When you try to connect a shared printer in Windows Vista or earlier versions, you may receive the following error message, “The printer driver is not compatible with a policy enabled on your computer that blocks NT 4.0 drivers”. This guide shows you how to fix this certain issue and install the shared printer.
This problem mostly occurs when you try to connect the old printer with old print drivers from Windows Vista PC. Windows Vista does not support ‘kernel-mode printer drivers’ for installation.
Windows Vista supports ‘user mode printer drivers’ only, Microsoft explains it here.
So, if the Windows NT 4.0-based computer which is sharing the printer is having the ‘User mode printer drivers’ or Windows Vista can map for the user-mode printer during the installation, then the printer driver installation will be succeeded. Otherwise, it fails 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 Vista
As mentioned in the error message ‘policy enable on your computer that blocks NT 4.0 drivers’ hence we can disable the policy on Windows Vista computer.
Follow the steps to disable NT4.0 drivers policy
Though disabling this policy can be done by modifying the registry, but it is easy and recommended to do via MMC GUI. In a larger network environment, these types of changes can be done at the Group policy level if you need to implement this change in multiple computers.
1) Go to Run (or Start Search) type ‘mmc’, press Enter. Continue for UAC.
2) Click on File and Add/Remove Snap-In, as shown below.
3) Select ‘Group Policy Object Editor’ in the left side and Press Add Button.
Leave Local Computer in Next screen and Click Finish and OK.
4) Then Expand to ‘Local Computer Policy’ -> Computer Configuration -> Administrative Templates and click on Printers.
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.
After disabled this policy to allow NT 4.0 kernel-mode printer drivers, your Windows Vista computer can have older driver network shared printers.
Note: Be prepared to receive Blue screen error on your Vista computer after this policy enabled.
I hope you will be not using Windows Vista anymore since even Windows 7 is reaching the end of life. But if you are still using for some specific requirements, then this guide will be useful to solve and install printers that require kernel-mode drivers.