Simplifying printing in Windows 8

Printing is one of the most common things we do with our PCs even as we read and work with more online resources.  We set out to simplify and improve this common operation--working with partners across the ecosystem to deliver these improvements in Windows 8.  This blog post was authored by Adrian Lannin, a lead program manager on the Printing team. 


Of all the peripheral devices that you can connect to your Windows PC, printers are one of the most popular, and have been supported for the longest time. In fact, Windows 1.0 (shipped in 1985) supported “a number of printers and plotters” and included a “Print Spooler [which] allows the user to work on one file while printing on another” according to the Windows 1.0 Press Kit. The screenshot of Windows 1.0 below shows the files included with that version of Windows – Epson.drv, lots of font files, and the print spooler process. Some parts of the print system are older than the people who work on it. 🙂

Windows 1.0 MS-DOS Executive with list of files.

Over the years, the print system has evolved into a complex architecture that supports printing to a huge variety of printers, and can scale from a simple $50 inkjet at home to a high-availability print server hosting thousands of print queues for hundreds of thousands of users, driving printers that cost tens of thousands of dollars each.

An advance print system from Xerox and a simpler home printer from EpsonThe print system touches many layers and facets of Windows. It shows UI, and it hosts drivers that also show UI. It performs intensive graphics operations, since printing is essentially re-drawing your on-screen content onto paper. It encompasses lower-level communications, mainly USB or network (the majority of printers bought in the US today are network-capable, but our telemetry data tells us that over 75% of the printers installed with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview are plugged into a USB port). The print system needs to scale to very large, mission-critical deployments in large businesses but also run efficiently on small systems.

In this blog post I’m going to talk about the work that we've done in Windows 8 to re-imagine how the print system can best provide good device support to our customers. I'll show you how it works on ARM-based PCs and in Metro style apps. And I'll talk about what we've done to ensure that the maximum number of existing printers "just work"—whether you're accessing them from the desktop, from a Metro style app, or on a device running Windows RT.

Reimagining the print system for Windows 8

In Windows 8 we've introduced a new printer driver architecture, which we call version 4, or v4. The v4 architecture produces smaller, faster printer drivers, and it supports the idea of a print class driver framework--a system that allows people to install their printers without having to locate a driver for that device, in many cases.

As you've probably guessed, V4 is the fourth iteration of the printer driver architecture in Windows. V3 was the architecture used from Windows 2000 to Windows 7, and it’s actually still fully supported in Windows 8 for device compatibility reasons. So if you only have an existing driver available for your current printer, then it should still work in Windows 8. Versions 1 and 2 were the driver architectures for Windows 1.0 through Windows ME.

Before I explain how the print system works, I’d like to talk about some of the requirements that we worked to address with the Windows 8 print system.

Printing from Metro style apps

One of the things that we needed to figure out was how to give Metro app developers the ability to print. Printing from win32 applications requires knowledge of graphics programming, either GDI (Graphics Device Interface) or XPS (XML Paper Specification). When we looked at how we could make printing possible from Windows 8 apps, we completely reinvented how we enable printing from the Windows Runtime, and we made printing very easy to use from HTML5/JavaScript and XAML/C# apps.

Integrating printing into Metro style apps

Printing from a Metro style app should naturally be a Metro style experience. I’m sure that when most of you have printed something, you've seen a little applet pop up to tell you that the printer is out of paper, or to offer you the opportunity to purchase ink.

Epson print dialog stating paper type and size, buttons to check ink levels, buy Epson Ink, or go to Online Support.

These pop-ups are very common with inkjet printers. Some pop up only when relevant (you have low ink), while others pop up every time you print. These pop-ups come from the printer driver software itself, and they are all desktop UI, of course. But when printing from the Metro style Photos app, for example, we don’t want you to have to switch over to the desktop just to see UI that tells you that printing is in progress.

Printing in Windows RT

Printer drivers have evolved over time to include a lot of functionality— some install services, some install numerous little applications, and many are now quite large. The v3 printer driver model in use since Windows 2000 evolved into a highly complex and highly extensible model, which allowed printer manufacturers a lot of freedom in what is installed with their driver software. When we thought about how this would work on some of the devices that are going to run Windows RT, we knew that we had to make some significant architectural changes. We really wanted to ensure that we didn’t negatively impact ARM systems by running unnecessary services, and we wanted to reduce system resource usage, while still providing support for as many devices as possible.

Lots of printers supported, far fewer drivers

There's a huge diversity in printer capabilities, and Windows supports a vast range of printers. In Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows, each of these printers required a specific driver in order to work (there are some exceptions, such as universal printer drivers, but these tend to be large and resource hungry). This meant that the number of drivers that we included with Windows (we call these in-box drivers) was very large so as to provide good support. Of course, we have many more drivers on Windows Update, but we believe that it’s important to have a core set of in-box drivers that support popular devices, so we can still provide a good printing experience for people who can’t or won’t download a driver from Windows Update. In-box drivers are essential for Windows RT—in fact, it uses only in-box printer drivers. The challenge here is to get a relevant set of printers supported, but to also reduce the resources required to accomplish this.

Another interesting challenge in supporting lots of printers is that the support gets stale over time. The set of drivers included in Windows 7, for example, provided excellent support for devices released in 2008 and 2009, but as new devices were released over the years, and time went by, the set of drivers in Windows 7 became less relevant. One big challenge in Windows 8 then, is to ensure that Windows provides a high level of support for lots of printers, including ones that haven’t even been released yet.

Printer sharing

Anyone who has administered a print server can tell you that getting the correct drivers installed to support sharing is the most time-consuming part of managing a print server. Some of these difficulties you might encounter when you're trying to share a printer at home too, especially if you have both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows. This becomes tricky because the print “server” (which just means the PC that the printer is connected to – not actually Windows Server) has to provide the drivers to the clients that want to print to the shared printer. In Windows 7, we used HomeGroup to address this problem, and it works well much of the time. However, the requirement to load drivers for each Windows architecture becomes more problematic when you think about printing from Windows RT.

Although we expect that most people who print from Windows RT devices are likely to print to wireless printers, we didn’t want to totally exclude the possibility of printing to a USB printer. On the other hand, we didn’t want to increase the complexity of printer sharing by requiring people to add drivers for 32-bit clients, 64-bit clients, and Windows RT clients! So, with the v4 model in Windows 8, we developed a new way to share printers that doesn't rely on putting client drivers onto the print server.

