How to Fix Printer Driver is Unavailable on Windows 11

If you’re printing a lot, you may run across the “printer driver is unavailable” error on Windows 11. Here’s how to fix it.

Seeing a printer driver is unavailable error on Windows 11? The message is pretty clear—your printer drivers are missing, corrupt, or just aren’t working as expected.

If this happens, there’s usually a clear-cut reason why. If you’ve recently updated your PC, a new driver may prove incompatible with your printer. A driver might be missing entirely, making it impossible for your printer to work properly.

You can fix this error message in a few different ways—even a quick restart might solve it. If it doesn’t, however, you can give these more complex troubleshooting tips a try.

Check Windows Update

It should go without saying, but keeping your system up to date is essential to ensure your PC has the latest  security, stability, and usability fixes. If there is a critical Windows bug that’s causing the printer error, Microsoft could have a fix available for it.

To manually check for Windows updates, use the Windows key + I keyboard shortcut to launch Settings. When Settings opens, go to Windows update > Check for updates and install anything it recommends. windows update

Your PC may restart to complete the update process, so make sure to close any important apps first.

Update Your Printer Driver

Printer drivers usually come with important bug fixes and feature upgrades. If you’re using an older driver, it could be causing a printer driver is unavailable message on your Windows 11 PC.

Thankfully, you can quickly check for driver updates, but you’ll need to download the latest version of the driver from your printer manufacturer’s support website. A quick Google search for the printer make and model should help you find this.

Once you’ve downloaded the driver files, follow these steps:

  1. Use the keyboard shortcut Windows key + R to launch the Run dialog.
  2. In Run, type devmgmt.msc and click OK.devmgmt fix printer driver is unavailable on windows 11
  3. When Device Manager opens, expand the Printers section, right-click the printer, and select Update driver.update driver device manager
  4. When the Update Drivers wizard opens, select Browse my computer for drivers, and follow the on-screen instructions to install the driver you downloaded.update wizard search PC
  5. If that doesn’t work, relaunch the update wizard, but this time choose Search automatically for drivers. Follow the wizard’s instructions if it finds a driver check fix driver unavailable on Windows 11

If you can’t select your printer driver files, your printer manufacturer may offer them with an automatic installer (usually with a .exe file extension). If that’s the case, run the file—the new driver should install automatically.

Uninstall Your Printer Driver

Unfortunately, the printer driver is unavailable error might appear if you’ve recently updated your driver. Not every printer driver is compatible or bug-free. There’s also the possibility that your existing driver is corrupted and required replacing.

If this happens, you can try removing the driver and reinstalling it to try and resolve the issue. To uninstall and reinstall a printer driver on Windows 11, use the following steps:

  1. Press the Start button, type device manager, and choose the top result.device manager windows 11 start menu
  2. When Device Manager opens, expand the Printers section, right-click your device, and select Uninstall device from the menu.uninstall fix printer drive is unavailable on windows 11
  3. When the confirmation window appears, check the Delete the driver software for this device option and click the Uninstall button.verify uninstall driver
  4. Restart Windows 11 to apply the changes—Windows should reinstall the correct driver during the startup process.Restart Hold Shift

Run the Printer Troubleshooter

Windows 11 has built-in troubleshooters for various hardware devices—including one for a printer.

To run the printer troubleshooter on Windows 11, follow these steps:

  1. Click Start and open Settings.
  2. When Settings opens, navigate to System > Troubleshoot.system Troubleshoot
  3. In the Options section, click Other troubleshooters.other troubleshooters
  4. Find the Printer option and click the Run button next to it.printer fix printer driver is unavailable on Windows 11
  5. The printer troubleshooter will start looking for problems and attempt to fix them automatically.fix printer driver is unavailable on Windows 11

Better Printing on Windows

If you’re getting a printer driver is unavailable error on your Windows 11 PC, one of the fixes described above should get it working. Typically, you can get it up and running by updating or reinstalling the printer’s current driver.

It’s also worth noting that if you have a plug-and-play printer, you can unplug the USB cable, plug it back in, and re-run the setup wizard. If it doesn’t work, try a different port or troubleshoot USB on Windows 11.

If you’re not on Windows 11 yet, take a look at installing a printer on Windows 10. You can also share a printer if you have more than one PC using it.

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