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Default printer changes automatically

alicia1234 asked
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2011-10-03
I recently reinstalled Windows 2000 on my PC (including complete re-format of disk, so there is no "junk" left over from previous install). Then I added a network printer (Epson C84) via "Add Printer"; this printer is attached to one of the 4 PC's in my small network.  Later, I bought and installed a new printer (Epson RX500) ... it is connected directly to the USB port of the PC on which I reinstalled Windows. I can print just fine to either printer. BUT ... even though I set my default printer to be the RX500, it keeps getting changed to the C84.

I've tried to troubleshoot this a bit myself, and I haven't been able to tie the "switch" to any particular application or action on my part. It doesn't happen at boot. If I shut down w/ the default printer set to the RX500, and reboot, the default printer is still the RX500. But ... get this ... I used my pc for about 30 minutes after a reboot; before I walked away I checked the default printer and it was still the RX500. Two hours later I came back to my PC, and now the default printer is the C84!

I'm stumped. Help.
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Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator

Hi alicia1234,
Are you on a network?
(Could the group policy be overriding your settings?)

If you are on a network and have administrative privileges, you could try using this:
There is a dll call you can use to set a printer as default.
If you run 'rundll32 printui.dll PrintUIEntry /?'
it will give you a list of all possible options, but basically if you want to set a printer as default, the command is 'rundll32 printui.dll, PrintUIEntry /y /n "\\servername\printername"'.

Hope this helps!




To Bartender_1: Yes I'm on a network (as noted in my original posting) ... I can set the default just fine through the normal Windows UI ... the problem is that it keeps getting changed back. So I'm not sure what good "rundll32" would do me?
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator

Are you the administrator of the network?

If so, you need to go into the group policy editor and make certain that it isn't setting the default printer for you.

If you are not an administrator, then you need to contact your network administrator and ask if they are using the group policy to set the default printer for you, and if so, to change the default printer to the one you prefer.

The rundll32 command I specified is used to set the default printer when there are multiple printers to choose from.




Sorry for my ignorance ... but I have no idea how to open the "Group Policy Editor" ???
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator

Are you running Active Directory?

If so, then click start
Then click Programs
Then Administrative Tools,
Then "Active Directory Users and Computers"
Then right click on your server name
Choose "Properties"
Click on the "group Policy" tab,
Then click on the edit button.


Use the


No I am not running active directory. This is a simple home peer-to-peer network of 4 PC's. There is no server. The Windows 2000 I am running is "Professional", not "Server".
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator

This is a peer to peer network?

Hmmmm.... ok, is this printer on the local machine, or is it on one of the other machines?


Local pc. Read my original posting for details of configuration.
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No viruses, spyware, adware etc. I know what those all are (and have cleaned them off of friends' and relatives' computers!) and I keep my system pretty clean. Always have the latest virus defs and have a firewall on my network, etc etc. Yes, I figured that my next course of action would be to just uninstall the printers and reinstall w/ the RX500 first. One more question for you though: my USB ports are 1.1 and my new printer is USB 2.0 so I have order a new USB card & hub that support 2.0.  I think I will wait and reinstall my printers when I get the new card (in the next few days).  Does that make sense? Would I normally have had to reinstall the printer when the new card gets put in?
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator

USB technology is backwards compatible. (Meaning you can use a USB 2.0 Device on a USB1.1 hub)

This does bring up another question though, I'm assuming that your USB is onboard, (Part of the motherboard), so, have you updated all of the drivers for your motherboard? (Including the USB)

The one advantage you will gain by installing a USB 2.0 Card is a faster communications with the printer.
And yes, you would have to re-install the printer when the new card gets put in..... actually, the system would most likely do it for you. (It would detect that you now have a "new" printer on the USB 2.0 ports, and use the drivers from the "old" printer for the "new" one, leaving you with a printer on the USB 2.0 port, and a "disconnected" printer on the USB 1.1 port)




My current USB 1.1 ports are on a PCI card .. not on the motherboard. I plan to remove that card from my computer and replace it with the new 2.0 one.
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator

That should be fine, but you will still have an "old" printer that resides on a nonexistent USB 1.1. Delete that one, and you will be left with the USB 2.0 printer.




OK ... will get back to you after I've installed the new card and remove "old" printers and installed new ones.