The print system in Windows 8

Applications enable you to create and view content. The purpose of the print system is to provide these apps with the means to print your content to any installed printer without having to worry about what particular device is installed. I’m going to talk a little about how the app prints, and go into more detail about how we get the content onto a printed page.

Creating printable content

For apps, adding printing support is quite straightforward. The content that you want to print from an app is in a format that the app specifies. For Metro style apps, this will often be HTML5 or XAML, but for Win32 apps such as Word or Photoshop, the content is in a format specific to each particular app.

So when you want to print from an app to your printer, one of the things that the print system needs to do is to translate the content from the app's format to the format that the printer understands. Unfortunately, printers don’t all understand the same formats (not even close!) so this turns into quite a bit of work.

To give a real example, an app such as Word uses the GDI graphics system to draw the content both to the screen and to the printer. When possible, the print system uses a high quality intermediate format called XPS (XML Paper Specification) as its internal content format; we convert the content from Word into XPS. We chose to use XPS as the foundation of our print system because it is a very flexible format and is just like electronic paper. It supports high-fidelity color, and since it’s an XML-based description with no executable code embedded, it’s great for archival purposes and it is secure compared to other options. In addition, Microsoft has worked with ECMA International (European Computer Manufacturers Association) to make it an open standard (ECMA standard TC46, OpenXPS). Both the desktop viewer and the Reader app can display OpenXPS. I “print” all my receipts from online purchases as XPS files.

Once the content is being managed by the print system, it is then converted to the format that the printer understands (if necessary; there are lots of printers that understand XPS directly) and the print system sends this to the printer with the correct options set, and the job prints.

In Windows 8, we have a distinct improvement to this story because all Metro style apps use Direct2D as their basic drawing format, and Direct2D and XPS share the same XML-based graphics “language.” So in another real-world example, the Reader app uses Direct2D to render its content onto the screen. It also uses Direct2D to render the same content to the print system. Reader’s content can easily be submitted to the print system as XPS, without any costly conversion from GDI.

If the app requires a print layout that is different from the screen layout, then it can do this using style sheets or XAML. This means that you don’t have to “click here for a printer-friendly version of this page.” If you have a printer that supports XPS, then the path from the app to the printer involves no conversions at all, and printing is extremely fast!

Now that you understand in broad terms how an app sends print information to the print system, I’m going to talk about what the system does with that, the services it provides, and what else has changed in Windows 8.

Supporting lots of printers

One of the big benefits that Windows provides to apps is that it abstracts the specific printer from the app, so that the app's programmer doesn’t have to worry about what printer you've installed. Windows supports tens of thousands of printer models in total, including printers that are supported by drivers available via Windows Update or the manufacturer’s website. When we see printers that don’t work, this is often because the manufacturer has chosen to block the installation if they don’t recognize the version of Windows that their software is being installed on. We work with printer manufacturers to get these packages updated, but this does take some time.

Ideally, when you plug a new printer into Windows, it just works, without your needing to go off and find drivers.

So how do we make that happen? In the past we've shipped a lot of printer drivers in Windows. Vista contained about 4500 drivers, and Windows 7 contained about 2100 drivers. Even though Windows 7 had half as many drivers as Vista, it provided better market coverage, by which I mean that there was a better chance that it had a driver for the more popular printers. Why is this? There is an incredible diversity of printers in use. In Vista, we supported a lot of devices that were old and no longer in popular use, and so the relevance of the set of devices supported was not as good as in Windows 7.

As an aside, the other thing we do when we release a new version of Windows is to take the drivers that were in the previous version and post them to Windows Update, so that even though these devices may be dropping in popularity, it’s still possible for people to automatically get the device working by just plugging it in.

Here's a photo I took of one of the benches in one of the printer labs (we have several) where we test that this all works. You can see several small inkjets and laser printers from different manufacturers. Luckily for my ears, we don’t test with dot matrix printers very often these days.

Printer testing

People tend to keep printers for 5-7 years on average, so when we want to add support, we have to think "what devices are people using? Which were the most popular devices over the past several years, and what will be the most popular in the future?" This last part is tricky because, pretty soon after we release Windows, the printer manufacturers will release devices that we didn’t know anything about. This means that over time, the set of devices that we support in any particular version of Windows becomes stale.

We know that at any given moment, about 100 specific printer models make up about 50% of the installed base. If we want to support 75% of the models being used today, then we need to support about 300 models. The diagram below illustrates this.

Devices needed to achieve market coverage

To get to 95%, we need over 1000 models supported. But the problem is even harder because the printers that make up this set of 100, or 300, or 1000 changes all the time. The 100 printers that represent 50% of the market today are not the same 100 printers that will represent 50% next week, or next month, and especially not next year. Every day, many people buy and install new printers.

As I mentioned above, we basically took a brute-force approach to solving this in the past. We have representatives from the major printer manufacturers working directly with Microsoft, sitting in offices in Redmond, working to check their source code into Windows. They would create a completely new set of in-box drivers for each new release of Windows. This just isn’t very efficient.

In Windows 8, we took a radically different approach, and have stopped shipping lots of printer drivers with Windows. Instead, we built a print class driver framework. This framework is extensible, as it supports printing to existing devices, but it also allows manufacturers to include support for new devices, even those that have not yet been designed.

With a print class driver framework, we can get closer to giving you an experience like driverless printing, where you don't have to actually go and find a driver, but instead the printer just works with the Windows printing system. A true driverless printing experience requires changes to how most printers are designed, and the print class driver framework provides support for this idea, but we also feel that it’s very important to provide as much support for existing devices as possible.

With the ability to support new and planned printers, the number of printers that are supported by the Windows 8 print class driver framework will actually increase over time.

Besides the great progress in increasing the number of devices covered, we have also been able to reduce the resources that we use to achieve this coverage.

First, we reduced the amount of disk space needed to support printers and imaging devices from 768MB in Windows Vista, to about 184MB in Windows 8. This number is an average across different editions and architectures of Windows 8. The following graphic illustrates the reduction in space used since Windows Vista.

Disk space needed to support printers and imaging

Comparison of disk space needed to support printers and imaging devices in Windows 8, Windows 7, and Windows Vista

In addition, the reduction in disk space used has been accompanied by an increase in the relevance of the devices supported directly by Windows. The following table summarizes how the relevance of the inbox coverage has increased, while disk use has decreased.

