I'm at home, trying to print out some materials - but I can't, because Windows won't recognize my Epson Stylus Photo 925 printer.
Seriously, it took me almost 30 minutes to get Windows to recognize the printer. When I plugged in the printer, Windows automatically loaded support for "SP 925 Storage" - but I have no idea what that means. It wasn't a printer driver though, because Windows then prompted me to run the printer setup wizard.
I'll save you the details, but the wizard failed to find a driver for my printer. I had to download the driver manually from Epson's web site. ("This self-extracting file contains the Epson Stylus Photo 925 Printer Driver v5.3eA for Windows 2000 and XP.") That still didn't do it, though. After I ran the self-extracting file, the printer setup wizard still didn't find the driver. I tried saving the driver files to a USB fob, and to a directory in "My Documents". No matter what I tried, the wizard just wouldn't recognize Epson's driver.
Ultimately, I had to run the Setup program that came with Epson's driver. That did it. But if that is how you add printers, why did Windows want me to run the wizard?
Maybe I shouldn't knock Microsoft too hard on this one. This might be a problem with a third-party driver. But isn't Microsoft supposed to have total control over "big name" business partners like Epson, at least with drivers?
When they installed Windows on my laptop, I immediately got connected to our network printers in the office, no problem. But if connecting to a network printer was so easy, why was adding a USB printer so hard?
Under Linux, connecting a USB printer is easy. In fact, connecting this same Epson Stylus Photo 925 printer under Linux was a breeze: I plugged in the USB cable, turned on the printer, and Linux instantly recognized that a printer had been connected. After less than a minute, Linux popped up a message box to tell me that my printer was now available. It was so fast and easy, and something I guess I took for granted.