Why Does Your Default Printer Keep Changing On Windows 10 (Fix With 9 Easy Steps)

If you use multiple printers with your computer or laptop, you will likely face some issues. 

The most common issue is that your computer will change the default printer in Windows operating system, and then you won’t be able to print any file or document. 

Moreover, you may have to change the default printer from the settings, again and again, to fix this issue temporarily.

You may even face this issue when you have connected the same printer with your laptop or computer

There are various reasons for this issue like the software might have gone outdated, installed faulty drivers, the windows registry has gone corrupt, or your printer has issues.


Legacy Default Printer Mode

Legacy Default Printer Mode

The first and foremost solution you have to try to fix this solution is adjusting the LegacyDefaultPrinterMode Key.

 Now, it may sound a bit difficult, but it is not very difficult. You have to make a few changes in the registry editor of your Windows Operating system to fix this issue. 

Here’s how:

  1. First, open the registry editor in Windows 10, 8, or 7. You can search for regedit or type “Regedit” in the run box by pressing the Windows + R key. 
  2. Now navigate to this path: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
  3. After that, you have to change the values of LegacyDefaultPrinterMode from 0 to 1. Double-click on the file at the right side of your screen, a pop-up will appear, here change the digit from 0 to 1 and click OK.
  4. Once this process is done, you have to make a quick reboot so that value changes can occur in the operating system. 
  5. After restarting the computer, set the default printer again, and the problem should be fixed.

Uncheck “Let Windows Manage My Default Printer.”

Another solution for this problem is not letting your Windows operating system decide to choose which printer should be your default. 

In this case, the Windows Operating System will not automatically recognize the printer, even if you use multiple printers, and it will not create such issues. 

  1. First, click on the Windows button and go to Settings.
  2. Click on Devices and then go to Printers & Scanners.
  3. On this page, uncheck the box “Let Windows Manage My Default Printer”. 
  4. Changes will be saved by making sure to do a quick reboot.
  5. Now, you can connect the printer and check if the issue is resolved or not.

Uninstall Printer Drivers and Reinstall Updated Versions

The most common reason for this problem could be your printer driver. The printer drivers may have gone corrupt, faulty, or outdated. 

Additionally, you may have installed false printer drivers. So, you will have to reinstall the drivers again to fix this issue. 

  • First of all, you have to uninstall the old drivers. Press Windows + X key and then choose Device Manager from the results. 
  • Find out the printer driver on the next page, right-click on it and click on Uninstall Device from the list. If you don’t see your printer on this page, you have to ensure that you click on “Hidden devices” as this will reveal all the hidden printer drivers on the page, and then you can uninstall it.
  • Follow the on-screen instruction to uninstall the drivers from your computer.
  • Once the driver is completely removed from the computer, do a quick reboot.
  • Now, you have to download the driver from the official website of the manufacturer.
  • For instance, if you have an HP printer, search for “HP Printer Drivers”. Also, you can add the model no of your printer to quickly download the drivers.
  • Once the drivers are downloaded, install them and follow the on-screen instructions.
  • Again, make a quick reboot. And the drivers will be successfully installed on your computer.

Check All Your Cables (USB & Power Cable)

Another most common reason for this issue is the cables are not properly connected to your computer. 

In such cases, your printer won’t be recognized by the computer, and it will end up showing different default printers. 

  1. Make sure all the cables are properly connected. Make sure your printer is on and check the power cord is properly plugged into the power source.
  2. Ensure the USB cord is not damaged and properly connected to the computer.
  3. Try to plug the USB cord into different USB ports of your computer.
  4. Ensure the USB cable doesn’t lose the connection in between.

Clear Old Printer Settings from Registry

Sometimes your old printer registry has not been deleted from your Windows operating system’s registry editor, which can lead to a problem. 

Your computer does not automatically delete the previously printer registry, which creates this problem. 

So you can fix this issue just by deleting the old registries.

  1. Open the registry editor, press the Windows + R key and then type regedit, hit enter.
  2. Now navigate to Computer\HKEY_USERS\%User SID%\Printers\Connections
  3. Now under Printer, you can see the Connections folder. Just click on it, and you will see the (Default) named file on the right side. 
  4. You simply have to delete this file. Also, you can delete the “Connections” folder by right-clicking on it.
  5. Restart your computer once, and the problem should be resolved. 