Approximate number of devices supported in-box

Approximate installed base

Disk space used

Windows Vista



768 MB

Windows 7



446 MB

Windows 8


70% at release growing to 80%

184 MB

This is a huge improvement in Windows 8, and this reduction in space used directly translates into more available storage space for users of hardware with limited storage capacity, which we expect will be a characteristic of some Windows RT computers.

The Windows 8 printer driver model also allows us to focus our manufacturing partners on a set of code that will not change as much from one version of Windows to the next, so we will be able to more usefully spend those resources on improving quality and performance, instead of constantly repopulating the driver set.

Print class driver architecture

Besides wanting to create an architecture that supports the needs of Windows RT and Metro style apps, we wanted to make sure the model would also work with existing devices, and would utilize technologies that were familiar to printer manufacturers, so that it would be easier for them to implement the new driver technology.

A printer driver does several key things:

  • Configuration allows the user to change settings, translating the intent to turn on double-sided printing (for example) into the specific command that the printer needs for this. Configuration is presented to the user through the user interface.
  • Rendering translates the printed content from the format that Windows print system uses into the format that the printer understands. In some cases, the printer may directly understand the native Windows print format (XPS), so for those devices, there is no work to do here, unless they want to do extra rendering (doing multiple pages per physical sheet of paper is an example of this case). The part of the driver that does rendering is called the render filter.
  • Events allow the printer to inform the user that something has happened – a job has completed, there has been a paper jam, or the printer is out of ink.

Configuration UI

One big change between the old driver model and the Windows 8 driver model is in how the UI is provided. In the old printer driver model, the configuration UI was built into the driver. Here's an example of some typical printer UI (taken from the Epson NX430 that is currently on my desk).

Espon NX430 Series printing preferences dialog with options for print quality, paper, ink levels, orientation, etc.

As I mentioned earlier, we needed to find a way to enable the display of Metro style UI when people wanted to change printer settings.

In the Windows 8 driver model, the manufacturer’s UI is completely separate from their driver. This is a much better architectural decision for many reasons: The UI to control the printer is now an app that can be invoked when printing from Metro style apps or desktop apps. This allows printer manufacturers to present you with a much richer experience – imagine access to video showing you how to set up your printer or install an ink cartridge.

Here is an example of a Metro style app that Epson has developed for the Epson NX430:

Full-screen, Metro style app with options for Ink levels, Paper type, Epson showcase, and How to

You can see that this UI has all the hallmarks of a Metro style app, but for your printer. It includes an attractive view of the ink levels of the printer, and is much easier to use, especially on touch-screen devices.

Windows will automatically show you the correct type of UI – desktop printer UI when you're printing from desktop apps, and Metro style UI when you're printing from Metro style apps.

If the manufacturer hasn't provided any configuration UI for their device, then Windows provides some standard UI that you can use with any printer. However, when the printer manufacturer has decided to invest in providing a customized experience for their device, they can provide an app that replaces the standard Windows UI. Then, when you decide to alter the configuration of the device, or when the device configuration changes during printing (e.g. paper jam), then Windows will display the manufacturer’s customized app to you instead.


One of the most important functions of a printer driver is to take the content that the app produces when you ask it to print, and convert that into something that the printer can understand. This was one of the most challenging areas of building the Windows 8 print class driver, so let’s look at it in a bit more detail.

As described above, desktop apps like Word or Photoshop use graphics commands to draw their content onto the screen or the printer. When they do this, the print system receives the content, converts it into XPS if necessary, and then calls the printer's driver (or more specifically, the render filter part of the driver) to convert the content into the right format. This is sent to the printer and your file is printed out.

Probably one of the largest challenges in supporting a very wide range of printers is in dealing with the rendering portion of the problem. Some of the more expensive printers support standard “page description languages” or PDLs, such as PostScript, PCL, and XPS. However, less expensive, consumer-focused devices are manufactured with cost savings in mind, and many of these support proprietary methods of sending the page information to the printer. Some manufacturers may have only a few languages that they use across their product line, but others may tweak the language from one model to the next, trying to get the most out of their printer hardware.

This leads to a 1:1 mapping between printer driver and printer hardware.

Illustration showing PDL1 maps to Fabrikam 1000 printer, PDL2 maps to Fabrikam 2000 printer, PDL3 maps to Fabrikam 2010 printer

Imagine each PDL as being a complete printer driver and it’s easy to see that increasing support involves a steadily increasing number of drivers. Of course, this is a bit of a simplification and it is possible to create a driver that supports a number of devices, and we have often seen drivers that support a series of printers. But the key point here is that Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows didn’t do anything to support this design approach.

The printer driver model in Windows 8 supports the idea that a PDL (or driver) can be associated with multiple devices.

Illustration showing PDL X maps to 3 different printers

We've been working with our printer manufacturer partners to have them include an identifier in their device that describes how they are supported more generically. We call this a compatible ID. So for example, if a device has a compatible ID that says that the device supports XPS, then the print system knows that it doesn’t need to find a model-specific driver for that device, it can just install a generic XPS driver for the device. Windows understands that the device is a generic XPS printer and can treat it that way. Of course, Windows also understands that this is a Fabrikam 1000 printer (or whatever), so if there is a model-specific driver, then Windows will install it. But if there is no driver available, then Windows can still print to the printer using the class driver.

So in this example, we have a set of render filters in-box as part of the class driver model, and these can be installed for any device that implements a matching compatible ID. The logical extension of this idea is that it’s quite possible for future devices, devices not yet designed or built, to be compatible with the print class driver in Windows 8. We’ve been working with the printer manufacturers and they all plan to implement compatible IDs in their devices (many already do). Because of this capability, the number of printers that are supported in Windows 8 will increase over time, rather than decrease, and more and more people will get the experience of being able to use their printers instantaneously from Windows 8 without the need to go and find a driver.

But what about all the devices that have proprietary rendering languages? The print class driver supports that model too, but with the disadvantage that we do need to have a separate rendering filter for each small set of models that speak each unique language. There is no way around this, and in Windows 8 we've taken a number of filters that address a set of popular models. However, once again, we've been working with the printer manufacturers to improve this position, and we expect to see manufacturers produce printers that can more easily utilize the class driver in the future.

Printing from Windows RT

The reduction in the resources used by the print class driver contributes directly to a smaller footprint for Windows, which is especially valuable on Windows RT. In addition, the V3 printer driver architecture was highly extensible and had evolved over many years into a model that encouraged the development of large, complex printer drivers. Some drivers install services that run all the time, exhausting battery power and using processor time. I've seen some drivers that support only one device but that are larger than the complete printer driver set in Windows 8!

