When Windows fails to communicate with your printer driver, it may display a ‘Driver is unavailable’ error message. That’s unusual if you’ve been using the printer with your Windows PC for a while. However, the latest Windows update or new software may have changed a few things. Since the error makes your printer unusable, you’ll need to fix it quickly.
Unfortunately, this error does not seem to go away, no matter how many times you restart your PC. Luckily, there are some potential fixes you can try to resolve the ‘Driver is unavailable’ error on Windows 11. So, let’s take a look at them.
1. Run the Printer Troubleshooter
Windows 11 includes many troubleshooters that can help you fix common system-level issues. For starters, you can run the printer troubleshooter to allow it to fix any issues with your printer. Here’s how to access it.
Step 1: Open the Start menu and click the gear-shaped icon to launch the Settings app.
Step 2: In the Bluetooth & devices tab, select Printers & scanners.
Step 3: Choose your printer from the list.
Step 4: Click on Run the troubleshooter.
Windows will automatically detect any issues with your printer and suggest fixes accordingly. Apply the recommended fixes and try using your printer again.
2. Update the Printer Driver
Outdated or incompatible printer drivers on your PC can also cause the ‘Driver is unavailable’ error. You can try updating the current printer drivers to see if that improves the situation.
Step 1: Right-click on the Start menu and select Device Manager from the menu that pops open.
Step 2: Double click on Print queues to expand it. Right-click on your printer and select Update driver.
Step 3: Select ‘Search automatically for drivers’ and allow Windows to install the best available drivers for your printer.
3. Reinstall the Printer Driver
If the error persists even after updating the drivers, the current printer drivers may be corrupt. In that case, you’ll need to uninstall the printer drivers and install them again. Here’s how you can go about it.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + R to open the Run dialog box. Type devmgmt.msc in the box and press Enter.
Step 2: Expand Print queues, right-click on your printer and select Uninstall device.
Step 3: Select Uninstall to confirm.
Restart your PC after this. Then, download and install the most recent drivers for your printer from the manufacturer’s website. After that, you should no longer receive the ‘Driver is unavailable’ error.
4. Switch to Generic Printer Drivers
You can temporarily switch to Microsoft’s generic printer drivers temporarily to solve the issue with the current printer drivers on your Windows computer. Here’s how.
Step 1: Click the search icon on the Taskbar, type device manager, and select the first result that appears.
Step 2: Expand Print queues, right-click on your printer device, and select Update driver.
Step 3: Select ‘Browse my computer for drivers.’
Step 4: Select ‘Let me pick from a list of available drivers on my computer.’
Step 5: Select Generic software device and hit Next.
Restart your PC and see if you can use your printer without getting the ‘Driver is unavailable’ error. However, this might be a temporary solution to get your printer working. You still might need the latest driver for the printer.
5. Reset Firewall Settings
Your current firewall settings might be preventing Windows from communicating with your printer. Instead of going through the Windows Firewall settings individually, you should consider resetting them by following the steps below.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + S to open the search menu. Type control panel in the box and press Enter.
Step 2: Switch the view type to Large icons and select Windows Defender Firewall.
Step 3: Select Restore defaults from the left pane.
Step 4: Click the Restore defaults button to confirm.
Try using your printer again to see if the error occurs again.
6. Install Windows Updates
Windows updates bring several new features, improvements, and bug fixes to your system. If the error is only occurring due to a buggy Windows build or incompatibility issues, updating Windows 11 to its most recent version should help.
Follow the steps below to check for pending system updates on Windows 11.
Step 1: Press the Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
Step 2: Navigate to the Windows Update tab and click on Check for updates.
Download and install any pending Windows updates and see if the issue is still there.
Always Available Printer
You can fix the ‘Driver is unavailable’ error by updating or reinstalling the driver. If not, you may need to use Microsoft’s generic driver or try some of the other fixes. Work your way through the solutions above, and let us know which solutions worked for you in the comments below.
Last updated on 16 August, 2022
The above article may contain affiliate links which help support Guiding Tech. However, it does not affect our editorial integrity. The content remains unbiased and authentic.