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The De-Obfusc8r: Printing

In a new post to the Building Windows 8 blog, Microsoft describes how it simplified printing in Windows 8. Put simply, Windows 8 offers better printer compatibility, performance, and a smaller disk footprint than with previous Windows versions.

Stephen Sinofsky writes:

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.

Paul explains:

Even printing has improved demonstrably in Windows 8.

I love posts like this. It has your requisite screenshot from Windows 1.0, the inevitable photo of racks of printers in some test lab and, of course, lots of charts, tables and graphs. But ultimately, what you need to know about Windows 8 and printing can be summed up quickly.

It goes like this:

Reimagined. You bet they reimagined printing for Windows 8. And that means smaller, faster print drivers, a new print class driver that will help most printers work “out of the box” without requiring downloaded device-specific drivers or utilities, and a new, consistent and system-wide way of printing from Metro-style apps. (I wrote about that latter bit in Windows 8 Tip: Printing in Metro-Style Apps.)

Windows RT compatibility. Yes, printing works in Windows RT too. But you can’t use existing, legacy print drivers: Windows RT works only with the new class drivers.

Simpler printer sharing. Unlike with previous Windows versions, when you share a printer, the system won’t automatically store tons of drivers on that PC.

No more printer drivers in Windows. Windows 8 does not ship with any printer drivers. (Vista had 4500 printer drivers and Windows 7 came with 2100.) Instead, Windows 8 relies on a new print class driver, which almost provides for driverless printing support. So Windows 8 actually supports about 2500 printers, and, as important, supports a much bigger percentage of actual in-use printers out there, but without requiring all those different drivers in the box.

Look, printing in Windows 8 just works. Just plug in your printer, or connect to it over the network, and print.


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