Resolve HP Printer Error Code 20

When you try to print a document, such as a word document, using an HP printer the following error message may occur:

“Printer not activated – Error Code 20”

Cause of the Error

The above error is generated when one or more of the following conditions hold true:

  • The printer you are using is not set as the default printer.
  • The printer driver is missing.
  • There are conflicts in the device manager

Resolution Tasks

Before proceeding with the solution, first check to see if the HP printer is working. You can do this by printing a self-test page. Next, check the USB connectivity from the printer to your computer.

After you have performed the above two checks, perform the following tasks to rectify the problem.

Task 1: Ensure that the printer you are using is set as the default printer

To achieve this, perform the following steps:

  1. Go the Start menu, click Printer and Faxes.
  2. Browse through the Printers folder, if the desired printer icon is absent, proceed to Task 2.
  3. If the desired printer icon is present, see if it has a check mark next to it. This indicates that the printer is set as default printer.
  4. If the check mark is missing, right-click the printer icon, and click the Set as Default Printer option.
  5. Next, right-click the printer icon, and select Print Test Page to print a Windows self-test page. If the test page prints successfully, exit the printer folder and try printing documents from other applications, such as Microsoft Word.
  6. If the attempt to print the Windows test page fails, perform the steps given in Task 2.

Task 2: Reinstall the USB Composite Device 

If the error still persists, reinstall the USB composite device from the Device Manager. To achieve this, perform the steps illustrated below:

  1. Right-click the My Computer icon on your desktop and select Properties.
  2. Next, click the Hardware tab, and then click the Device Manager button.
  3. In the Device Manager window, double-click Universal Serial Bus controllers.
  4. Next, right-click USB Composite Device, select Uninstall, and then click OK.
  5. Now, disconnect the USB cable from your computer and then reconnect it.
  6. Next, to install the drivers, follow the onscreen instructions in the Found New Hardware Wizard.
  7. Click Start, and then select Printer and Faxes to open the Printers folder.
  8. Locate the icon representing your HP printer and then click Print Test Page to print a Windows self-test page.
  9. If the Windows self-test page prints successfully, close all Windows and try printing documents from other applications.

Task 3: Uninstall and reinstall the HP software

If the above tasks fail to resolve the error code 20 issue, uninstall and reinstall the HP software. To completely uninstall the HP software you may use either the built-in Add or Remove Programs utility or a reliable third-parry uninstaller tool, such as Perfect Uninstaller.

To prevent errors due to incorrect or outdated drivers from occurring, it is a good idea to acquire a reliable, automatic driver update tool, such as Driver Finder. This tool will automatically detect outdated drivers on your computer, and then enable you to look for, download, as well as install the latest and the best drivers for your devices.

You may also receive printer-related errors if the registry entries of the printer driver are damaged or corrupt. To avoid such errors from occurring in the first place, regularly clean your registry. You may seek help of an efficient registry cleaning tool, such as RegServe, for this purpose. It is a top-rated registry cleaning tool that uses advanced algorithms to flush out invalid, corrupt, and obsolete registry entries.