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What is "Wizard Windows"?

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Quick Answer

Microsoft Windows wizards are a category of software features for the operating system that guide users through complex, infrequently performed tasks. Wizards typically use a series of dialog boxes, with clear step-by-step instructions. Users input choices through the process to achieve a specific task

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Full Answer

Microsoft Windows wizards cover tasks such as setting up a printer, connecting to a network or installing a program. Generally, the concept behind a wizard is to automate a function that is rarely used, creating an easily understood user interface. The design encompasses a branching decision tree, where users make decisions depending on the desired configuration.

The Windows Add Printer Wizard, for example, follows a general format regardless of the version of the operating system being used. It initially asks whether the printer is directly connected to the computer or if it is a network device, linked to the computer via a wired, wireless or Bluetooth connection. Selecting the first local printer option prompts the wizard to query which computer port the unit uses. It then assists the user with installing the appropriate printer drivers to complete installation.

The same wizard, when used for a network printer, provides a list of all printers the computer can detect on the network it's connected to, provided that the device is configured to share access. After selecting the appropriate printer, the wizard prompts the user to install printer drivers on the computer.

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