One of the things that I like about Windows 7 is that the dialog boxes are larger and filled with more options — make that, more understandable options.
Instead of burying functions behind cryptic one-or-two word headers, the Windows 7 Control Panel tries to make our choices obvious to us.
The Control Panel gives us a direct route to the Devices and Printers dialog box, as well as several logical tasks, under it’s Hardware and Sound subsection. We can select view devices and printers, add a device, connect to a projector, and Adjust commonly used mobility settings.
Oh, yeah, the Hardware and Sound header is also a link…
When we select it, we get the Hardware and Sound dialog box that’s shown below.
There’s another chance for us to get to the Devices and Printers dialog box.
Alternatively, if we know we want to add a decvice, a printer, or change settings on the mouse, we can go to those functions right from the Hardware and Sound menu.
We can also open the Device Manager, the same one that’s been available to us in recent versions of Windows.
If we selct the Devices and Printers link from the Hardware and Sound dialog box, we get the Devices and Printers dialog box, shown below.
As you can see in the dialog box, Windows 7 uses icons for each device that clearly identify what the device is.
Since I’m using a notebook computer whose name is Dragon7 (at least when it’s dual-booted into Windows 7), we see it as the first device.
The other two devices shown are the built-in DVD player/burner in the Dell Inspiron 8600’s MediaBay and the receiver for my wireless USB mouse (a Logitech V450 Nano
Below that, we see:
- Click2PDF Printer (a printer driver that creates PDF files),
- a Fax (interestingly, this is the fax portion of my fax modem),
- my HP LaserJet printer (note the "on DADSTOY" — this printer is hooked to the computer named Dadstoy, which is across my home network),
- the Microsoft XPS document writer that came in Office 2007, and
- PDFCreator (a free printer driver that creates PDF files).
As we select the individual devices, the menu bar choices change. Notice that, when I select the HP LaserJet 1200 printer that’s across my home network, I have new options to See what’s printing and to Manage default printers. (I guess that’s a typo — default printers — plural???)
When I select the DVD drive, I get context-appropriate options that allow me to browse the files on the DVD and to eject the DVD tray.
Now, let’s select the icon for my notebook computer. Notice that it has the standard Windows warning icon inserted into the icon — the small yellow triangle with the exclamation mark.
Selecting the notebook computer icon gives us additional options on the menu bar that allow us to set AutoPlay settings, browse files and to Troubleshoot.
Note also that, at the bottom of the dialog box, Windows 7 shows information about the notebook computer and a Status of "Needs troubleshooting."
Wonder why that is?
If we double-click on the notebook computer icon, the Properties dialog box opens. Clicking on the Hardware tab, we see that there’s a warning symbol beside the PCI Modem.
I’ve clicked on the PCI Modem entry in the list to select it. Notice that the Device status shows that the drivers for this device are not installed.
The Windows 7 Upgrade Advisor advised me that Windows 7 did not have drivers for my internal modem in my notebook and advised me to go to the manufacturer’s site to get them.
Unfortunately, Dell doesn’t provide updated drivers for this modem nor does BCM, the manufacturer of the chip.
Strangely, remember the Fax that Windows 7 found? That’s part of the same internal fax modem.
The Ethernet networking and 802.11g wireless both work just fine.
What do I do if I need a dialup modem? I can buy an external usb data/fax modem for as little as $24. Not a problem…