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Changing a User's Default Printer in the Registry

This article was previously published under Q156212
SUMMARY
There are times when you want to change the default printer of a user orgroup of users without having access to the user's (or users') computer(s).You can do this by making a registry entry.
MORE INFORMATION
To change the default printer, add the registry entry as shown below:

WARNING: Using Registry Editor incorrectly can cause serious, system-wideproblems that may require you to reinstall Windows NT to correct them.Microsoft cannot guarantee that any problems resulting from the use ofRegistry Editor can be solved. Use this tool at your own risk.
  1. Start Registry Editor (Regedt32.exe).
  2. Under the HKEY_ CURRENT_USER subtree, go to the following subkey:

    Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows
  3. 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. 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.

    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.
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Article ID: 156212 - Last Review: 02/26/2007 20:50:55 - Revision: 2.2

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server
  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Workstation 4.0 Developer Edition
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.5
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 3.51
  • Microsoft Windows NT Server 4.0 Standard Edition
  • kbnetwork KB156212
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