How to stop printing to the wrong printer

8. January 2013 06:00 by Calvin Yu in Troubleshooting and Printer Tips  //  Tags:   //   Comments

Nothing is more aggravating than trying to print a document and having it sent to the wrong printer. If the document is sent to a printer that's not even on the network you're currently using, you'll just get an error message and will have to click around forever to select the correct printer. If you use Windows 7, there's no need to put up with this. By adjusting a few settings, you can eliminate this problem once and for all. Learn how to stop printing to the wrong printer below.

Too Many Devices and Networks

These days, it's not unusual for a person to have at least one netbook or laptop computer. Many people have more than one, and some people have tablets as well. Throughout the day, you may connect to several different Wi-Fi networks. From school to work to home, it's easy to connect to a variety of networks in a single day. Every time you switch to a new network, your printer settings get thrown for a loop. Next to running out of ink, this is probably one of the most frustrating things about printing. Just as you can buy compatible ink to save money, you can follow a few simple steps to make this problem a thing of the past.

  1. Confirm that you know the names of the networks you use and the printers that are associated with each one. If you're not sure, you can find the names of all of the printers on a network by clicking on the Start menu and then clicking on Devices and Printers. The name of each printer will be prominently displayed. Write down the name of each network and the printers that are on each one to ensure the smoothest process possible.
  2. Go back to the Devices and Printers menu and select the icon of the first printer. A new selection of options will now appear at the top of the window. Click on the one that says "Manage Default Printers."
  3. On the Manage Default Printers window, you'll see a list of options with radio buttons next to them. Select the button for the option that says "Change my default printer when I change networks." That way, your computer will automatically detect the appropriate default printer regardless of which network you use.
  4. On the drop-down menu, select the first network that you'd like to add. You will then have to choose the appropriate default printer from the next drop-down menu. When your computer connects with this network, the printer that you select here will automatically be the default printer, so make sure to choose wisely.
  5. Go down the list and repeat this process for each network you use. You won't be able to test these settings unless you're connected to the network that you'd like to test, so you might want to wait until you are. Either way, you should be able to make all of these settings quickly.
  6. After you'd added all of the printers and networks, test your settings by printing a document. Before doing so, make a note of the network to which you're connected and of the printer to which your document should be sent. Send the document to be printed and see if it prints at the right printer. As long as it does, you can rest assured that the settings were made correctly.

If you're unable to test all of your settings immediately, make a note so that you remember to test them when you connect to various networks. You should see that your computer automatically switches to the right printer, and you shouldn't have trouble with printing to the wrong printer again.

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