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Computer Basics: Setting a Default Printer in Windows

You can tell Windows to use a default printer for all Windows applications. You may need to change this setting if you connect a new printer. Also, unfortunately, sometimes programs interfere with this setting and change it without verifying the change with the end user, requiring you to reset it.

To set the default printer in Windows:

  • Go to the Start Menu.

  • Select the Control Panel option.

  • In the Hardware and Sound section, select View Devices & Printers.

    A list of your connected printers is shown with a green check mark on the icon of the current default printer.

    Devices and Printers dialog box

  • Right-click on the icon for the printer that you want as your default.

  • Select Set as Default Printer.

    The green check mark will move to this printer.

If you're trying to print a document and are surprised when it goes to the wrong printer, use this procedure to set the default printer to your preferred device. This setting affects all Windows programs.

Most programs also allow you to select a printer other than the default one using the program's Print command.