Default Printer Changes Mysteriously

Discussion in 'Windows 7 Help and Support' started by MRaff, Jan 25, 2010.

  1. MRaff

    MRaff Well-Known Member

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    This is a small problem that occurs only on one of three Windows 7 computers I have, but it's driving me nuts. I cannot get to the bottom of it. Any help would be most welcome.

    I'm running Windows 7 Home Premium on a Dell XPS 210 (computername: Dee-PC) on my home network. The print service changes my default printer setting at seemingly random times.

    Under Control Panel/Printers and Faxes, I have six printers configured, four of which are located on other networked PCs. The other two (#s 1 and 3) are virtual devices:
    1. Fax
    2. HP Officejet 4300 Series on Mel-Aspire-1810
    3. Microsoft XPS Document Writer
    4. Canon MP-830 Fax on Mel-PC
    5. Canon MP-830 Series Printer on Mel-PC
    6. Epson PictureMate Deluxe on Mel-PC

    I manually set #5 as the default printer through the Control Panel, and a few days later I find that it has been set to #4. This has happened many times over the past few months, ever since I first installed Windows 7 (a clean install of the retail version).

    Looking into the Applications and Services Logs in Computer Management, I find many instances of Event 823 in the PrintService/Admin log: Changing the Default Printer. On almost all of these instances under the event details, I find the item DefaultPrinterSelectedBySpooler under User Data set to 1. The only time this item is different is for the event corresponding to my manual selection of the #5 printer as the default, several days earlier. For that one event, the value is 0. When I manually re-set the printer to #5 again, it generates this same event, with the DefaultPrinterSelectedBySpooler set to 0.

    Close examination of this log shows my manual selection of #5, then no activity for several days, then suddenly the print service begins repeatedly setting the default printer, flailing between #2 (this host is a laptop not on the network for the last couple of weeks), and #4 over several minutes, eventually settling on #4.

    Looking at the system and application logs, I see no other event correlated to this, although the system log shows that my PC does repeatedly go to sleep and then wake up again moments later, whenever no one is using it. I don't know why this happens, but it seems to occur pretty constantly when no one is working at it, and it doesn't seem to trigger a default printer reset, at least 999 times out of 1,000.
     
    #1 MRaff, Jan 25, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 26, 2010
  2. busydog

    busydog New Member

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    May be putting the cart before the horse but have you made sure that sleep is totally turned off through power management? It sounds like if you could keep it from going to sleep (and waking up) you could work around this problem. I have personally seen issues on several WIN7 Computers when they're allowed to go to sleep after "X" minutes.
     
  3. MRaff

    MRaff Well-Known Member

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    Yes, But . . .

    Yes, I could probably work around it (maybe) by keeping the PC from going to sleep, but I'd rather 1) figure out what is going on and 2) use sleep mode to save energy, being a good citizen and all. So, no, I haven't tried that. I suppose that if I did, and the problem did not recur, at least I would have tied the two issues together.
     
  4. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    This type of behavior is usually related to some third party software that's running and changing the printer settings, I use to work in an office that used IBM Communication Software, which has about 6 or seven sub-applets running in the background and this would often happen to us and took a long time to figure it out. So any such software? mostly communication stuff, third party networking or vpn solutions, third party remote connection manager software, etc. See what's running in the background and you might discover the problem
     
  5. MRaff

    MRaff Well-Known Member

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    Thank you for the suggestion. I can't think of any such software that is running. The PC just has scanner software, Office 2007, Firefox, not much more than that. No VPNs involved, no 3rd party comm software. I'm very suspicious of the sleep issue and will probably try turning off the ability for the LAN card to wake the PC to see what happens then.
     
  6. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    You may be on the right track, but since you don't have a local printer to choose as default and all your printers are on the network, and knowing how much windows loves to have a default printer, maybe when it wakes up and starts polling for network resources it just fails over to the first available. If you don't have any communications software can I assume that you are probably not using printer #4 (fax) to send faxes from that device. If that's the case maybe deleteing that printer and see if it fails over to something else would be an acceptable next diagnostic step. Also since it just seems to be bouncing back and forth between the two available canon devices, are you sure you have the latest, full version driver from canon for Windows 7, 32 or 64 bit, which evere version you are using? Just some other thoughts
     
    Mike and (deleted member) like this.
  7. MRaff

    MRaff Well-Known Member

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    The idea of its failing over when it wakes up sounds right to me, but if that's the case, surely others would have seen this behavior? I'm not finding anything about it in my searches. I think deleting the default fax, which has never been used, is probably a good step, at least for diagnostics. Thanks.

    I've disabled Wake on LAN, and I'll give that some time. If it still screws up, I'll try deleting the fax and maybe renaming the one I want to something that will come first in the alphabet--but that would really be a last resort. I'd rather figure it out and deal with it "properly" than use a deletion and rename to work around it.
     
  8. MRaff

    MRaff Well-Known Member

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    Update for anyone who might be interested: I disabled Wake on LAN, in hopes that this unwanted change of default printer was related to waking up from sleep mode. Couple of hours later, though, the change recurred while I was actually working on the PC (I set the default to the correct printer and after about 10 minutes of web surfing checked to verify that it was still properly set, only to find it had been changed back while I was on the web), so waking up has been eliminated as a source of the problem.

    Also, to see if the selection of the Canon MP830 Fax was really a random selection, I removed from the installed printers the one originally listed above as #2 (HP Officejet 4300 Series on Mel-Aspire-1810) because this host is not on the network anyway. I did not remove the generic "Fax" option (#1). But the reset occurred again anyway, again selecting the Canon MP830 Fax (#4 on the list above). This seems to suggest that it is not simply choosing the MP830 because it doesn't know what to do, but rather because it for some reason wants THAT selection to be the default (if this makes any sense--I'm not sure it does).

    So I really don't know where that leaves me. The problem remains, even though I've eliminated a couple of possible causes, so I haven't yet blindly stumbled onto a working strategy, and I no longer have even a working hypothesis. All ideas are welcome.
     
  9. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Check for any Canon software that is resident on your computer, see if there is anything in the software, like options, preferences, or properties and see if that exposes any settings that might be working behind the scenes and causing this to happen.
     
  10. MRaff

    MRaff Well-Known Member

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    Tentatively Solved

    In case anyone is still interested, and in thanks to those who responded, I want to let you know that the printer setting has been stable for over a week now, with no default printer changes logged. The one thing I did was to uninstall and reinstall the printer driver. I first uninstalled the driver and deleted the printer from the PC that was having the problem. Next, I did the same thing on the networked PC which has a local connection to the printer. Then I reinstalled the printer and driver on that PC, and finally, I re-installed the printer (and driver) on the problem PC. About a week later, so far so good.

    I'll keep an eye on it for a while before actually claiming this is completely solved, but in the meantime, thanks again to those who put their attention, experience, and brainpower to work in my aid.
     
  11. Trouble

    Trouble Noob Whisperer

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    Thanks for the update. Of course we're still interested, sometimes these little annoyances are the most interesting problems of all, while often the most difficult to resolve. Thanks for posting back.
     

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