Well here's some interesting info ... I just noticed that my default printer had once again been automatically switched to the C84 ... sometime in the past 3 hrs or so (between 1:00pm and 4:00pm today) when the computer was idle. I looked in the Event Log and found this "Warning" entry, source = "Print", user = "NT Authority/System"


Further, I noticed identical entries like this every day since I started to notice the problem. These entries exist for the following dates and times:
3/19 5:16:43pm
3/20 1:44:49pm
3/20 2:33:25pm
3/20 5:33:03pm
3/21 9:07:30am
3/21 9:07:42am
3/21 12:01:52pm
3/21 12:01:57pm
3/21 12:31:06pm
3/22 9:08:52pm
3/23 10:43:01am
3/23 2:12:42pm
3/23 2:12:47pm
3/23 2:13:26pm
3/23 2:14:50pm
3/25 1:41:32pm
3/25 1:42:17pm
3/23 2:14:57pm
3/23 2:30:49pm
3/23 2:31:56pm
3/23 5:10:43pm
3/24 8:56:08am
3/24 9:12:47am
3/24 12:46:16pm
3/24 12:46:22pm

The only other item that looks at all suspicious and has occurred every day since I rebuilt my system is an "Information" entry, source = "E100B", user = "N/A"...
"Adapter Intel(R) 82559 Fast Ethernet LAN on Motherboard: Did not receive auto-negotiation advertisement from link partner. A full duplex connection may be available"


Note: the printers were installed on March 16 ... the automatic switching of the default printer didn't start til March 19th. Between the 16th and 18th I installed drivers for the FAX/Modem, which also created a "Fax Printer"; reloaded a whole bunch of applications software (Microsoft Office, Adobe Photo Elements, Easy CD Creator, Quicken, Quickbooks, Visual Basic, Visual Interdev...) and deleted the "Intuit Internal Printer".  There is nothing that I did on the 19th other than use the system ... and the switching problem started around 10:35am that day ... probably (but not for sure) after having shut down the system the night before.
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator

Are you logged in under the administrator account?


I am the only user on the pc and I am the administrator.


Another discovery: If I have the RX500 set as the default printer, and I open up the properties box for the C84 and click on "Printing Preferences", there is a delay before the preferences window comes up, AND the default printer gets reset to the C84! However, if I have the C84 set as the default, and I open it's properties and click on "Printing Preferences" ... it does NOT set itself up as the default. Very weird.


I determined the cause of the default printer getting changed automatically:  the default printer got changed from the RX500 to the C84 whenever the pc with the C84 directly attached to it (and on the network) was rebooted and the pc with the RX500 directly attached was turned on!
I solved my problem temporarily by just removing the C84 printer from my PC. I didn't want to bother with it anymore.
Points to bartender_1 because he did try to help and no one else responded.


By the way ... I am having difficulty installing my RX500 on my new USB2.0 port ... will post another question for that. So have not been able to test the theory of removing both printers, installing the RX500 first, and then installing the C84 and making sure not to call it the default.
Bartender_1Microsoft Network Administrator

Thanks-you for the points, I've been reading as much as I can on these Epson Printers, but have not come across anything like this yet.

I'll continue searching, and will definitely let you know if I figure anything out about this.



Very interesting, I had the exact same problem happen today at a small doctor's office client.

Installed two PCs last week, XP Pro, peer to peer network. Epson C84 installed on computer B, shared. HP Laser printer on USB print server installed as "local printer" via TCP/IP port on both computer A and computer B. Computer B has the Epson C84 set as default printer.

Client wants computer A to have HP laser as default printer. No matter what I would do, within seconds of setting computer A default printer to HP laser, it automatically reverts to Epson C84.

Only fix (workaround) I could come up with was to stop sharing the C84 on computer B as it would be the rare exception for computer A to want to print to C84 inkjet.

I left baffled, but said I would research nore and get back to them. Nice to see same problem elsewhere, just to bad there's no real fix yet.



Very interesting, Charlie. FYI, I never pursued the problem further. Being able to print to the C84 from "my PC" (the one with the RX500 attached to it) was just something that would have been nice to have in the rare instance (like yours) that I might want to print to it. Never did try reinstalling it. Let me know if you find out anything else.

You know I hate "me too" posts, but I do have the same problem.  It appears to me that the problem must have something to do with the Monitor 3 software that gets installled when you set up this printer.  That would account for the automatic switching of the default printer.  I had not correllated the problem to the rebooting of the PC that has the C84 attached to it.  But that make sense.   My PC is running the Monitor software, when the host PC is rebooted, the monitor software must see that the connection is lost.  When the connection is re-established, the monitor software is probably resetting the default printer.  

