In recent times, when users try to print a page or image on printers locally connected to their PCs, an error message in this form is reported to come up to inform them of the operation being a failure or a similar event in the Windows operating system environment: Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem.
These error codes are associated with the issue in view (they sometimes appear alongside the notification):
- Error 0x80070002
- Error 0x80040154
The unexpected printer configuration problem is relatively common with HP printers, but we cannot rule out its association with printing devices produced by other manufacturers since the error message is system-generated. More importantly, it seems the issues or factors that trigger it can manifest themselves on almost all modern iterations of Windows like Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows 8.1, and Windows 10.
What is a configuration problem with a printer?
A configuration problem with a printer is an issue that results from inconsistencies or invalidities in the settings Windows applies to execute a printing operation on the printer.
What does it mean when it says your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem?
The notification is trying to tell users that their systems encountered an unexplainable or unknown issue while Windows was trying to perform a printing task. From the reports we gathered on the web, we can safely outline the following events or factors as precursors to the appearance of the message:
- A glitch involving the printer entries:
Sometimes, the appearance of the Your printer has experienced an expected configuration problem notification is down to the printer entries getting stuck due to some glitch affecting them. In such a scenario, Windows will struggle to print anything – even if the printer shows up as a functional device under the Printer and scanners screen in the Control Panel application.
The Windows Printer Troubleshooter should be able to assist you in resolving the problem defined here. Otherwise – if the troubleshooter fails to make things right – you must remove the printer as a device and then re-add it in the Printers and scanners menu in Control Panel.
- The printer driver is outdated or has stopped functioning:
The printer driver controls and manages the printing tasks centered on interactions between software (an application) and hardware (a printer). Your system is likely to have encountered the unexpected configuration problems because an outdated or faulty driver is being used on your computer.
To resolve the issue affecting the printer driver, you have to update it. You can get your PC to run the latest drivers through different procedures, some of which we intend to describe in this guide.
- Inconsistencies or discrepancies in the printer network settings:
Some reports indicate the Your Printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem notification comes up when the devices involved – especially the computer from which users intend to print – are not shared across the network.
If the assumption here holds true in your case, then you will be able to resolve the problem by making the printer sharable. The proposed operation is generally executed from the Printer properties menu in Control Panel.
- Interference from third-party applications or system programs like Windows Update:
When the problem in view has nothing to do with the events or factors described above, then you have to assume that third-party applications or system programs have played some part in causing the printer issue. Some utilities simply disrupt printing operations or they make changes to essential settings to cause trouble for users.
To fix the printer issue when it is down to interference from programs, you have to use System Restore.
You will find further information in the next section of this guide on resolving printer problems.
How to fix the Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem issue on Windows 10
Here, we have arranged the solutions in a specific way – taking into consideration their effectiveness in application and usage complexity – so you will do well to go through them in the order they appear.
Run the Printer Troubleshooter on your computer:
The built-in troubleshooters in Windows 10 resolve a wide range of issues affecting a specific service, process, or program in the operating system environment. Since the problem you are dealing with affects your printer or printing operations, the Printer Troubleshooter is the utility most likely to assist you in some way.
The Printer troubleshooter is programmed to analyze the factors in your case and examine the variables that define the problem. It will then apply a predetermined repair strategy or propose a fix, which you will be prompted to use. Invariably, if everything goes well or if the troubleshooter succeeds in doing its job, then your problem will be resolved in no time without you having to do much.
Go through these steps:
- First, you have to fire up the Run application window. You can use this keyboard shortcut to accomplish that task: Windows logo button + letter R key.
Once the Run program window is displayed, you must fill the text field there with this code: ms-settings:troubleshoot.
Hit the Enter button on your keyboard. Once the code gets executed, the Troubleshoot screen in the Settings application will come up.
- Check the items under the Get up and running section and locate Printer. Click on Printer to get it highlighted and then click on the Run the troubleshooter button (that recently appeared).
The Printer troubleshooter window will come up now. You have to wait for the scan operation to reach completion.
- Assuming the Printer Troubleshooter has proposed something, you have to click on the Apply this fix button to continue.
- Once you are sure the troubleshooter is done with its work, you must close its window and then check if you can now print stuff without issues through the printer you struggled with earlier.
If the printer troubleshooting utility built into Windows 10 fails to do enough to resolve your problem, you can search for the alternative troubleshooting tool provided by Microsoft on the web.
After you download the Microsoft Printer Troubleshooter file, you must run it, select the right parameters, and then allow it to scan your computer for the printer issues and resolve them where applicable. The same recommendations for the printer troubleshooter built into Windows apply here.
Remove the affected printer and then re-add it:
It seems the changes resulting from the removal and the reintroduction operation for printers go a long way in resolving the Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem issue. Many users managed to fix things this way, at least, so you might enjoy the same success.
