Unravel the updated troubleshooting techniques to fix QuickBooks Error 20: Printer Not Activated issue

Have you stumbled across the QuickBooks error 20: Printer not activated and are seeking different ways to bypass this technical snag? Well, this is something that you might experience while upgrading from Windows XP or Vista to Windows 7 or later versions. This is because the new operating system eliminates the use of the software key in the registry settings, which ultimately leads to error code 20. In case you are trying to print from QuickBooks 2009 installed on Windows 10 system, then it is most probable to encounter this error. This error can also appear on the screen when you try to print a pay slip, form, or a PDF using QuickBooks desktop. There are numerous facts associated with this error code that will be discussed later in this article, along with the tips and tricks to get rid of it. Thus, make sure to read this article carefully till the end.

If you want to get apprised of the detailed information regarding QuickBooks error code 20: printer not activated, or want our experts to fix this issue, then you can consult our QuickBooks error support team. Our team of experts will fix the error with utmost ease.

What is Printer Not Activated (Error Code -20) on QuickBooks?

QuickBooks error 20: Printer not activated is one of the most commonly encountered errors that usually occurs when the new operating system puts the Hkey_Current-config\software key in the registry settings. Due to QuickBooks error 20, you might not be able to print or send invoices and payslips which leads to exacerbating issues. This error is quite commonly encountered by Quickbooks users and show up as an error message stating as:

“You cannot print directly to the QuickBooks PDF converter. Try using QuickBooks Save as PDF menu option”.

Continue reading to explore the causes and symptoms of the error code. You may see the following error on your desktop screen when you are trying to print a file:

QuickBooks Error Code 20 - Printer Not Activated (Screenshot)

You might also like: What is QuickBooks error code 1321?

What different factors trigger QuickBooks error 20?

Now that you have already acquired all the brief knowledge about error 20 in QuickBooks, it is time for you to find out what triggers this error code in QuickBooks. This error code can be encountered, if:

  • QuickBooks 2009 has compatibility issues with Windows 10
  • You are still using QuickBooks 2009.
  • QuickBooks Windows registry file issues may also lead to QuickBooks Error 20.
  • Unsupported printer drivers may be set up on your system.
  • you might be using an outdated application key
  • The PDF converter might not be configured properly
  • There is an outdated Windows operating system set up on your system.

Important Points before performing the troubleshooting measures

Before beginning with the rectification process of QuickBooks error 20: Printer not activated error, it is recommended to read the pointers below:

(1) Making/Creating a registry backup

  • Backing up your registry is the most important step to take before proceeding ahead with any troubleshooting process. For backing up, you should visit the Registry Editor and then tap on the Computer, which can be seen in the folder tree in the left side.
  • Afterward, choose the file option and then hit Export option.
Backup and Restore Registry Screenshot
  • To conclude the process, hit on Save.

(2) Creation of a system restore point is recommended

Create restore point Windows-10 - Screenshot

Making a system restore point will create a safeguard for the future. If any of the troubleshooting techniques fail to implement or in case the error gets exaggerated in your system, you will have a backup option of restoring the system. It should be noted that the restore guide is not only labeled for Windows 10, but also they work on Windows Vista/Seven as well as Windows 8.

(3) Change the Directory

You can take the below points into consideration before changing the directory:

  • Generate backup, when making any changes to the current registry. In case you are unable to solve issues with modified registry, then it is recommended to use old registry.
  • In order to handle further complications, it is recommended to create a system recovery point.

(4) Closing the final draft

In order to close the final draft on the system, you can simply carry out the steps below:

  • For Windows 8 or later:
    • First move to the start or Windows icon on the screen.
    • Right-click the final draft9/8 tile.
    • You are then required to choose the run as admin tab.
  • For Windows 7/Vista:
    • If you are a Windows 7 or vista user, then click on the start menu and also click on the programs tab.
    • Also, right click on the final draft 9/8′ and click on the run as administrator tab.
    • The last step is to try to save the documents in PDF format. You will be able to save the script in PDF format without any issue.

Read this also: How to Setup, Install and Update Intuit Data Protect?

Updated Strategies to Fix QuickBooks Error 20 (Printer not Activated)

Once you have explored the symptoms and causes, you are all set to carry out the steps to rectify QuickBooks Error 20 Printer Not Activated. Our team has enumerated below some of the most effective and suggested methods, which will help you in fixing the issue. So, without wasting much time, let us begin with the various troubleshooting techniques.

Strategy 1: Repair QuickBooks PDF component QBprint.qbp file

The very first technique that can be adopted is to mend the QuickBooks PDF component QBprint.qbp file.

Mend QuickBooks PDF component QBprint.qbp file - Screenshot

The steps involved in this process are as follows:

  • Open the Windows Control Panel and then visit the Programs and Features tab.
Programs and Features option - Screenshot
  • Within this tab, you are required to pick the QuickBooks software from the list of installed programs.
  • Hit a click on change and then begin with the repair process, along with that follow the instruction till the end.
Repair QuickBooks Desktop - Screenshot
  • Once done with that, make sure to reboot the system, when the QuickBooks repair process comes to an end.
  • Now make an attempt to print something, and find out whether the error continues or not.

Strategy 2: Prevent UAC from interrupting applications on Windows

  • Hit Windows + R keys, and after that type in Control Panel inside the Run window.
  • Tap on the OK button.
  • Hit a click on the User Accounts that can be found under the Control Panel.
Click User Accounts in Control Panel - Screenshot
  • Once done with that, choose Change user access control settings and then move the slider to never to notify.
Change user access control settings and Set it to never to notify - Screenshot
  • The final step is to hit OK and restart the system.

