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Archived - "An error occurred while trying to add the selected printer" when adding a printer

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Symptoms

When you try to add a printer, you may see an alert stating "An error occurred while trying to add the selected printer" as well as one of the messages below:

  • "The printing service is not available" (Mac OS X 10.5 or later)
  • "server-error-service-unavailable" (Mac OS X 10.3 through 10.4.11)
  • "Error 1282" (Mac OS X 10.2 through 10.2.8)

Resolution

Mac OS X 10.4, 10.5 or later

Reset the printing system.
 

Mac OS X 10.2 through 10.3.9

Follow these steps:

  1. Log in as an administrator.
  2. Open Terminal (/Applications/Utilities/).
  3. At the prompt type: cd /var/spool/
  4. Press Return.
  5. Type: sudo mkdir cups
  6. Press Return.
  7. Type your admin user password when prompted, then press Return.
  8. Type: sudo chown daemon:admin cups
  9. Press Return.
  10. Type: sudo chmod 700 cups
  11. Press Return.
  12. Quit Terminal.
  13. Restart the computer.

All of the previously created print queues will reappear after the computer restarts.

Additional Information

This may occur under certain circumstances after upgrading to a later version of Mac OS X, if the CUPS daemon is not running or responding.

Last Modified: Jul 11, 2012
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  • Last Modified: Jul 11, 2012
  • Article: TS1975
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