Windows 7 / Getting Started

Device Enhancements in Windows 7

The device experience in Windows 7 builds upon the many improvements previously made in this area in Windows Vista. The following list summarizes some of the changes to device management implemented in Windows Vista. Many of these changes are significant for IT professionals who manage computers in enterprise environments, and later sections of this tutorial explain how many of these enhancements work.

  • Driver store Provides a central and authoritative point from which device driver files are copied to their final location when devices are installed.
  • Windows Resource Protection Replaces Windows File Protection (WFP) and protects the integrity of system files and system registry settings, including device drivers and device settings. Drivers are added to the list of Windows Resource Protection (WRP)-protected files on the system only if they have been specifically flagged for protection by WRP when being staged to the driver store.
  • New standards for driver development The Windows Logo Program Requirements 3.0 details new guidelines for vendors developing drivers to ensure that devices can be installed silently under nonprivileged standard user accounts without the need for reboots or local administrative privileges on the system.
  • Driver staging Speeds up device installation and provides driver verification to prevent Plug and Play (PnP) detection of devices from causing the computer to stop responding or crash during device installation as a result of poorly written or corrupt drivers.
  • Driver packaging Keeps all files needed for device installation in a single location during staging.
  • New tools for managing driver packages Administrators can use PnPutil.exe, Drvload.exe, and other tools to add or remove driver packages from the driver store using either online or offline staging.
  • Mandatory driver signing Requires all device drivers developed for 64-bit versions of Windows to be digitally signed.
  • Internal and third-party driver signing Provides enterprises with guidelines and tools for signing in-house and third-party-developed drivers.
  • INF changes Changes to INF file syntax to verify compatibility and ensure that only verified drivers are added to the store.
  • New driver-ranking algorithm A new algorithm that Windows uses to determine which version of a driver is the most stable version for a particular device.
  • Recursive searching for driver paths During driver installation, driver paths- including the specified directory and all its subdirectories-are searched recursively to find suitable drivers with fewer user prompts. In addition, Windows automatically searches multiple paths, including the local driver store, removable media, network shares, and even Windows Update, to locate and install the most suitable driver for a newly detected device.
  • New diagnostic logging When enabled, driver diagnostic logging now writes information to the event logs instead of to a separate log file.
  • Windows Error Reporting When a device driver or device install fails for any reason, the user is prompted to send information to Microsoft using Windows Error Reporting (WER). Microsoft and Independent Software Vendors (ISVs) can then analyze the information and provide updated drivers if needed.
  • Windows Update/Microsoft Update Microsoft and ISVs can provide updated drivers that can be silently and transparently downloaded and installed on users' computers when they become available.
  • Windows Display Driver Model A new video device driver model called Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) replaces the XP Device Driver Model (XDDM) and provides enhanced functionality, including full Advanced Configuration and Power Interface (ACPI) support for video output devices, support for Windows Aero Glass, and improved video driver stability.
  • Windows System Assessment Windows System Assessment (WinSAT) can be used for benchmarking system performance and determining the level of Aero Glass that can be used on the system. You can also use WinSAT to troubleshoot device driver issues during system startup.
  • New Group Policy settings for managing device installation and error reporting Provide enhanced ways for using WER to control device installation and report driver failures. Blocking installation of devices by device manufacturer, device class, or specific device ID using Group Policy is also supported, and users can receive customized feedback when installation of a device is blocked.
  • New Group Policy settings for blocking installation and use of removable storage devices Help to protect enterprises against accidental or malicious information leakage using portable storage devices, such as universal serial bus (USB) flash drives and portable media players. Policies can be configured to either block installation of removable media entirely or allow users only to read from such media but not write to them.
  • New Group Policy settings for power management Provide enterprises with a way of configuring and enforcing power policy across computers in the enterprise.
  • Removal of support for standard Hardware Abstraction Layers Standard (non- ACPI) Hardware Abstraction Layers (HALs) are no longer supported.
  • Removal of support for IEEE 1394 (FireWire) Support for IEEE 1394 network has been removed.

The next list summarizes the additional changes to device management that have been introduced in Windows 7.

