Changing a User’s Default Printer in the Registry

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There are times when you want to change the default printer of a user or group of users without having access to the user's (or users') computer(s). You can do this by making a registry entry.

To change the default printer, add the registry entry as shown below:

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious, system-wide problems that may require you to reinstall Windows NT to correct them. Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use of Registry Editor can be solved. Use this tool at your own risk.

Start Registry Editor (regedt32.exe or regedit.exe).

Under the HKEY_ CURRENT_USER subtree, go to the following subkey:

Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows

History Tip: on Windows 95 the registry was:


Add or edit the following registry entry:

Device: REG_SZ <printer description string>

Where <printer description string> is the value that Print Manager would put in if this operation were done through Print Manager.

Changing a User's Default Printer in the Registry

Changing a User's Default Printer in the Registry

It would resemble one of the following:




The Ne00 is a network port and LPT1 a local port.

With some applications, the default printer is read at the time the application is started and you will need to close and restart the application for the new default printer to show.

Note: The device is the name used to represent the printer in the registry, the name can also be found in the [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Printers\Settings] key.