The procedure proposed here is not known to trigger other conflicts or issues. You just have to contend with a minor inconvenience – your printer will be listed twice in the devices list under the Printers and scanners menu in Settings or Control Panel.
Anyway, here are the instructions you must follow to do the job:
- First, you have to launch the Run app. You can use the keyboard shortcut we recommended earlier (in the first step of the previous fix).
This time, once the Run window comes up, you must fill its text box with this code: ms-settings:printers.
Hit the Enter button on your PC’s keyboard. Windows will get on with the code’s execution to fire up the Printers and scanners screen in the Settings application window.
- Click on the + icon beside Add a printer or scanner (under the Add printers and scanners menu). Now, you have to wait for Windows to detect or identify your printer.
- Once Windows confirms its recognition of your printer, you must proceed with the relevant operation to set it up for use.
- Here, assuming you successfully managed to add your printer again, you have to close all programs and then restart your computer.
- Now, after the recommended reboot, you must initiate a simple printing operation to verify that the issue defined by the Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem notification has been resolved for good.
Update your printer drivers:
We already identified your computer running an outdated or faulty printer driver as a potential cause of the printer problem in view, so it is only logical we should show you how to update the affected driver. Some users confirmed that the issue had stopped manifesting itself after they had downloaded and installed the latest driver updates, so we can infer that the update operation either brought new driver versions or introduced patches or fixes to the existing (buggy) driver software.
Anyway, you can go through these steps to update your printer driver quickly through the standard interface in Windows:
- First, you have to launch the Device Manager app. You can use the Windows logo button + letter X keyboard shortcut to fire up the Power User menu utilities and then choose Device Manager from the list.
- Once the Device Manager window comes up, you must go through the items listed there, locate Print Queues (or Printers) and then click on the expansion icon for this item.
- Once the devices inside the selected category become visible, you must right-click on the Printer you are struggling with to see its menu or options list and then choose Update driver.
The Update driver window for the chosen printing device will be displayed now.
- You have to go with the Search automatically for updated driver software option.
Windows will search the relevant download centers or servers for an updated version of the selected driver. If it finds something that corresponds to your computer build or configuration, it will download and install it.
For the most part, you have to follow the instructions that show up on your screen, observe the progress of the tasks, and affirm operations where applicable.
- At this point – assuming the new printer driver has been installed – you must reboot your computer to let all the new software begin to function.
If the Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem notification comes up again when you try to print stuff using the same printer – even after you got your computer to run a new driver version – then you have to try out a different driver version. You must proceed to the next method of updating drivers below.
If you could not get Windows to install a new driver for your printer – because the search operation for updated driver software returned no results – then you have no choice but to update your driver manually. See the guide below for the description of the processes involved.
In the manual method of updating a driver – after you remove the problematic or outdated driver – you have to identify the driver you seek to update (in name and version) and gather as much information about it as you can, search for updated versions of the driver online, and then download and install the new driver package.
Alternatively, if you have no desire to perform the tedious and complicated tasks that make up the manual driver updating process, you can push things through quickly here and now by downloading and installing Auslogics Driver Updater. This program will instead execute the necessary operations on your behalf – it will help you identify the printer driver, go online to find an updated version, and then proceed to download and install the new driver package as a replacement for the outdated or faulty driver.
Anyway, we will now walk you through the uninstallation operation for the outdated driver:
- You have to fire up the Device Manager application window again and then click on the expansion icon for Print Queues (or Printers) to see its contents.
- This time, once the printer device you intend to work on becomes visible, you must right-click on it to see its menu options and then choose Uninstall device.
When the confirmation prompt for the uninstallation operation comes up, you must click on the Uninstall button there to affirm things.
- Now, you have to wait while Windows uninstalls the printer driver in view.
At this stage – assuming the uninstallation operation for the printer driver was a success – you must avoid restarting your computer. Otherwise, your system – after a reboot session or the next startup – will install a generic version of the printer driver, and this is one outcome or event you want to avoid for the time being.
If your PC installs the generic or regular version of the printer driver, you will end up with the same printer issue you have been struggling with all this while.
- At this point, you must fire up your browser application and search for the driver you need on the web.
You can check your manufacturer website for the driver versions they have for your computer or system configuration. You can also check third-party websites, pages, or download centers for driver software.
You have to keep certain things in mind, though. You must download only the driver version specific to your computer or system configuration. If you download and install a printer driver not meant for your PC, you are likely to run into issues again, some of which might be worse than what you are dealing with currently.
You must also be careful enough to avoid downloading malicious software. You must be mindful of the web pages or download centers hosting the item you seek. Ideally, you should get stuff from trusted or proven sources, but you might struggle to keep to this recommendation.
- Now, assuming you have downloaded the relevant driver package, you must double-click on it to run it.
- When the installation window for the driver comes up, you must follow the on-screen prompts to proceed with the operations there.
Fortunately, most printer drivers are coded to perform their installation tasks automatically (without much input from users), so you will probably just have to click or double-click on certain buttons to confirm prompts and not much else.
