Device setup user experience in Windows 8

This topic describes how Windows automatically makes devices ready to use as soon as they're connected. Windows automatically finds all necessary software and installs it in the background to allow Windows and apps to use the device as intended. The process is seamless without interruption to the user.

This information applies to the following operating systems:

  • Windows 8
  • Windows Server 2012

What ways can devices be set up?

Device setup may be initiated automatically or manually in a variety of ways, which all result in the device being ready to use. Here are some examples:

  • Plugging in a USB device.
  • Tapping a proximity-enabled device.
  • Pairing a Bluetooth device using the “Add a device” wizard.
  • Pairing a network printer manually using the “Advanced printer setup” wizard.
  • Adding a device to the network that the PC is connected to.
  • Connecting the PC to a new network. Devices on the network are set up.
  • Booting up a new PC that has Windows 8 installed. This sets up internal devices and also Wi-Fi mouse/keyboard pairing, if a mouse and keyboard came with the PC.
  • Connecting to the internet. Windows automatically finishes setting up a device that was initially connected when the PC wasn’t connected to the internet.
  • Switching to a free Internet connection. Windows automatically finishes setting up a device that was initially connected when the PC was connected to a metered (costed) network.

The following diagram lists the ways device setup may start.

Methods of initating device setup

USB devices

This section describes the user experience for device setup that is initiated when the user plugs in a USB device. Here are a few scenarios in which a user plugs in a USB device to trigger device setup:

  • Multi-function Printer Setup: I plug in my USB multi-function printer into my PC. I hear a sound confirming device arrival. I can see setup progress in PC Settings > Devices in Start and on the taskbar in Desktop at any time. The printer is automatically set up and ready to use for all users on my PC.

  • Digital Camera Setup: I plug in my USB camera to my PC. The camera is set up and I am soon able to start importing my photos.

  • Windows Phone Setup: I connect my Windows Phone to my PC for the first time using USB. My phone is automatically set up. I see a notification that the phone app has been installed, indicating that my phone is ready to use.

  • Mobile Broadband Setup: I connect my mobile broadband dongle to my PC. I automatically get the mobile operator app that helps me activate my account and immediately get connected to the internet using the broadband connection.

  • Specialied Device Setup: I have a specialized wristband that tracks the user’s exercise data and connect it to the USB port. I automatically get the app that lets me view my workout progress.

The following sequence of events is common to all the scenarios in which automatic device setup is initiated by a USB connection:

  1. The user connects a device to the PC using USB.

  2. User hears a sound.

  3. In the background, device setup completes. Windows searches, downloads and installs drivers, device metadata, and the Windows Store device app.

  4. The user sees the app tile for the Windows Store device app associated with the device appear in Start.

  5. The user can interact with the device using theWindows Store device app.

USB-connected device setup

Proximity-enabled devices

The following scenario is typical of device setup initiated by proximity.

  • Phone Setup: I connect my phone to my PC for the first time by tapping it to the PC so that near-field communication detects the phone. I hear a sound confirming device arrival. My phone is automatically set up. The tile for the phone’s Windows Store device app shows up in Start.

Automatic device setup initiated by proximity (tapping) involves a similar sequence of events as USB connection. The user aims the device at the touchpoint marked on the PC for the ‘tap’ to be recognized. If the tap is recognized, a proximity toast appears. The user taps it to begin device setup.

For more information on how touchpoints are placed on Windows 8 systems, see the Proximity Devices Design Guide.

The following sequence of events is common to all the scenarios in which device setup is initiated by a proximity tap:

  1. The user taps a device against the PC’s proximity touchpoint.

  2. User hears a sound.

  3. A toast notification appears. The user taps on the toast to accept it.

  4. In the background, device setup completes. Windows searches, downloads and installs drivers, device metadata, and the Windows Store device app.

  5. The user sees the app tile for the Windows Store device app associated with the device appear in Start.

  6. The user can interact with the device using theWindows Store device app.

Proximity-initiated device setup

The toast notification contains the device name. After the user accepts the toast by tapping on it, device setup completes in the background.

Proximity-initiated toast notification

Add a device wizard

This section describes the user experience for device setup that is initiated from PC Settings > Devices > Add a device in the new Windows user interface. The Add a device Wizard is used for pairing a Bluetooth device. It is also required for setting up other types of devices if the user didn’t enable the default settings for automatically acquiring device software.

