You can install the same printer more than once in Windows, and each has its own settings. For example, you could have one printer device that prints in color, and one that prints in black and white.
This trick has been around for a long time. Windows XP made it easy, letting you copy and paste printer devices to create new ones. It takes a bit more work to install the secondary printers in Windows 10 and Windows 7, but it’s still possible.
Find the Port and Driver of Your Printer
To manually install the printer a second time, you must know the port and driver the printer is using.
To find this information, head to Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers. Locate the printer you want to make a copy of, right-click it, and select “Printer Properties.”
Click the “Ports” tab and note which printer port is selected. This tells you which port to select when adding the printer.
Click the “Advanced” tab and look at the name to the right of “Driver.” This tells you which driver to select when adding the printer.
You can close the printer properties window by clicking “Cancel.”
Install a Copy of the Printer
You now have all the information you need to install the printer a second time. This creates a new virtual device in Windows, one that points at the same physical printer but has its own printing preferences.
To get started, simply click the “Add a Printer” button on the toolbar in the Devices and Printers window.
Click “The printer that I want isn’t listed” to manually add a printer.
Select “Add a local printer or network printer with manual settings” and click “Next.”
Select “Use an existing port.” In the drop-down box, select the port your printer is using (as shown on the Ports tab in the printer’s properties window) and click “Next.”
Select the driver your printer is already using, as shown in the printer’s properties window, and click “Next.”
Select “Use the driver that is currently installed (recommended)” and click “Next.” This ensures the new printer device is using the same port and printer driver as the original printer device.
Enter a name for the printer and click “Next” to continue. You can name it whatever you want, so pick a name that helps you remember which physical printer and printing settings it will use.
You can rename the printer later, too.
Finally, choose whether to set up printer sharing or not and click “Next.”
You can click “Print a test page” to test the printer, if you like. Click “Finish” when you’re done.
How to Use Your Second Printer
Your new printer device will appear as an option in standard print dialogs. You can select the printer and click the “Preferences” button or right-click it and select “Printing Preferences” to assign different preferences to each device, and Windows will remember the settings separately.
You can also right-click a printer and click “Rename” to rename each printer, giving them names that correspond to your saved settings.
For example, you might set one printer device to print in color at high-detail settings and one printer to print in black and white with low detail settings. Each will print to the same physical printer, but you won’t have to spend time changing your settings back and forth every time you want to print—just select the appropriate printer in the list.
There’s nothing stopping you from creating more than two printers, too. You can install the same printer as many times as you like, assigning different profiles of preferences to each one.
How to Manage Additional Printers
While the additional printers you add will show up as options in the Print dialog, they don’t appear normally in the Devices and Printers window, or in the new Settings > Devices > Printers and Scanners interface on Windows 10. Windows automatically combines them together in these printer management interfaces, which is a little inconvenient.
You can still see the alternate printers from the normal printer configuration window, if you like. For example, to see the secondary printer in the Devices and Settings window, right-click the physical printer and you’ll see options for each installed printer device.
In the Windows 10 Settings interface, click the “Manage” button for a printer and you’ll be able to switch between the printer profiles you’ve installed to change settings for each.
You can manage these devices a bit more easily by pressing Windows + R to open the Run dialog, copy-pasting the following line into it, and pressing Enter:
This opens the old Printer management window, which shows every printer device you’ve installed separately. From here, you can rename them, delete them, change their preferences, or add more printers and they’ll all appear as separate devices.
For example, you can quickly right-click one of the printers here and select “Delete” to remove the second printer profile from your system.
Of course, you can also do much of this from the Print dialog that appears when you try printing documents, so you don’t even need to use any of these settings interfaces after installing the printer.
If you find you don’t need the secondary printer and it’s cluttering up your list of installed printers, just head to that hidden Printers window via the secret command, right-click the secondary printer you installed, and click “Delete” to remove it from your system.