  • Devices And Printers A new Start menu and Control Panel item in Windows 7 that provides users with a single location where they can discover, configure, and use devices connected to their computers. For more information about this feature, see the section titled "Using the Devices And Printers Folder" later in this tutorial.
  • Device Stage A new, intuitive visual interface for supported devices that makes it easier for users to configure, use, and manage devices connected to their computers.
    For more information about this feature, see the section titled "Understanding Device Stage" later in this tutorial.
  • Device containers An enhancement to the Windows PnP infrastructure that allows grouping together the various functions supported by a device. For more information about this feature, see the section titled "Device Containers" later in this tutorial.
  • Improved device driver installation experience The device installation experience has been improved in Windows 7 to make it easier than ever for users to connect devices to their computers, including both wired and wireless devices. For an overview of these improvements, see the section titled "Enhancements to the Device Installation Experience in Windows 7" later in this tutorial.
  • New Group Policy settings for device installation New Group Policy settings have been added to Windows 7 and the Windows Server 2008 R2 operating system for managing new features, such as Device Stage, and to enhance the manageability of the Windows device installation experience. These new policy settings are covered in the appropriate sections later in this tutorial.
  • Display enhancements Windows 7 includes numerous display enhancements that provide improved display performance and reliability. For an overview of some of these enhancements, see the sidebar titled "Display Enhancements in Windows 7" later in this tutorial.
  • Other device enhancements Windows 7 includes numerous other device enhancements, including the following:
    • Windows Biometric Framework (WBF), which provides a technology stack for supporting fingerprint biometric devices by Independent Hardware Vendors (IHVs).
    • Windows Mobile Broadband Driver Model, which defines the standards for driver integration and the use of the native broadband functionality included in Windows 7.
    • Windows Portable Devices (WPD), which provides a new way for computers to communicate with attached media and storage devices. WPD introduces two new features: an object-based Device-Driver Interface (DDI) and the Media Transfer Protocol (MTP). In addition, WPD supersedes the Windows Media Device Manager (WMDM) and Windows Image Acquisition (WIA) features used in earlier versions of Windows.
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In this tutorial:

  1. Managing Devices and Services
  2. Understanding Device Installation and Management
  3. Device Enhancements in Windows 7
  4. Display Enhancements in Windows 7
  5. Understanding Device Installation
  6. Driver Store and Driver Packaging
  7. Driver Staging vs Installation
  8. Driver Staging and Installation Process
  9. Detailed Installation Process
  10. Managing Driver Packages
  11. Using PnPutil.exe
  12. Using Dism.exe
  13. Driver Signing
  14. Driver Ranking
  15. Installing and Using Devices
  16. Enhancements to the Device Installation Experience in Windows 7
  17. Scenario 1: Driver found in Driver Store
  18. Scenario 2: Driver found on Windows Update
  19. Scenario 3: Driver in Driver Store, But Better Driver on Windows Update
  20. Scenario 5: No Driver Can Be Found for the device
  21. Scenario 6: Vendor -supplied media is available
  22. Scenario 7: Additional Device Software is Available For Download from vendor
  23. Configuring Device Installation Settings
  24. Using the Devices And Printers Folder
  25. Understanding Device Stage
  26. Understanding the Device Experience Architecture
  27. Device Containers
  28. Device display object
  29. Device Metadata System
  30. Managing Device Installation Using Group Policy
  31. Managing Device Installation Behavior
  32. Managing Driver Installation Behavior
  33. Blocking Installation of Removable Devices
  34. Managing Device Redirection Behavior
  35. Troubleshooting Device Installation
  36. Using Windows Error Reporting
  37. Using the SetupAPI Log File
  38. Using Driver INF Files
  39. Using Device Manager Error Codes
  40. Using Driver Verifier
  41. Repairing Driver Store Corruption
  42. Repairing Index File Corruption
  43. Understanding Power Management
  44. Power Management Enhancements in Windows 7
  45. New Power Policies in Windows 7
  46. Configuring Power Management Settings
  47. Configuring Power Management Settings Using the Power Options Utility in Control Panel
  48. Configuring Power Management Settings Using Group Policy
  49. Configuring Power Management Settings Using the Powercfg Utility
  50. Understanding Services
  51. Service Enhancements in Windows 7
  52. Managing Services
  53. Managing Services Using Task Manager
  54. Managing Services Using the Sc.exe Command