The need to support printing in Windows RT, and a general desire to make printing more efficient, led us to develop an architecture that more tightly controls what the driver can do. I’ve already mentioned that the UI portion of the print experience is now a completely separate component, an app instead of being part of the driver. This means that it’s also optional, and drivers will work well with the standard Microsoft printing UI. We’ve also simplified the driver architecture to be more power-efficient, by removing service dependencies and reducing the likelihood that additional software will be included with the driver.

With the Windows 8 driver model, we also made significant changes to how printer drivers are installed. In Windows 7 and earlier versions of Windows, all printer drivers are stored in the “Driver Store,”—sort of like a database for all types of drivers. When you plugged in a printer, we would find the correct driver in the driver store, and copy it to a special location where the spooler could use it with your printer. In Windows 8, we have eliminated this extra copying, which removed quite a bit of disk I/O. The print spooler now just knows how to find the driver in the driver store.

For a real world example, we compared the installation times for an Epson Artisan on Windows 7 versus Windows 8 (using a relatively small driver on Windows 7): the install time on Windows 7 was 14 seconds, compared to under 2 seconds on Windows 8.

Final thoughts

As you can see, the Windows 8 printer driver architecture is big step forward. It provides good support for a lot of the printers that people already own, and supports future devices with a small, fast, built-in class driver framework. The performance is great and the disk footprint is small.

We’re look forward to your feedback!

-- Adrian Lannin

Comments (102)
  1. Paul says:

    The Windows 1.0 Screenshot is missing!

  2. I think for the Consumers, the age Paper printing is becoming obsolete. I take a look at myself, my personal activities. I haven't printed papers for myself for years. Of course I have printed homeworks and assignments for my Kids school activities, but always with a protest. There is no need at the moment for anyone to print in this paperless age. I can printout to XPS/PDF, send documents as mail attachments etc. The result of this is that people are buying Printers no more. For example printer purchase compared to Router purchase is abominably low at the moment, and I think the trend will only increase with time.

    Of course in the Enterprise, printing still have a center stage. I have known colleagues who used to print every mail they receive. It took me a lot of effort to get people off this addiction. With the improvements in screen readability, and ability to zoom text in Windows 8, I see screen reading also conquering the Enterprise. Of course for documentation, printing will live for a long time in the enterprise, but eventually, habits developed in the Consumer world will always bleed into the enterprise. I expect to see tremendous drop also in enterprise printing.

    Therefore I think eventually we can make printing optional in the OS. For someone like me that doesn't absolutely print, I can imagine removing the Printing infra from the OS and only allow me to download it as option when I need it. This reduces attack surface and promotes battery life I think.

  3. Nostalgia says:

    I've seen that Windows 1.0 color scheme and style before…. Wait a second, it's Metro!

  4. Consultant says:

    I have a completely different experience in regards to printing, in some enterprise environments pretty much all meeting materials, including PowerPoint presentations and other material presented through a projector, need to be printed after the meeting to be signed and archived. There are also quite a many people who print out all meaningful e-mail chains and documents for reading and make their own annotations with pencils.

    So, while there are technologies to support the paperless office in many places the mindset of the people is at least a decade away.

  5. merkat says:

    Excellent job! Keep going and I hope V5 will be 100% driverless.

    You need to do what's necessary to block manufacturers to install junk, useless services and programs at startup on our PC.

    And I suggest that drivers are only available on Windows update

  6. merkat says:

    not related but can you make a post about improvement with SSD? Because, I see superfetch, defrag.. enabled even with SSD.

    I see a lot of recommandations on internet but they apply to Windows 7. So please post about the changes, the tweaks…


  7. anadan says:

    Considering Metro's "content over chrome" – I find it odd that they showcase an app where the Ink Levels aren't just there, instead of an image that you have to click to see the levels…

  8. farmington says:

    So do I understand correctly that we will be able to send out Xaml conent straight to the print system and it will automatically get translated into XPS or something printable? If so, that's awesome!!

  9. Hi Adrian,

    As an engineer, I frequently have to print through a wide variety of printer settings: changing the paper size, colour settings, duplex, etc. Right now, each software displays its own print interface with varying levels of settings (there are understandable advantages to this), but most of the time, those frequent controls are hidden until you hit "Printer Properties" and enter the manufacturer's proprietary interface, which is almost always terrible.

    It's an annoying two-step approach to printing that also produces a lot of waste, since there is no way to tell from the first dialog what the printer is configured to. Isn't there a better way to do this?

    Another printing annoyance: if you go to devices and right click on a printer, you can select "Printing Preferences", "Printer Properties" and "Properties". Surely this doesn't have to be so confusing.

    You've clearly made some huge progress on the technical side of things which is awesome, but I'd like to see the same re-imagining applied to the UX side, which currently could stand to see a lot of improvement.

  10. John says:

    Printing doesn't work with my Lexmark Pro901 in Windows 8 Release Preview. I hope that Windows RT will be compatible with my Lexmark as this is one of the most important functions of my computers. I want to get my parents Windows RT tablets and they will expect the tablets to work with their Lexmark printer.

  11. kris says:

    The thing I need in Win8 is simply print my doc in PDF format. Windows use XPI which is not good as PDF and hard to share with people. Same way PDF is easy to share. Can I expect you will made it in Win10,Win11. Comon IS their any software Exist who do this.

    I am not sure but I hear from fellow that nitro do a good job as what I want( not have tried yet). They add PDF as a printer and print it in pdf format.

    Confused ! please help me to know what improvement has been made in win8 for printing. as a common user what effect they see rather then Jargon Blah.

  12. Best Wishes MSFT says:

    Well, RTM is just a few days away now.  I wish you the best, Microsoft, I hope Windows 8 and Office 2013 go well.  

    I have to admit, though, that I'm not really excited about upgrading my Windows 7 PC, but I'll do it anyway.  

    Best Wishes, looking forward to Windows 9 (I hope).

  13. says:

    As usual with posts on Windows 8 internals (unlike the UI!), this looks nice.  Splitting the PDL implementation from the drivers is quite good.

