Using Printers and identifying which was in use was easy with Windows 7. Upon opening the ‘Devices and Printers’ menu, one could easily check which printer was set to default – something that doesn’t happen in Windows 11/10. Windows 11/10 is smart. It has a feature that is set to ON by default and sets the default printer to the one used most recently at the user’s current location.
Suppose I am connected to my home network on my laptop and I give a command to print a document from my Canon printer, it will set the printer as default for my home network. Whenever I give a command to print any document while being connected to the home network after that, it will automatically command the Canon printer to print the document.
However, if I command to print a document while being connected to some other network, say office network, it won’t send the print instruction to the Canon printer but the printer I last printed from, when connected to the office network. This makes Windows 11/10 a smarter operating system.
However, some users might have different priorities and would like to change these settings, particularly when they need to set one single printer as the default printer. You can turn off the Let Windows manage my default printer automatically setting In Windows 11/10 via Settings, Group Policy or Registry. Let us see how to do it.
Let Windows manage my default printer
To Turn Off Let Windows manage my default printer setting in Windows 11:
- Open Settings
- Open Bluetooth and devices settings
- On the right side, select Printers and Scanners
- Scroll down a bit and locate Printer preferences section
- Turn the option saying ‘Let Windows manage my default printer’ to OFF.
To change the settings to manual in Windows 10, use the following steps:
- Click on the Start button and then click on the gear-like symbol which will open the Settings page.
- Among the tabs on the left, please click ‘Printers and Scanners‘.
- Turn the option saying ‘Let Windows manage my default printer‘ to OFF.
Using Group Policy
If these settings need to be changed for a larger domain controlled network, use the following steps:
1] Open the Group Policy Editor and navigate to the following location:
User Configuration > Administrative Templates > Control Panel > Printers
2] Among the list of policies, find the policy ‘Turn off Windows default printer management‘ and Enable it.
This changes the group policy regarding the printers for all systems attached to the domain. Once done, the group policy needs to be forced on all computers that were attached to the domain. The procedure for the same is as follows:
1] Right-click on the start button. Open Command Prompt (Admin).
2] Enter the command gpupdate /force in the command prompt window and restart the system.
Using Registry Editor
1] To open the Registry Editor, press Windows + R to open the run window.
2] Enter the command ‘regedit’.
3] Navigate to the following key:
4] On the right pane, right-click on the value New > DWORD.
5] This will create a new registry item DWORD (REG_DWORD). Rename it LegacyDefaultPrinterMode.
6] Double-click it to modify its Value data. Change the radio button to ‘hexadecimal’ and change the value data to 1.
Restart your Windows system.