How to Solve a Printer Not Recognized Error

If you are struggling with a Printer Not Recognized error when connecting your printer to your PC, it could point to a USB or cable related issue.

Modern printers install the required drivers automatically when you connect them to the PC. This process, however, can sometimes fail, and you will have to take additional actions to fix the issue.

printer not recognized error

Follow the steps below if your Printer is not automatically recognized and installed after you connected it.

If Printer Not Recognized – First Check Printer Software

Some printers come with an installation disk and proprietary software that may be required for the printer to work. The vendor may have created the software to extend the features of the printer, possibly including applications such as photo editors or document scanners.

In cases where your printer came with a software suite, it is always the best option to ensure you have installed the software before connecting the printer to your computer.

If the PC does still not recognize the printer after installing the software – or if your printer didn’t come with additional software – you should check the printer’s cables.

Check Cables and Printer USB Ports

A poor cable connection can cause the printer to lose communication with the host PC. Check all cable connections (including the power cord) on the printer side.

If the printer does have power and you’ve properly connected the communication cable, but the printer is still not recognized, try switching to a different USB port on the PC.

Why USB Ports Can Fail to Recognize a Device

USB connections are the most common way to connect a device to a computer. In the past, connecting and disconnecting new devices to your PC required you to shut down the machine.

The release of Plug And Play devices in the 1990s allowed you to connect or disconnect devices without having to boot the PC for the device to be recognized.

The process of connecting a device via USB can still fail, however. When you insert a device cable into a USB port, the PC will first reset the port and then read the device info before assigning an address. If the PC is unable to reset the port, the device will remain unrecognized.

  1. Removing the faulty USB Hub from the Device Manager and reinstalling it may fix the problem with the specific USB port not resetting.
  2. USB drivers may need to be updated if other USB devices aren’t working.

Update Printer Driver

Using the Windows “Add New Hardware Wizard” – or “Add Printer Wizard” on newer versions – will allow you to navigate to the device driver that came with your printer, or locate a driver online.

If you’ve installed the driver, but the printer is still not working, you may have installed an outdated or broken driver.

Printer Manufacturers regularly update their drivers simply because they can become a security risk. With the advance of the Internet of Things, network printers have become an easy target for hackers. To protect your PC from known exploits, you should have the latest, verified printer driver installed for your device.

Windows may sometimes install a generic device driver for your printer if it fails to locate the correct driver from its vendor’s list. A generic driver may also cause the Printer Not Recognized error to appear.

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