    @kris: I wouldn't say that XPS is not as good as PDF.  As a fixed document format, it is quite powerful and it reuses standard building blocks (Zip and XML) instead of requiring a dedicated parser.  On the other hand, it has clearly failed to become more than Microsoft's standard PDL and we are stuck with PDF for document exchange.  I hope Microsoft will not go into denial and take this into account, e.g. by providing rich PDF export (i.e. with links, semantic structure, etc) in more apps (Internet Explorer comes to mind).  Regarding this post, if you don't care about internals, the most visible consequence for basic users will be less hassles with print drivers.

  14. Jeff Ames says:

    How ironic.  I can't get my notebook running win 8 to print a darn thing.

  15. kris "The thing I need in Win8 is simply print my doc in PDF format."

    Amen to that.  I use that feature in Mac OS several times a week to print Internet articles and online order receipts.  It's as easy as selecting any other printer and is super useful.  BTW I just installed Mountain Lion on my MBP.  The bar goes higher, a lot higher.

  16. NoCustomerAnymore says:

    What is this? Metro crap printing UI doesn't even show one single useful content. The old desktop UI shows all nessesary information in one single window. Windows 8 is an EPIC FAIL!

  17. Leo says:

    Someone already explained this process to HP? Because the HP drivers are the most bloatware and worse, the most problematic of all printer manufacturers.

  18. Thats true-Still the HP printer is kept idle at home due to the drivers. Waiting for a wonderful day to install.

  19. @Paul – thanks, fixed. 🙂

    @McAkins – good points, and certainly new computer form factors make printing redundant in a bunch of cases where previously is was necessary or at least useful. That's something we watch carefully.

    Thanks for the other posts that highlight the different ways that you use printing.

  20. Out of curiosity, was the Version 2 printer driver architecture introduced in Windows 95?

  21. Tom says:

    What about printing cancellation?

    this is one of the most annoying thing – after you send a large job, you can't delete it (after a just a few seconds) and you need to run to the machine to try to delete the job.

  22. Anonymous says:
  23. Bernhard says:

    Please reenable the feature to "print" as XPS files in Metro Apps!!

    As you said "I “print” all my receipts from online purchases as XPS files."

    So how are you able to do this anymore, if the devices section of the Charms Bar only shows real printers? 😉

  24. Harsh Raj says:

    Sorry for going off topic, but i couldnot find anyother better place to discuss the issue neither i found any correction over different versions of windows 7 and 8….

    The issue is-

    When i click on an bitlocked drive in explorer normally, then we get the password input field,while when we click the same drive from the side pane(on the left), it shows an error instead of any password input field. Please correct it in final version of win 8 as the problem persist upto release preview. Do comment anybody.

  25. JF says:

    I apologize for going off topic as well, but in Metro IE, playing a the video posted on previous blog entries and clicking the maximize icon, and then minimizing back scrolls all the way up to the top of the page. The playback controls are also hidden when simultaneously downloading a file. Hope the RTM version shows more polish…

  26. Hi Bernhard, the "Devices" charm does show the XPS printer (Microsoft XPS Document Writer) for apps that print. If you try it from IE or any other app that prints then it will show up. Thanks!

  27. Geoffc1 says:

    So tell me, how do I just print the current page, or a selection of pages? Something that’s easily done with the traditional Windows Print dialog, but that seems totally impossible with the whizzo new Metro design with certain Apps. The Metro Mail and IE10 Apps, for example. They drop the “Pages” setting from the Metro Print screen, while others (e.g. the Reader App) show them.  I like consistency in my tools, not nasty surprises.

  28. Francesco says:

    Well, I don't think not having a clear Print button will semplify the printing experience. Not anyone knows to go on the Device charm.

  29. Name says:

    I would like a print driver for all printers in the world!

    Why not create a logo "Windows XPS designed" to encourage the purchase of new printers and improve the ecosystem.

  30. maronn says:


    e grazie non è ancora uscito win 8… ci saranno degli hint su come usarlo nella rtm, ovvio

  31. bury_xp says:

    funny how microsoft today compares everything back to vista, like, everything starts from vista, completely ignoring their best os to date: windows XP.

  32. The Epson screenshot really points out the potential for abuse I see across most Metro apps… unwanted and unnecessary advertising. the *last* thing I need to see is the #$%^#$% "Epson Showcase" included in printer software. For years I have purposly avoided loading anything but the components necessary to run the printers just to avoid the marketing garbage that comes with it. It's not just Epson either, HP went through a period of doing this and then there was Kodak, the absolute worst of the bunch. I really hope you folks will force thrid parties to continue to offer installation options that allow the end users to not have to deal with this marketing baloney.

  33. other pdl says:

    how about XPS performance ?

  34. C-Dan says:

    By the way, off-topic sorry

    @Steven Sinofsky

    Even 9gag uses better and more reliable commenting.

    For all the Bing and Facebook integration you've been doing lately, it would be wiser to use the facebook commenting system.

    The current commenting system is pathetic.



  35. Robert Holzman says:

    >completely ignoring their best os to date: windows XP.


  36. Well done. Lighter print drivers, that's what i always wanted!

  37. Darren says:

    Gabe Newell: "I think that Windows 8 is kind of a catastrophe for everybody in the PC space. I think that we’re going to lose some of the top-tier PC [original equipment manufacturers]. They’ll exit the market. I think margins are going to be destroyed for a bunch of people. If that’s true, it’s going to be a good idea to have alternatives to hedge against that eventuality."…/valves-gabe-newell-talks

    Interesting to read that the upcomping Windows 8 has chances to drive people to other options. Not only because it is cr*p but also because this closed down platform reduces margins for others in the market who relied on its universal openess.. So they are looking elsewhere to secure their share. The appleization of Microsoft will take its tolls.

  38. Suze says:

    I would like to second the request to have a "Print to PDF" printer option.  Office 2013 has native support for PDF files, so it would be very nice to be able to export/save/print to PDF from any application.

  39. Herman says:

    Recently I've ran into great issue trying to set up network shared HP printers across 32- and 64-bit Windows 7. That was a real hell including some Windows' integral bugs like editing priviliges on your "spool" folder, having the same login name across several PCs etc. Hope you've done something to address this.

  40. Windoze Suckz says:

    I am leaving to os x this sucks

  41. Sam says:

    I am very much looking forward to buying a Windows RT device (possibly Surface RT). But one thing I'm worried about is printer support in Windows RT. If the built-in drivers don't work, will it be possible to install a separate driver on Windows RT? Please clarify this bit. Thank you.

  42. lee wong says:

    wow, what an amazing software this is.

