Batch Files : Get users default printer via registry (WinXP)

   Posted August 18, 2007 by Jimmy Selix in Batch file programming

This is another quickie recipe for you admins. This recipe shows how to get the current user’s default printer via the registry and output the information to a text file via a batch file and in turn combine the result files into a larger file to then import into excel.

This is a pretty basic batch file to get a user’s default printer.

The following code will:
1. create a date variable of the current date in YYYYMMDD format
2. create a user variable based on the users logged in
3. find the default printer via the registry for the user
4. output information into a text file

@echo off

REM Set drive to save device to, be sure to keep format
REM ie D:\ or E:\
REM Also create current user logged in as user variable

SET saveLoc = “C:\”
for /f “tokens=3 delims=\” %%i in (“% USERPROFILE%”) do (set user=%%i) 2>&1

REM create date variable
FOR /F “TOKENS=1,2 eol=/ DELIMS=/ ” %%A IN (‘DATE/T’) DO SET mm=%%B
FOR /F “TOKENS=1,2 DELIMS=/ eol=/” %%A IN (‘echo %CDATE%’) DO SET dd=%%B
FOR /F “TOKENS=2,3 DELIMS=/ ” %%A IN (‘echo %CDATE%’) DO SET yyyy=%%B
SET date=%yyyy%%mm%%dd%

FOR /F “TOKENS=2 DELIMS=Z” %%A IN (‘reg query “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows NT\CurrentVersion\Windows” /v device’) DO echo %user%:%%A > %saveLoc%%date%_%user%_printer.txt


so lets say i’m logged on and the batch file is set to run upon startup; a file called: 20070818_Seamonkey420_printer.txt would be created on my C:\ drive.

In this file, you would see something like this (i do not have any real printers installed, only my Adobe PDF printer)

Seamonkey420: Adobe PDF,winspool,Ne02:

Finally, once you have all of the text files w/the default printers in a single directory you can then combine the text files into one big one using this comand:

type *printer.txt > allusers.txt

so lets say i have 3 users and their text files:


my allusers.txt file will look something like this:

Bob: Adobe PDF,winspool,Ne02:
John: Send to Onenote2003,winspool,Ne02:
Sally: Canon i320,winspool,Ne02:

You can in turn import the allusers.txt file into Excel and use ; as a delimiter. Just open up Excel, go to File > Open. Change the Files of Type to All files and open our allusers.txt file.

When it asks for a delimiter, type in a semicolon (;) and click OK.
Voila, easy spreadsheet of users default printer! Easy printer info gathering!

-in the inital batch file, you can set the saveLoc variable to a shared network drive/location to make things easier.

-you could possible implement a runas command and add a function to check all users profiles on a machine and then have the runas command run the reg query command for each user

-this same concept and use of the reg query command can be used to get all kinds of info from a pc such as installed apps, netwokr info, etc.


About Jimmy Selix

Jimmy Selix is an early adopter that loves to be one of the first on the block to have the latest and greatest in technology and gadgets. Another love of his is being able to share his knowledge to others seeking it. Feel free to drop any comments or questions that you may have.
View more articles by Jimmy Selix

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