The following are some example scenarios involving manual setup:

  • User wants to setup a Wi Fi Direct TV. User goes to PC Settings > Devices > Add a Device, selects the TV to add, enters pairing code, and device gets setup. User goes to YouTube > Devices > Play to, to play their favorite video on their newly setup TV.

  • User wants to connect to a Play to compatible Bluetooth speaker to use with Skype for communication. User goes to PC Settings > Devices > Add a Device, selects the speakers, enters pairing code, and device gets setup. User can go to Skype and select the speakers from the Devices Charm.

  • User wants to connect to a Bluetooth phone to sync contacts, puts it in discovery mode. User goes to PC Settings > Devices > Add a Device, selects the phone, enters pairing code, and device gets setup. Autoplay comes up and provides user with compatible apps, recommended apps, and Device Stage, as applicable.

  • User goes to PC Settings > Devices > Add a Device to add a network printer. When printer setup is complete, the printer is added to PC Settings > Devices and also shows up in the Devices charm. The user can print from an app by selecting the printer in the Devices charm.

The user starts the Add a Device wizard in Control Panel > Devices by choosing Add a device, as shown in the following screenshot.

Opening the Devices page

Windows then scans for devices that the user can set up, and the user chooses a device, as shown in the following screenshot.

Selecting a device

The user interface for pairing a device is shown, if pairing is required:

Device pairing user interface

When device setup is complete, the device shows up in the Devices list.

Device shows up in PC Settings

Advanced printer setup

Windows 8 also provides an advanced printer setup wizard with additional options that aren’t exposed in the Add a device wizard. For example, the Add Printer wizard allows you to enter the address of a TCP/IP printer. To use advanced printer setup:

  1. Open Devices and Printers in Control Panel. Then click Add Printer.

  2. Do one of the following:

    • Choose a printer in the list.
    • Tap or click The printer that I want isn’t listed, and either enter the printer name or choose one of the other options.
  3. Tap or click Next and then follow the instructions.

    Find a printer by other options dialog

Network-connected devices

This section describes the user experience for device setup that is initiated when the user joins a new network or a new device is discovered on a network.

Devices that are automatically installed by network connection or network discovery are commonly shared devices such as TVs, printers, media devices like digital media servers and players, and network infrastructure devices like routers, among other devices. Personal devices such as cameras and phones are not automatically installed upon network connection or discovery. Instead, personal devices use one of the other device setup mechanisms, such as USB connection, proximity, or the Add Device wizard.

The setup experiences for network-connected devices have the following requirements:

  • The user is connected to a network and has opted in to sharing devices on the network.

  • The user’s machine is not domain-joined.

  • The network connection is to a trusted network such as a home network.

  • There are no more than 30 devices on the network.

  • To set up a Windows Store device app automatically, the user must opt-in to default settings that allow automatic distribution of updates.

A new device arrives on the network

When the user connects a new device to their network, device setup starts automatically. The following is a typical user scenario:

  • Network Printer Auto-Setup: I bring home a network printer and connect it to the home network. The printer is automatically setup on all PCs in my home. The printer app is automatically installed for the PCs where a user is connected with their Microsoft ID. In the Devices page, Windows tells me that the device on the network is automatically set up. I simply go to Devices > Print to start Printing.

The sequence of events is as follows:

  1. User connects a device to the network.

  2. In the background, the PC searches for, downloads, and installs drivers and metadata for the device.

  3. If the manufacturer provided a Windows Store device app, and if the user is connected to the PC with a Microsoft ID, the Windows Store device app is automatically and silently installed and the user sees the app tile in Start.

Once setup completes, the device is ready to use. It will show up in PC Settings > Devices, and if the device is a network-connected printer or a Play To device, the device can be selected as a target in the Devices charm.

Joining a network that has devices

When a user joins a trusted network that already has one or more devices attached to it, those devices are set up automatically. The following is a typical user scenario:

  • Set up a friend's PC: I go to visit some friends and connect to their home network, which has sharing enabled. They have a DLNA TV on their home network. While watching a video on my tablet, I select the TV in the Devices Charm, and the video starts playing to the TV. No manual setup steps are required.

This involves the following sequence of events:

  1. User joins PC to a new network.

  2. In the background, the PC searches for, downloads and installs drivers and metadata for the device(s) that are already connected to the network.

