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Initial Windows 7 thoughts and review

On October 22, 2009 Microsoft opened the door to consumers anxiously awaiting the release of the Windows 7 Operating System. For over 15 years Microsoft has been releasing "new and improved" versions of Windows. With this release many new and exciting features are making their way into our digital lives.

Windows 7 still ships with a few different versions. There is Home premium, Professional, and Ultimate. Most users will opt for the Home premium version, as the professional version includes added security and capabilities to join corporate windows domains. The Ultimate version includes all home and professional features plus BitLocker encryption software.

One of the first things we noticed about Windows 7 is the improvements to the aero theme. The taskbar is slick, highly configurable, and like a pin cushion. You can pin popular common applications to for quick access. This is the replacement for the quick-launch, now you can just pin an object directly to the task bar.

Hovering over a running application pops-up live preview, a small window above the taskbar icon, showing the contents of that window’s view, if there are multiple instances of the application running then the taskbar icon will resemble something like a stack of cards, and when hovering over a multiple instance icon, live preview will pop-up with a view of each instance.

Another welcome addition is the button all the way to the right past the system tray, this is the new location for the old quick launch icon that showed the desktop by minimizing all open application windows. There is a new twist in this which at first confused this user. When you hover your mouse here all open windows become transparent. Mouse out and they come right back. I have a tendency to push the mouse in this direction when I stop using the mouse and head for the keyboard. This causes whatever I am working on to disappear until I drag the mouse back into normal screen real estate.

Once you click on the desktop button, all open applications will minimize to their respective icons. Clicking the button again will restore them to their former state.

The system tray received some attention and for once it actually attempts to stay out of the way. Powers users often would fill up the system tray with numerous icons for all the applications in use. Now we have a section that is configurable as to what actually shows in the tray, and whether or not that applications alerts will pop-up above the tray.

A couple of features worthy of mentioning include Peek and Split screen. This user really likes the split screen feature. When you grab a windows title bar and drag it either left or right, the application will be resized to fit exactly half of your desktop screen. A perfect scenario for comparing 2 documents side by side.

Peek occurs when you hover over an active taskbar icon, after live preview appears you can hover over the live preview window and the application will come to the front. Clicking on live preview will bring the app to focus.

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TAGS: Windows 7 Tips

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