Windows 10 update breaks USB printers functionality because of course it did

A businesswoman with her head resting on an open printer
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Windows 10 still has its share of bugs and breaks with each new update, with the latest update released on June 28, 2022, breaking USB printer functionality.

According to Microsoft, there are two main symptoms of this Windows 10 bug: “Windows might show duplicate copies of printers installed on a device, commonly with a similar name and the suffix ‘Copy1’” and “Applications that refer to the printer by a specific name cannot print.”

The problem is being worked on for a future update, so for now the company has provided users with several workarounds until then, as well as a way to report the problem to Microsoft to help speed up a fix for the issue. If you're one of the many Windows 10 holdouts and your printer has suddenly stopped working after an update, you can submit your issue to the company by doing the following:

  • Launch Feedback Hub by opening the Start menu and typing "Feedback hub", or pressing the Windows key + F 
  • Fill in the "Summarize your feedback" and "Explain in more detail" boxes, then click Next. 
  • Under the "Choose a category" section, ensure the "Problem" button, "Devices and Drivers" category, and "Print" subcategory are all selected. Click Next. 
  • Under the "Find similar feedback" section, select the "Make new bug" radio button and click Next. 
  • Under the "Add more details" section, supply any relevant detail (Note this is not critical to addressing your issue). 
  • Expand the "Recreate my problem" box and press "Start recording". Reproduce the issue on your device. 
  • Press "Stop recording" once finished. Click the "Submit" button. 

There are also these workarounds that might help resolve the issue: 

  • Open the Settings app, navigate to “Bluetooth & devices”, and select “Printers & scanners” 
  • If there appears to be a duplicate installation of an existing printer, such as with suffix "Copy1", confirm if printing works for this printer. This printer should operate as expected. 
  • If there is a need to use the original printer installation and not the duplicate, right-click the duplicate printer, select "Printer properties" and select the "Ports" tab. Observe the port in use. 
  • Open "Printer properties" on the original printer and select the "Ports" tab. From the list displayed, select the port option in use by the duplicate printer. If this original printer works normally, the duplicate copy printer can be removed. 

And if the above doesn’t work, then the following steps can be taken instead: 

  • Update the print driver for your device. For guidance, see Install the latest driver for your printer. 
  • If you already have the latest driver, consult the printer Manufacturer’s website for any device firmware updates 
  • If you are still having issues, uninstalling and reinstalling your printer might help. 
  • Turn off your printer and disconnect any cables
  • Open the Settings app, navigate to “Bluetooth & devices”, and select “Printers & scanners” 
  • Select the affected printer and select the "Remove Device" option
  • Restart your device
  • Turn on your printer and reconnect it to your device

Analysis: Windows 11 isn’t the only OS plagued with issues 

Though this latest problem is annoying, it isn’t Windows 10’s first rodeo into update bugs breaking basic features. In May, Microsoft had to release a patch to fix a bug that was caused by a previous patch fixing a whole different issue. A sort of patch inception it would seem.

There was also an update released in May that fixed a Bluetooth bug causing the dreaded Blue Screen of Death on some PCs. And there was also a string of ransomware attacks disguised as Windows 10 updates, which spread the Magniber ransomware strain. And these are only the most recent issues.

Even though Windows 11 problems get a lot of press, Windows 10 problems have a long history full of bugs, weaknesses, and feature breaking updates. So before you berate Microsoft's latest OS, remember that its problems are a legacy issue.

Allisa James
Computing Staff Writer

Named by the CTA as a CES 2023 Media Trailblazer, Allisa is a Computing Staff Writer who covers breaking news and rumors in the computing industry, as well as reviews, hands-on previews, featured articles, and the latest deals and trends. In her spare time you can find her chatting it up on her two podcasts, Megaten Marathon and Combo Chain, as well as playing any JRPGs she can get her hands on.