    Windows 8 , the newcomer,

    beautiful, sleek, fast and fluidd.

    no compromise,now you can print all documents with much less overhead. joy luck for you now!

    at first i was like meh, but now i can love this wonderful software!!

  43. Craig Matthews says:

    "(the majority of printers bought in the US today are network-capable, but our telemetry data tells us that over 75% of the printers installed with the Windows 8 Consumer Preview are plugged into a USB port)"

    Based on this, I'm amazed you guys didn't pull out support for printing to network printers. Printing to a network attached printer is obviously a corner case, interesting only to computer geeks.

  44. Chris Smith says:

    This is great stuff – thanks for the interesting post. That room full of printers is my nemesis though 🙂

  45. Andrew says:

    I agree with others print to pdf should be built in.  I know PDF is Adobe and XPS is Microsoft, but everybody shares pdf files.  I've never seen a company with xps documentation downloads.  I tried providing them to a customer once and ended up having to send them pdf's anyways because they didn't seem to be able to figure them out… (I know it should be easy)

    Otherwise it sounds great.  I would love printers to be like mice, keyboards, usb keys, digital cameras, etc.  Just plug them in and they'll work without messing around.  Install extra stuff if you want.  Even things like ink levels could have a standard way of being reported.

  46. Bernhard says:

    Hi AdrianL.

    Thanks for your fast reply. The devices list only showed two devices (maybe the most recently used ones?) and I didn't notice the "More" option, sorry for that. So everythink works fine which is great 😉

  47. Narg says:

    Printing was one of my first WOW's with Windows 8.  I cranked up a test tablet with Windows 8 one day at home.  Then started surfing a few web pages to see what kind of throughput the device would have.  I hit a web page that I immediately wanted to print, and hit print without thinking.  The networked HP printer next to me fired up and printed, then it hit me.  I NEVER INSTALLED IT!!!!  It just printed.  Period.  No questions, no dialogs, nothing.  Just output without question.  Awesome!!

  48. Ex Customer says:

    Please rename Windows 8 to Windows 0.9. Even Windows 1 looks better than Windows 8.

  49. Bill Charles says:

    Hi, I have been waiting for post about printers in Windows 8. As for the developers, would we be able to print over Bluetooth printer?

    Please provide a metro reader app for Phones and tablets which has the following capabilities:

    – Print over Wired/Wifi/Bluetooth.

    – Pintch-to-zoom.

    – Text selection then copy.

    – PDF and XPS support.

  50. Joel says:

    This is the longest post about simplifying something I have ever read….

  51. Kangin says:

    Great Work! I'm just waiting to October 26th!

  52. Craig Matthews says:

    @Andrew: She probably ran into the same problem every single one of my customers ran into. Double click on an XPS file and nothing happens. Then about 15 minutes later, the XPS "viewer" (Internet Explorer) finally opens after the user has already gotten a replacement PDF of the document and moved onto other things.

  53. Duff says:

    Windows 8 is great with printers. My wireless printer on my home network was setup automatically without configuring it.

  54. Hi Sam, for Windows RT, we are relying on the inbox coverage, but bear in mind that the compatible ID work will enable future devices to work with inbox drivers. We actually introduced the compatible ID concept a couple of years ago, and some manufacturers already have this supported across their product line. In addition, one thing I didn't really mention in the blog is that Windows RT will be able to connect to any printer that is shared from an x86/x64 Windows 8 PC, so long as that printer is installed with a version 4 driver. So there should be some options.

  55. Hi Bill Charles — yes to Bluetooth, I have one in my office that I use regularly (from Windows RT in fact).

  56. Bill Charles says:

    @AdrianL, thanks for the clarification. One more thing, is XPS format supported in WinRT?

  57. Alex says:

    nanasi – that guy is desperate because he knows XBox Games will render Steam irrelevant.

  58. sreesiv says:

    As a person who has worked on Printer Drivers for a little time in my career, I can confidently say that you guys are cleaning up a big mess created by no one else but yourself. I have been a great proponent of in-box support for device classes, not only for printers but for every type of device. The only way for that to happen is standard conformance, with of course scope for differentiation. But the base minimal amount of standard support should be mandated. You guys with your market coverage are the only hope for forcing the manufacturers conform to the print class model and the standards in PDL.  It doesn't have to be very rigidly controlled, but there should be some restraint. It is a fine balancing act.

    The true fact is, good software is hard to produce and there are very very few people/organizations that could do that. The rest just copies OR makes the user suffer.

    Hope these idiots don't supply a CD along with their plastic box.

  59. Jake Johnson says:

    My printer is an Epson Stylus Office BX300F attached via USB 2.0.

    If I buy a tablet with Windows 8 Pro and I attach my printer to it, what happens? I have an Ethernet cable Internet connection.

    I would like to know this specific example, if you can do it, it's a courtesy. Should I be connected to the Internet and Windows gets all drivers needed? I don't know if I still have the CD with drivers.

    I didn't get the "printer driver architecture V4" what printers is applied to.

    Thank you in advance.

  60. kris says:

    @☺, I am confused what is your means. Actual I can't believe that msft believes in Making standards. IE is a good example even I am using 10 I am facing a lot of problem.

    Some of site I have spent my all days now force me to use Google Frame or using Firefox or chrome. Only My broandband site tell me "Hey you need IE7 or Firefox 3.5 to run this site so I need to use IE7 mode here for get detail of net connection. Same thing applied for my phone". I am amazed that why this both site not force me to get latest instead of force to Ie7. Some of site I use not even make me login because They want me to use Firefox or chrome. so I not use IE10 because they play only 2 site and I need to use chrome for running other site.

    @AZJack , As your Mac we use something different on Windows. My fellow guys who spent most of time in office-work use Nitro to print doc in PDF. I am Using Chrome print that's work very best for me.

    @Steven, Hello I have something buggy on Windows server. Can you answer me on these bugs.

    1. If you install desktop experience on Server12 and disable the themes then taskbar going Running as buggy. Try to hover on Notification it's look like totally buggy. it's happen when I not restart the computer. I am not sure but my hope tell me it's still have same thing.

    2. My taskbar is now transparent too much. Skype logo is hard to see because of background. Sign-out make it work now.

    3. If you put Taskbar on top and enable all functionality in system feature windows. (best suite for desktop experience) then

    Push Win key now you see then if you open xyz and Chrome then xyz's icon is override by chrome and chrome's icon is override by start menu. this is not look good. (xyz is a IDE, which have a titlebar icon on left top. I am not sure why Win make this kind of animation bug)..