At least this is my theory.  I am going to try opening a problem with Epson and see if I get anywhere.


cobbja: be sure to let us know if you find out anything from Epson. I tried thru e-mail support, but got nowhere.

Here is the response from Epson....I will try when I get home from work.  Let me know if it works for you.

Thank you for contacting the Epson Connection.

If you are running on a peer-to-peer setup, and find that the Epson pri
driver is setting itself as the default (when you have another printer
currently set as the default), please do the following.

Note: The reason this issue is occurring is because the built-in Statu
Monitor is persistently establishing a connection with the printer.

On any client computer:



2. Right click your Epson printer, and select PRINTING PREFERENCES.


4. Place a check mark beside DISABLE EPSON STATUS MONITOR 3.

5. Click APPLY (if applicable), then OK.

6. Restart the client computer, and test.

1. Please ensure you restart the computer before testing.

2. There is no need to deactivate the STATUS MONITOR on the HOST/SERVE

3. Disabling the Status Monitor on client machines can actually improv
printer response times, and printer speeds.

If you require further assistance with this particular issue, please en
all of our previous correspondence is contained in your reply, so we ca
better track the history of this issue.

If you have a different technical support issue, please submit another
E-form via our website (http://www.epson.com), and we will respond in a

timely manner. Thank you again for contacting Epson.


I'm confused: it says if you're running on a peer to peer network, then it talks about clients and host/server? So which is which?  My problem is that both of my pc's (one with the C84 and one with an RX500) need to run the status monitor for their own local printers. So I don't think I can really disable it?

I think they mean which PC hosts which printer.  In your case one machine hosts the RX500 printer at the same time that machine is a client to the machine that hosts the C84 printer.  On the machine with the RX500 connected to it, you disable the status monitor for the Epson C84.  You then continue to run the status monitor on the machine with the C84 attached to it.  You don't need the status monitor running for the C84 printer on the machine that the RX500 is connected to.  Does that make sense?  


Yes, thanks ... that makes sense. I will try it out (but probably not til next week) and report results here.


I've tested the Epson-supplied solution (posted above). Immediately following are my conclusions; following that are the details of my testing:


The recommended fix from Epson (to disable the status monitor for the C84 on the client pc) does not totally solve the problem:
      It does solve the problem of the client pc’s default printer being automatically reset to the
      host pc’s printer whenever the host pc reboots.
However, the following problems still remain:
       1. Printing to the C84 from the C84’s host pc causes the client pc’s default printer to be reset
           to the C84.
       2. Printing to the C84 from the client pc causes the client pc’s default printer to be reset to
           the C84 (after about 30 seconds or so.)
       3. Furthermore, on one occasion, printing to the C84 from the client pc also causes the C84’s
           host pc to have errors with “spoolsrv.exe” during its next boot, and it thinks it doesn’t have
           any printers installed; you have to restart again to clear the problem. (I was not able to
          duplicate this problem reliably).

Details of my testing:

Re-installed C84 on client pc as network printer (this pc is “host” to the RX500).
Then, per Epson advice:
Start / Settings / Printers; right-click C84; select Printing Preferences; Maintenance tab; select Speed & Progress; disable Epson Status Monitor 3; Apply; OK
      After restarting, the C84 is the default printer (even tho I said no when I installed it)
      Set RX500 to default; rebooted
      Now RX500 is the default;
                Checked properties for C84 to be sure status monitor was disabled;
      After canceling out of properties, C84 was once again the default!

Tested some more: discovered that opening up “printing preferences” for the C84 makes it reset itself to be the default printer.

Also determined that if I print (a Word document) to the C84 (while the RX500 is the default), then the C84 sets itself to be the default printer (that is to say, after printing on the C84, the C84 is once again marked as the default printer on the client pc).
Moreover, if I then reset the RX500 to be the default printer, then close Word and open it again to create a new document, Word has “remembered” the C84 (even tho it is not the default printer); so the last printer seems to “stick” in Word. Perhaps this is intended behavior; rebooting the PC (with the default printer set to RX500) clears this; that is to say, after rebooting and opening Word, the RX500 is selected as the printer.)

