Device Stage – A New Way of Interacting with Devices in Windows 7

Device Stage – A New Way of Interacting with Devices in Windows 7

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Windows 7 introduces a new way to interact with your phone, camera, printer, or portable media player from the Windows desktop. Device Stage is new visual interface that makes it easy to find the things you want to do with your devices on your Windows 7 PC. You could think of Device Stage as a multi-function version of Autoplay where it displays all the applications, services, and information related to your device. Device Stage not only works for devices connected to a Windows 7 PC via USB, but also Bluetooth and Wi-Fi as well. In many cases, software installation isn’t required for Device Stage – with any additional drivers that might be needed automatically retrieved from Windows Update.

Device Stage is customized by the device manufacturer and specific to the devices you own. During Steve Ballmer’s keynote at CES tonight, the Nikon D90 was shown via IE8 during the Windows 7 demo showcasing the “Snap To” feature. They used the Nikon D90 because it is a device that works great with Windows 7 today. Part of working great with Windows 7 is that the Nikon D90 also supports Device Stage. When a Nikon D90 is plugged in to a Windows 7 PC, you can see how Nikon customized Device Stage specifically for the D90.


As I mentioned, Device Stage displays all the applications, services and information related to your device. In the case of the Nikon D90, Device Stage presents to the user the ability to import photos and videos off the device, browse files on the device, take advantage of the service from Nikon called my Picturetown, launch Nikon’s Nikon Transfer application, and get support or order accessories for the D90. You’ll notice Device Stage also displays how much battery life is left on the Nikon D90 as well as how much storage is left too.

Because Device Stage is a way of extending the features of Windows 7 to expose device capabilities, it also supports the use of Jump Lists via the new Windows Taskbar.

When a device is plugged in that supports Device Stage, it appears on the new Windows Taskbar in Windows 7 as an icon of the actual device. To quickly access all that is offered through Device Stage for that specific device, you can right-click on the device on the taskbar to see all the Device Stage options. You’ll notice for the D90, the Jump List displays everything shown in Device Stage for the device.


Simply moving your mouse over the device on the Windows Taskbar also gives you a quick glance at battery life and storage capacity.


In the next couple days I’ll be talking about Device Stage a bit more - highlighting different experiences Device Stage provides for different device types from different device manufacturers.

In the Windows 7 Beta, you will be able to experience Device Stage for yourself! I know folks will be wondering what devices will support Device Stage for the Windows 7 Beta too - click here for that device list!

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  • Ectopic
    1 Posts

    Nikon D90 is not actually supported by device stage.  The way it was illustrated above, I guess for presentation only.

  • Dummie
    4 Posts


    How was I to know that you are the only person monitoring all these blogs?  

    I am not asking for technical support and I'm not sure how you got that impression.  This is a "blog" about Device Stage and I was merely commenting and pointing out the glaring errors.  

    I have provided "feedback" through Windows 7 about numerous usability issues, bugs and freezes but thanks for the reminder.  

    I just hope that Microsoft takes these user feedbacks to heart and really tries to put out a finished product this time as opposed to a Windows 7 Beta 2,3,4 etc. like previous OS releases.

  • Sorry for your frustration Dummie, I respond to comments (postive and negative or neither) whenever I can. Dealing with thousands of comments and me being only 1 guy, I can only respond to a limited amount of comments.

    This also is not a place for technical support for the Windows 7 Beta. I can pass along issues you report here but cannot repond to them with ways to fix them or advise how to fix them. You should be either reporting issues via the Feedback Tool in the Windows 7 Beta directly or reporting issues on the Windows 7 Beta TechNet Forums located here:

    In regards to the Nikon D90 - it should be available soon for Windows 7 Beta users to use with Device Stage.


  • Dummie
    4 Posts

    Seems as if Brandon, and the rest of the MS Windows 7 Team, wants to only focus on the positive comments said about Windows 7 and not the glaring errors that many have encountered.  

    I notice how they don't post a reply to errors or not so positive comments in any of these blogs.  

    You guys need to focus on the problems we are having instead of patting yourself on the back for a re-branded Vista experience!

  • Hi Brandon,

    I'm in the same boat as Dummie, I have a D90 camera and it doesnt work in the way which has been described. Any thoughs why? Cheers

  • Dummie
    4 Posts

    I find it very odd that Nikon is not supported in Device Stage at this point.  How could this be after Mr. Balmer gave his keynote address at CES using, of all things, a Nikon D90 camera!

    Nikon does not work with Device Stage in Windows 7 now!

    When are they going to fix this glaring error?

  • pabs
    6 Posts

    Thanks for that Brandon!

  • pabs, since you missed WinHEC, I'd start here:

    This is where we're hosting all the WinHEC 2008 presentations many of which discuss devices in Windows 7 including Device Stage.

  • pabs
    6 Posts


    Great feature!

    I've been trying to find information about supporting this, I work for a printer IHV and missed WinHEC this year, is there any documentation on how to implement this?

  • Dummie
    4 Posts


    I have a Nikon D90 and the Windows 7 Beta that was just released.

    Windows 7 doesn't work anywhere close to what you described.  

    My Nikon D90 appears in My Computer as a generic storage device and Device Stage does not appear at all!

    All I get is the Autoplay window which, in my opinion, is worse than Windows XP.  

    Windows 7 does detect my camera and the model but there are only 3 things Autoplay will let me do with the pictures: download all, view and download all or take no action. There isn't even an option to open these picture files in another program.

    I'm not impressed with this aspect of the Beta.  I wonder why Microsoft didn't include Device Stage with this Beta?

  • Sounds great. But I think if you make something like an SDK, much more devices will be supported than if just the manufactures are greating them. Because why should they built something for an old device? Than you have to buy a new device, just to use Device Stage!

  • Albert
    2 Posts

    How you are handling the Ctrl+Alt+Delete in Windows-7? Can I expect it is the Top Control for Windows-7?

    (Sorry. Before I added this comment in your profile. After adding the comment I got your profile message)

  • Quikboy
    30 Posts

    Device Stage sounds great! I was hoping Windows would have some neat Explorer thing, where you could plug in devices and you could easily organize some data and information on the device. I just wished that a cooler name would have been picked, like maybe simply "Devices" or something else. I just don't see 'Stage' fitting in. Just a thought.

    Could you just plug in any device, and it works?

  • Hey Brandon,

    really nice info.. Will surely look into it and see if any of devices work with it!

  • Hi Johnboy, technically it is the device manufacturers that are able to develop support for their devices to use Device Stage in Windows 7.

  • johnboy
    2 Posts

    Hi guys.

    Is there already an API and/or SDK available? I'd like to do a device stage for some of the hardware I use.