[Fix] Windows keeps changing default printer

Issue: For some reason, Windows keeps changing the printer I set as default – it happens once or twice a month. Why i this happening and how can I prevent Windows from doing this?

Solved Answer

Printers continue to be an important part of many business processes, especially in corporate environments. Their importance cannot be underestimated as they are integrated into various business processes. However, some Windows users have encountered issues that prevent this important functionality.

Windows may change default printer settings without user input. This issue can be very frustrating and disrupt workflows as users have to repeatedly reset their favorite printers. The frequency with which this issue occurs varies by user. For some people it happens only once in a while, for others, it happens more often.

The reason why Windows automatically changes the default printer may be due to the operating system's ability to set the last printer on the network as the default. This feature is intended to simplify printing tasks and may inadvertently cause problems. Other possible causes include software updates or compatibility issues between the printer and the operating system.

This problem can often be resolved by adjusting the printer settings in Windows. To do this, you need to disable one of the settings that allows it to manage your printer. If this method does not resolve your issue, additional troubleshooting steps may be required: driver updates or system configuration changes.

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[Fix] Windows keeps changing default printer

Fix 1. Disable the Let Windows manage my default printer option

This solution involves disabling a feature in Windows that automatically sets the last used printer as the default. By turning off this feature, you can maintain control over your default printer setting. This is particularly useful if you frequently switch between different networks or printers.

  • Right-click on Start and pick Settings.
  • Click on Devices.
  • Select Printers & scanners from the left-hand menu.
  • Scroll down to find the option Let Windows manage my default printer.
  • Uncheck this box.
  • Close the Settings app and restart your computer.

Disable Let Windows manage my default printer option

Fix 2. Run printer troubleshooter

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Windows includes a built-in troubleshooter that can automatically find and fix common printer problems. This tool is especially helpful if you're unsure what's causing the issue with your default printer.

  • Type in Troubleshoot in Windows search and hit Enter.
  • Go to Additional Troubleshooters/Other troubleshooters.
  • Select Printer and click Run the troubleshooter/Run.
  • Wait till the scan is finished, and then apply the suggested fixes.
  • Restart your computer.

Run printer troubleshooter

Fix 3. Re-add your printer

Removing and then re-adding your printer can reset its configuration and resolve issues related to it being incorrectly set as default. This method often helps in correcting any glitches that might have occurred in the connection or settings.

  • Click on Start and select Settings.
  • Go to the Devices section.
  • Select Printers & scanners.
  • You should see the connected printers here – click Remove device.
  • When done, you should then click Add device and follow the prompts to finish the installation process.

Re-add printer

Fix 4. Use Windows Registry

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Some users said that they didn't have the “Let Windows manage my default printeroption on their Windows systems. In such cases, you can use Windows Registry to enable it. Please be cautious here, as incorrect modification of the registry might result in system instability. You should create a backup before proceeding.

  • Type regedit in Windows search and press Enter.
  • Navigate to the following location:
    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
  • On the right side, double-click the LegacyDefaultPrinterMode.
  • Modify the Value data – set it to 1.
  • Click OK and restart your computer, then set the default printer.

Alter Windows Registry

Fix 5. Update printer driver

Outdated or corrupt printer drivers can lead to various issues, including the default printer changing unexpectedly. Updating the driver ensures that your printer communicates effectively with your computer and can resolve related issues.

  • Right-click on the Start menu and select Device Manager.
  • Expand the Printers section.
  • Find your printer in the list, right-click on it, and select Update driver.
  • Choose Search automatically for drivers.
  • Follow the on-screen instructions to complete the update process.
  • Restart your computer after the driver update is completed.
  • Alternatively, you can always employ an automatic driver updater such as DriverFix for all your driver updates.

Update Printer driver

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About the author
Gabriel E. Hall
Gabriel E. Hall - Passionate computer expert

Gabriel E. Hall is an expert troubleshooter who has been working in the information technology industry for years.

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