Default Printer Keeps Changing in Windows 10

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Microsoft removed the ‘Consider Network Location’ feature for Windows 10 printers and changed its behavior. WIf you are looking for a way to prevent Windows 10 from changing your default printer, you can use the Windows 10 Settings application or change the Windows registry.

Disable ‘Let Windows Manage My Default Printer’ Setting

This setting, when enabled, allows Windows to automatically set the last used printer as the default. Disabling it will prevent Windows from changing your default printer without your consent.

  1. Open the Settings app. You can do this by pressing the Windows key and typing “Settings” or by clicking the gear icon in the Start menu.
  2. Navigate to Devices > Printers & Scanners.
  3. Scroll down to find the option “Let Windows manage my default printer”.
  4. Toggle this option to Off.
  5. With this setting off, Windows will no longer automatically change your default printer based on recent use.

Set Your Default Printer Manually

After disabling the automatic management of the default printer, you should manually set your preferred printer as the default. This ensures that your selected printer remains the default across sessions.

For Windows 11:

  1. Press Win + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Select Bluetooth & Devices from the left-hand side.
  3. Click on the Printers & Scanners tab on the right.
  4. In the Printers & Scanners section, you’ll see a list of all connected printers. Select the printer you want to set as the default.
  5. Click on the Set as default button to make the selected printer your default printer.

For Windows 10:

  1. Access Settings > Devices > Printers & Scanners.
  2. From the list of printers, select the one you wish to use as your default.
  3. Choose Manage > Set as default.
  4. This action will set your chosen printer as the default, ensuring it’s used for all printing tasks by default.

Edit Windows Registry

If the issue persists despite the above settings, editing the Windows Registry to change the default printer behavior may be necessary. Caution is advised when modifying the Registry, as incorrect changes can cause system instability.

  1. Press Windows key + R, type regedit, and press Enter to open the Registry Editor.
  2. Navigate to the following path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows.
  3. Locate the value LegacyDefaultPrinterMode.
  4. Double-click on this value and change its data from 0 to 1.
  5. Click OK to save the change. This modification tells Windows to use the legacy method of handling default printers, which can prevent it from changing your default printer automatically.
  6. Restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Update or Reinstall Printer Drivers

Outdated or faulty drivers can cause issues with printer settings, including the default printer changing unexpectedly. Updating or reinstalling your printer drivers can resolve these issues.

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  1. Press the Windows key and type “Device Manager” to open it.
  2. Expand the Printers section to see a list of installed printers.
  3. Right-click on your printer and select Update driver to check for and install any available updates.
  4. If updating does not resolve the issue, right-click again and choose Uninstall device.
  5. After uninstalling, restart your PC. Windows will attempt to reinstall the printer driver automatically.
  6. If Windows does not reinstall the driver, download the latest driver version from the printer manufacturer’s website and install it manually.

Remove Old Printer Connections from Registry

Old printer connections in the Registry can interfere with the default printer settings. Removing these can help stabilize the default printer selection.

  1. Open the Registry Editor by pressing Windows key + R, typing regedit, and pressing Enter.
  2. Navigate to HKEY_USERS\[USER_SID]\Printers\Connections.
  3. Delete any old or unused printer connections listed here.
  4. Similarly, navigate to HKEY_USERS\[USER_SID]\Printers\Settings and delete old printer settings.
  5. Close the Registry Editor and restart your computer for the changes to take effect.

Check USB and Power Cables

Issues with your printer’s USB and power cables can cause intermittent connections, leading Windows to change the default printer.

  1. Inspect the USB cable connecting your printer to the PC. Look for any signs of damage or wear.
  2. Check the power cable for similar issues.
  3. If either cable is damaged, replace it with a new one.
  4. Ensure that the connections at both ends (printer and PC) are secure and not loose.
  5. If the problem persists, try connecting the printer to a different USB port on your PC.

Set the Default Printer Manually from Control Panel

Manually setting the default printer from the Control Panel can help ensure your preferred printer remains set as the default.

  1. Press Windows key + S, type “Control Panel,” and open it from the results.
  2. Navigate to Devices and Printers.
  3. Find the printer you want to set as default, right-click on it, and select Set as default printer.
  4. This action will override any previous settings and set the selected printer as the default for all printing tasks.

Install the Latest Windows Updates

Keeping your Windows operating system up to date is crucial for ensuring all components work correctly, including printer settings.

  1. Press Windows key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Go to the Update & Security section.
  3. Click on Check for updates to search for any available updates.
  4. If updates are found, allow them to download and install. This may require a system restart.
  5. Regularly updating Windows can resolve many issues, including the problem of the default printer changing automatically.

Create a New User Account

If none of the above solutions work, creating a new user account can sometimes resolve underlying issues with printer settings.

  1. Open the Settings app and navigate to the Accounts section.
  2. Under Family & other people, choose Add someone else to this PC.
  3. Select I don’t have this person’s sign-in information, then choose Add a user without a Microsoft account.
  4. Enter the desired username and click Next.
  5. Once the new account is created, log into it and check if the default printer remains as set. If it works correctly, transfer your personal files to the new account and start using it.


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