Windows 8 To Provide Smaller, Faster Print Drivers and Easier Print-Driver Installation

In a blog post on the Microsoft Web site, Adrian Lannin, a lead program manager on the Microsoft Windows’ printing team, discusses improvements Microsoft has made to print drivers with its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system, which will be available 26th. According to Lannin, in most cases, users will be able to install their printers without having to locate a driver for that printer, and print drivers will be smaller and faster.

“In Windows 8 we’ve introduced a new printer driver architecture, which we call version 4, or v4,” Lannin writes. “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.”

This new v4 architecture is actually very different from how previous versions of Windows handled printing, “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,” states Lannin.

The new architecture also means that less disk space is required for print driver, “…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.”

Existing print drivers should still work with Windows 8, he also notes.

Read Lannin’s blog entry here.

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