What if Windows 10 can’t connect to the printer?

By ivan.diskin | March 6, 2019 |

greater than 6 minutes

When you upgrade any type of software, there can be compatibility issues with your existing devices. This kind of error can happen due to unforeseen incompatibility between your printer and the latest Windows 10 update. The good news is there’s a solution to this problem. You’re going to read about what to do if Windows 10 cannot connect to the printer. These solutions will eliminate the, “Windows cannot connect to the printer” message. You’re also going to learn about how to get around the Printer not connecting to computer via USB problem.

Troubleshoot #1: Is your printer listed under the Unspecified device section?

One of the first things to check after updating to the latest Windows 10 version is if your printer is listed under the Unspecified device section. Here is how to check for this issue:

  • Click the Start icon.
  • Select Settings from the menu.
  • Click the Devices choice.
  • Select the Printers & Scanners option in the top left corner of the screen.
  • Scroll down until you see Related Settings and click on Devices and Printers.
  • Find your printer’s icon and name in the Devices list.
  • Double-check to see if your printer is under the Unspecified section.

If you see your printer there (it may not be listed there, but there are more solutions given later that should solve this issue), follow these three steps:

  1. Make sure that your printer is connected to your computer and turned on.
  • Ensure that the printer is plugged into the electrical outlet and that the power switch is turned on. If your printer is on a shared network or you share the printer, make sure every computer and router is on as well. Protect your devices by making sure the power surge protector is plugged in and turned on. Ensure your printer’s USB cable is plugged into your computer. If your printer is wireless, check to see that your printer’s wireless option is on and then perform a wireless connectivity test from your printer’s menu. If everything looks to be plugged in and running properly but you still can’t connect your printer to Windows, it may be an issue with your computer not connecting to your wireless network.
  1. Go through the process of uninstalling and reinstalling your printer.
  • In order to uninstall your printer, you can follow these steps:

Click the Starticon.

Select the Settings option.

Click the Deviceschoice.

Choose Printers & Scanners in the upper left corner.

Locate your printer in the options and click on it.

Choose Remove Device.

  • After this process is complete, reinstall your printer by following these steps:

Click the Starticon.

Select the Settings option.

Click the Deviceschoice.

Choose Printers & Scanners in the upper left corner.

Choose the Add a Printer or Scanner option.

Find your printer and then click Add Device.

  • It is always good to print a test page to make sure the printer is functioning properly. If you see that it is installed but nothing is happening still, go to the printer manufacturer’s site to troubleshoot the issue and check for driver updates.
  • If you want to connect a local printer to your computer, plug the printer’s USB cable into one of the available USB ports on your computer and then turn the printer on.
  1. Make sure you update the drivers on your printer.
  • Most printers need driver software to work properly. Occasionally, you will have to update the printer driver you were currently using after a Windows 10 update so everything is still compatible with the latest version of Windows. Also, if you’ve had additional problems like power outages, virus infections, or anything else related to these issues, then the drivers may have been damaged. In order to download and install the most recent driver, use one of these three methods:

To use Windows Update, go to the Device Manager and get the list of available printing devices by opening the Printers option. With your mouse, right-click on the device you want and choose the Update Driver option. Then choose Search Automatically for Updated Driver Software from the given choices.

You can also download and install the driver manually if you’re more of a do-it-yourself kind of person. This is a great option if Windows didn’t find a driver update for your printer automatically or if you don’t have or can’t locate the installation disk for the printer. Checking the manufacturer’s website for the latest driver for your printer could resolve this issue.

Installing the driver software from the printer’s manufacturer is also another option. The software for installing your printer’s driver may be on the installation disc.

  • In addition to the methods provided, you can also update your driver by using the Auslogics Driver Updater software and update all of your drivers with ease. This is the best method for searching for and downloading drivers with just a few clicks.
  • When the driver for your printer has been updated, follow these steps:
  1. Disconnect the computer from the printer’s USB cable.
  2. Click the Starticon.
  3. Select the Settings option.
  4. Click the Deviceschoice
  5. Choose Printers & Scanners in the upper left corner.
  6. Select the printer you want and click Remove Device.
  7. Open the taskbar and type Print Management in the search field box and choose the related search result.
  8. Select the All Printersoption.
  9. Once you find your printer, right-click and press Delete.
  10. Now go to the Starticon and restart your computer.
  11. Insert your printer’s USB cable into your computer again and try reinstalling the driver and software.
  • If none of these steps have resolved your issue, then try the possible solutions listed below.

Troubleshoot #2: Does your printer have limited functionality with Windows 10?

Sometimes the issue may be that the printer doesn’t work with Windows 10 and has limited functionality. So before following the steps provided, make sure your printer is not in this category. The steps to see if your printer is compatible are as follows:

  • Move your cursor over the Start icon and right-click.
  • Choose Control Panel.
  • Select the Hardware and Soundoption.
  • Click on Devices and Printers,and a list of devices and printers will be shown.
  • Navigate through the Unspecified section and see if your printer is listed.

When you understand if your printer is unspecified or not, follow the next steps to solve the issue.

Troubleshoot #3: Check your antivirus program

Another solution may be temporarily disabling the antivirus and security software you have. Try uninstalling any third-party antivirus software you have on your computer. Make sure you only temporarily disable it though because that software is preventing security threats on your computer. When the connection error is fixed, have your antivirus enabled again immediately. And if your antivirus software is causing the issue, consider switching to a different product.

Troubleshoot #4: Try rebooting your computer

One of the first solutions to be performed when encountering any computer issues is rebooting your computer. But if nothing happens after a reboot, try this additional solution below.

Troubleshoot #5: Is your computer switching from the default printer?

Sometimes your computer will keep on switching from the default printer. This can be changed in the Windows 10 Settings app so you can use the printer you want. In order to change the default setting, follow these steps:

  • Click the Starticon.
  • Select the Settingsoption.
  • Click the Devices choice.
  • Choose Printers & Scanners in the upper left corner.
  • Scroll down the page until you see Let Windows Manage My Default Printer.
  • Turn this option off.

Troubleshoot #6: Do you have the most recent Windows update?

In order to keep your computer functioning properly, you have to keep updating Windows with its most recent system updates and drivers. This may also help correct any issues you’ve been experiencing. Here’s how you can update Windows manually:

  • Click the Starticon.
  • Type Windows Updates in the search field.
  • Select Windows Updates Settings.
  • Choose the Check for updates option.
  • Then choose to install the latest Windows updates.

Troubleshoot #7: Clear the spooler files

Another way to fix the connectivity issue is to clear spooler files and restart the spooler service. Here’s how to do this if none of the previous solutions were successful:

  • Click the Start icon.
  • Type Services in the search field box.
  • Select Services from the given results.
  • In the Services menu, double-click on Print Spooler.
  • Click Stop and then click OK.
  • When the service is disabled, go back to the search box and type %WINDIR%\system32\spool\printers.
  • Make sure you have admin privileges and select the file folder.
  • Delete every file that’s in the folder.
  • Click Services and double-click on Print Spooler again.
  • Click the Start icon.
  • Find the Startup Type list.
  • Choose the Automatic box.
  • Press Apply and then click OK.

If none of these solutions worked, then you may want to contact your printer’s manufacturer for more ways to troubleshoot the issue and ask them to give you support based on what you’re experiencing. If you have any questions or comments about connecting your printer to your computer after the latest Windows 10 update, then please post them in the section below. Any feedback will be beneficial in serving you better and resolving your issue.

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