Vista error: “The specified print monitor is unknown”

Yesterday, I tried mapping 2 new network printers at work on my Sony VGN-SZ381P Notebook running Windows Vista RTM. When it connected to the printers, it attempted to install new print drivers but failed with the error message “The specified print monitor is unknown”. The install would fail and I was left printer-less.

After trying a variety of things, I finally stumbled upon the solution. Turns out that when User Access Control (UAC) is disabled, you cannot install print drivers from a remote server. To the solution is to re-enable UAC, reboot and re-map the printers. Bingo, everything now works!

Note: To re-enable UAC, go to Control Panel | User Accounts | User Accounts and click on “Turn User Account Control on or off”.

Update: The just released Performance and Reliability pack for Vista includes a fix for this!

If User Account Control is disabled on the computer, you cannot install a network printer successfully. This problem occurs if the network printer is hosted by a Windows XP-based or a Windows Server 2003-based computer.