Cannot change default printer


  • I have a Brother all-in-one USB printer set as default.  Worked fine.  Set up an old HP laserjet on a wireless print server - works fine.  But Vista now has the HP as default.  When I right-click in the Control Panel -> Hardware and Sound -> Printers window and change the Brother back to default - it lasts about 2 seconds before it switches back to the HP.  Cannot change it.  I've looked everywhere I can think.  Where do you go to force the default printer change?


    Also of note:  the wireless HP that is stuck as default is "paused".  There are no print jobs pending and no paper jams.  The printer prints fine when tested.  When I try to un-pause it as administrator, it unpauses for about 2 seconds and then pauses.


    How to solve?

    Thursday, January 31, 2008 3:04 AM

All replies

  • Hi,


    I haven't tested it but it should works also on vista.Try with setprinter.exe and inform us about the result.



    Cengiz Kuskaya



    Thursday, January 31, 2008 2:34 PM
  • I don't believe that program is installed on my computer.  Searches of the entire system turn up nothing.


    Thursday, January 31, 2008 3:00 PM
  • Hi Eric,


    you should search at Smile) The tool setprinter.exe is included in Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools.It is a command line tool.


    Windows Server 2003 Resource Kit Tools

    Setprinter.exe: Spooler Configuration Tool


    C:\Program Files\Windows Resource Kits\Tools>setprinter /? and the detailled syntax is in rktools.chm Help file.



    Cengiz Kuskaya


    Thursday, January 31, 2008 8:13 PM
  • I'm a little leary of running a Windows 2003 server program in Vista.  You think that's ok?  I will try it as a last resort.  Was hoping someone would have a Vista fix.


    I really think the problem relates to the fact that the wireless printer is stuck in "Paused" mode.  I can print from it, but then it reverts to "Paused".  If I could un-pause that printer, I think I could set the local USB printer as default.

    Thursday, January 31, 2008 11:43 PM
  • Hello Eric,


    Thank you for posting!


    Based on my experience, this issue is possibly caused by incorrect driver for printers or incompatible print server (if a standalone one). Please check them or let me know the models.


    Please also try the solution provided by Cengiz and let us know the result. If it doesn’t work, for your reference, you may try to set the Brother printer as default one in the registry.


    The value is located at: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\ and the name is Device. It would resemble one of the following:


    \\SERVER\HPLASER,winspool,Ne00: or DESKJET,winspool,LPT1:


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


    Note: Please backup the HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows key before modifying it, to reduce any potential loss.


    Hope it helps!



    Lionel Chen

    Microsoft Online Community Support


    Monday, February 04, 2008 4:11 AM
  • Hi all,


    sorry for this delay.I was a little bit busy in the last days.If you want you can try it with this one.With Prnmngr it's a little bit easer.


    I do not know if this vbs script available on vista but this script comes by default with w2k3 and xp.Please start > run > cmd and navigate to the directory of the script and after that  type cscript prnmngr.vbs-t-pPrinterName


    If you get an error please inform us about the error code.



    To set the default printer
    cscript prnmngr.vbs-t-pPrinterName

    Required. Specifies that you want to set the default printer.
    Required. Specifies, by name, the printer that you want to set as the default printer.
    Displays help at the command prompt.
    • This command starts a script that is located in the systemroot\system32 directory. You must type this command at a command prompt with that directory as the current directory, or you must type the full path to that directory at the beginning of the cscript command.
    • If the information that you supply contains spaces, use quotation marks around the text (for example, "Computer Name").

    As Lionel  mentioned this type of problems are mostly driver related.


    Thank you to all


    Kind regards,

    Cengiz Kuskaya


    Tuesday, February 05, 2008 11:37 PM

    "The value is located at: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\"


    I have seen many references to this magical location in Vista. I have seen just as many replies stating that "HKCU\Software\Microsoft|Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows\" does not exist on their machines. Every single time, much like when Apple has an issue... It is followed by silence (even by Microsoft)... Does this key exist in Vista? Can Vista have a default printer? If so, how is it set since this key does not seem to exist and setting it via the right mouse menu does nothing!

    Friday, April 04, 2008 11:24 PM
  • The prnmngr.vbs script is not installed under Vista.


    Wednesday, May 28, 2008 5:35 PM
  • Lionel,

    Just wanted to Thank you for the great advice. I had looked all over the Microsoft community before finding your suggestion with the all to helpful information. It worked like a champ and had been causing a great deal of grief. Thanks again.


    Jeff Norris


    Thursday, August 07, 2008 5:12 AM