What does a default printer mean in Windows 10?

Default according to Webster is a setting that a computer uses if you don’t choose a different one.
Default Printer is the printer that all print jobs go to unless you select a different printer.
Makes sense.

I used to think that the definition of “DEFAULT PRINTER” as the printer that always come up as selected every time you go to print. How silly of me! I’ve learned to change my definition of Default Printer, thanks to Windows 10.

The older versions of Windows, such as Windows XP and Windows 7, had the old definition, where you could specify which printer Windows would use, if you didn’t choose a different printer.

But Windows 10? Not any more!. They redefined the words DEFAULT PRINTER. So what does Windows 10 do differently? Every time you go to print and select a different printer, Windows 10 sets that printer as the new default printer! How silly of me to want to have a default printer and have Windows print to that printer unless I change the default. Now Windows 10 does it one step better. It changes my default printer EVERY TIME I PRINT.

The benefits are obvious. You can now rest easy fully knowing that you can print to the LAST printer you printed to. This is so helpful for people with laptops that print in different environments. It just means that instead of specifying printers 50% of the time, you’ll have to specify printers 100% of the time (say work, and home for instance). With the old definition, you could specify the default printer to your work printer, then when you were at home, just change it for those one or two print jobs. Or the other way around.
Not any more. Now you’ll be switching printers like a pro. Every time you change locations or print to a different printer, you’ll be switching no matter what.

Now, if you are old school and really like the old way of doing things, there is a solution for you. Bring up the Windows 10 Settings page. The shortcut for that is Windows+I. Then click on Devices. You should be on the “Add Printers and Scanners” page at this point. Scroll down until you see “Let Windows manage my default printers.” Turn this off.

At this point, Windows 10 should behave like the older versions of windows and leave the default printer at one setting.

UPDATE October 2017:
I have now discovered over the course of this past year, that Windows 10 automatically decides to turn on “Let Windows manage my default printers” after some Microsoft Updates. So once again, I can have this feature on, even when I turn it off myself. It’ll randomly reappear after a while. Fantastico!

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