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Touring with the Wizard

Starting the Windows XP Printing Wizard kicks off the process of creating a new printer in this operating system. "Creating a printer," by the way, means you are creating a connection to a printer or other output device by enabling connections with both network-connected and directly connected printers and output devices. Figure 1 shows the introductory screen for the Add Printer Wizard in Windows XP Professional.

Figure 1 True to form, Microsoft has continued to drive printer configurations with wizards.

Windows XP Professional's kernel mode drivers have made plug-and-play interact more at the center of more processes than was the case with Windows 95, in which plug-and-play was an oxymoron. The fact that Microsoft has worked to alleviate this shortcoming in a previous operating systems has lead them to include it as an option on the Local Printer selection shown in Figure 2. You can toggle that option on, and even set up installation scripts that provide for auto-installs of printers to support this capability. Also notice that—just as in previous versions of Windows NT 4.0 and Windows 2000 Professional—there is the option from this early point in the installation process to install a networked printer.

Figure 2 For the first time in printer configuration, Microsoft is providing toggling of Plug and Play.

Whenever a process is embedded at the kernel level, there is a higher level of reliability and accuracy. The fact that Plug and Play doesn't waste time during installation processes doing several different tasks at interpolating whether a printer is there, now it just goes directly to the interface and looks. If a plug-and-play device is not found, an error message is sent through the Wizard. Figure 3 shows an example of the error message generated when a plug-and-play device is not found.

Figure 3 Plug-and-play errors are communicated directly through the Wizard in Windows XP Professional.

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