NT 4.0 Printer Driver is Not Compatible with a Policy Enabled on your Computer

When you try to connect a shared printer in Windows OS (mostly the older versions), you may receive an error message, “The printer driver is not compatible with a policy enabled on your computer that blocks NT 4.0 drivers”.  In this guide, we will show you how to fix this certain issue and install the shared printer.

This problem mostly occurs when you try to connect the printer with old print drivers from a Windows computer. Most of the older Windows versions like Vista and 2003 Server do not support ‘kernel-mode printer drivers’ for installation.

These Windows Operating Systems (Vista) support ‘user mode printer drivers’ only, Microsoft explains it here.

So, if the Windows NT 4.0-based computer that is sharing the printer has the ‘User mode printer drivers’ or the Windows Vista can map the user-mode printer during the installation, then the printer driver installation will be succeeded. Otherwise, it will fail with the “The printer driver is not compatible with a policy enabled on your computer that blocks NT 4.0 drivers” message.

How to Install NT 4.0 Printer Drivers in Older Windows

The error message clearly says that ‘policy enable on your computer that blocks NT 4.0 drivers’. So, it is obviously related to a policy that is active on this computer.

Follow the steps to disable the NT4.0 drivers policy

Though disabling this policy can be done by modifying the registry, it is easy and recommended to do via Group policy (MMC GUI). In a larger network environment, these types of changes can be applied through the Group policy if you need to implement this change on multiple computers.

1) Open Run (or Start Search) type ‘mmc’, and press Enter. Continue for UAC.

2) Click on File and Add/Remove Snap-In, as shown below.

Printer driver not compatible

3) Select ‘Group Policy Object Editor’ on the left side and Press Add Button.

Add Group policy

Leave Local Computer on the next screen and click Finish then OK.

4) Then Expand to ‘Local Computer Policy’ -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates and click on Printers.

Edit Group policy

5) Look for “Disallow installation of Printers using kernel-mode divers” on the right side and double click on it.

6) Select Disable and press OK. Close the console also.

Disable NT4.0 Support

After disabling this policy to allow NT 4.0 kernel-mode printer drivers, your Windows Vista/2003 server computer can have older driver network shared printers.

I hope you will be not using Windows Vista or similar older versions anymore. It is recommended to have the latest Windows OS. But if you are still using it for some specific requirements, then this guide will be useful to solve and install printers that require kernel-mode drivers.

Dinesh is the founder of Sysprobs and written more than 400 articles. Enthusiast in Microsoft and cloud technologies with more than 15 years of IT experience.

12 thoughts on “NT 4.0 Printer Driver is Not Compatible with a Policy Enabled on your Computer”

  1. very good article, but there is a problem, but will not work with windows vista home premium: the group policy editor is not available, neither can user control, which would provide an indirect path to it be installed. Any suggestions on how to bypass this?

  2. You can disallow it manually by adding:

    [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows NT\Printers]
    “KMPrintersAreBlocked”=dword:00000000

    to the registry (Win+R, run regedit).

    But it doesn’t work on my Vista Business (original on the Lenovo R500 notebook)… Still the same error after trying both allowing, disallowing and not applying the rule and several reboots (for each option)… Any suggestions?

  3. Sad but it is Microsoft! what should we expect? I simply don’t understand why they keep shooting themselves on the foot….make their product so complicated where one can not find info readily available. I have been sitting in front of my lap top to simply add a printer and been to sites trying to find why vista would not allow me to add a printer….I still have not been able to do it. The above info is good but dose not apply to my version of vista….I hope there will be another platform (OS) that is not window!

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  5. sounded like a good solution to my problem with this trying to install a Lexmark x6575 wireles printer. However Vista Home premuim , does have the gpedit, the mmc/console or the registery entries required for the fix.

    I have tried installing later drivers from the microsft site but these install and seem to work at first but after putting the print job in the queue , then submittin git to 100% completion, then clearing the queue notprintouts emerge to the printer, not sure where they ended up but perhaps some heavenly body has my daughters homework !

    So until I can find a fix, its going to and from with memory sticks :O/

  6. Thanks for taking the time to post this.

    I was going to do this work around, then opted for MS’s “method 2” noted here: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/282011. Was easy and worked like a charm on my super-old (1995) printer connected to our home print server.

    In response to the person that noted MS is shooting themselves in the foot, they policy is this way by design so that the blue screen errors don’t occur. I’m not MS fan, to be honest, but I do appreciate not receiving the BSOD.

  7. You had some nice factors right here. I done a research on the topic and got most individuals will trust your site.

  8. Can’t get this to work for Hotfax Message Center 5 fax printer driver in either Vista Ultimate or Win 7 Ultimate, no matter what I try.
    I always get ‘blocked by a policy setting’, even when trying to map it to the Vista machine as a network printer hosted on a XP machine 🙁

    I did note that the required key was generated/removed in the registry as I disabled/enabled/not configured the policy setting in mmc.

    Many thanks though for describing the mmc tool, it’s opened up a bevy of tweaks!! 🙂

  9. I have an old Lexmark 73X printer, my PC with Windows Vista doe not except the printer,ERROR , blocks NT 4.0 Drivers. Any solution, please help, grateful.

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