Saturday, September 13, 2014

Solved: Active Directory is Unavailable Printer Problem

Hi from Amoy!

Have you tried to install (or use) a printer and got the message "Active Directory is Unavailable?"  My wife did, and searching online forums and even Microsoft's website was no help. I read a dozen forums, where dozens of people begged for help with the exact same issue, but in the end I did not see one good solution. But after much trial and error, I finally figured out a simple solution to this problem. I will first explain why the problem happened, and then how to fix it.

When I first connected the HP printer (one from China, as I live here in Xiamen) to a new laptop, Windows automatically searched for drivers and installed it--but it would not work. Although it did show up under Devices and Printers, I could not select it to be the default printer, and Word and Acrobat could not find the new printer.  On some forums, people suggested to uninstall and reinstall Word or Acrobat, but many tried that and it did not work. Some suggested printing a document with Notepad (saying it would find the printer, and after printing once, it would be fine with other programs; it didn't work for me).

I downloaded the printer drivers from Hewlett Packard to reinstall everything myself--but when I connected the printer cable and turned on the printer, the computer would not recognize it, so I could not click "Next," but got the message Active Directory is Unavailable."

Finally--I uninstalled the printer (assuming Windows had messed up the automatic install), and then ran the HP printer setup program--and it worked like a charm!

This may not work for you, but in the end, it seemed the only logical explanation--that the automatic printer installation somehow triggered the active directory is unavailable message. So give it a try:

1 Uninstall the problem printer.
2.Download the latest printer drivers and reinstall the printer.

I cannot emphasize enough that, if you face an issue, you search online for the latest device drivers!

Warning! Download printer drivers directly from the company that made the printer, not from the hundreds of sites that pop up in a search, giving you free device drivers. These sites invariably want you to sign up, or download a download program, and many even have corrupted or infected drivers. Unfortunately, if you search for a specific driver, these sites will show up long before HP or Epson or Canon!

So go to the company site--HP, Epson, Canon--and from their site, search for the driver. Every reputable printer company has downloadable printer drivers, and often entire software packages that include printer diagnostics and other useful programs.

 Enjoy Amoy!

Dr. Bill

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Bill Brown Xiamen University

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