- Once your system finishes installing the new driver, you must restart your PC. After your computer starts up, you must reattempt the printing tasks you struggled with earlier due to printer problems and see how things go this time.
Make the affected printer shareable:
If the Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem issue got triggered only because you initiated a printing operation for a printer that was not shared across the network your computer uses, then the issue should be resolved after you make the printer a shareable device. This event was what played out on a good number of computers (according to user reports).
If our postulations apply in your case, then you must go through these instructions to make your printer shareable:
- First, you need to launch the Control Panel app. Fire up the Run app using the Windows logo button + letter R keyboard shortcut and then fill its text field with this word:
Hit the Enter button on your keyboard. By the time your system finishes executing the code, the Control Panel application window will be visible on your screen.
- Carefully go through the Control Panel menu items and click on Device and Printers.
If that item is missing, you must perform a search operation using Device as a keyword in the text field situated in the top-right corner of the window and then click on Devices and Printers (from the returned results).
- Now, assuming you are on the appropriate screen, you must right-click on the printer with which you encountered problems to see some options and then choose Printer Properties.
The Properties window for the chosen printer will be displayed now.
- Click on the Sharing tab (to go there). Click on the checkbox for the Share this printer parameter to select it.
- Fill the text field for Share name with words you can use to identify the printer on the network.
- Click on the Apply button. Click on the OK button to save the new configuration for the printer.
- Close the Control Panel app and other program windows. Try to print something using the printer in view.
Clear the Print Spooler files and restart the service:
We generally advise users to clear their Print Spooler files to resolve a wide range of printing failures or problems affecting their printers in the Windows operating system environment. The Print Spooler service manages printing tasks within your computer, so it makes sense that the reset operation for this service – executed by clearing its files or logs and then restarting it – brings about useful changes that resolve issues.
Anyway, the instructions on clearing the Print Spooler file have been outlined below:
- First, you have to launch the Run app. We asked you to perform this task a couple of times in the previous procedures, so we can safely assume that you are already familiar with it.
- This time, this is the code you must input into the text box on the Run window: msc.
Hit the Enter button on your PC’s keyboard. By the time Windows is done executing the code, the Services window will be up on your computer’s screen.
- Go through the services listed and locate Print Spooler. Right-click on Print Spooler to see its menu options and then choose Properties.
The Properties window for the selected service will be displayed now.
- Click on the Stop button (under the Service status section).
Windows will now act to terminate proceedings for the service in view.
- Click on the OK button. Minimize the Services window (keep it running in the background).
With the Print Spooler service rendered inactive, you can proceed to delete its files and logs.
- Here, you must open the Run application window again and then input the following code into its text box: %WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers\.
Tap the Enter button on your PC’s keyboard. If your system brings up a permission prompt or similar access window, you have to click on the Continue button to proceed with things. You might still have to provide the credentials for your admin account.
Once your computer executes the inputted code, you will end up in the Print Spooler directory in a File Explorer application window.
- Use the CTRL + Letter A keyboard shortcut to select all the items in the folder, right-click on the highlighted items to see the options available, and then select Delete.
Wait for Windows to finish removing all the items there.
- At this point, you must return to the Services window you minimized earlier. Right-click on the Print Spooler service as you did before and then choose Properties.
- This time – after the Properties window for the chosen service comes up – you must click on the Start button (under the Service status section).
Windows will now reinstitute proceedings for the service.
- You can go a step further to click on the drop-down menu for Startup type and then choose Automatic (from the options available for this parameter).
- Click on the Apply button. Click on the OK button to finish your work.
- Close the Services window and other applications. Restart your computer.
- Here, after the reboot procedure, you must confirm that the Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem message no longer comes up when you try to print a page or image using your printer.
Other things you can try to resolve the issue associated with the Your printer has experienced an unexpected configuration problem notification on Windows 10
In a scenario where you end up struggling with the problem that brought you to this page even after you went through the solutions we described in details, you will be pleased to see this additional list of fixes.
Check for, fetch, and then install all Windows updates:
There is a good chance that a certain Windows update – currently missing from your computer – will introduce the bug patches or install the fixes that will get rid of the printer problems you are struggling with now or stop them from manifesting themselves forever. For what it’s worth, a reasonable number of user reports online support this suggestion.
Reset your printer manually:
If the software changes resulting from operations executed on your computer fail to do enough to resolve the issues affecting your printer, then you have to consider shaking things up through physical procedures. A manual reset task performed correctly is a step in the right direction. You might have to check your printer manual for the relevant instructions or contact your printing device manufacturer for support and advice.
Use System Restore:
If the printer problem to which a solution has continued to elude you got triggered due to operations executed on your computer or events that occurred on Windows – regardless of your knowledge about them – then you can use System Restore to force your PC to revert to an old state. The chosen state, in principle, must be one where the current issues (or the factors and variables that give rise to them) are non-existent.