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Printer Driver Is Not Compatible If a Policy Is Enabled on Your Computer

Support for Windows Server 2003 ended on July 14, 2015

Microsoft ended support for Windows Server 2003 on July 14, 2015. This change has affected your software updates and security options. Learn what this means for you and how to stay protected.

This article was previously published under Q282011
When you run the Add Printer Wizard, you may receive the following error message after you click Finish at the end of the wizard:
Unable to Install Printer. The printer driver is not compatible with a policy enabled on your computer that blocks Windows NT 4.0 drivers. If you want to use this driver, contact your system administrator about disabling this policy.
This behavior occurs because Windows Server 2003 does not support Kernel mode print drivers by default.

NOTE: Microsoft Windows NT 4.0 print drivers are Kernel mode drivers.
To resolve this behavior, update the print driver on the print server so that it is not using a Kernel mode print driver.
To work around this behavior, use either the appropriate method:

Method 1

If you are installing a Windows NT 4.0 print driver, contact your network administrator to have the policy removed.

Method 2

If you want to install a non-Kernel mode driver locally for a remote network printer:
  1. In Control Panel, double-click Printers and Faxes.
  2. Double-click Add Printer to start the Add Printer Wizard, and then click Next.
  3. Click Local printer, click to clear the Automatically detect and install check box, and then click Next.
  4. Click Create a new port, and then under Port type, click Local Port.
  5. For Port Name, type the path to the printer in the form of \\server\printer, where server is the name of the print server and printer is the name of the printer.
  6. Click Next, and then choose a Windows 2000 or Windows Server 2003 driver for your printer.
  7. Click Next, and then follow the instructions to finish the wizard.
Note: If you use method 2, you will not get printer updates from the print server when the printer driver is later updated on the server.
When you print to a network printer, Windows NT, Windows 2000, and Windows Server 2003 always use the print driver on the print sever if you are not using the local port workaround (method 2).

Kernel mode drivers are monolithic drivers that hook into the operating system at the kernel level. Windows Server 2003 and later versions include a policy that blocks Kernel mode print drivers because Kernel mode print drivers can cause the computer to display blue screen errors.

Article ID: 282011 - Last Review: 12/03/2007 04:50:06 - Revision: 6.5

  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Standard Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Enterprise Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Server 2003, Datacenter Edition (32-bit x86)
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Premium Edition
  • Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 Standard Edition
  • kbdriver kbenv kbprb kbprint KB282011