If you have multiple printers, including PDF printers, you might have one you use more often. To save time, it’s a good idea to set a Windows 10 default printer so that you only have to change the printer when you want to use something different.
Occasionally, Windows likes to take over, though, and change your default printer for you. Luckily, there’s also a way around this to ensure the default you set is the one that stays in place.
Disable Windows Printer Management
A large part of Windows 10 is focused on doing things automatically for the end user, including choosing the Windows 10 default printer. Windows may automatically assume that the new printer you just installed should be the default instead of the original printer that you plan to keep using most often.
Before choosing a default manually, you have to disable this setting. Go to Start and type “Printers & Scanners.” Select the settings option that appears.
Scroll until you see the option “Let Windows manage my default printer.” Uncheck this box if it’s checked.
Set Your Windows 10 Default Printer
Now that Windows isn’t managing your printer for you, you’re able to set a default of your choosing. Open the Printers & Scanners settings window again.
You’ll see a list of all currently installed printers. You can also add a new printer using the “Add a printer or scanner option” at the top of the list. You’ll need to add a new printer before you’re able to set it as your default. If you’re having trouble adding a Wi-Fi printer, you may need to physically connect it the first time.
Select the printer you want to set as your default. Click Manage.
Click “Set as default” to change the status of the printer to Default.
Once done, click the back arrow button to go back to the Printers & Scanners screen. You’ll see the word “Default” listed below your default printer.
You can change your default at any time. Also, you’re free to choose any other printer you want when you print something. You’ll just need to manually choose the printer in the app you’re using versus simply hitting print or using a keyboard shortcut to print. Those options won’t change your default settings.
Windows 10 Default Printer Changes Itself
If you suddenly discover your Windows 10 default printer has changed, there are several reasons. The most common is a new Windows update. There are almost always a variety of issues when new updates are released, including changing Windows settings.
Check to see if the “Let Windows manage my default printer” is checked. If so, uncheck it and reset your default printer.
It’s also possible a Windows update changed your driver, causing the printer to not work correctly. This may cause your printer default to change when installing an updated driver from the printer manufacturer or using Manage within Printers & Scanners. Choose “Hardware Properties -> Driver -> Update Driver.”
A final issue may occur when you install a new printer. New printers want to be the default. The installation process, especially when using software to install, may change your default for you. If using the printer software to install, there may be an option to set the printer as your default. Check it if you want the printer to be your Windows 10 default printer and uncheck it if you don’t.
Outside of the issues above, your default printer should stay set. Now, when you hit the Print button, your documents should be sent directly to your chosen printer. If you are stuck in the “Print queue,” here is how to clear the queue. If you have a Network Printer and have difficulty finding its IP address, we have a fix here.