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[Solved] Printer not activated Error Code 20 (Working on HP, EPSON, Canon, Brother) all major brands

Getting Printer not activated Error Code – 20 while trying to save as PDF on Windows 10, 8.1, or 7. This is because the PDF Converter might not be able to read the activation code (activation code registry entry was not found). Some other users report after a Microsoft update, while tried printing an Adobe document and received the error message Printer not activated Error Code 20. That cause the error may be caused if the wrong printer is set as the default printer, the printer driver is missing, or if there are conflicts in the device manager. Here are some applicable solutions to fix the Printer not activated Error Code 20.

Set the Default Printer

First, try to set the printer as the default printer, To do this

  • Open Control panel
  • Click Hardware and Sound
  • Then select Devices and Printers. 
  • Right-click on your printer and select Set as a default printer. 
  • Restart your PC to save changes.

Set the Default Printer

Tweak Registry

  • Press Windows + R, type Regedit and ok
  • This will open Windows registry editor,
  • first Backup registry database, then navigate the following key.


registry tweak to fix printer not activated error

Here Right-click on the Software folder then select Permissions. Now in the permission window, ensure that the Administrator and users have Full Control checked, if not then checkmark them.

assign full permission to everyone

Click Apply followed by OK, then Restart your PC to save changes and see if you’re able to fix the issue.

Grant Permission using PowerShell

Type powershell in Windows Search then right-click on PowerShell and select Run as Administrator. Now type the following command in PowerShell and hit Enter:

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);”

Grant Permission using PowerShell

Reboot your PC to save changes.

Run Printer Troubleshooter

Type “troubleshoot ” in the Windows Search bar and click on Troubleshoot. Click on printer and run the troubleshooter as shown image below.

Printer troubleshooter

This will open the printer troubleshooter, Follow on-screen instructions and let the Printer Troubleshooter run. After that Restart your PC and you may be able to Fix the Printer not activated Error Code 20.

Re-install the USB Composite Device from Device Manager

To do this press Windows + R, type devmgmt.msc, and hit the enter key to open device manager. Then expand Universal Serial Bus Controllers, Right-click USB Composite Device, click Uninstall, and then click OK.

uninstall USB Composite Device

Disconnect the printer USB cable from the computer and restart windows. Now Reconnect the printer USB cable, this will install the latest printer driver.

Right-click the printer icon, and then click Print Test Page to print a Windows self-test page. Close all windows and try printing from the application you were using before.

These are some most applicable solutions to fix printer not activated error code 20 on windows 10, 8.1, or 7 computers.

Also, Read How to disable Fast Startup mode in Windows 10.

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