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What’s the Deal With Windows 7?

November 13 2009

Thesew7 professional days, it seems like I can’t go anywhere without hearing about Windows 7. With that in mind, let’s take a brief look at why everyone seems to be completely enamored by the software. For Windows Vista users, the change is pretty gradual. Windows 7 borrows many of the user interface enhancements that were first introduced in Vista. For XP users, however, the change is dramatic.

Speaking as a lifelong Windows user, I can say that like many, I avoided Windows Vista due to the negativity surrounding it. Since making the jump from XP way back in January (when the public beta became available), I can’t imagine going back to XP mainly due to the advancements in the user interface.

If you haven’t already heard about the new features and changes in Microsoft’s latest operating system, here’s a brief rundown:

Taskbar

The taskbar in Windows 7 makes a significant leap forward. The main difference is that rather than displaying a long, rectangular box with your open programs, Windows 7 displays program icons. Using icons takes up much less space and allows you to see exactly what you have running at any given time. Additionally, there is a small rectangle at the end of the taskbar that when clicked, will minimize all open programs and display your desktop.


Pins

With pins, you can now add any program to your taskbar. Add your most commonly used programs and you can have easy access to them even when you’re not looking at your desktop. To pin a program to your taskbar, simply drag the desktop icon to your taskbar, or right click and select pin to taskbar.


Jump Lists

From the taskbar, you can now perform multiple tasks within your programs before even opening them. Simply click an icon on your taskbar and drag up to view that program’s jump list. Combine jump lists with pins and you have quick and easy access to functions within your programs. Previously, some of the jump list functions would require you to open a program, wait for it to load, and then dig through the menus to find the correct action.


Aero Peek

Aero peek is one of my favorite features in Windows 7. Simply moving your mouse over any open program on your taskbar will display a preview box above that icon. Within that preview box, you will see a miniaturized display of that program. I have found this to be especially useful when running multiple instances of the same program.


Aero Shake

Aero shake is a quick way to clear away all of the clutter on your screen. When you want to view one program and minimize all the other windows, grab the program title bar with your mouse, and move it quickly left and right. This will automatically minimize all other open programs while leaving your selected window open. Performing the shake action a second time, will restore your other programs.


Aero Snap

Aero snap is another one of my personal favorite functions. It allows you to resize your open applications much more easily than dragging a corner to the size you want. Simply drag the program title bar to the top of the screen and it will automatically maximize the window. Also, you can multitask by dragging the title bar to the side of your screen. This will maximize the open program on exactly half of your screen, allowing easy side by side viewing.


These are just some of the many new features in Windows 7. As you can probably tell, Windows 7 is all about making your computing experience easier. The new features allow you to do what you want to do on your computer, in the way you’re used to doing it (Vista and XP users), only faster. It may take some time to get used to the new features but once you do, you’ll wonder how you ever lived without them.

For more information and in depth reviews of Windows 7 follow these links:

Windows 7: The Complete GuideWindows 7: The Complete Guide

Windows 7 ReviewWindows 7 Review

Official Microsoft Windows 7 PageOfficial Microsoft Windows 7 Page

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