  3. If the manufacturer provided a Windows Store device app, and if the user is connected to the PC with a Microsoft ID, the Windows Store device app is automatically and silently installed and the user sees the app tile in Start.

Once setup completes, the device is ready to use. It will show up in PC Settings > Devices. Some types of devices, including printers and Play To devices, can be also be selected as a target in the Devices charm.

Devices charm shows devices that have been automatically set up

Backwards compatibility

Windows 8 provides an updated device setup experience for devices designed for previous versions of Windows. In Windows 7, devices supplied finish-install actions to install desktop device software. If a device that provides finish-install actions is set up in Windows 8, the user can run finish-install actions from Action Center in Control Panel, after other device setup steps are complete.

Examples of devices that may require finish-install actions are:

  • Mobile phone
  • Media player
  • Webcam
  • Keyboard/mouse

Finish install actions

If a device provides a finish-install action, PC Settings provides a link to Action Center in Desktop to install device software:

PC Settings links to Action Center

The user clicks Install in Action Center to install the desktop software for the device.

Action Center in the desktop

Windows error reporting

Windows Error Reporting (WER) provides problem reports and solutions for some devices that don’t post drivers on Windows Update. The solution for the driver update, if it exists, is queued in Action Center.

A solution from Windows Error Reporting in Action Center

What else do I need to know?

This section provides additional info about device setup.

First boot or Windows upgrade

Device setup is simple and automatic when you start up a new PC that is pre-loaded with Windows 8 or install Windows 8 on an existing PC.

  • New PC Setup: I bring home a new PC that has Windows 8, boot it up and opt-in to the recommended settings. All devices connected to the PC are automatically setup and ready to use. Once I am connected with my Microsoft account, Windows Store device apps, if any, are silently installed.

  • Upgrading to Windows 8: I install Windows 8 on my existing Windows PC. I choose to migrate my settings and data. All devices connected to the PC are automatically setup and ready to use. Once I am connected with my Microsoft account, Windows Store device apps, if any, are silently installed.

  • New PC setup with accompanied Bluetooth keyboard and mouse: If my new PC came with a Bluetooth keyboard and mouse in the same box, I can easily set them up as part of the configuration process when I first turn on my new PC before setting up other options.

Offline to online

If no internet connection is available, the device will use any locally available drivers and device metadata.

When the PC reconnects to the internet, device setup automatically resumes without any user action.

Example: Offline Setup I connect a digital camera to the PC, however, I am not connected to the internet. The camera is setup using local drivers and metadata and I start using my device. When I am connected to the internet, drivers and metadata are automatically updated and the camera app is silently installed.

Metered to unmetered

Since Windows 8 runs on highly mobile devices, where power usage and network bandwidth are important considerations, the user may wish to delay device setup until conditions are optimal. For example, the user may want to wait until the device is connected to a home wireless network rather than a metered mobile broadband connection that may cost money.

By default, Windows does not automatically download drivers, metadata, and apps if the user is on a metered connection. The device will use any locally available drivers and device metadata.

The user can allow automatic download on a metered connection by toggling a setting in PC Settings > Devices. When the PC connects to an unmetered network, device setup automatically resumes without any user action.

Example: Setup on metered connection I connect a digital camera to the PC, however, the Internet connection is metered. The camera is set up using local drivers and metadata and I start using my device. When the PC has an unmetered connection to the internet, drivers and metadata are automatically updated and the camera app is silently installed.

AutoPlay

Once a device is set up, some drives and multimedia devices (cameras, phones, multimedia devices) may show AutoPlay behavior. AutoPlay allows the user to choose what happens when the device is connected. For more info, see AutoPlay for Windows Store device apps and Auto-launching with AutoPlay.

Devices also have an option of defining a recommended experience. This option is defined in the device metadata. Below is an example of the AutoPlay user experience for a device that specifies a Windows Store device app to install with the device and also specifies that app as the recommended app in device metadata.

AutoPlay user experience

A toast appears that instructs the user to tap to choose what happens with this device, when it is first plugged in. If the user taps on the toast, the AutoPlay flyout for the device is shown. The flyout lists the apps that can be launched and the recommended app for the device begins to download, if it is not already installed. When download is complete, the app’s icon and title will appear in the AutoPlay flyout.

