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  1. #1
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Default printers

    One of the first things I learned with Windows 10 is that you need to turn off the "Let Windows manage your default printer" setting. I found that Windows doesn't actually "manage" your default printer, it just mindlessly switches the default to whichever was the last one you used. Our Point of Sale (POS) registers all have two printers which are actively used (one for receipts and one for pricing labels and reports) and a PDF printer which is used occasionally. Almost by definition, the printer you currently need to use will not be the default. And since one of those is the receipt printer, it is a real problem if the default switches to one of the other printers. Our clerks are not system administrators and do not have either the time or the training to constantly be fussing with this while a customer stands their waiting.

    For a while everything worked fine after turning off that setting. But then my POS registers started reporting NO printers installed. I checked and there were printers installed. I got the POS supplier involved and we discovered that there was no default printer set. Apparently the Windows print spooler requires a default printer to be set even if you are printing to another printer. Or so Microsoft has told them. So before I print, the POS software checks to see if there is a default printer set and if not it refuses to even try.

    Interestingly, Microsoft apparently doesn't obey their own rules because I can print to any printer I want from notepad even if no default printer is selected. But the POS supplier has chosen to blindly obey the rules.

    Patience, we're getting close to the question.

    Anyway, so why did the default printer suddenly disappear? Well it seems that Microsoft also manages printer drivers as part of their automatic updating and when they install a new driver for the default printer, they treat it as a new printer and do not carry over its default state. The default printer disappears.

    So the first part of my question is: is there a way for me to forcibly set the default printer every time we login to the registers? A startup script or scheduled task or something?

  2. #2
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Part two

    A couple of times I have found that the print spooler is not running (even though there is a default printer selected.)
    Is there a way to automatically double check or force the spooler to start? Again, perhaps another line in that login script or scheduled item that runs at startup or login?

    Thank you.

  3. #3
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backspacer
    So the first part of my question is: is there a way for me to forcibly set the default printer every time we login to the registers? A startup script or scheduled task or something?
    Windows 10 includes printer admin scripts in the C:\Windows\System32\Printing_Admin_Scripts\en-US folder so you could use something like the following:

    Code:
    cscript.exe "C:\Windows\System32\Printing_Admin_Scripts\en-US\Prnmngr.vbs" -t -p "Microsoft Print to PDF"
    (where "Microsoft Print to PDF" is the actual printer name that you want to be set as the default.)

    I just used this in a .BAT file and it seemed to work fine. Hope this helps...

  4. #4
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backspacer
    A couple of times I have found that the print spooler is not running (even though there is a default printer selected.)
    Is there a way to automatically double check or force the spooler to start? Again, perhaps another line in that login script or scheduled item that runs at startup or login?
    Have a look at the use of net start spooler.

    Hope this helps...

  5. #5
    3 Star Lounger Backspacer's Avatar
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    Thank you. I will give these a try after the store closes. Can that cscript.etc be put directly into a scheduled task or should I put it in a .bat and call the .bat from the scheduler?

  6. #6
    Super Moderator Rick Corbett's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Backspacer View Post
    Thank you. I will give these a try after the store closes. Can that cscript.etc be put directly into a scheduled task or should I put it in a .bat and call the .bat from the scheduler?
    As you have to supply arguments to the VBS script I think it would be easier to put both commands into a .BAT or .CMD to run it from Task Scheduler. I suspect you'll need to run the task as System to get around UAC (for the NET command) but hopefully others with experience of Task Scheduler will chime in to help.

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