Shock, horror – a Windows 10 update has broken some printers... again

A businessman or IT professional beats on a laser printer in a field
(Image credit: SingingMedia / Shutterstock)

Windows 10’s cumulative update for April, released last week, has been throwing spanners in the works for some users, as we’re hearing reports of some serious issues with printers and more besides.

The update in question is KB5025221 and as Windows Latest picked up, there are reports that this patch has either partially or fully broken some printers.

Brother models seem to be affected, as per threads on Reddit and Microsoft’s support forum, but there’s also a mention of a Canon laser printer failing to work.

Some folks are finding that their printer no longer prints – making it an expensive and very heavy paperweight – whereas another report notes that the scanner is broken with a Brother multi-function printer. Removing update KB5025221 was found to remedy the issue, so it seems the patch is at fault here.

The trouble with that fix, of course, is that with KB5025221 ditched, you’re lacking coverage for the latest security measures delivered to Windows 10 with April’s cumulative update – hardly an ideal situation.

However, it’s also worth noting that one user on claims to have solved the problem, with the route taken being to remove the printer from the system entirely, download the latest driver, and reinstall the device (this was with a Brother HL-L3219CW).

KB5025221 is also causing trouble outside of printers, with some folks reporting that post-update, they are seeing the default apps settings menu appearing every time they fire up Google’s Chrome browser.

We’ve also seen a report of an external hard drive not working after the cumulative update, but as this is just a single complaint at this point, it’s not really something to be concerned about – yet.

Oh, and a final problem with this update is that some people can’t install it, although installation failures are nothing new for Windows 10 (and Windows 11).

Analysis: Printer problems are nothing new

Regarding the mentioned solution for the printer bug, naturally we do have to take individual reports with some caution (and what works with one system and printer, may not with another – as ever your mileage may vary). Still, it sounds like it could be worth a shot.

What’s interesting is the user reporting the above fix notes that they have a USB printer – part of the solution is to disconnect it, then plug it back in – and the new update comes with a cure for USB printers being reported as multimedia devices by Windows 10. Raising the question of whether that particular piece of bug squashing has created more problems than it solved, but we can’t know for sure, of course.

With any luck, Microsoft will be investigating this issue in short order, if the company isn’t already. It’s not a good look for Microsoft to have another bug with printers pop up, as Windows 10 has seen more than its fair share of printer-breaking gremlins in the past.

Hopefully we’ll get official word soon enough, and Microsoft will smooth over this latest printer problem. Until then, if you’re affected, the mentioned workaround looks like your best chance of keeping the update in place – and your security levels up to scratch.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).