7 Ways to Fix ”Windows Cannot Connect to the Printer”
When your Microsoft Windows PC fails to connect to your printer, you get an error message: ”Windows Cannot Connect to the Printer.” You can’t print your documents or perform printer-related tasks when this happens.
Some common reasons you get this error is that your printer is turned off, you don’t have the correct printer drivers installed, or your PC has a minor glitch. Once you fix these issues, your PC successfully connects to your printer, allowing you to print your documents.
1. Turn On Your Printer
One commonly overlooked reason your PC can’t make a connection with your printer is that your printer is turned off. Check that the printer is plugged in and turned on, and if you’re using a power strip, make sure that’s turned on, too.
2. Use the Windows 10/11 Printer Troubleshooter
Windows includes many troubleshooters to help you find and fix problems. One is a printer troubleshooter that helps identify and resolve any printer-related issues.
This troubleshooter detects and resolves most issues on its own, requiring minimal interaction from you.
- Open Settings by pressing Windows + I at the same time.
- Select Update & Security in Settings.
- Choose Troubleshoot in the sidebar on the left.
- Select Additional troubleshooters on the right.
- Select Printer and choose Run the troubleshooter.
- Wait for the troubleshooter to find and fix your printer issues.
3. Restart the Print Spooler Service
Windows’ print spooler service stores your print jobs until your printer is ready to print them. It’s worth stopping and restarting this service when you experience issues like ”Windows Cannot Connect to the Printer.”
It only takes a minute to turn this service off and back on.
- Launch Run by pressing Windows + R at the same time.
- Type the following in the Run box and press Enter: services.msc
- Double-click Print Spooler on the right to open the Properties menu.
- Select Stop to temporarily stop the spooler service.
- Wait for about ten seconds.
- Reactivate the service by selecting Start.
4. Update Your Printer’s Drivers
When you install a printer on your PC, Windows installs the required drivers to allow your printer to communicate with your machine. Over time, these drivers become outdated and cause various issues with your printer.
Your ”Windows Cannot Connect to the Printer” error may result from outdated printer drivers. In this case, you can fix the issue by updating the installed drivers. Windows’ Device Manager automates the process, so you don’t have to find and install the latest drivers manually.
- Open Device Manager by right-clicking the Start menu icon and choosing Device Manager.
- Expand the Print queues section, right-click your printer, and choose Update driver.
- Select Search automatically for drivers to let Windows find the latest printer drivers.
- Wait for Windows to find and install the updated drivers.
- If newer drivers aren’t available, you’ll see a message saying the best drivers for your device are already installed. In this case, you can still force your system to check for the latest drivers by selecting Search for updated drivers on Windows Update.
5. Remove and Reinstall Your Printer
If you continue to see the ”Windows Cannot Connect to the Printer” error message, your printer may not be properly installed on your PC. This usually happens if you had minor issues when you installed the printer.
You can get around this printer error by removing and reinstalling the printer.
- Access Settings by pressing Windows + I at the same time.
- Select Devices on the Settings window.
- Choose Printers & scanners from the sidebar on the left.
- Select your printer name on the right pane and choose Remove device.
- Select Yes in the prompt to uninstall your printer.
- Unplug and replug your printer into your PC.
- Follow your printer’s driver installation wizard.
6. Make Your Problematic Printer the Default Printer
If you’ve installed multiple printers on your PC, make your faulty printer the default and see if that fixes the ”Windows Cannot Connect to the Printer” issue.
Later, you can make any other printer the default if you want.
- Open Settings by pressing Windows + I.
- Select Devices.
- Choose Printers & scanners on the left.
- Disable the Let Windows manage my default printer option on the right.
- Select your printer on the list and choose Manage.
- Select Set as default to set the selected printer as the default.
7. Fix Windows Issues by Installing Software Updates
When you update your Windows PC, you get various bug fixes that help you resolve problems on your computer. Your ”Windows Cannot Connect to the Printer” error may be a system error, and updating Windows should likely fix that for you.
It’s free and easy to install Windows updates, as explained below.
- Launch Settings by right-clicking the Start button and choosing Settings.
- Select Update & Security.
- Choose Windows Update in the sidebar on the left.
- Select Check for updates in the pane on the right.
- Download and install the latest updates.
- Restart your PC when you’ve installed the updates.
The ”Windows Cannot Connect to the Printer” error is usually the result of a technical glitch, which you can fix by following the methods outlined above. Once you’ve applied those fixes, your printer should work with your PC, allowing you to resume your pending print jobs.