Here’s Windows 8!

Posted On November 28, 2012 By Kevin O'Brien

As you may know, Windows 8 was released last month to the public. If you’ve had a chance to play with the new operating system you quickly notice that many changes have taken place since Windows 7, especially on the front-end. The new metro interface is loved by some and hated by others. Design objections aside, the plain fact is that it’s likely here to stay since the primary motive for the evolution is to keep Windows consistent among PCs, phones, and tablets.

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From an operational standpoint there are some changes you will want to be aware of as an end user and an IT person. When a new OS is released often tasks like printing and scanning are left to the wayside and often not tested. When the switch is made these two things can cause a disruption in your office’s workflow, not to mention take hours out of your day to troubleshoot. This is why Advance tests new releases both BETA and production in our showroom and informs clients of what to expect.

Printer Deployment
The Advance demo environment is equipped with more than the usual amount of printers, MFPs, and scanners so testing a number of fleet configurations was easy. After adding the Windows 8 machine to our standard GPO (Group Policy Object) for printer deployment, it was evident that something was wrong.

The machine was immediately plagued with constant reboots and black screens. Clearly, some of our print drivers deployed via GPO were not compatible with Windows 8. Then began the painstaking process of weeding out the drivers that did not work.

It wasn’t narrowed down to any particular manufacturer but mainly drivers that installed optional plug-ins or software along with the standard driver software. Manufacturers are moving quickly to develop drivers to properly function with Windows 8 so that gap should be filled shortly.

Scanning is another option that you will want to focus on. Be aware that with Windows 8 Microsoft has introduced many enhancements to the SMB protocol which is what facilitates file transfer in most Windows environments. Businesses that are directly scanning to their current Windows 7 PC’s may experience issues with Windows 8.

Microsoft has now changed to SMB3 whereas the previous OS used SMB1 or SMB2. Scanners and MFP’s will experience issues scanning to Windows 8 and Server 2012 devices if they are not equipped with new firmware to handle SMB3. Not all devices will support this new version and you will need to check with the manufacturer before moving forward. Of course there are other methods of scanning such as email, FTP, or even modifying SMB3 to allow for communication with older protocols.

Like any upgrade, it’s best to know what you are up against before moving to a new OS. Be sure to test your current applications and processes before rolling out changes to your whole organization. As always, if you have any questions about your MFPs and their integration with Windows 8, our Network Services team is always here to help. Contact us today.