How to designate default printer

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By Catherine Holland By Catherine Holland

Q. I just replaced my old printer with a new one, but when I go to print, my computer still thinks the old printer is the one to use. How can I change that to my new printer?

A.  Click Start > Settings > Printers. You will see your old and new printer icons displayed. Right-click the printer that you want to establish as your default printer.

On the menu that appears, click to place a check mark beside Set Printer as Default. Your new printer will spring to life the next time you have something to print.

Q.  How can I change the background picture on my iPad? Apple gives me a few to choose from, but I'd like to use my own picture. Thanks, Mr. M.

A.  Apple provides a pleasant-yet-meager assortment of photos if you go to Settings > Brightness & Wallpaper. But if you would like to install some real razzle-dazzle, take a look at the assortment of free, artsy background images at,, or

Click to select an image and the device on which you would like to install it. Once downloaded and saved, you can then select it within Settings > Brightness & Wallpaper as your wallpaper of choice.

If you would like to use one of your own photo masterpieces, tap the right arrow next to Wallpaper and select Camera Roll to display all your photos. Tap to select the image you would like to use as your wallpaper.

I've got oodles of additional, easy-to-use iPad tips available on at, or simply search for “Mr. Modem.”

Q.  You mentioned in a previous column that you don’t use CDs for backing up your data. What do you use instead?

A.  When I started computing eons ago, I chiseled stone tablets, but that was tedious, at best. The stone would frequently shatter into tiny chips, which few people know was the origin of the term “micro chips.” (You can always count on Mr. Modem for rock-solid, occasionally accurate information.)

Okay, enough silliness. You are correct that I stopped using CDs several years ago because I found them to be more of a headache and less reliable than other forms of storage for important data. For that purpose I prefer external or USB (flash) drives, which are very fast, easy to use and work like a charm. 

A flash drive, also called a thumb or key-chain drive, slips into a USB port and can then be used like any other drive, with no additional software required. You can purchase flash drives in varying capacities and if you stick with name brands such as Verbatim, Sony, Memorex, Kingston, etc., you should be fine. Steer clear of Big Ernie's “Flash-in-a-Pan” drives. Those could be trouble.

Mr. Modem's Sites of the Week

Not in My Cart
The concept here is that we, as consumers, have the right to know what is in the food we eat in order to make informed decisions. For example, shouldn't we know if a food product is a clone, a recalled meat (I'm feeling queasy), milk from hormone-injected cows or food imported from another countries? This site, hosted by ConsumersUnion, lists all recently recalled food products.

If I tell you that this has been heralded as "the most addictive game since Tetris,” do I need to say any more? An annoying advertisement runs first, but when that concludes, click “Instructions” for an animated demonstration of how it works and what it should look like if you’re successful. As if.

The Good Earth
Stunning images taken by satellite, the Space Shuttle, and the International Space Station. This multimedia tour allows you to experience the Earth as you have never seen it before.

Mr. Modem publishes the weekly "Ask Mr. Modem!” computer-help newsletter at and “Mr. Modem's Top 50 Computing Tips” series at