How to Set the Default Printer in Windows 10?

Setting the default printer in Windows 10 ensures that your print jobs automatically go to your preferred printer without having to select it every time you print. Setting a default can save time and effort each time you print. 

How to Set the Default Printer in Windows 10?

Check Existing Default Printer

Before changing your default printer, it’s helpful to check if one is already set. Here’s how:

  1. Open the Start Menu and click on the Settings gear icon to open Windows Settings
  2. Click on Devices
  3. Click Printers & Scanners on the left side
  4. Your current default printer has a checkmark inside a green circle next to its name

If you already have the correct printer set as default, no further action is needed. To change the default, continue with the steps below.

Set a New Default Printer

Designating a new default printer only takes a few clicks:

  1. Follow steps 1-3 above to open your Printers & Scanners settings
  2. Click on the printer you want to set as the default
  3. Check the box that says “Make this my default printer”
  4. Confirm that a green checkmark is now shown next to the newly selected default printer

And that’s it! This printer will now be automatically selected for all print jobs until changed.

Set Default Printer for Specific Apps

Beyond setting the system-wide default printer, you can also configure individual apps to use a different default printer just for their print jobs:

  1. Open the app you want to change
  2. Select File > Print from the menu
  3. At the top of the print window, click the current printer drop down and select your preferred printer
  4. Check the box for “Let me use this printer for all documents”
  5. Click OK

Now whenever you print from that app, it will automatically send jobs to the selected default printer instead of the system default.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you set a default printer and it’s not working as expected, here are some troubleshooting tips:

  • Reboot your computer – Try rebooting after changing defaults. This reloads all settings.
  • Check for errors – Open queue for the default printer and see if jobs are getting stuck due to errors. Resolve any alerts.
  • Check app settings – Some apps have their own print settings that override defaults, so check within the app.
  • Set as default in hardware settings – For networked printers, also set the default in the printer hardware settings interface.

Restoring Default Print Services

In some cases, you may want to revert Windows’ print subsystem back to factory defaults:

  1. Open the Start Menu
  2. Search for “services” and open the Services app
  3. Scroll down and locate the Print Spooler service
  4. Right-click **Print Spooler **and select Properties
  5. Click the Restore Default button under Startup Type

This will reset print services and delete any custom defaults. You can then reconfigure new defaults.

Key Takeaways:

  • Windows allows both system-wide and app-specific default printers
  • New default printers can be set from Devices > Printers & Scanners
  • Make sure to check for errors if default printer is not working
  • Individual apps may override some default printer settings
  • Print services can be reset if needed as troubleshooting step

Conclusion

Setting the default printer is a simple but important printing preference in Windows 10. Following the steps outlined in this article, you can easily specify your top choice printer to avoid having to manually select it constantly. Troubleshooting guidance provides tips if your expected default printer is not working properly. With these best practices, managing default printers becomes easier.

Frequently Asked Questions

  1. What’s the benefit of setting a default printer?
    A default printer saves you time by automatically sending all print jobs to your preferred printer without having to select it manually each time.

  2. Do I have to set defaults both in Windows and the printer driver?
    It’s best practice to set the default both within Windows settings and the printer hardware interface for optimal reliability.

  3. What causes my default printer setting not to work properly?
    Potential causes include driver errors, individual apps overriding defaults, print services needing a reboot or reset, or incorrect network printer configuration.

  4. How do I change the default printer for Microsoft Office apps?
    Open any Office app, go to File > Print > and select your printer and check
    “Let me use this printer for all documents” before clicking Print.

  5. Does changing the default printer affect previously printed documents?
    No, changing the default printer will only apply to documents printed going forward. Previously printed documents will not be impacted.

  6. Can I set a default printer for certain file formats only?
    Unfortunately there is no setting for configuring default printers based on file type or format. The default applies for all prints.

  7. What causes the Print Spooler service to stop working properly?
    Corruption or problems with print drivers, issues with updates or installations, malware, or necessary Windows updates failing are potential sources of issues.

  8. Should I use the native or vendor printer drivers?
    When available for your printer model, it’s generally best to use vendor printer drivers from the hardware manufacturer rather than native OS drivers for optimal compatibility.

  9. If I delete my default printer, can I still print?
    Yes, even if you delete your current default printer entirely you will still be able to print by simply selecting an alternate printer that remains configured each time you print.

  10. How do I check for print driver errors in the queue?
    Open the printer queue, right-click on the printer, choose Properties, then open the Printer status and observe any alerts under the list of Printer status and alerts.

  11. Why does my default printer setting randomly change?
    This is likely caused by automatic driver updates pushing new options, users changing defaults locally or via remote access, malware attacks that alter settings, or corrupt drivers forcing settings to refresh.

  12. Can I configure default printers differently per user account?
    Yes, default printers can vary across user accounts to accommodate differing preferences depending on the individual user that is logged into Windows.

  13. What’s the easiest way to configure default printers identically on multiple computers?
    If managing multiple workstations, using a centralized print server and publishing shared printers is the easiest way to replicate printer preferences across many devices simultaneously.

  14. Is there a command prompt to reset all printers to default?
    Yes, “RUNDLL32 PRINTUI.DLL,PrintUIEntry /y” can be used from an admin command prompt to reset printer settings system-wide to default values.

  15. Can I specify different tray defaults for separate printers?
    Yes, you can set tray preferences (such as Manual Feed) independently for individual printers based on the support for input trays on each device selected.

  16. How do I make system default the same as my Adobe software print preference?
    In Adobe apps, go to File > Print > select the printer > check the option to use that printer for all Adobe documents.

  17. What causes Windows to forget my default printer setting?
    This is typically caused by an underlying problem with the driver installation or updates. Uninstalling and reinstalling the printer using latest drivers generally corrects the issue.

  18. If my default printer driver is corrupted, can I still print elsewhere?
    Yes, even with major default printer issues you retain the ability to manually select alternate working printers for individual jobs as needed until the default can be repaired.

  19. How do I set color vs black and white defaults separately?
    Windows allows you to configure the default preferences for color and monochrome independent of one another. Navigate to Devices > Printers & Scanners > select the target printer > manage > printing preferences, and set the default choices per color mode as desired.

  20. What causes print jobs to change after sending to default printer?
    If print settings or attributes like color, duplex, orientation etc. are changing from what was sent after being spooled and processed, the most common culprits are 1) print policies enforcing restrictions, 2) driver substitution altering options to closest supported local settings and 3) print server processing overriding user submitted configs. Check policy and driver settings on both the client and server to isolate cause.

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