How to Fix 'Active Directory Domain Services' Error In Windows

Troubleshoot this common printer error using these tips

Some of the many benefits of modern technology include the ability to compose or download documents and be able to print them from the comfort of your own home. However, you may find that when you go to collect your document, you receive a printer error that states, “The Active Directory Domain Services Is Currently Unavailable.”

This means that your computer system is unable to find or connect to your printer, halting the printing process in its path and not allowing the command to go through.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7.

Causes of the Windows Active Directory Domain Error in Windows

A person breaking a printer with a sledgehammer.
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For those who are unfamiliar with Active Directory Domain Services, they are essentially the core functions that allow your computer to authorize and authenticate commands and directions. For example, the Active Directory is what allows your computer to confirm that the password you entered to access it is correct and determine if the user has administrative privileges. It also allows your computer to store and manage data, as well as connect with external devices such as wireless routers or printers.

How to Fix the Windows Active Directory Domain Error

When you experience a printer error that states, “The Active Directory Domain Services Is Currently Unavailable,” this usually indicates an issue with the device’s drivers or a problem with permissions. There are several things you can do to resolve this problem on Windows 10, Windows 8, and Windows 7. These fixes include resetting the printer spoolers, re-adding your printer manually and updating the drivers, granting access to printer ports, updating the OS, updating Microsoft office suite and rebooting the router. Let's start with the easiest and most likely fixes first and then move onto in-depth ideas to try.

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  1. Restarting your computer or wireless router is your first (and easiest) option to try. If you have already properly restarted your computer and there are still issues, it's possible there could be an issue with your wireless router. Reboot your wireless router to reset the connection to see if that might be the fix.

  2. If your version of Windows is out of date, it could cause printing issues. Try installing the latest Windows updates, then see if the problem persists. If this clears the issue up and you haven't already, change your Windows Update settings to turn on Windows automatic updates which may prevent this issue from happening again in the future.

  3. Likewise, Microsoft Office programs need to be regularly updated to avoid printing errors. Make sure your version of Microsoft Word, Outlook, or other Office applications are updated and set up automatic updates for the future.

  4. Not all users have the same level of security access to devices like printers. If a lack of access is your issue, you can enable file and printer sharing to ensure that you have access to the device. Once printer sharing is enabled, try again to see if the error is cleared out.

  5. The Spooler is a built-in software program that allows Windows users to control and manage all print jobs that are sent to the printer. This program is typically visible to users in the Windows Taskbar and also gives users the ability to cancel or reset print jobs that are being processed. Restarting the Spooler can usually help resolve any Active Domain Directory Services issues.

    1. Press the Windows key and the R key together to open the Windows Run bar.
    2. Type the phrase services.msc in the Run bar and press Enter.
    3. Look through the list of services until you find the Print Spooler.
    4. Double-click on the Print Spooler to open the Properties Menu.
    5. Click the Stop button in the System Status, then press OK to save your changes.
    6. Once the service has been temporarily disabled, press the Windows key and the E key together to open the File Explorer window.
    7. Open the following succession of folders: This PC > Local Disc (C:) > Windows > System32 > spool > Printers.
    8. Press Continue if prompted. From the Printers folder, delete all files present in the folder and close the window.
    9. Return to the Services tab and click the Start button under Service Status.
    10. Make sure that the startup type is set to Automatic.
    11. Restart your computer and see if your printer is working again.
  6. Should resetting the spooler not fix the issue, you can try to add the printer to the computer manually. Since most printers connect and update themselves automatically, taking a manual approach can help ensure that everything is properly installed.

  1. Press the Windows and R keys together to open the Windows Run bar.
  2. Enter Control Panel into the Run bar and press Enter.
  3. From the Control Panel, select View Printers and Devices.
  4. Once you locate your printer’s icon, right-click the icon and select Remove Device.
  5. A window will pop up asking you to confirm your choice.
  6. From the same window, hover the mouse over an empty space and right-click it.
  7. Select Add devices and printers from the menu that appears. An installation wizard will appear to instruct you on how to add the printer to your computer.
  8. Make sure the computer is properly connected to the printer via USB cable or wirelessly.
  9. Open the printer manufacturer’s website and download the latest driver files.
  10. Press the Windows and R keys together, type devmgmt.msc into the bar and press Enter.
  11. Locate the Print Queues menu and open it, then right-click your printer and select Update Driver.
  12. Select the Browse my computer for driver software option from the menu.
  13. Open the folder where you downloaded the drivers.
  14. Select the drivers and install them by clicking Next.
  15. Restart your computer after the installation to see if the problem is fixed.