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New Printing Features in the Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System

Summary: Windows 7 offers new printing features such as devices and printers, location-aware printing, HomeGroup sharing of files and printers.

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Table of Contents:

  1. Windows 7 Device Experience
  2. Location-Aware Printing
  3. HomeGroup Sharing of Files and Printers

This article attempts to demystify some of the new printing features in the Microsoft Windows 7 Operating System. These features include Devices and Printers, Device Stage, Location-Aware Printing, and HomeGroup file sharing.

Windows 7 Device Experience

Offered in: Windows 7 Starter, Windows 7 Home Basic, Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate

Windows 7 has introduced several new features which improve how people discover and use their printer, such as finding and recognizing printers, discovering printer capabilities, presentation of printers, and access to common features, such as configuration settings, applications, and services and support of the printer. Two of the new features involve new user experiences for devices, "Devices and Printers" and "Device Stage."

Devices and Printers

Available in the Windows 7 Start menu, a new feature called Devices and Printers lets users see all the devices connected to their PC. The devices represented are the ones users can actually touch and feel, not abstract components or functions. A multifunction printer now shows up as a single device in Devices and Printers, not as a collection of three or four components. Printers can be connected via USB, or paired via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth wireless interfaces.

Device Stage

Device Stage provides a new way for users to interact with devices. It includes a visual interface that makes it easy for customers to find and use applications and services for their printers. Device Stage can be accessed by double-clicking a supported device within Devices and Printers

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Location-Aware Printing

Offered in: Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate

In Windows 7, the Default Printer setting is now Location-Aware. A mobile or laptop user can set a different default printer for each network that they connect to. They may have a default printer set for home, and a different default printer set for office use. Their laptop can now automatically select the correct default printer, depending on where the user is located at the time.

This new feature, included in the Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows 7, works like this: whenever you print, Windows 7 remembers which network and printer you're using. The next time you return to that spot, Windows will automatically switch the default printer to match the one you last used there. You can also manually pair printers and networks. With Location-Aware Printing, all you need to do is click Print.

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HomeGroup Sharing of Files and Printers

Offered in: Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, Windows 7 Ultimate

HomeGroup, a new feature in Windows 7, makes connecting the computers in your home a painless process. Computers running Windows 7 automatically identify each other. If a HomeGroup is available on your home network, you can join it by entering your HomeGroup password. If no HomeGroup exists, you can easily create one. After your HomeGroup is set up, sharing files across the various PCs in your home—and many other devices—is as easy as if all your data were on a single hard drive, making it easy to store digital photos on a computer in your den and easily access those photos from a laptop anywhere in your home. Similarly, if there is a printer connected to a computer in your HomeGroup, it can be shared automatically with all of the PCs in your home.

HomeGroup supports domain-joined computers. When your domain computer is joined to a HomeGroup, it automatically has access to your home printer and content shared on the HomeGroup.

More information on home networking can be found on the Microsoft Windows website, "Introducing homegroups: easy sharing at home" .SLN289844_en_US__1iC_External_Link_BD_v1

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Last Published Date

12 Mar 2021



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