Windows 7 Overview

March 31, 2010

In November of 2009, we wrote an article to help you determine if you should upgrade to Windows 7, but we didn’t cover any of the new features. Now it’s time to take a look at Windows 7 and what it offers that Windows XP and Windows Vista don’t.windows7

One of the first things you will notice about Windows 7 is the changes to the look and feel.  There are many newer themes which make the computer look and feel more modern.  A nice feature of Windows 7 is the desktop slideshow. This feature allows a user have their background automatically change to a different picture at a given time interval. Although Windows XP and Windows Vista have been able to do this with the use of third party programs, it is built in to Window 7 which is a nice addition. The Windows 7 taskbar is also very different. It has a unique feature called preview. This allows a user to move the mouse over an icon and a preview of it will pop up. This can be useful to keep organized with different programs. Here is an image of the Windows 7 taskbar including the preview feature.  The taskbar also groups all icons for a given application together.  For example, if you have three different Microsoft Word documents up, they will all be grouped into one Microsoft Word icon, and you will first click on that and then choose which document you want to access.  This helps the taskbar to stay cleaner and more organized.

Windows 7 also added some new “flashy” features, but they do have  a purpose.  For example, there is a feature known as “Aero Snap”. You may have seen this commercial demonstrating the snap feature. Essentially it allows for two programs to be set up side by side so that you can multi-task better.  Another window management feature of Windows 7 is called “Aero Shake”. This feature allows a you to minimize all windows except the one you want by simply clicking on it and “shaking it” it from side to side for a second.  Click here for a video demonstration.

Another improvement of Windows 7 is the Action Center.  The Action Center is a one stop place where you can get a quick look at your computer and how it is performing. The Action Center will alert users about updates, firewalls, problems, and many other potential issues with your computer. It will serve as a reminder to keep your computer updated, backed up, and also makes sure you have proper anti virus software installed.   It also integrates with the notification area to alert you if any action is needed on your computer.

So far we have noted the aesthetic changes of Windows 7 because that is what many people care about – how the system looks. But one of the most important aspects is also how the system performs.  Windows 7 boots up faster than Windows Vista and Windows XP. It also has improved battery life features for laptops. Behind the scenes, Windows 7 has many improvements for the way hardware runs to take advantage of multi core processors as well as solid state hard drives.

Overall, Windows 7 has taken many steps in the right direction. While no Windows operating system has ever been perfect, Windows 7 looks and performs better than its predecessors.

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