Full Fix: Default printer keeps changing in Windows 10, 8.1, 7

6 minute read

When you use more than one printer, it is extremely annoying when the default printer keeps changing all the time. Before hitting the print button, you always have to check which is the current printer available, so that you don’t use the wrong printer.

Here’s how Windows 10 users describe this issue:

My default printer keeps changing to my last used printer and not the one that I set as my default.

Does any one have any ideas of how to sort this issue?

If you want to prevent your default printer from changing, you can use one of the workarounds listed below.

Default printer keeps changing on Windows 10, how to fix it?

If the default printer keeps changing on your PC, that can be a minor but annoying issue. Speaking of printer problems, here are some issues that users reported:

  • Default printer keeps changing Windows 7, 8.1, 10 – This issue can appear on any version of Windows, but even if you don’t use Windows 10, you should be able to use most of our solutions.
  • Windows 7 default printer keeps changing to Adobe PDF – If this problem happens on your PC, you just need to set your default printer and the issue should be resolved.
  • Default printer keeps changing randomly, after reboot, log off – According to users, their default printer keeps switching after reboot. This can be caused by your drivers, so be sure to update them.
  • Default printer keeps switching, reverting back – Sometimes this issue can occur due to certain system bugs. However, you should be able to fix that by installing the latest updates.

Solution 1 – Turn off the option Let Windows manage your default printer

By default, Windows 10 automatically manages your default printer. If your default printer keeps changing, you might want to prevent Windows from managing your default printer. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Go to Settings > click on the Devices icon.
    Windows 7 default printer keeps changing to Adobe PDF
  2. Click on Printers & scanners on the left side > turn off Let Windows manage my default printer.
    Default printer keeps changing after reboot

Many Windows 10 criticized Microsoft for adding such a feature. They suggested that a drop-down menu would have been much more useful, as it would have easily allowed them to select the printer of their choice.


Solution 2 – Change the printer settings from the Registry Editor

If your default printer keeps changing, the issue might be related to your registry. However, you can fix the problem simply by making a couple of changes in Registry Editor. To do that, just follow these steps:

  1. Press the Windows key + R > type regedit
    Default printer keeps changing Windows 7
  2. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows.
    Windows 7 default printer keeps changing to Adobe PDF
  3. Select LegacyDefaultPrinterMode > set the value to 1.

Solution 3 – Uninstall the printer software for all printers

If the two solutions listed above don’t work, uninstall the printers’ drivers and install the latest driver versions again. To uninstall the printer driver, you need to do the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + X to open Win + X menu. Now choose Device Manager from the list of results.
  2. Locate your printer driver, right-click it and choose Uninstall device from the menu. If you can’t find your printer, make sure that you reveal hidden devices.
    Default printer keeps changing after reboot
  3. When the confirmation dialog appears, check Delete driver software for this device and then click Uninstall.
    Default printer reverting back

After doing that, restart your PC, and the default driver will be installed again. If the default driver doesn’t work, your next step would be to install the latest printer driver.

To do that, you just need to visit your printer manufacturer’s website and find the latest drivers for your model. After downloading and installing the latest driver, check if the problem is resolved.

If you’re having trouble finding the appropriate driver, you can always use third-party tools such as TweakBit Driver Updater to automatically download the missing drivers.


Solution 4 – Remove old printer connections from your registry

If you used multiple printers with your PC, it’s possible that some old entries are still in your registry. If your default printer keeps changing, the old entries in your registry might be the problem. However, you can fix the issue simply by removing the problematic entries from your registry.

To fix the problem, you just need to do the following:

  1. Start Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the HKEY_USERS\USERS_SID_HERE\Printers\Connections key in the left pane. Be sure to select your own user SID. Usually your SID is the one that’s the longest, so be sure to select it.
    Default printer keeps changing randomly
  3. You should see some old printer connections. Delete them all.
  4. Now go to HKEY_USERS\USERS_SID_HERE\Printers\Settings key and delete the old printer settings from there.

Once you remove them, check if the problem with your default printer is resolved.


Solution 5 – Check your USB and power cable

In some rare cases, the issues with the default printer can occur due to problems with cables. If default printer keeps changing on your PC, be sure to check if your cables are working properly. Sometimes your power or USB cable might be broken, and that can lead to this and many other problems.

Carefully inspect the cables and make sure that your printer is constantly connected to your PC. If you lose connection even for a moment, Windows will change the default printer automatically. In case your cables are damaged, replace them and check if that solves your problem.


Solution 6 – Set the default printer manually

According to users, if the default printer keeps changing, you might be able to fix the problem by manually setting the default printer. To do that, you just need to follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter control panel. Choose Control Panel from the list of results.
    Default printer keeps switching
  2. Navigate to Devices and Printers.
    Default printer keeps reverting back
  3. Select the printer you want to use as default, right-click it and choose Set as default printer from the menu.
    Default printer reverting back

Solution 7 – Install the latest updates

If default printer keeps changing on your PC, the issue might be caused by certain bugs on your system. The best way to fix this problem is to install the latest Windows updates. Microsoft is constantly fixing bugs and releasing new updates, so if you’re having problems with your printer, we advise you to update your system.

By default, Windows 10 usually installs the missing updates automatically, but sometimes you might miss an update or two. However, you can check for updates manually by doing the following:

  1. Press Windows Key + I to open the Settings app.
  2. Now go to the Update & Security section.
    Default printer keeps changing Windows 8.1
  3. Click Check for updates button.
    Default printer keeps changing Windows 10

If any updates are available, Windows will download them automatically in the background. Once the updates are downloaded, just restart your PC to install them.

Once your system is up to date, check if the problem with default printer is still there.


Solution 8 – Create a new user account

If you’re having issues with your printer, you might be able to fix the problem by creating a new user account. To do that, you just need to follow these steps:

  1. Open the Settings app and navigate to the Accounts section.
    Windows 7 default printer keeps changing to Adobe PDF
  2. Now navigate to the Family & other people section and choose Add someone else to this PC.
    Default printer keeps changing after log off
  3. Select I don’t have this person’s sign-in information.
    Default printer keeps switching
  4. Now select Add a user without a Microsoft account.
    Default printer keeps changing Windows 7
  5. Enter the desired username and click Next.
    Windows 7 default printer keeps changing to Adobe PDF

After creating a new user account, switch to it and check if the problem is still there. If the issue doesn’t appear on the new account, you need to move your personal files to it and start using it instead of your old account.


Solution 9 – Perform a System Restore

If the default printer keeps changing on your PC, the problem might be caused by a recent update or change on your system. However, you can fix the problem by performing a System Restore. To do that, follow these steps:

  1. Press Windows Key + S and enter system restore. Choose Create a restore point option from the menu.
    Default printer keeps changing randomly
  2. Now click System Restore button.
    Default printer keeps switching
  3. When System Restore window opens, click Next.
    Default printer keeps changing Windows 8.1
  4. Check Show more restore points option if available, select the desired restore point and click Next.
    Windows 7 default printer keeps changing to Adobe PDF
  5. Follow the instructions on the screen to complete the restoration process.

Once your system is restored, check if the problem is still there.

If you’re still having issues with your hardware or you simply want to avoid them for the future, we recommend you to download this tool to fix various PC problems, such as hardware failure, but also file loss and malware.


Editor’s Note: This post was originally published in July 2016 and has been since completely revamped and updated for freshness, accuracy, and comprehensiveness.


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