    I hope if Final windows is compiled  then you can try to make patch for these bugs.



  61. Sam says:

    @AdrianL [MSFT], thanks for the reply. So, I guess I have to wait and see if Windows RT supports my printer. Hopefully, it will as it's not too old.

  62. AngryTechnician says:

    So the 4 architecture "produces smaller, faster printer drivers", eh? Don't worry, HP will still manage to make a 400MB+ version of it that regularly crashes in Point-and-Print environments, and takes 5+ minutes to map a network printer even when it doesn't crash.

  63. JohannesB says:

    Will there be some kind of requirement for compatible ID in "Windows 8 certified" printing devices?

  64. Anon says:

    I had several problem  when printing to networked printers. One of them is that if you have to log-in to the printer and you don't click "Remember my Password" the first time you install it, then when you print after a day or two it does not ask for your password again so cannot log into the printer and fails the print job silently without even telling you anything. I  took me a month to figure out the reason why all my print jobs were failing unless I reinstalled the print driver from the network printer. Since when I reinstalled, it would ask for my password again and it would remember it for a day I guess and then it would forget it again and I had to reinstall. Horrible experience! On the other hand, I did not want to click "Remember my Password" because I don't want my password stored locally for any hacker to steel. For network shares, when you open the shared folder and it does not have you password, it asks for it. Whilst for printers it does not ask for it and silently fails. By way, wwen accessing folder shares you can't change the username, only retype the password. That's another very very very annoying thing. What did you do to fix all these!

  65. My first reaction – oh lovely, advertisements in the print screen. We have them in the video screen, the music screen, the app screen, why not have them in the print screen as well?

    I haven't worked with printing yet as the driver for my HP won't install despite what was said about compaibility. But looking at the screenshots it appears that anything out of the ordinary is going to be much less efficient. The "old style" dialog box looks like it does because it is getting the necessary info and settings to people in a quick and efficient way.  How many page-clicks and thumb-pinches and backouts and window closes does it now take to switch to landscape and high-quality format?

  66. @Mark522010 – I had the same problem trying to connect to my HP printer (it's less than a year old). It prints now, but I am waiting on HP for a Windows 8 driver so I can scan from it.

    I haven't printed from Metro yet, but the screenshot above is clearly taken from the Epson "App", not the print screen you would get once you hit print. Since it's full screen, there are opportunities to reduce the number of clicks required. …Not that printer manufacturers can be relied upon to produce efficient software.

  67. Pol says:

    I'm listening to Miles Davis using Windows 8 and trust me, doesn't feel nice, I don't feel sophisticated.

  68. Matt says:

    Is there a similar situation with touch display drivers? I'm finding variation in what works.

  69. Dan Lions says:


  70. Dan Lions says:

    Why these negative comments from people. Windows 8 is the coolest, newest thing coming out. You people are so outdated and old fashioned and you can't let go of anything.

  71. Dan Lions says:

    Just one question – have you seen Harvey dent. Lol. No my question is are you going to implement folders for the metro start screen. My idea was having a live tile displaying the apps in the folder. So on the start screen you would have a live tile that displayed or ran through pics of the apps in the folder and them when you clicked on the folder it would open, and the apps in that folder would take up the whole start screen so that it looked just like the metro original start screen but just included the apps that we're in the folder.

  72. Arturo Perez says:

    If Windows 8 fails to get a significant Market share by march next year, I'll have switch to either Linux or OSX.

    I just hope you guys get this OS right because I love Windows, I even installed Vista (and didn't downgrade to XP) and have a WP7. I'd be very sad for me to leave, but I will if I have to.

  73. OK Dan Lions, you're maintaining that new-not-so-good is better than old-real-good apparently because newness trumps all.  You also suggest that people who reject the new-not-so-good and stay with the old-real-good "are so outdated and old fashioned".

    How did that line of reasoning work out with Vista?

    If you really want new-no-matter-what then I might suggest an iPad and a MacBook Air.  Not a lot of heavy-duty function there but definitely not outdated nor old fashioned.

  74. Ex customer says:

    Why are 'The Cloud' so incredible fantastic to a lot of people ? I myself wouldn't trust any of the companies in USA that have cloud services. Why You may ask ? The thing is that since the end of 2011 have there been many new laws in USA that give american authorities the right to take any users account or files. It is not a better situation that most companies in USA even support these laws today. First they did protest about SOPA, as many might remember ? Today SOPA is dead, but reborn as CISPA. All giants, more than 800 companies, in USA support CISPA; Google, Apple, Microsoft and so on…. Why on Earth should i trust them when they first reject such a law as SOPA and then support it when it is reborn as CISPA that is worse than SOPA ? Now they even seem to support a law that takes CISPA even further, now named as IPAA. The Cloud is not to trust, especially not the services in USA. I rather have my files stored local in some external drive that can be turned off when i don't use the files. Why share my company secrets with the american authorities ? No way !

  75. UmmaGumma says:

    Pink Floyd does not approve Windows 8.

  76. Mozart does not approve Windows 8. says:

    Animal Collective does not approve Windows 8.

    Radiohead does not approve Windows 8.

    David Bowie does not approve Windows 8.

    Queen does not approve Windows 8.

    Kerouac does not approve Windows 8.

    Ginsberg does not approve Windows 8.

    Samuel Beckett does not approve Windows 8.

    Bertrand Russell does not approve Windows 8.

  77. Dan Lions says:


    "I want what you and everybody else wants that's what I want". – rocky lol

    NO, i don't want a silly iPad thats useless or a MacBook pro. I want windows 8 on surface!

  78. @AZJack says:

    I would never own an iPad – over sized iPhone interface with unnaturally spaced out icons, the iPad looks like a toy in comparison to Windows 8 – the success of the iPhone, iPad believe it or not is down to the responsive touch screen technology they developed a lot earlier than anyone else which wowed everyone (including me) and encouraged app development – other than that iOS is a fairly basic unix gui.

  79. File & Folder says:


    I work very much with files and folders in my local system.( Home and Office )

    but in Windows 8 access to My Computer Main page is very HARD !

    please add Direct links or Icons for My Computer & Control Panel and … in Desktop Environment.


  80. Kris says:

    One of the thing I hate in Win8 is Classic mode is missing which make me i have win98.

