How to Fix “Unable to Connect to Printer” Error in Windows 11
Windows supports many printers by default, so you can start printing right after connecting it to your PC. However, even after installing the correct drivers, you may encounter a “Failed to connect to the printer” error. This error can occur if you have not set up your printer correctly or if the cables to the printer are loose, to name a few.
Here are some troubleshooting methods if you can’t print from certain applications or can’t connect your printer in Windows.
1. Restart the printer
Restarting the printer is the best way to resolve most connection issues with your printer.
It is quite simple to restart a printer by doing the following:
- Turn off your printer by pressing the Power button.
- Once the printer screen is off, you need to remove the power cable from your printer.
- Wait at least 20 seconds before reconnecting the power cable.
- Now you can order a test print from your Windows PC and check for connection issues.
In most cases, a simple restart should resolve any connection issues with your printer. However, if this does not allow you to do your job, there are many other ways as well.
2. Check all connected cables
Turn off your printer and unplug it from the power source. Now make sure to check all connected cables of your printer. If a cable is loose, you must connect it correctly to avoid connection problems. In addition, if cables are damaged or cut, the only recourse is to replace them.
Also, before powering up, make sure the cables are connected to the correct ports. If you are unsure of the ports, you can refer to your printer manufacturer’s website or the guide that came with the printer itself. Finally, you can power on the device and check for errors by printing a test document.
3. Examine the Group Policy Editor
The Group Policy Editor (GPE) is an advanced configuration editor for the Windows operating system. It allows you to change most Windows advanced settings in no time.
When you connect a printer to your computer without administrator rights, Windows does not allow you to install the drivers correctly. In this case, you need to change an option in the Group Policy Editor to fix it.
Follow the steps outlined below to troubleshoot connection issues with your printer:
- Open the Run menu by pressing Win + R on your keyboard.
- Now type gpedit.msc and click OKAY.
- Below Setting up a computerClick on Administrative Templates > Printers.
- Double click on the Restricts printer driver installation to administrators option and select Disabled.
- To save changes, click Apply so what OKAY.
- Now you need to restart your PC.
Also make sure that the Allow the print spooler to accept client connections option is set to either Not configured Where Enabled.
To note: GPE functionality is exclusive to Windows Pro, Education, and Enterprise editions. Therefore, you need to use a workaround to access the Group Policy Editor on Windows Home.
4. Update your printer driver
If you haven’t installed the drivers for your printer yet, go to your printer manufacturer’s website and download the necessary drivers from there.
If you have already installed the drivers and you are still having problems, you need to update the driver. Follow the steps mentioned below to update your printer driver:
- Open the Start menu by pressing the key the Windows touch and knock Device Manager.
- Click on Open and select Print Queues to check all connected printers.
- Right click on your printer name in the list.
- In the contextual menu that follows, click on Update Driver.
- If you downloaded the latest driver file, select Browser my computer for drivers. Then you need to choose the driver file in Windows Explorer to update the driver.
- If you don’t have the driver file, click Automatically search for drivers to update your printer driver.
- Once done, restart your PC.
If you’re not a geek and want a one-click solution, you can use one of the free driver updaters for Windows. Before running a driver scan, you must connect the printer to your computer.
If the pre-installed drivers are corrupted, it can lead to printer issues. Fortunately, with each major update, Microsoft is continually adding support for more and more printers and their drivers. That’s why we always recommend updating to the latest version of Windows.
5. Run the Printer Troubleshooter
Microsoft has provided a dedicated troubleshooter to fix printer-related issues in Windows. So, if you are still unable to resolve issues with your printer, running a printer troubleshooter might help.
Here are the steps to run a printer troubleshooter:
- Hurry Win + I to open the Settings app.
- Click on System > Troubleshooting > Other Troubleshooters and click To run next to the Printer option. Once done, the troubleshooter will automatically show you the recommended fixes on the screen.
- After all fixes are applied, click Close convenience store.
- Finally, restart your PC and recheck the connectivity.
If you are not a technical person, fixing Windows related errors is a breeze using the default troubleshooters. And if you want to know more, check out all Windows 11 troubleshooters.
6. Restart the print spooler service
If you have already performed all the steps above but are still having difficulty, restarting the print spooler service may help ease your headaches.
The Windows Printer Spooler service helps the operating system recognize connected printers. So, if the print spooler service is disabled, even by mistake, there is no way to get your printer to work.
You can restart the spooler service by following the steps below:
- Open the Run menu by pressing the key Win + R key combination.
- Once the menu is displayed, type services.msc and click OKAY.
- Scroll down and find Print spooler in the list.
- Click it Print spooler option and, on the left side of the screen, click To restart.
- That’s it. Try reconnecting your printer to your computer.
Restart your printer
Hope all the above methods can help you to fix the “Could not connect to the printer” error on your Windows computer.
Although there is no specific reason for this error, the most common fault is in the printer driver. So, it is highly recommended to update the drivers timely and do not change any Windows settings without prior knowledge.