The 11th of Diduary: Did you know Windows 7 is network aware?

Today is the eleventh day of Diduary. You can see links to all of the published articles in the series here.

I’m sure you’ve connected to more than one network with your computer. For example, I have a home network, but I also connect to Microsoft’s network when I’m at the office, and right now, I’m connected to Panera’s wi-fi. While the Panera example doesn’t really apply to what I’m talking about today, the other two certainly do.

One of the biggest headaches I have with being on the Microsoft network is that I’m on it rarely. When I was running Vista, every time I went in an office, and needed to print, I had to find the list of printers, locate it in the office, and then print to it. Sometimes, I’d even set that printer as my default, so I could use it over and over, if necessary.

When I got home, however, I didn’t have access to that printer anymore, and so my next printing effort would result in an error. “Printer not found.”

In short, my printers are not something I want to be constantly managing. I want to print to the printer that is appropriate. When I’m at the office, I want THAT printer to automatically be my default, and when I’m home, I want that default to change. This is something you can do in Windows 7 now.

Open up your Control Panel, and go to:

Control Panel > Hardware and Sound > Devices and Printers

If you click on one of your printers, you’ll see that you get a new menu option at the top of your window: Manage default printers. Here’s what it looks like (click to enlarge):

Once you open that dialog box, here’s what you will see. It’s basically two dropdown lists, one with the networks you connect to, and one with the printers you’ve used. I simply matched them up so that I defined the appropriate default printer for each network that I regularly connect to. Check it out:

One more tiny headache in my day solved! Thanks, Windows 7.

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