V4 Printer Driver Model

Starting with Windows Server 2012 / Windows 8 (and newer), Microsoft introduced a new driver model for the printing subsystem called version 4 drivers (V4 printer driver model).

The v4 printer driver model (XPS based) was designed to address known issues with the version 3 driver model, and thus improve the quality of the experience that users have with their printers.

As a printer manufacturer V4 driver support has become an essential requirement as newer Windows functionality is restricted to the V4 model only such as customized Print Preferences experiences or Printer Notification experiences in UWP apps and printer sharing.

V4 High level architecture

The following is a high-level representation of a v4 print driver.

Microsoft V4 driver architecture

V4 Components

A typical Microsoft WHQL signed QualSoft V4 driver development provides the following deliverables:

  • 32 and 64 bit V4 Rendering component for the printer(s) description language  
  • Customized Printer Extension targeted to a clients User interface requirements
  • Support for a clients range/series of printer models
  • Support for printer functionality
  • Customized Device Stage(s)
  • Full testing using the WHQL (Windows Hardware Quality Labs) test suite covering 32 and 64bit Windows OS versions from Windows 7 all the way through to the latest Windows Server 2019
  • Fully published to Windows Update for international product coverage
  • Ongoing development covering a clients future feature requests, new printer models and new Windows versions
Sample device stage shown from within Control Panel
Sample Device Stage
Printer extension example

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