
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  1. Wait for the Device Manager to find any available drivers for your printer model or you can visit the printer manufacturer’s website to manually download its latest driver and install it to replace your outdated drivers. It is important to only download updated driver software from official sources. If you have an HP printer, then only download an HP printer driver from their official website. The same goes for other printer brands.
  2. If you have successfully performed the above steps to update your driver, restart your computer and check if it was able to fix printer driver problems on your Windows OS.

Fourth Method – Automatically Fix the Driver is Not Available Printer Error

If you don’t have the patience or technical skills to fix the driver is not available printer error manually, there’s always the choice of using an automatic system update and repair solution like Fortect to update old drivers automatically.

fortect repair

Fortect will solve fundamental computer issues, protect you from data loss, adware, and hardware failure, fix damaged system files and automatically download and install the right driver for your printer. You can quickly repair computer issues such as the and remove viruses with three simple steps:

  1. Using your preferred internet browser, go to Fortect’s official website to download their latest setup file and install the program.
  1. Once Fortect has been installed on your Windows PC, you will be directed to the homepage of Fortect. Click on Start Scan to let Fortect analyze what needs to be performed on your computer.
fortect scan
  1. Once the scan is complete, click on Start Repair to fix all the items that Fortect has found that are causing the Driver is Not Available Printer error on your computer.
  1. Once Fortect has completed the repair and updates on the incompatible driver, restart your computer and see if the “Printer Driver is Unavailable” Error in Windows has been fixed.

Wrap Up

By following the procedures above in order, you will be able to narrow down the cause of your printer’s unresponsiveness. The Printer Driver Is Unavailable issue can be fixed by manually updating Windows 10 and installing fresh printer drivers.

However, you don’t want to waste time looking for unusual printer drivers on the internet. You’ll also want to avoid installing incompatible drivers on your computer or printer. In addition to fixing the error, Fortect will also analyze your computer for any other issues that may be affecting its performance.

James Masterson
Meet the author

James is a software engineer and an information architect with a keen eye for detail. Among his key interests are enhancing the usability of our Windows 10 content, troubleshooting errors, and tech news.