Printer Unresponsive? Here’s How to Fix the Printer Driver Is Unavailable Error on Windows 10
A printer is a great piece of equipment when it works, but when it acts up, it can be extremely frustrating.
Your printer could run reliably for years, producing thousands of prints, but it could also malfunction or even stop responding entirely. We will examine some of the most common printer problems to help you resolve any problems you may have reproducing your documents.
Sometimes, you may find the reason is something as simple as overuse or wear on printer components. Strangely, underuse of your printer could also lead to printing problems, as dried-up ink could block inkjet printer nozzles. You could also find that debris, such as lint, may clog your printer, resulting in paper jams or damage.
However, the problem could be more complex, resulting in an error message. Typically, an error message could mean that your printer’s software may be improperly installed on your computer, or there may be a problem with your device drivers. Luckily, you can easily find out how to fix the Printer Driver Is Unavailable Error on Windows 10 and bring an unresponsive printer back to life.
Why Is My Printer Not Printing with Windows 10?
There are several reasons why your printer may be unresponsive. You should start by checking out the basics, such as making sure there is paper in the tray, cables are connected to the printer, the printer is hooked up to your Wi-Fi, and toner cartridges are not exhausted. You should also try looking for warning lights on the device or error messages displayed by your Windows 10 computer.
Additionally, if you recently upgraded your computer’s operating system from Windows 7 or 8 to Windows 10 and find that your device does not print properly, it could be that the upgrade process has damaged the printer driver. You could also have a printer driver that is incompatible with your new version of Windows.
Upon the release of Windows 10, Microsoft indicated that there will be no backward compatibility built into the OS for certain software and applications. The same also applies to certain printer drivers. Several printer manufacturers failed to update their drivers in a timely fashion, further complicating the issue.
An incompatible driver or corrupt file may be the reason you experience the Driver Unavailable error. Luckily, this is easy to fix if you take a methodical approach. All you need to do is check for any Windows updates and then install the latest driver for your printer.
What Is a Printer Driver?
Before we examine how to fix the Printer Driver Is Unavailable Error on Windows 10, it is important to know what a printer driver is. It is simply a small program installed on your computer that enables communication between it and the printer.
It serves two main functions. The first is as a bridge between the printer and your computer, letting your computer understand the hardware specifications and details of the printer. Second, the driver is responsible for translating the print job data to signals that the printer can understand. Every printer has its own unique driver that is written to fit its profile on a particular operating system, in this case, Windows 10. If your printer is not properly configured or if you have installed an incorrect device driver, the computer will be unable to detect the printer.
However, certain printer models can use generic drivers that come bundled with Windows 10. This allows you to print without having to install additional drivers from the manufacturer. However, this often hinders you from utilizing your printer to its full potential since extra printer-specific functions and settings may not be available.
You could be at your computer having downloaded a file or typed a document that you need in hard copy, but when you try to send it to print, nothing happens. If your printer has stopped working and instead you see a Printer Driver Is Unavailable error on your screen, then you need to find out what the problem is. Here are three possible ways to fix this common error when running Windows 10:
1. Run the Windows Update Tool
One reason why your Windows 10 computer may display the Printer Driver Is Unavailable error could be that you have an operating system that is out of date. For this reason, you should immediately install all available Windows updates as soon as possible. This will not only help you get printing again but will also ensure the overall stability and security of your computer. Here’s how to run the Windows Update utility:
- Click the Start button at the bottom-right corner of your screen.
- Click the Settings icon.
- Choose the Update and Security option.
- Windows will search for updates and, if any are found, will download and install automatically.
- After the update process is complete, restart your computer.
After your PC has restarted, you may check for the error message and try to print to check if the issue has been fixed.
2. Manually Update Your Printer Drivers
If you still have an error after carrying out a Windows update, you should consider updating your printer drivers. You could visit the printer manufacturer’s website and find out if the device is supported by Windows 10. Driver downloads are commonly found in the manufacturer’s Support section.
If the device is supported, you should download the latest stable version. Once downloaded, double-click the installer file to add the new driver. However, you may find that your printer only supports the manual installation of drivers. You can do this by following the steps below:
- Open Control Panel.
- On the top right-hand side of the dialog, select the Small Icons view then click on Device Manager.
- Within the Device Manager window, find the printer that you wish to install drivers for. Often, you will find that a printer with missing, corrupt or outdated drivers will have a yellow exclamation mark next to its name.
- Right-click the printer name and choose the option Update Driver Software from the pop-up menu that appears.
- A new window appears with two options. Choose the option marked “Search automatically for updated driver software.” Follow the instructions in the wizard that appears to install the latest drivers for your printer if you do not already have them. If you had already downloaded drivers from the manufacturer’s support site, then select “Browse my computer for driver software” instead.
3. Automatically Update Your Printer Drivers
As you can see, it is possible for you to search for printer drivers from the manufacturer’s website, download them and install manually. However, it should be apparent that this is a complex and tedious process, particularly if it is your first time. What’s more, if you make any mistakes or install the wrong printer drivers, you could make your computer unstable or even completely unusable.
Therefore, it is recommended that you use specialized driver search and updating software like Driver Support to make the task easier for you and remove all the guesswork. Once installed, such a program will automatically identify the issues that may be causing your printer to malfunction and provide solutions.
End Your Search for the Latest Printer Drivers and Resolve Printing Errors with Driver Support
Systematically going through the steps above will help you isolate the problems with your printer, and why it is unresponsive. Manually looking for Windows 10 updates and installing new printer drivers yourself is likely to resolve the Printer Driver Is Unavailable error.
However, you want to avoid wasting precious time scouring the internet for some obscure drivers. You will also want to avoid damaging your computer or printer by downloading incompatible drivers. When Driver Support software is installed and fully registered, it will not only help you to fix the error but will also scan your PC for any other problems that may affect its performance.
Stop suffering from the inconvenience of an unresponsive printer. Get Driver Support, get the latest drivers and enjoy the best quality printouts from your device.