You may also read: What is QuickBooks payroll error 2000?

Strategy 3: Setting Full Control Access in Windows Registry

If none of the above methods worked, then try to set full control access for the software folder in the Windows registry. As this method can help you to get rid of QuickBooks error code 20. The steps involved in this method are as follows:

  • To begin with, hit the Start tab and then type in Regedit.
  • Once done with that, right-click the regedit icon and then tap on the run as admin option.
Open Regedit as System Admin - Screenshot
  • Move to the HKEY_CURRENT_CONFIG folder and then hit on the software folder.
  • Now click on permissions.
Click on Permissions - Screenshot
  • After then check Full control for the users.
  • Moving ahead, hit OK and then close the registry editor.
Modify registry permissions - Screenshot
  • After that, end the process by opening QuickBooks and then try to print a pdf to check if the error persists.

Strategy 4: Check the default email program in the Windows registry

  • In this process, you are supposed to hit Windows + R keys initially and then type in Regedit, followed by clicking on Ok tab.
  • Move to the HKEY_CURRENT_USER-> Software -> Clients -> Mail.
Checking default email program in windows registry - Screenshot
  • Now verify the default email name, in case it is not the default program, hit a click on Default section and then type in the name of the email program.
  • The last step in the process is to hit the OK button and then reboot Windows.

Read it Also: Reset your QuickBooks Password for Admin and Other Users

Strategy 5: The QuickBooks Print and PDF repair tool can fix QuickBooks Error 20

PDF Print repair tool from the QuickBooks tool hub - Screenshot

If none of the methods worked in your favor, then you can make use of the QuickBooks print repair tool. The steps to be followed are:

  • You can download the QuickBooks PDF and Print repair tool from the QuickBooks tool hub program.
  • Run the tool in administrator mode.
  • After that, the application will run with a red background and will let you find the solution.
  • The next step is to ensure that the QuickBooks version is updated.
  • Followed by ensuring that the printer is printing out of your QuickBooks.
  • Now, you will be prompted to restart after running the tool.
  • And lastly, while running the tool, keep in mind that all other running applications are closed.

Strategy 6: Permitting the usage of PowerShell script

Well, it should be noted that this option is only for Windows 10 users. You can update the registry key editor manually by offering authority to use the Powershell script. The steps involved in granting permission are as follows:

  • Firstly, hit on the Start tab and type in cmd.
  • Choose the Run as admin option, after right-clicking cmd.
Run as System Admin - Screenshot
  • Now type in PowerShell in the command prompt and then hit the Enter key.
  • To end the process, make sure to copy and paste the following code in the command prompt.

PowerShell.exe -NoProfile -NoLogo -NonInteractive -Command “$key = [Microsoft.Win32.Registry]::CurrentConfig.OpenSubKey(‘Software’,[Microsoft.Win32.RegistryKeyPermissionCheck]::ReadWriteSubTree,[System.Security.AccessControl.RegistryRights]::ChangePermissions); $acl =$key.GetAccessControl(); $rule = New-Object System.Security.AccessControl.RegistryAccessRule (‘Users’,’FullControl’,’ObjectInherit,ContainerInherit’,’None’,’Allow’); $acl.SetAccessRule($rule); $key.SetAccessControl($acl);”

Type Powershell and Hit Enter - Screenshot

This will update the registry and fix the error.

See also: Steps to fix QuickBooks error code 80070057

Strategy 7: Activate Printer Spooler Service

When none of the methods helped, make sure to activate the print spooler service. The steps to be carried out in this process are as follows:

  • First of all, hold down the Windows logo and then Press the R keys together.
  • The next step is to type in services.msc and Hit Enter key.
Type services.msc in Run Box - Screenshot
  • Choose the Print spooler option and then, choose the Stop option.
Stop Print Spooler tool - Screenshot
  • Once done with that, right-click and then hit the Start option.
Start Print Spooler tool - Screenshot
  • Now check if the error is resolved or not.

Strategy 8: Re-install QuickBooks desktop

  • In this process, you are recommended to enter the Control Panel and then click on the Programs and features option. After that locate the software.
Programs and Features option - Screenshot
  • Followed by hitting on uninstall option. After that download the proper version of the software ensuring its compatibility with the operating system.
Uninstall and Reinstall QuickBooks on your server computer - Screenshot
  • Now make sure that the printer and the program are working fine.
  • In case you encounter certain issues regarding the uninstallation, then use the system security application, just like Reimage or RegCure Pro, in order to clean the system from corrupted files.

Also Read: Fix Splash Screen Shows Up But QuickBooks Is Not Opening Error

Strategy 9: Fixing Microsoft Document Writer Windows component

The Microsoft document writer is preinstalled Windows component and it helps in printing file. The component enables Windows to assist the QuickBooks application to save the information in PDF. The steps involved are as follows:

  • To begin with, you are required to right-click the QuickBooks icon and then choose the open file location tab.
  • Move to the temp folder.
  • Also, locate and double-click the .exe file, and complete the installation.
  • Followed by, opening QuickBooks once to register the license.
  • Next step is, in case you are facing an issue in installing ABS PDF driver, or it stops responding, then try reinstalling them again.
  • Lastly, print again and then verify the QuickBooks error code, once the installation process completes.
Are you still facing the issue? Call our technical support team!

Tackling QuickBooks error 20 printer not activated can be a daunting task, but carrying out the above-listed methods can assist in fixing the issue. However, for any kind of technical assistance, or if the same error still persists, do not hesitate in ringing up our dedicated helpline i.e. 1-800-761-1787. Our QuickBooks enterprise support team and U.S based accounting professionals will ensure to provide instant support. We will be happy to help you!


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