Windows Losing its Default Printer

For months now my Windows Vista, and now Windows Server 2008 desktop has been losing its default printer every night. I haven’t been able to figure it out until now: it’s the Remote Desktop Client remapping my printers when I connect from home.

There are three fixes for this:

1. You can tell your RDP client to not map printers, in the “Local Resources” options tab. This is easy but you have to remember to do it.

2. On the host side on Windows Server 2008 you can go into Administrative Tools->Terminal Services->Terminal Services Configuration, right click the RDP-TCP connection, pick “Properties,” and disable it under the “Client Settings” tab.

3. On the host side on Windows Vista you can follow Microsoft KB article 268065 and add a registry value in HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESYSTEMCurrentControlSetControlTerminal ServerWdsrdpwd.

Now you know, and as they say in G.I. Joe, knowing is half the battle.

2 thoughts on “Windows Losing its Default Printer”

  1. Thanks for the tip! This has been affecting me and looks to have been caused by GoToMyPc setting itself as the default printer whenever I connected remotely. Of course then it would disappear when logged on locally…

  2. As I read through the chain on this topic, I found a few ideas, but no actual solutions. I’ve seen the references to remote Desktop Protocol and the suggested fix for that, but no one actually posted anything stating that this or that suggestion worked for them. I devised a fix that seems to be working–it has held up for five days and my boss (it is her office PC) has used Remote Desktop at least three times since I implemented my fix. One of the earlier suggestions suggested that it was dependent upon what printer was found first and it alluded to Windows Networking initialization and similar ‘login delays’ as being possible factors.

    I considered that perhaps the key was how quickly Windows scanned the list of printers and found the printer that was ‘set’ as default. I assumed that if my default printer appears at the top of the list, then it would be more likely to ‘stick’ as default.

    The printer my boss wanted as her default offered both a network connection and a USB connection, as did one of her other six printers. Neither of the USB connected printers ‘seems’ to win out as the new default when the re-shuffle is triggered. It may be the name and speed with which the name is sorted that is the key.

    I renamed her default printer (one of the two USB-connected printers) to _HPPCL6 so that it is the clear winner. The name begins with an underscore, has no spaces and it is a short name so it is ‘read’ quickly and positioned at the top of the list quickly. It wins that spot immediately because it is the only printer name that begins with an underscore.

    Maybe this is a fix; I’d like to hear if it works for others or if I just got lucky.

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