how to use Devices and Printers Panel in windows 8



The Devices and Printers panel (or Device Stage as named by some) was first introduced in Windows 7 with the aim to provide a friendly way of interacting with external devices connected to your computer. However, in order for the concept to work as intended, hardware manufacturers need to provide support for this feature in their Windows drivers.
This article will explain what Devices and Printers panel is, where to find it, in and Windows 8, and how to use it.
 What is the Devices and Printers Panel?
Devices and Printers or Device Stage, as called by some, allows you to interact with all the external devices and some of the internal devices connected to your computer (desktop, laptop, tablet, etc), all in one place.

The configuration and interaction options available in this panel depend a lot on the drivers & support available for each device.

Some devices have full support for this feature (mostly keyboards, mice and printers), while others do not. For the devices which have good support is available, you will be able to completely manage them from the Devices and Printers panel: see the functioning status of the device, view information about it, share it over the network, change its settings, use all features of the device, access troubleshooting tools, etc.

IMPORTANT: The devices which have support for this feature will always show a picture of the devices instead of a generic icon. In the screenshot below, you can easily notice the difference in icons between my keyboard, mouse Canon printer, webcam and all the other listed devices.

 For older devices, which don't take advantage of this feature, Windows will allow you to modify a basic set of configuration options & troubleshoot some of the problems you might have with them. It is not much, but it is better than nothing.

In Windows 8, there is also a Metro version of this panel, called Devices. It can be found in the new Metro Control Panel.

This panel lists your devices, allows you to see some brief info about their status and remove them from your computer.
 Where to Find Device Stage?
In Windows 7, its shortcut can be found on the right side of the Start Menu.

 In Windows 8, you can access the Metro version of this panel, called Devices, by going to Control Panel -> Devices.
Both in Windows 7 and Windows 8, you can access the desktop (full featured) version of the panel by going to Control Panel (the Desktop Control Panel) and then to Hardware and Sound -> Devices and Printers.

A fourth alternative is to search for the word devices in the Start Menu search box (in Windows 7) or the Start screen (in Windows 8). The list of results should include the shortcut towards Devices and Printers.

 Devices Included in Devices and Printers
Devices and Printers will show your own computer plus the external devices connected to it. The list of devices included contains the following: mobile phones, portable music players, digital cameras, webcams, monitors, keyboards, mice, printers, scanners, bluetooth adapters, external hard drives, media extenders and network devices connected to your computer.

It will also show some internal devices, such as your Serial ATA hard disk drives or DVD/Blu-ray players or burners.

Devices Excluded from Devices and Printers
Devices and Printers will not show most of the devices which are inside your computer case. This means that you will not see the following types of components: sound cards, video cards, memory, processors, internal modems, network cards, etc.
Some external devices will not also be included. One common example includes your speakers or older mice and keyboards.

Examples of Usage Scenarios
What you can do with a device listed in Devices and Printers depends a lot on the support provided by the manufacturer of the device. For example, when I access my Microsoft Digital Media Keyboard, i can quickly configure it, get support for the issues i have with it, register it or get access to a guide for healthy computing practices.
 If i right click on the same keyboard, in Devices and Printers, i quickly have access to configuration options such as the region and language used when typing.

 For my Canon MX410 series printer, I have a useful set of options. In its Devices and Printers window, I can quickly see how many files there are in the printing queue, if the printer is ready or not, what is the default setting for page size and orientation.

I also have options for managing the FAX functions of the printer, making image scans, viewing ink information and getting support for my device.

Many other models of printers have similar options available.


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