user cannot specify default printer

I have a Windows 8.1 user who has a new issue as of yesterday.  In Devices and Printers, the green check mark for default printer is missing.  He can right-click on a printer and select "select as default printer" and nothing seems to happen.  If he is in an application like Word and clicks Print, he is shown the first printer (alphabetically), not the one he specified as default.  I've looked in the registry, and the correct printer is listed as the default.  The print spooler seems to be working correctly, as he can print to whichever printer he wants.  He just can't specify a default printer.  I've logged on to his laptop with my credentials and I can select a default printer just fine, so I know that it is something unique to his user profile.
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Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
Since that seems to indicate a user-specific issue, you could try to edit the value for the default printer under the user's profile hive in the registry.

Open up regedit & check the "Device" string value under this key while that user is logged on:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows

The Data of that value should be something along the lines of:

You can manually edit that value to set the default printer.

See these pages for more details:
Manually editing the default printer "Device":

Printing-related registry entries:
dcmathisAuthor Commented:
That's the weird part.  The correct printer is showing under that key.  I guess I could delete the key and recreate it, but that won't help the user when he returns to the other location that he works from .  He'll need to set a different printer as default then.
Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
If he sets a different printer as his default does the new default printer show up in that key?
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dcmathisAuthor Commented:
No, it stayed the same.
Gabriel CliftonNet AdminCommented:
You may have a registry permission issue, especially if anyone else can log into that computer and settings default printer is fine. Or corrupt profile.
dcmathisAuthor Commented:
It doesn't look like a registry permission issue, as I was able to make edits to the registry through the user's account.  If it is a corrupt profile, then I've got to find a way to repair or replace it without changing the username, as it's a domain username, and I'd like to keep it as it is.  I tried renaming the user profile folder name and then logging back in as the user, but the system just created a temporary profile instead of recreating the user profile.
Gabriel CliftonNet AdminCommented:
As another user, backup the users folders (Documents, Music, ...) to another folder, click start --> right click My Computer --> Click Advanced system settings --> Under User Profiles click Settings --> Click the user profile name of the person to be deleted --> click delete --> Click OK --> Click OK, log off and log back in as the user that was having the issues.
Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
Starting with Windows 7 & Server 2008, you can't just remove the User's profile folder to clear the profile: the user will get profile errors & will be logged on to the system with a temporary profile.

When this temp profile issue occurs, sometimes you will be unable to clear the user's profile by going into Advanced System Settings as Gabriel described.  In that case, you will need to manually remove the backup profile key saved by the system when the user was logged on with a temp profile.

Go into the registry & check out the contents of this key:
HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\ProfileList

If there aren't a lot of profile keys in there (one for each user, listed by each user's SID), you should be able to pick out the backup key for the user in question pretty easily:  it will end in .BAK.  When the user is logged on with a temp profile, you will see 2 entries for them there:  their SID & their SID.BAK.

Just have the user log off and then delete that BAK key.   The other key should go away after they log off because it's a temp key.

If there are a ton a profile keys in there, you can find the user's SID by running this at a command prompt:
wmic useraccount where (name='USERNAME' and domain='MyDomain') get name,sid

Substitute the user's username & your domain in the command, of course.

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dcmathisAuthor Commented:
Thanks.  I'll give that a try and report back.
dcmathisAuthor Commented:
Thanks Alicia.  That took care of it.
Spike99On-Site IT TechnicianCommented:
Excellent news! I'm glad I was able to help out.
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