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15269832 asked LimitlessTechnology-0326 answered

Unable to Add a Printer to Windows 11 Pro (No Visible Errors)

We have recently purchased three new workstations that came with Windows 11 Pro. These are our first Windows 11 machines in our company, as almost everything else is Windows 10. Recently, the users on two of the Windows 11 workstations tried to add a printer from our Print Server, and could not add the printer. Once I logged in, I also attempted to install the printer, but had no luck. I can go through the normal dialog in Settings -> Bluetooth & Devices -> Printers & Scanners -> Add a Printer or Scanner, but once I attempt to print a test page, it won't, and when I hit the "Finish" button, the dialog closes out but does not install the printer; the printer is not listed in the list of installed printers. There is no error that pops up, and I do not see any new errors in Event Viewer.

I have also attempted to add the printer using the old "Devices and Printers" module from the old Control Panel, but I still experience the same issue (dialog acts like it installs the printer, but does not). I have also attempted to install the printer by IP address instead of from the directory, but still experience the same results; the only difference is that when I attempt to install by IP address, I have to manually select the driver (which appears to be available), but it still does not install the printer.

I am currently at a loss, considering that Windows 11 is the most current version of Windows that theoretically should have the most support. Everything that I have found online conncerning print issue with Windows 11 gives me pause to purchase any new Windows 11 computers, as well as allow any current systems to upgrade to Windows 11. While in the eyes of Microsoft, I imagine that my installation profile (100+ workstations across three locations) is somewhat minor; I also feel that my installation profile isn't that uncommon, nor are my issues with adding printers. I'm hoping I can get an answer or solution from Microsoft itself or the community; in fact, I was informed by a community moderator to repost this question here, instead of the Microsoft Community forums. Any help or direction towards a solution would be greatly appreciated.

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1 Answer

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LimitlessTechnology-0326 answered

Hi DullesGlassITDepartment-1257,

Does your printer have WIndows 11 drivers available? It's possible that there are no drivers available for Windows 11 and that's the reason why you're experiencing this issue.

You can try working through the following:

  1. Run the Printer Troubleshooter

When you have made sure the printer is well-plugged, there is paper in the printer tray and your printer has not run out of ink or toner cartridge, Troubleshooting is most likely to solve the general software issues.

All you have to do is open Settings > System > Troubleshoot > Other troubleshooters. Here, you will find the Printer troubleshooter among the list of Windows troubleshooters. Click on the Run button next to it to activate it. If there are any problems impeding your printing process, the troubleshooter will show you how to fix it.

  1. Update the Relevant Drivers
    Running the troubleshooter should be your go-to step whenever an error or issue arises. However, it is highly rare for it to diagnose, let alone solve, the problem. As a result, the next first reasonable step is to check for driver updates.

Right-click the Start Menu button and select Device Manager from the list.
Scroll down and expand the Print Queues menu.
Right-click on Microsoft Print to PDF and select Update driver. This prompt will open another window.

Selecting Search automatically for updated driver software in Windows 11 runs a check through your PC for updates. If it shows the best device driver already installed, you can still give the manual option a try. To do this:

Right-click Microsoft Print to PDF and select Properties from the drop-down menu.
Go to the Details panel.
Select Device instance path from the drop-down list under Property and then copy the Value that appears.
Go to the DriverPack database.
Paste the copied value in the search box, download a suitable driver and then install it.

  1. Restart the Print Spooler
    Occasionally, printer issues are caused by unresponsive devices and driver settings, rather than by outdated drivers.

To solve this:

Press Win + R to launch the Run dialogue box.
Type "services.msc" and press enter.
In services, find Print spooler and double-click on it.
Proceed by clicking on Stop.
Then follow the path C:\Windows\system32\spoolsv.exe and delete all the files present in the folder.
content in spool folder
Now, all you have to do is go back to Services and manually start the print spooler service again.
Restart your PC.
4. Recheck Your Default Printer
Often, improper printer and scanner setup is the leading cause of printing issues. The most common reason why you face printer issues is that you didn’t choose your PDF printer as your default printing device or that you configured it to the incorrect port. It can simply be solved by:

Open Control Panel through your Windows search menu
Click View devices and printers under Hardware and Sound.
Under the Printers panel, right-click on your PDF printer and select Set as default.

Then, head over to Properties > Ports.
Scroll through the list and select the port type that matches your connection.
Select Configure Port > Apply > OK.
different ports in printer properties

  1. Disable the Firewall
    If your problem is still not solved the most probable culprit is your Windows Defender Firewall. It's possible that your firewall has been configured too strict, preventing the printer from interacting properly. As a result, turning off the Firewall is a viable option.

You can even permanently disable your firewall and move to another firewall alternative.

Go to Start > Settings > Privacy & Security > Windows Security > Firewall & network protection.
Toggle off the Windows Defender Firewall.
Go back, and repeat the same for Private network and Public network.
6. Check for New Windows Updates
Sometimes a newly available Windows update can be the key to resolving your printer issues and errors on Windows 11. It is possible you weren't notified about the latest Windows update, so it's worth checking out if a new version is available manually.

Press the Win key and click on the Settings icon.
Head over to Windows Update
Click on Check for Updates.
Windows will automatically search for updates and if any new version is available, it will be installed, thus resolving your printer error.

  1. Remove Your Last Windows 11 Update
    Ironically, a new Windows update can also invite bugs that render your printer useless. If you noticed your printer stopped working right after a recent Windows update, you will need to delete the update from your computer.

For this, head over to Settings > Windows Update > Update history. Here, you should select Uninstall updates situated under Related settings. This action will prompt open a list of Windows updates where you must select the latest one and click on Uninstall.

If the latest Windows 11 update was the culprit, reversing it should do the trick kickstart the printer once again.

--If the reply is helpful, please Upvote and Accept as answer--

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