  81. Kris says:


    My baby you are wrong for your word " instead of requiring a dedicated parser". I have seen Mozilla that made pdf.js. I am using it for reading pdf. it's work fine much better performance. FYI it's built in Javascript.

  82. LD says:

    @Dan Lions

    Dan, we let go of Tonka Toys and small color palates when we were age 5.  You may feel the need to gravitate to a UI built for simpletons with all the features removed, or perhaps you like ad's being spoon fed to you in every app.  Many of us don't and despise Metro, we'd be happy with new, if it was new and improved; Metro is a travesty.

  83. this.GetName(); says:

    If Windows 8 fails on the market, I will switch to Linux.

    If Windows 8 is a success but I don't like it, I'll stay on W7.

    But, If Windows 8 is a success AND I like it, I will become the most hardcore windows fanboy.

  84. "Desktop printer UI when you're printing from desktop apps, and Metro style UI when you're printing from Metro style apps."

    As the same way goes, when opening a document in desktop, please use a desktop app to open it.

    Photo for a jpeg, Windows Reader for a pdf, and Music for a mp3 file is kind of complicated.

  85. Ed says:



  86. Lo-Fi music does not approve Windows 8. says:

    Deerhunter does not approve Windows 8.

    Four Tet does not approve Windows 8.

  87. I’ll tell you how Windows 8 might have succeeded:

    First off, you need fanboys (as much as anyone might hate them) look around you, Apple, and Linux fanboys would fight for their OS with sword in hand. Fanboyism also helps to improve app quality, people do something better if they love what they are doing, and nonfanboys would have to keep that quality just to compete.

    Second, you need to spend more money on Design, Metro looks kind of awful. The overall style is good, but it needs a lot more effort. For example, most tiles are gust big single coloured squares with a white logo in them. That looks low quality. Also, you should also look at communities like deviant art to see what they are doing to get ideas and even other OSes, the new Android look seems to be what Metro was aiming for, but Google got it right.

    Third, the two worlds. Metro and the Desktop can coexist, but this is not the optimal way to do it. Metro apps should be runnable windowed on the Desktop, and add a 4th button to the window to make it full screen. Also, you could keep the start button and hide it if there is no mouse in movement… If the start button is opened with the keyboard or by clicking it, open the classic Start Menu and the app windowed, if it’s tapped with a finger or a pen, open the start screen and the app launches full screen.

    Fourth, Developers Developers Developers. Do not kill desktop Applications. Make sure the App Store can sell Desktop Apps as well as Metro Apps. Make sure you keep stuff like XNA.

    Fifth, windows editions.

    There should be only 3 windows editions:

    -Windows RT: For ARM tablets, but also for Phones (kill windows phone) for embedded devices and anything from TV’s to ATM’s. Just imagine people using Metro on the machine to buy the train tickets, they run only WinRT Apps.

    -Windows Server: As it is, but you should also optimize it to make sure it’s used more for super computers and clusters. You need to steal some market share from Linux, this will not only help you because its business, but will also make more fanboys.

    -Windows: As it is right now, Windows and Windows Pro.

    Copyright: E. Arturo Perez U. <Azul Wizard> 2012. Anyone can use this comment any way they want, as long as credit is given to the author.

  88. Welcome to the blog of Nancy Templeton says:

    This is spectacular! Simply put i appreciate reading your written content everytime I get feed alarm.

  89. Mike Hudgell says:

    So can someone come up with a simple couple of sentences that explains why XPS is better than PDF if you're trying to save something for long-term storage…

  90. Nigidi says:

    It is necessary to reduce the amount of code instead of the constant increase it! It is not optimized. Then everything will work quickly and well!

  91. Gray Knight says:

    I'm really liking Windows 8.  It is the fastest computing experience I've ever had.  Android has nothing on the start time of Windows 8, at least for the devices I have.

    I only have a couple problems:  

    I have 3 screens setup at home and I would love to have several metro apps running on multiple screens, when clicking the start menu on a screen with just the desktop, the one with the metro apps disappears and the desktop replaces it;

    the other problem is that I have "updates available" that appear (but then aren't available), I saw some comments on using powershell and figure out which app is the problem, but there needs to be a better solution for cleaning out problems with the installs in metro.

    Thanks for doing these blogs that really get to the details that were being evaluated when developing Windows 8.  Obviously a lot of time was spent figuring out how best to improve each area of Windows.  Great job, keep up the good work.  I'm looking forward to testing out the RTM bits and seeing how our currently needed software runs in the much improved Windows 8.

  92. Kenhes says:

    @Gray Knight Does this video show what you're trying to do?

    I'm sure the update glitch, which I have too, will be solved when Windows 8 is released.

  93. Mike says:

    @windows 8 hater !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    troll :  

    legendary Scandinavian creature that lives in caves !

  94. edddy says:

    I've stopped buying Epson printers because the hideous drivers and popups when printing. HP drivers are more integrated into Windows, and that's good.

  95. @Gray Knight; Windows 8 is faster, faster than W7, Lion & ML.

    I too only have a couple of problems; Metro Metro Metro!

  96. Pete Laker says:

    Good post, thanks for this, a good read!

  97. MoWeb says:

    So, at 3/4 of the way through this article, and was really excited to see how things were changed and implemented… but then it all ended before resolving anything. Was the author of this post previously employed on the Fox network? How about some resolution.

    I agree something needs to be done though. If you're trying to manage an SOE for educators these days, you'd like to have OS + Adobe Creativer Suite + Productivity Suite + Partition for user data – and that's already pretty hard to do on a 128GB SSD. Making Windows smaller and faster is a great idea. So, good work.

    Best part about this is potentially the end of OEM drivers for printers. I'd love to see the end of bloatware printer drivers. I can guarantee that, in my environment, we will receive around 10% of new users (or users getting new computers) in 2013 returning to our doors because of "slowness", "crashes" or straight-up BSODs. It's the same each year. My first question: "Have you recently installed a new printers or multi-function centre at home", to which I will almost always get a "Yes" and maybe a "It's a new HP". My second question is then always: "Did you install the driver from the CD that came with it", to which I almost always get a "Yes, how did you know?". I then uninstall that out-dated, buggy, bloated, rubbish (which can take a LONG time) and either install the latest driver from the website (and sometimes just use a universal driver if they offer it), or teach the users how to do it themselves. This issue occurs EVERY year and is fixed in almost the exact same way as described here. DEATH TO THE OEM DRIVERS! Or at least the discs they ship with the devices.

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