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.

82 thoughts on “Vista error: “The specified print monitor is unknown”

  1. Trevin

    Daniel, coincidentally I just updated my blog post to give a pointer to the Performance and Reliability pack that contains the fix (among many others!).

    Reply
  2. Trevin Post author

    Daniel, coincidentally I just updated my blog post to give a pointer to the Performance and Reliability pack that contains the fix (among many others!).

    Reply
  3. KS

    I don’t believe it, but re-enabling UAC got a printer working for me as well.

    Thank you!

    Things like this also make me want to mow down shoppers at a mall with a machine gun.

    Reply
  4. KS

    I don’t believe it, but re-enabling UAC got a printer working for me as well.

    Thank you!

    Things like this also make me want to mow down shoppers at a mall with a machine gun.

    Reply
  5. Anthony Talbert, M.D.

    NO! No! No! Mowing down innocent shoppers is NOT the solution! However, mowing down Bill Gates and his programmers might be. (Only kidding).

    Would it be too much to ask Microsoft to consider the end user in their OS’s? How many years of development and they didn’t know about this?!

    Thank goodness for finding the info on this site. No one from either MS or my printer company (Canon) seemed to know about the problem. I ended up sending this info to Canon in case any one else called them. I guess the number of people trying to network a printer with Vista is really small — sort of like the number of mosquitoes in Louisiana in the summer !

    Cheers.

    Tony

    Reply
  6. Anthony Talbert, M.D.

    NO! No! No! Mowing down innocent shoppers is NOT the solution! However, mowing down Bill Gates and his programmers might be. (Only kidding).

    Would it be too much to ask Microsoft to consider the end user in their OS’s? How many years of development and they didn’t know about this?!

    Thank goodness for finding the info on this site. No one from either MS or my printer company (Canon) seemed to know about the problem. I ended up sending this info to Canon in case any one else called them. I guess the number of people trying to network a printer with Vista is really small — sort of like the number of mosquitoes in Louisiana in the summer !

    Cheers.

    Tony

    Reply
  7. KS

    OK. I can go with that. Mow down every short-sighted programmer at Microsoft! (Also kidding.)

    I’m now finding a slew of other problems that arise with UAC disabled. Until clear guidance from MS is given (how about a hotfix, Bill?), I’m now going with a general rule: whenever anything that provides a service is installed, have UAC enabled.

    I played with Vista Beta about a year ago and thought for sure that this UAC would become more seamless and intuitive by the time Vista went retail. At the time, I thought UAC was so annoying that disabling it will be the first thing that many people will do after they install Vista. This seems to be exactly what is happening.

    …and the funny thing is that it is only a matter of time before UAC is used against the people the whole concept is trying to protect. UAC exists to protect soccer moms from installing malware when they blindly install every screensaver they can find. It is only a matter of time before malware USES UAC to prevent soccer mom from being able to fix her own computer.

    Sad…

    Reply
  8. KS

    OK. I can go with that. Mow down every short-sighted programmer at Microsoft! (Also kidding.)

    I’m now finding a slew of other problems that arise with UAC disabled. Until clear guidance from MS is given (how about a hotfix, Bill?), I’m now going with a general rule: whenever anything that provides a service is installed, have UAC enabled.

    I played with Vista Beta about a year ago and thought for sure that this UAC would become more seamless and intuitive by the time Vista went retail. At the time, I thought UAC was so annoying that disabling it will be the first thing that many people will do after they install Vista. This seems to be exactly what is happening.

    …and the funny thing is that it is only a matter of time before UAC is used against the people the whole concept is trying to protect. UAC exists to protect soccer moms from installing malware when they blindly install every screensaver they can find. It is only a matter of time before malware USES UAC to prevent soccer mom from being able to fix her own computer.