If the user clicks on the app’s icon while it is still being downloaded, the other choices disappear from the flyout, and the flyout indicates that the selected task will launch when the download is complete. If the user clicks on the app’s icon after it has downloaded, the app launches.

Opt-in settings

The USB plug-in and proximity setup experience progresses automatically, as described earlier in this document, provided that:

  • The user has opted in to default settings that allow automatic download and install of device software.

  • The user is on an unrestricted internet connection. If the user has no internet connected, or is on a metered connection, software download will happen automatically when a connection is available, as described in the Metered to Unmetered section earlier in this document.

Device software update

Windows 8 also makes it easy for your device to stay up-to-date. Each device software component has its own update mechanism. The user experience for device updates depends on whether drivers, device metadata, or Windows Store device apps are being updated.

  • Drivers: Windows 8 keeps drivers up-to-date through Windows Update. Some drivers are automatically updated while some are optionally available.

  • Device Metadata: Metadata is updated automatically every 10 days for devices that are connected to the internet.

  • Windows Store device apps: Updated versions of Windows Store device apps are distributed to users, who can choose which updates to install. The user can also download Windows Store device app updates directly from the Windows Store.

Device uninstall

A standard user can only uninstall paired devices. An administrator can uninstall any device. Users are auto-elevated when applicable, so that they don’t have to go through an elevation prompt. If the user doesn’t have permission to uninstall a device, the Remove button is disabled.

Uninstalling a paired device or a device that is disconnected involves the following sequence of events:

  1. User opens Devices list in PC Settings.
  2. User selects the device.
  3. User taps on Remove.
  4. Uninstall is intiated.
  5. The status message for the device says "Device being uninstalled."
  6. Device uninstall is complete.
  7. The device icon is removed from the Devices list.

If device remove fails, in both PC Settings > Devices and in Devices & Printers, the user will continue to see the device icon in the Device list with a status message that says “Device could not be removed” for 30 seconds and then status will revert to the current device status.

The device may be usable as before or may be broken as result of the failed device remove. The user can try to reboot the PC and see if the remove succeeds.

Troubleshooting device setup

Users can go to Start, search for Control Panel, click on Control Panel > View Devices and Printers > Troubleshoot device to identify device problems.

App not installed

There are several reasons why automatic install of the Windows Store device app may be unavailable. When the app can’t be installed for one of these reasons, there are three categories of user experience that result.

  1. No error is displayed in Devices page. User can see progress in Windows Store Download Manager. This may be caused by the following conditions:

    • User is not signed in with Microsoft account
    • App is larger than the bandwidth allowed by the Windows Store on a metered connection.
    • No internet connection.
    • User doesn't have space on the hard drive.
  2. Error is displayed in Devices page. This may be caused by the following conditions:

    • User has reached max PC limit (5). One Microsoft account can be used to download an app to no more than 5 machines.
    • Store not reachable.
    • Unknown error.
  3. The app is not available for the current user so no error or progress is displayed. This may be caused by the following conditions:

    • App not available for user's market.
    • App not applicable to user's PC configuration (OS version or architecture incompatible).
    • App not found in the Windows Store or app has been removed from the Windows Store.
    • Access to Windows Store has been turned off by Group Policy. The user is taken to the Windows Store with a message that says "Windows Store blocked by Group Policy".
    • App banned by government.
    • User signed in using built-in administrator account.
    • User is using Windows Server 2012 and the desktop experience pack is not installed. Therefore the Windows Store is not available for the user.

Restart PC required

If device setup requires that the user restart the PC, a status message indicates this in PC Settings > Devices.

Internet connection needed

The user is on a metered connection. They need to connect to a free network or switch the toggle in the Devices page.

If the user is on a metered connection, PC will set up devices with locally available drivers and metadata. The user needs to toggle the switch in the Devices page to enable download on a metered connection, or connect to a free network for the PC to complete device setup by getting latest driver from Windows Update, the latest metadata from WMIS, and the Windows Store device app, if one is supplied.

Driver is unavailable

There is no user action in the Devices page, which displays a status message that says “Driver unavailable”. The user needs to get support from the device manufacturer.

Driver error

There is no user action in the Devices page, which displays a status message that says “Driver error”. The user needs to get support from the device manufacturer.

 

 

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