One further test was to reboot the host pc for the C84, since before, this would always cause the client pc to reset the default printer to the C84:
Rebooted the host pc for the C84; client pc still has RX500 set as default; so at least this problem seems to have been solved.
BUT … the C84 host pc had an error about spoolsrv.exe on startup (did not record the exact error). When I tried to print a document on the C84 from the C84 host pc, I got an error that said no printers were installed!
So printing from the client PC to the C84 seems to have screwed up the host pc!
I restarted the host PC … no error about spoolsrv.exe this time; RX500 is still the default on the client pc. Successfully printed a Word document from the host PC to its local C84. But now the C84 is the default printer on the client PC again!!!!!!
I reset the default on the client to RX500.
On a hunch that Word might really be the culprit here, I then printed a pdf file (using Adobe reader) at the host PC on its local C84 printer. The default printer on the client still changed to the C84.


More bizarre behavior: I discoverd today that disabling on the Status Monitor for the C84 on the "client" pc ALSO disabled it on the "host" pc. I did some tests and absolutely verified that disabling/enabling the status monitor on either pc affected the setting on the other.




I did finally get a response from Epson that they knew of this problem and that they were working on a solution and to check the site periodically for a new driver. Today, I checked the site and found that Epson posted a new driver for the C84 on 6/21/04: v5.4cA ... epson11123.exe. Description of it says that it has "enhanced shared printer options". It solves the problem of the default printer automatically getting reset. Note that there are special instructions for installation under Windows 2000 if you've installed Windows Update KB835732, which I had, so the following instructions reflect that.

Summary of steps to install new driver on both "client" (the pc with the RX500 directly attached) and "Host" (the pc with the C84 directly attached):

First, on the Host:
1. Download the driver; extract it but DO NOT RUN SETUP; it extracts to c:\epson\epson11123 directory.
2. Remove existing printer via Control Panel/Add Remove programs ... select "Epson Printer Software" and in the next screen select the C84. Restart. The C84 was the only printer on that pc so when I restarted, Windows detected new hardware but I cancelled out of that.
3. Disable anti-virus software.
4. Start / Programs / Printers ... add printer ... local printer ... do not automatically detect ... share it ... select Epson from list and click "Have Disk"; browse to c:\epson\epson11123 directory and select the E_DF18DA.INF file and continue to follow the prompts (print a test page).
5. When done, do Start/Settings/Printers ... right click on C84 icon and select Properties ... then: Printing Preferences button, then "Maintenance" tab, then "Speed & Progress" button, then "Monitoring Preferences" button ... check the box for "Allow monitoring of shared printers" (this lets you see the Status Monitor and ink levels when you print to the printer from a "client" pc).
6. Re-enable anti-virus software.

Then, on the Client:
1. (I downloaded the new driver to the client pc, but I never had to use it during the installation; maybe this was because I already had the Epson RX500 installed.)
2. Remove existing printer via Control Panel/Add Remove programs ... select "Epson Printer Software" and in the next screen select only the C84 (RX500 was also there). Restart.
3. Start / Settings / Printer … Add Printer … network printer …  browse for printer … (browse to the C84 printer on the Host PC) … set as default? No ... next … finish  (Note: by default, the status monitor is enabled for the C84 on the client pc, and I left it that way.)

Now, I can access the C84 Printer's properties on the client pc and it no longer resets my default printer (default remains my RX500); nor does rebooting the host; nor does printing to the C84 on either the host or the client. And when I print to the C84 from the client, the status monitor comes up and I do see ink levels for the C84.

So ... problem appears to have been fixed with the new driver.

Thanks for everyone's time on this one... I was doing a google search for the soloution and just should have come straight here.

The final soloution works great!


To jpoyner: Great! Glad to hear that this worked for someone else, too.
I had exactly the same problem with my new Epson RX600 seizing the default all the time, even though there were no valid connections to the RX600 at the time.

In my case, I am  running Windows XP Pro with SP2 on a Toshiba Satellite with a wireless network link to a router with an HP Laserjet on the router's printer port. I always want the laser to be the default as is is always available. The RX600 is shared out on an XP machine that is not always on. I also have the RX600 set up on the USB2 port on this laptop. As a result, on boot, I have two Epson status monitors in my system tray. One for each connection.

I updated the Epson printer driver here on this laptop, but still have the problem. This was probably because Epson had not yet posted the REAL fix.  I will now check to see if Epson has a NEWER driver.

By the way, a fix that temporarly worked that I read elsewhere, was to RENAME the printer you want to be the default by putting a "z" in front of the name. This works with a windows behavior that grabs the LAST printer in the list as a default. This worked until I used something that knows about the RX600 - like Word. Then the RX600 was the default again.

Looking forward to installing the REAL, FIXED Driver! I'll probably have to install it on both systems in case I actually print to the RX600.

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