How to Force Windows 10 to Set Up Default Printer Through Registry?

Modern PC hardware becomes easier and easier to operate with every year yet somehow printers and related to them problems remain extremely painful and annoying. Being unable to set up a default printer in Windows 10 may cause a lot of headaches. When setting up a printer in Windows 10, the user may want to set it as a default. Unfortunately, some users report receiving the “Default printer cannot be set” error or the “Operation could not be completed (error 0x00000709)” error.

windows 10 default printer registry

It is quite difficult to tell what causes these errors to appear. Luckily for all of us, they are somewhat random and do not pop frequently. Also, it is relatively easy to fix the “Default printer cannot be set” error.

default printer registry windows 10

Force Windows 10 to Set Default Printer

If you do not know how to fix the “Default printer cannot be set” error, do not worry. This is the kind of rare issues where you almost should not do anything. In Windows 10 November 2015 Update, Microsoft changed the way Windows 10 manages the default printers. From now on it automatically sets the last used printer as a default. In other words, all you need to do to set up the default printer in Windows 10 is to use it. Go ahead and print something and after that, the printer you need to use a default will get the needed property.

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For your information: when troubleshooting printers in Windows 10, always make sure you have the latest drivers installed. If your computer is unable to download drivers automatically, go to a manufacturer’s website and download the newest supported drivers from there. Also, do note that old printers may have a hard time working with modern computers, especially if you use dongles and converters to connect an old interface to a modern motherboard.

Windows 10 sets default printers automatically by default. You can check whether you have this feature enabled by doing the following:

  1. Make sure your PC runs Windows 10 1511 or never (Win + R – winver).
  2. Hit Win + I on your keyboard to run Windows Settings and go to Devices – Printers and scanners.
  3. Scroll down and check whether the option Let Windows manage my default printer is enabled. If it is not, place a checkmark and go print something. set default printer windows 10 registry

Do note that if you use another printer, it will be assigned as default automatically. This may be somewhat confusing to people with two or more printers. In this scenario, you may want to set up the default printer manually.

How to Set Default Printer in Windows 10?

On a newer Windows 10 version, it is extremely easy to set up the default printer.

  1. Go to Windows Settings – Devices – Printers and Scanners. Uncheck the automatic printer assignment option described above and click the printer you want to set up as a default. Press Manage. default printer registry
  2. On the next screen, press Set as default button to make this printer the default. set default printer for all users windows 10 registry
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Older Windows versions do not have the settings above. If you run Windows 8 or Windows 7, set up the default printer in Windows by doing the following:

  1. Open the Control Panel and go to the Devices and Printers section.
  2. In the Printers section, right-click the printer you want to set up as the default. Select Set as default printer. windows 10 can't set default printer

Fix Operation could not be completed (error 0x00000709). Double click the printer name and make sure that the printer is connected to the network error

This is where things may go sideways. As we described above, sometimes a user may encounter weird issues when trying to set up the default printer in Windows 10. If nothing helped and you still cannot set up the default printer, try to use the Windows registry to bypass the nasty error.

Warning: follow the procedure strictly and do not change other registry branches and values, otherwise you may end up with serious software problems and data loss.

  1. Disable the Let Windows manage my default printer options in Windows settings.
  2. Press Win + R and enter the regedit command. Press Enter. This command launches the built-in Registry Editor. default printer windows 10 registry
  3. Expand the following registry key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows.
  4. Right-click on the Windows key and select Permissions. windows 10 cannot set default printer
  5. Select Administrators, then check the Full Control and press OK. can't set default printer windows 10
  6. Next, assign Full Control permission for your user.
  7. Close the permissions windows and go back to Registry Editor. In the right pane, find the registry parameter called Devices and change its value to the printer name you want to set as a default one. For, example if your printer has the name HP Color LaserJet 5550 PCL6 Class Driver, you need to set the value to HP Color LaserJet 5550 PCL6 Class Driver,winspool,TS001. set default printer registry windows 10
  8. After saving the settings, the new printer will be marked with a green circle in the Control Panel. Also, you will see the Default string next to the printer in the Windows Settings.
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If Nothing Helped

By now you should be all set, but if the problem persists, delete the following registry values in the branch described above: Device, LegacyDefaultPrinterMode, and UserSelectedDefault.

Cyril Kardashevsky

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