How to Add or Reinstall the Microsoft PDF Printer 2021 Edition

In earlier versions of Windows 10, if you some how deleted the built in Microsoft Print to PDF virtual driver, getting it back required a quick trip to your printer settings. In more recent versions of Windows 10, those steps are no longer applicable, instead, you can use the advanced DISM commands to restore your Microsoft Print to PDF driver. Here is how you can do it.

If you are running an earlier version of Windows 10 that supports the older method, check out the following article:

If you are no longer seeing the Microsoft Print to PDF icon, its still installed on your system.

To reinstall it, we will use the Command Prompt and the following DISM commands:

Click Start, type CMD, then click Run as administrator

At the command prompt, type or copy then paste the following command, then hit Enter:

dism /Online /Disable-Feature /FeatureName:"Printing-PrintToPDFServices-Features" /NoRestart

Wait while the command executes successfully:

At the command prompt, type or copy then paste the second command, then hit Enter:

dism /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:"Printing-PrintToPDFServices-Features" /NoRestart

Wait while the command executes successfully:

Click Start > Settings > Devices > Printers

You should now see the Microsoft Print to PDF restored:

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I attempted this with one of my users running 20H2. Microsoft Print to PDF was not under printer options after running these commands.

I tried to re-add the printer utilizing several different option that I have found and all ways lead to the same error message when trying to install the printer driver (which I have to hit the Windows Update button every time to get the Microsoft Print to PDF driver as an option) Error message received "Printer Driver was not installed  Element not Found".

I am in need of an actual fix for this....

Also, for those getting the error code 0x800f0922 as I did when trying to run the "dism /Online /Enable-Feature /FeatureName:"Printing-PrintToPDFServices-Features" /NoRestart" command as stated I have found that you need to stop the print spooler service first.  This can be done by running "net stop spooler" command from the elevated command prompt that you have open already.  I was then able to enable the feature via the command.

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While I have nothing against Microsoft's Print-to-PDF, I do wonder why someone would choose it over a real PDF reader, since these include a PDF printer. Foxit Reader is one example.

In addition to installing a PDF printer, PDF readers are free, easy to use, and they can handle all but the most advanced tasks involving PDF documents. And they won't be affected by problems with Windows' updates.

For someone who prefers the Microsoft brand whenever possible, or is otherwise wary of installing third-party software, and is willing to live within its limitations, Microsoft's Print-to-PDF has the advantage that it's already included in Windows, and will be updated as needed by Windows updates.

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"I'm a naughty Rottie."

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It seems that Foxit Reader does not anymore support Print-to-PDF.
I landed here, because I used the Foxit printer and the Microsoft printer to PDF does not show me the document options, like quality etc.

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Last updated July 19, 2021 Views 3,145 Applies to: