Printing is one of the most common things we do with our PCs even as we read and work with more online resources. Microsoft has set out to simplify and improve this common operation in Windows 8.
In Windows 8 Microsoft have introduced a new printer driver architecture, which they call version 4, or v4. The v4 architecture produces smaller, faster printer drivers, and it supports the idea of a print class driver framework–a system that allows people to install their printers without having to locate a driver for that device, in many cases.
V4 is the fourth iteration of the printer driver architecture in Windows. V3 was the architecture used from Windows 2000 to Windows 7, and it’s actually still fully supported in Windows 8 for device compatibility reasons. So if you only have an existing driver available for your current printer, then it should still work in Windows 8. Versions 1 and 2 were the driver architectures for Windows 1.0 through Windows ME.
Microsoft says that in Windows 7 and earlier versions of the operating system, each printer needed a specific driver to work. This means Microsoft that the operating system had to include a huge number of drivers. The above picture shows one of the Microsoft’s printer labs where it tests printer compatibility with new versions and updates for Windows. Instead of including many printer drivers in Windows 8, it will use the printer class driver framework. The framework is extensible, thereby supporting printing to existing devices, and allows manufacturers to include support for new devices. The goal is to make printers of all sorts to work with Windows 8 rather than havinging to install software separately.
Source: Microsoft Team Blog