I am a Windows user although I am not OS, brand, or platform bound. I just started and stayed with Microsoft out of familiarity and investment in applications over the years. Most recently I have been working with Windows 7 Release Candidate (RC) 64-bit. Stay tuned to the Epson Website for specific information related to Windows 7 as the October release date nears.
As of today, my internal testing with our Epson Stylus Pro drivers and utilities are as follows:
|32-Bit Version||64-Bit Version|
|Main Printer Drivers||Compatible||Compatible|
|LFP Remote Panel||Compatible||Under Testing|
I look for three things from an Operating System - Performance, Compatibility, and Usability. Windows 7 Release Candidate 64-Bit has performed well on all fronts. My systems boots faster, apps respond quicker and large files (6-10GB) are moved, copied, and edited with ease. I have not experienced any issues or need to reboot the computer in the months I have been testing.
The RC has worked amazingly well with all my existing Epson Stylus Pro printers, my graphics tablet, and color calibration devices. Wide ranging application software and color management tools have also run without issue. This is all with existing Windows Vista x64 drivers or with latest available drivers and use of the application compatibility assistant.
For me, the User Interface (UI) debates are a matter of personal taste. I don't personally need a lot of glamour. The UI just has to be consistent, logical and intuitive. I do like Windows 7, and for me it delivers on those fronts.
The snap a window to full screen or half screen by simply dragging it to the top or side is brilliant. The Pin to Start Menu also allows me to control and order my most needed applications and files (via shortcuts) very quickly. The new Device and Printers Control Panel consolidating all attached devices in one easy to manage window also works well.
Usability is all about interacting with the OS and devices. And without a doubt, my personal preference when using any Epson Stylus Pro printer is the Epson Windows driver. Both Macintosh and Windows drivers will get you to the same high quality print results, but personally I find the Windows driver easier to use and customize. Below are some examples:
From the device control panel, without an application open I can establish a "sticky" default printer settings preference. In my cases I set the default Media, Resolution, and turn Color Management 'OFF' as I always use an ICC based workflow. Just a note on the profile front. Windows has always been easy to manage profiles. Whether downloading or creating your own profile (if you have the tools) installing the profile is a simple right click and select install. I am amazed when I see forum posts having people drill down into system level directories to manually place ICC files. This right click install process has been around in Windows since XP!
The ability to save a pre-set in the Windows Printer driver is mistake prevention and a time saver. Take Exhibition Fiber Paper (EFP) for example, I can establish all the parameters I need to set - Premium Luster Photo Paper (260), 2880 x 1440 dpi, uni-directional, Sheet, Color Management 'OFF' etc. (based on the profile specification) and save "Exhibition Fiber Paper - 2880 dpi" as a named Preset. From then on it is just select the preset and go with no need to confirm all the individual settings on every print. I also save this preset out to a file and place it in the same folder as the final image file. If I need to reprint for any reason I know I can easily import the preset and get back to the exact same settings for a consistent.
I also like that I can manage the media menus and arrange them to my taste. Basically for media I know I will never use I can set them to not displayed which simplifies my media choices when I need to make a selection. Managing and customizing pages size for roll, sheet and borderless is also very straight forward.
In closing, I simply advocate using the best tool (hardware and software) for the job which in some cases may simply be what you are comfortable with. Three other common practices I can't stress enough - backup your data, calibrate your monitor, and spend your time on forums courteously by posting your issues constructively, and help others with ideas and solutions.
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