Windows 7 / Getting Started

Using the Devices And Printers Folder

Devices And Printers is a new Start menu and Control Panel item in Windows 7 that provides users with a single location where they can discover, connect, configure, use, and manage devices connected to their computers. In previous versions of Windows, there was no central location where users could view and manage wired and wireless devices connected to their computers. Beginning with Windows 7, however, users can now use the Devices And Printers folder to view and manage all devices connected to or discovered by their computer, including printers, fax machines, scanners, cameras, removable storage devices, networked devices, paired WiFi and Bluetooth devices, multifunction devices (which appear as a single device), and other machines.

The Devices And Printers folder on a computer that has a printer, webcam, and music player attached to it.

Features of the Devices And Printers folder include:

  • A context-sensitive command bar that varies depending upon the device selected. Regardless of which device is selected, the command bar always displays the Add A Device (which is used for discovering and connecting with wireless devices) and Add A Printer (which launches the Add Printer wizard) options.
  • A context-sensitive right-click menu that also varies depending upon the device selected. For example, you can access the properties for a device by right-clicking the device and selecting Properties. These properties pages are extensible by the device manufacturer, who can add additional tabs and register them for device management and configuration purposes. Note that the default double-click action for the rightclick menu is also configurable.
  • A device metadata system and a set of XML schemas that device vendors can use to customize the way their devices are presented to users in the Devices And Printers folder. For example, Devices And Printers can automatically download additional metadata for a newly connected device to display a photorealistic image of the device and additional manufacturer information that is not available from the hardware or device driver. For more information, see the section titled "Device Metadata System" later in this tutorial.
  • Integration with the new Device Stage feature of Windows 7, which is discussed in the next section of this tutorial.

The Windows 7 computer itself appears as a device within the Devices And Printers folder. Right-clicking your computer device icon displays a menu of actions that you can perform to configure and manage your computer.

Note Advanced users can perform even more device configuration tasks, such as rolling back drivers, by right-clicking the computer device icon in Devices And Printers, selecting System Properties, and selecting Device Manager.

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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