I stumbled on a new item in the start menu today: Devices and Printers.
It’s somewhere between My Computer and the Device Manager. Intrigued, I answered yes to that interesting question at the top and set about plugging in every USB device I could see within arm’s reach:
Left to right: A Netcomm NP544, my Bluetooth adapter, Dexter is my PC’s name, one monitor for each of my video cards, my diNovo Mini, two USB thumbdrives, a webcam, my Krait, my everyday wireless keyboard, my printer, and the HP USB Sync (“Hedgehog” in My Computer) is my dinky little iPAQ 1940.
The promised enhanced icons and information from the internet did not materialise; I guess that’ll happen when Microsoft get bored enough to make a Grand Picturised List Of Every Computery Device Ever Sold.
The “Add a printer” button was fairly obvious, but I couldn’t think of why you’d need “Add a device” unless they meant crusty old serial or parallel things that aren’t automatically detected.
Then I had a brainwave, and realised what this screen’s supposed to be:
…Yup. That was oddly painless.
Conclusion: By Windows 8, I think we’ll be looking at a screen very much like Devices and Printers instead of My Computer and Device Manager (although I do hope they find a better word than “device” to describe “everything that isn’t a printer or a fax”). It’s a far cleaner, friendlier and less wordy interface than Vista’s Control Panel ballooned into, but while it’s already a pretty nice hub for configuring a bunch of things, it’s still got a ways to go before it’s what it needs to be.