FIX: Windows cannot install the kernel-mode print driver

Tashreef Shareef
by Tashreef Shareef
Windows & Software Expert
Tashreef Shareef is a software developer turned tech writer. He discovered his interest in technology after reading a tech magazine accidentally. Now he writes about everything tech from Windows to iOS and streaming services... Read more
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printer driver kernel-mode print driver
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While installing a third-party PDF reading software like PhantomPDF you may encounter the Windows cannot install the kernel-mode print driver error.

The full error reads:

Windows can’t install the (Softwarename) printer driver kernel-mode print driver. To obtain a driver that is compatible with the version of Windows you are running, contact the manufacturer.

In this article, we take a look at a few troubleshooting tips to help you resolve the Windows cannot install the kernel-mode print driver error in Windows 10.

How do I fix the Windows kernel-mode print driver error?

1. Disable the blocking policy for installation of drivers

Windows cannot install the kernel-mode print driver
  1. Press Windows Key + R to open Run.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and click OK to open the Group Policy Editor.
  3. In the Group Policy Editor window, expand the Local computer Policy option.
  4. Next, navigate to the following path:
    • Computer Configuration—->Administrative Templates—-> Printers.
  5. On the right pane, locate and double-click on Disallow installation of printers using kernel-mode drivers policy.
    • This will open a new property window.
      Windows cannot install the kernel-mode print driver
  6. In the properties window, select Disabled and click OK.
  7. Click Apply and OK to save the changes.
  8. Close the Group Policy Editor.
  9. Press the Windows key and type cmd.
  10. Right-click on Command Prompt and select Run as administrator.
  11. In the Command Prompt, enter the following command and hit enter:
    • gpupdate
  12. If that did not work, enter gpupdate/force command.
  13. Close the Command Prompt and try to install the program.

Note: Depending on the version of Windows installed, the Group Policy Editor may or may not be available on your computer.

Those that run Windows 10 Home Edition do not have the Group Policy Editor Installed. For more details on how to install it, check out this in-depth guide.

2. Update your printer drivers

  1. Open the Device Manager
  2. Right-click on Printers and select Properties
  3. Click on Settings and select Devices and Printers Folder
  4. Right-click on the printer you want to update

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The Windows kernel-mode print driver error might be cause by outdated or damaged printer drivers. You can manually update them by following the above steps.

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3. Configure point and printer restriction

3.1 Rename W32x86 / X64  folders

Windows cannot install the kernel-mode print driver
  1. Open the File Explorer and navigate to the following location:
    • C:\windows\system32\spool\drivers
  2. In the Drivers folder, rename the following folders:
    • W32x86
    • X64
  3. You can rename the folder anything.
    • Renaming these folders will remove incomplete or corrupt printer driver installation.
  4. It will also remove your printer settings. So if you have a working printer, you may have to reinstall the printer drivers again to make your printer work.

3.2 Configure point and printer restriction

printer driver kernel-mode print driver
  1. Press Windows Key + R to open Run.
  2. Type gpedit.msc and click OK.
  3. In the Group Policy Editor, expand Local Computer Policy.
  4. Next, navigate to the following location:
    • Computer Configuration—->Administrative Templates—->Printers
  5. On the right pane, locate and double-click on Point and printer Restrictions.
  6. Select Enabled in the properties window.
    printer driver kernel-mode print driver
  7. Make sure the following options are unchecked:
    • Users can only point and print to these servers
    • Users can only point and print to machines in their forest
  8. Under Security Prompts, click the drop-down menu for When installing drivers for a new connection.
  9. Select Do not show warning or elevation prompt.
  10. Click the drop-down menu for When updating driver for an existing connection
  11. Select Do not show warning or elevation prompt.
  12. Click Apply and click OK save the change.
  13. Open Command Prompt as administrator and enter the following command:
    • gpupdate
  14. Close the command prompt and check if the error is resolved.

The Windows cannot install the kernel-mode print driver error occurs if the Windows Group Policy blocking the installation.

By following the steps in this article, you can remove the limitations and resolve the error. Do let us know which method helped you resolve the error in the comments.

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