Location-aware Printing

What is Windows 7 location-aware printing? It is the capability to set a different default printer for each network location that exists in your computer. It is not the same as assigning printers based on their Active Directory Domain Services as is the case with Windows Vista. Location aware printing is a feature aimed at mobile users such as, traveling users using laptops or netbooks.

Let’s say, a user uses a laptop both at the office and at home and while at home he/she uses a small inkjet printer as the default printer, at work he/she connects to a laser printer as the default printer. Thanks to this new feature, the default printer on this user’s laptop can be automatically set according to the network location and hence there is no need to change the default printer when moving from the office to home and vice-versa. To configure location-aware printing, open Devices and Printers from the Start menu and click Manage Default Printers from the toolbar. This control may not be available on your computer. Select Change my default printer when I change networks, then select each network in turn from the Select network drop-down box. You can then choose a printer as the default for this network from the Select Printer drop-down box. When enabled, such settings are updated automatically when the user sets a new default printer. Finally, to disable location-aware printing select Always use the same printer as my default printer.

Windows 7 has other benefits apart from location-aware printing, such as, improved print performance, greater manageability of print servers, integrated support for the new XML Paper Specification (XPS) and the Windows Color System. The XPS document printing capability supports vector-based graphics that can be scaled up without creating pixilated text. The XPS document is the default document when you print from any application running on Windows 7. You can view XPS documents in IE using the Microsoft XPS Viewer. Windows 7 renders print jobs on the client instead of the print server by default which reduces CPU and memory load on the print servers.

In addition, Windows 7 provides a richer color-printing experience through the new Windows Color System (WCS). When you double-click a printer from Devices and Printers, you can see what is printing and change settings such as, printer name, security settings, paper settings, etc. The Advanced options allow you to specify color settings, enhance print quality and gray scale, use duplex printing, set a watermark and specify page device options.