Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Unable to install your printer?

A Lexmark printer
Image via Wikipedia
You are not able to install a new printer you purchased for your computer. The instruction manual tells you to "Choose the local printer attached to the computer", but that option is not available. The only option that is available is "a network printer, or a printer connected to another computer". What is the likely cause of the problem?

You have not been granted permissions to install printers. To install permissions, you must be a member of the Administrators group or the Power Users group.

In Windows, you have a security component called UAC or User Account Control, which is the method used in Windows Vista and Windows 7, for elevating privileges in order to do certain Administrative tasks. This is a good thing because previously malicious software could install "silently" just because a user was logged on as an Administrator. Administrators have privileges over everything in a computer.

Now, when a user logs on to a Windows Vista or Windows 7 computer, the user is automatically given the security token of a standard user. The built-in Administrator is disabled on new installations of Vista. If the user needs to perform any administrative tasks, UAC prompts for an administrator password.

If you are an admin, enter YES to continue. If you are not an admin, enter the administrator password to continue.

If you are in Windows XP, you might be logged onto a Standard User Account and need to switch to an Administrator Account or Power User in order to install the printer. See the Microsoft link below for instructions in assigning rights to a Power User using Group Policy.

Why use a standard user account instead of an administrator account?

Understanding and Configuring User Account Control in Windows Vista

Power Users and Windows 7

Assign User Rights to a Group in AD DS

User Account Control Step-by-Step Guide

Non-admins unable to install Network Printers: Windows 7

Allowing Vista Standard Users to install printer drivers

Install printer without being administrator