Alphatronics, Inc.
Windows Explorer

Prior to 32-bit Windows operating systems, a separate program called Print Manager, was used to manage printers.

Today, Windows Explorer provides a user-friendly interface to all of the aforementioned components through the Printers (and Faxes) Devices and Printers folder.

Explorer provides a means in which to add and delete printers, configure printers, and manage the printers queue, The Printers folder is not an actual folder, the way a folder would be on the hard drive.

Instead the Printers folder is presented to the user by means of a Shell Extension.

Windows Explorer provides an interface in which a shell extension can be registered to provide an Explorer-like view of objects.

A printer can be manually added using the Printers folder, where an icon or link to add a printer can be found to launch the "Add Printer Wizard".

Normally a printer will be auto-detected if plugged into a local port by the plug-and-play system, but in some cases, manually adding a printer is required.

When a printer is added in this fashion, the printer is considered to be a local printer (as opposed to a network printer). Local printers can be shared on the network.

Another way of installing a printer is to use the network browser to find a shared printer on another computer.

When the network printer is double-clicked, the printer driver is installed on your computer and placed into the Printers folder.

There is a difference in this type of printer though. It is considered to be a network printer, and the queue is located on the remote computer.

Windows uses RPC (Remote Procedure Call) to communicate with this type of printer, rather than communicate directly with the local spooler.