Manual Setup of Default Printer

One of the easier ways to solve this problem is by setting up your printer manually. 

As the Windows Operating System keeps changing the default printer, you have to set it up not to change anymore manually.

  1. Click on the Windows button and search for Control Panel.
  2. Go to Devices and Printers.
  3. Choose your printer from the list of available printers on the page.
  4. Right-click on the printer and select “Set as Default Printer.”
  5. That’s it.

Windows Update

One of the far more common reasons for this issue can be a broken windows update. 

If you install an unstable or broken Windows update onto your computer, you will likely have this issue. 

Microsoft weekly or monthly pushes a lot of new updates, which fixes the bugs on your computer. 

However, sometimes this update can cause some problems that can be easily fixed within minutes. 

You have to uninstall the latest update of Windows, or you can downgrade your computer. 

Further, if you are running on an old version of Windows, you have to try updating your computer.

  • Go to Settings >> Update & Security >> Check for updates. 
  • If there is an update available, download and install it on your computer.
  • Your computer will automatically install the update and check if the issue is resolved.

Downgrade the Windows version: If you have recently updated your computer to the latest version and facing this issue, then most likely, the latest Windows update will contain this issue. 

So, in this case, you have to uninstall the latest windows update.

  1. Go to Settings >> Update & Security >> View update history.
  2. Choose the Windows version and click on Uninstall Updates.
  3. Your computer will restart.
  4. Check if the issue is resolved or not.

New User Account Might Solve This Issue

This is not an ideal solution, but sometimes your Microsoft account can cause issues with old settings. 

If you create a new user account, all the settings and accounts will be reset, and most likely, the issue will be resolved.

  1. Go to Settings >> Accounts >> Family & Other People.
  2. On this page, click on Add someone else to this PC.
  3. Choose “I don’t have this person’s sign-in information” and then select ” Add a user without a Microsoft account”.
  4. Follow the on-screen instruction to create a new account. You will be asked to enter the name, password, password hint, and more.
  5. Once the account is created, check if the issue persists. If it is working, you will have to move the files to the new user account to print them easily.

Restore Your System

If none of the above-given solutions is working for you, then the last solution that remains for you is performing a system restore, which might fix the issue. 

  1. Go to the System Restore page by searching for Create a Restore Point on your computer. 
  2. A new pop up will appear on the screen. 
  3. Click on System Restore and click Next.
  4. Click on Show more restore points if the option is available. And if the option is not available, select the desired restore point according to you.
  5. We would suggest you choose the last restore point. You can choose the best restore point by looking at the Date and Time at the left of the pop-up.
  6. Click Next and follow the on-screen instructions to finish the restore.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Where Do You Find Printer Settings On Windows 10 PC?

To find Printer Settings in Windows 10:

  1. Press the Windows button and search for Control Panel.
  2. Click on Hardware and Sound >> Devices and Printers.
  3. Here you will find all the printers installed on your computer. 
  4. Choose your printer, right-click on it and select Printer Properties. On this page, you can change any of the printer settings you want.

Does Windows 10 Install Drivers Automatically?

If you keep the printer connected to your system always, then most likely, Windows 10 will download the drivers automatically along with a Windows update and install it on the system. 

However, most of the time, it doesn’t automatically install the printer drivers.

You have to download the drivers from the manufacturer’s website manually. 

Or you can automatically download the drivers by going to Device Manager and select Scan for Hardware changes, and the drivers should be downloaded automatically.

Should You Let Your Windows Manage Default Printers?

If you use your printer for home or office and there is no issue in the default printer settings, you should Let Windows manage your default printers. 

However, if you use multiple printers, you may face some issues and may need to change the default printer according to your needs.

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Tanmoy Misra found his love for tech early in life when he got his first Nintendo (NES) console. He spent many hours blowing into cartridges to no avail until inspiration struck and he started taking apart and rebuilding anything that didn’t work. After dropping console gaming at the end of high school, Tanmoy entered the world of PC online gaming. His love of gaming and problem-solving soon led him to build his computers. As per expertise, he is an ISF-certified video calibrator and covering AV for a number of publications since 2018.

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