Windows allows you to choose a default printer if you have multiple printers. Follow these steps to set a default printer in Windows 11 & 10 operating systems.
I recently wrote a simple guide on adding a printer to the Send To menu. This allows you to set the print directly from the right-click context menu.
If you have multiple printers connected to your computer and prefer one over the other, you can change the default printer in Windows instead of selecting the printer every time. After all, choosing a printer whenever you want to print something is repetitive and time-consuming.
Generally, Windows manages the default printers by itself. You can manually set the default printer in Windows if it is not doing a good job.
There are multiple ways to change the default printer in Windows 11 and 10. The first two methods are specific to Windows 11 and 10. But the other two methods will work on all recent versions like Windows 11, 10, 8, and 7. Since all methods achieve the target result. i.e., setting the default printer in Windows, follow the one you are comfortable with.
Table of contents:
- Set default printer in Windows 11
- Set default printer in Windows 10
- Use Control Panel to set default printer
- Command to set default printer
Set default printer in Windows 11
You must use the Windows 11 settings app to set the default printer. All it takes is a couple of clicks. Let me show you how.
- Open Settings with “Start + I.”
- Choose “Bluetooth & other devices” on the sidebar.
- Click on the “Printers & scanners” option.
- Turn off the “Let Windows manage my default printer” under “Printer preferences.”
- Click on the printer of your choice.
- Press the “Set as default” button.
- With that, the printer is set as default.
Steps with more details:
Use the “Start key + I” to open the Windows 11 Settings app. Next, go to the “Bluetooth & other devices” tab on the sidebar. You will find most of the hardware device settings here, as the name implies. Click on the “Printers & scanners” option on this page.
Now, scroll down and turn off the “Let Windows manage my default printer” option under the “Printer preferences” section. This allows you set the printer of your choice as default.
Next, click on the printer you want to set as default.
Click the “Set as default” button to set the printer as the default in Windows 11.
As soon as you click the button, you will see the Printer Status as “Default” on the printer page.
Set Default Printer in Windows 10
Windows 10 PC Settings app makes it easy to set the default printer in Windows 10. You just have to click a button, and you are done.
1. First, open the PC Settings app by pressing the Win + I keyboard shortcut or searching for it in the Start menu.
2. Go to the “Devices -> Printers & Scanners” page in the Settings app.
3. Uncheck the “Allow Windows to manage my default printer” option on the right page. Without unchecking this option, you cannot choose a default printer.
4. Now, click on the printer of your choice from the list and click on the “Manage” button.
5. On the subsequent page, press the “Set as Default” button.
6. As soon as you click the button, the target printer will be set as default on Windows 10.
Use Control Panel to set default printer
If the settings app is not working or you are on an older Windows version, you can use the good old control panel to change or set the default printer. Here is how.
1. Search for “Control Panel” in the start menu and click on it to open.
2. Ensure the View by is set to “Categories” in the Control Panel window. Next, click on the “View devices and printers” link under the “Hardware and Sound” section.
3. Right-click on the printer of your choice and select the “Set as default printer” option. If you see a warning message, click the “Yes” button to continue.
4. As soon as you select the option, Windows will set the printer of your choice as default. You will see a green checkmark on the default printer icon.
Related: How to clear the print queue in Windows.
Command to set default printer
Alternatively, you can also use simple commands to set the default printer. The whole process is pretty simple. First, we need to know the printer name and use that name to set the default printer. Let me show you how.
1. Open the Start Menu and search for “Command Prompt.” Right-click on the Command Prompt result and choose “Run as administrator.” You can also click on the “Run as Administrator” option on the right panel.
2. Before changing the default printer, you need to know the printer names. Specifically, the name of the printer you want to set as default. So, execute the command below in the Command Prompt to list all the printer names.
wmic printer get name,default
3. Once you have the names, execute the below command while replacing “printer_name” with the actual printer name from the list you got from the first command.
wmic printer where name="printer_name" call setdefaultprinter
4. As soon as you execute the command, the default printer will be changed to your choice.
That is it. It is that simple to set the default printer in Windows 11 and 10.
I hope this simple Windows how-to guide helped you.
If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.