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Manage Devices the Easy Way with Device Stage in Windows 7

Remember in Vista how it was an annoying chore getting it to recognize external devices like printers, phones, and digital cameras?  Well now in Windows 7 there is a cool feature called Device Stage that allows you to easily see and manage all of your external devices from one spot.

Using Device Stage

To check out the digital devices you have connected to your PC go to Start and Devices and Printers.

startmen

This opens up a nicely laid out visual display of all of the devices connected to the computer.

alldevices  

When you first start it notice that you can click on the message about getting device information from the Internet.  This will keep devices updated with the most recent information and drivers.Internetinfo

The cool part is that when you first plug in a device Windows 7 will install the drivers almost instantly.

Printer

After plugging in the device you can see it in the Taskbar where you can hover over it to get a nice looking image of it and some limited information.  For instance I plugged in a Creative Zen and can see how much battery life is left and the amount of space left on it.  You can also right click on the device and access certain controls as well.

taskbartaskmanage

Now when you click on the device you will presented with an easy to navigate control panel of sorts that allows you to manage the settings and features of the device.

Zen

Here is a shot of a printer connected and you can see there are a bunch of options for managing it.

Printer 

It is up to the hardware manufacturer to determine if their device will be compatible with Device Stage.  The way to determine this is to simply plug in the device and see if Device Stage opens up.  All of the newer devices I plugged in were recognized, some with more features to manage them than others, again this is up to the manufacturers and the firmware installed.  This new feature is a great way to get your devices working without having to deal with installing drivers. Cool!

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 08/20/09

Comments (3)

  1. zepe

    From whence does one download Device Stage?

  2. Ralph

    MG:
    Great article and really appreciated the beautiful screen shots you included. As an MCP who has seen the greatly improved network printing in Vista as the tip of the iceberg in better hardware management with Windows 7.
    Best,
    Ralph

  3. CJ

    I hate Dell machines…

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