    Sad…

    Reply
  9. eah

    Wow… after almost reinstalling xp I found this site. Thanks! I HATE UAC!! Ok now that I got that out… I have had Vista for a week and am VERY frustrated with it, but that was the only option for my new laptop. It will get better though, I hope! I wil be leaving XP on my desktop and old laptop for a while longer than I expected though.
    Thanks so much for sharing the fixes!!!!!

    Reply
  10. eah

    Wow… after almost reinstalling xp I found this site. Thanks! I HATE UAC!! Ok now that I got that out… I have had Vista for a week and am VERY frustrated with it, but that was the only option for my new laptop. It will get better though, I hope! I wil be leaving XP on my desktop and old laptop for a while longer than I expected though.
    Thanks so much for sharing the fixes!!!!!

    Reply
  11. Atef

    all the Vistas desktops works with minolta photocopier, execp one PC, it print one and stops the second, the message is “spooler SubSystem App stopped working and was closed” every time i start the spooer and again get stoped, what can i do?

    Reply
  12. Atef

    all the Vistas desktops works with minolta photocopier, execp one PC, it print one and stops the second, the message is “spooler SubSystem App stopped working and was closed” every time i start the spooer and again get stoped, what can i do?

    Reply
  13. Trevin

    Atef: Try this:

    1. Go to your services and make sure the “print
    spooler” is started. If not, then start it manually.

    2. Delete all your printers from your machine. It may prompt you to reboot if you have any print jobs spooled before it will let you delete the printer.

    3. Reboot.

    4. Go back to the Printers section in control panel (Control PanelHardware and SoundPrinters). Right click with your mouse somewhere in the dialog, and click on the last option, “Server Properties” in the context menu.

    5. Click on the “Drivers” tab.

    6. Find the driver for your printer in the list and left-click it. Now click the “Remove” button to remove the driver from your PC.

    7. Reboot your computer.

    8. Once you have rebooted, go back to Printer settings (Control PanelHardware and SoundPrinters) and re-add your printer. When you click “Add Local Printer,” make sure to choose the correct port your printer is connected to.

    9. When instructed to install your driver, browse to the location of your driver (.inf) and open it. This will install your printer.

    10. Done!

    Do a test print to see if that works. Let me know if this solves your problem and I’ll likely make a separate blog post about it to help others.

    Reply
  14. Trevin Post author

    Atef: Try this:

    1. Go to your services and make sure the “print
    spooler” is started. If not, then start it manually.

    2. Delete all your printers from your machine. It may prompt you to reboot if you have any print jobs spooled before it will let you delete the printer.

    3. Reboot.

    4. Go back to the Printers section in control panel (Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Printers). Right click with your mouse somewhere in the dialog, and click on the last option, “Server Properties” in the context menu.

    5. Click on the “Drivers” tab.

    6. Find the driver for your printer in the list and left-click it. Now click the “Remove” button to remove the driver from your PC.

    7. Reboot your computer.

    8. Once you have rebooted, go back to Printer settings (Control Panel\Hardware and Sound\Printers) and re-add your printer. When you click “Add Local Printer,” make sure to choose the correct port your printer is connected to.

    9. When instructed to install your driver, browse to the location of your driver (.inf) and open it. This will install your printer.

    10. Done!

    Do a test print to see if that works. Let me know if this solves your problem and I’ll likely make a separate blog post about it to help others.

    Reply
  15. abuseena ahamed

    i am using laptop with vista installed in it.autocad is working very slowly,sound from the speakers are low,”gpedit.msc” is not working.Is there any ways to solve these problems.whats the way to increase the speed of broad band internet connection.

    Reply
  16. abuseena ahamed

    i am using laptop with vista installed in it.autocad is working very slowly,sound from the speakers are low,”gpedit.msc” is not working.Is there any ways to solve these problems.whats the way to increase the speed of broad band internet connection.

    Reply
  17. abuseena ahamed

    im a vista user.some times internet explorer cant be closed but can be minimised.what should i do to close the page

    Reply
  18. abuseena ahamed

    im a vista user.some times internet explorer cant be closed but can be minimised.what should i do to close the page

    Reply

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