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What to Do When Your Printer Driver Is Unavailable

If you find yourself encountering a “printer driver is unavailable” error it means that your computer’s operating system failed to recognize your printer. This happens when you connect your printer to your computer without having its printer driver CD run its installation or driver installer downloaded from the manufacturer’s official website. Windows may not have a built-in driver from its installation database (probably due to outdated installation that lacks necessary updates) that’s why the driver installation is critical. You won’t be able to print or use its other functions like scan or copy. If this happens, try the following methods:

Prerequisite Method A – Configure Your User Account Control (UAC) Settings

In Windows (10, 8 or 7), its User Account Control (UAC) notifies you before Windows changes anything that require administrator privileges. Change the UAC settings first so that during printer driver installation, UAC will not prevent you from installing the necessary components that your printer may require. To do that you:

  1. Login as Administrator or ensure you’re logged in as an administrator.
  2. Go to Control Panel. View it by Large icons or Small icons.
  3. Click User Accounts.
  4. Click on “Change User Account Control Settings”.
  5. Set the slider to the 3rd level near “Never Notify” or the 4th level “Never Notify” setting with Not recommended information.
  6. Click OK.

Prerequisite Method B – Verify Your Admin Account

If for some reason prerequisite method A didn’t work, it’s because in Windows 10 added a verification step (verify your identity) to give its administrator user more control on what they do to their computer. To gain more control:

  1. Login as Administrator or ensure you’re logged in as an administrator.
  2. Go to Control Panel. View it by Large icons or Small icons.
  3. Click User Accounts.
  4. Click on “Make changes to my account in PC settings”.
  5. Under “Your Info”, click Verify.
  6. You will be asked to “how to would you like to get this code”. Select your email address. The click Next.
  7. Your code will be sent to your email. Enter the code you received and click Next.
  8. Once verified, the verification step will disappear when you install the printer driver.

Method 1 – Remove your printer and reinstall your printer driver

The printer drivers may be corrupted or missing other necessary files. You need to uninstall all its associated software and reinstall the printer driver.

  1. Uninstall the printer by navigating to Control Panel >> Device Manager. Then collapse the Print queues list, right click your printer then select Uninstall device. Click Uninstall button if you’re asked to confirm.
  2. Under Devices and Printers from Control Panel, select your printer a click Remove device.
  3. Reinstall your printer drivers again and make sure you’ve selected all its necessary components.

Method 2 – Add your printer manually

  1. Assuming your printer is already connected via USB, turn it on.
  2. Open / Navigate to Control Panel from and go to Devices and Printers.
  3. Click on “Add a printer” and it will start the Add Printer Wizard which helps you install the printer.
  4. If the printer was detected, select your printer and click Next.  You should be able finish the installation soon.
  5. If your printer was not detected click “The printer that I want isn’t listed”.
  6. Select “Add a local printer or network printer with manual settings”. Click Next.
  7. Select the USB port used by your printer. Your printer may connected to USB001 or USB002 and then click Next.
  8. Click “Windows Update”.
  9. Select your printer from the list then click Next. The instructions on the screen will guide you to install the printer driver.

Your “printer driver is unavailable” error should disappear after following one, if not all, these methods.


  • I’ve encountered this problem a few times. saving for future reference!

    Jasmine Hewitt
  • Does not necessarily have to be the driver. It could also be due to the network connection. Once I had a similar problem, I was able to solve it successfully as follows:
    Shut down the computer. Then switch off the printer and disconnect it from the power supply. Then disconnect the router from the network for at least 30 seconds. Switch on the router again. Then restart the computer and wait until it is fully booted. Then switch on the printer again.
    If that shouldn’t work, I would install the drivers or follow the instructions here.


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