Sunday, December 26, 2010


Highlights Of New Features In Windows 7

Microsoft added a few choice new features, not the usual list of several hundred. This What’s New time around, the master plan wasn’t “Triple the length of the feature list,” as usual at Microsoft. Instead, it was “Polish and fix what we’ve already got.” The formula worked. New color schemes make the whole thing feel lighter and less daunting. New fonts make everything cleaner and sharper. There’s a new design consistency, too, featuring plain-English, lowercase, one-click toolbar commands for the things you’re most likely to want to do at the moment (“Burn,” “New folder,” “Share,” and so on).

That’s not to say that Microsoft didn’t add any new features at all in Win7. Here are some of the highlights:
New taskbar. The taskbar, the traditional row of buttons at the bottom of the screen (representing your open programs), has been given the most radical overhaul in years. Now it resembles the Dock on the Mac: It holds the icons for open programs and icons you’ve dragged there for quick access.

If you point to a program’s icon, Triscuit-sized miniatures of its windows pop up. You can either click one, to bring that window forward, or you can just run your cursor across them; as you do so, the corresponding full-size windows flash to the fore. All of this means easier navigation in a screen awash with window clutter.

Jump lists. Another taskbar feature. When you right-click a taskbar icon, you get a new, specialized list of shortcuts called a jump list. It maintains a list of that program’s most recently or frequently opened documents, and offers a few other important program-related commands too.
New window treatments. Now Windows does more for windows. You can drag a window’s edge against the top or side edge of your screen to make it fill the whole screen or half of it. You can give a window a little shake with the mouse to minimize all other windows when you need a quick look at your desktop. The Show Desktop button has been reborn as a sliver at the right end of the taskbar—a one-click shortcut for hiding all windows instantly.

A new folder concept: Libraries. Libraries are like meta-folders: They display the contents of up to 50 other folders, which may be scattered all over your system or even all over your network. Libraries make it easy to keep project files together, to back them up en masse, or to share them with other PCs on the network.

Effortless networking. Windows has always been good at networking computers together—but Microsoft has never been especially good at making that easy for the average non-techie. That all changes with Windows 7’s HomeGroups feature. You just enter a one-time password on each machine in your house. Once that’s done, each computer can see the photos, music, printers, and documents on all the other ones. At no time do you have to mess with accounts, permissions, or passwords. Obviously, homegroups aren’t ideal for government agencies or NASA—but if it’s just you and a couple of family members, the convenience of sharing your printers and music collections may well be more important than big-deal security barriers.

Wild music sharing. Windows Media Player lets you listen to the music from one PC while seated at another one—across the room, across the network, or even across the Internet.

Better plug-and-play. Microsoft’s little driver slave drivers were busy during the three-year gestation of Windows 7. Thousands more gadgets now work automatically when you plug them in, without your having to worry about drivers or software installation. The new Device Stage window even shows a picture of the camera/phone/printer/scanner you’ve just plugged in, describes it for you, and offers links to its most useful functions.

Multitouch. Does the world really want multitouch laptops and desktop PCs that work like an iPhone? It’s too soon to tell, but Microsoft is ready for the new wave of multitouch screens. Windows 7 recognizes the basic two-finger “gestures”: pinching and zooming (to shrink or enlarge a photo or a Web page), rotating (for a photo), dragging a finger (to scroll), and so on. Other new-and-improved items lurk around every corner; among other improvements, somebody with a degree in English has swept through every corner and rewritten buttons, links, and dialog boxes for better clarity.
Note: Microsoft has taken a bunch of stuff away, too. Most of it is complicated clutter, introduced in Vista, that nobody wound up using. The not-so-dearly departed features include Stacking in desktop windows, the Quick Launch toolbar, the Sidebar, and Offline Favorites.


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Haja Peer Mohamed H, Software Engineer by profession, Author, Founder and CEO of "bench3" you can connect with me on Twitter , Facebook and also onGoogle+

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