Sunday, November 16, 2008

What's New in Windows 7?

Improved User Interface - Vista looks a lot like XP, an important thing for ease of transition from one operating system to the next. So, naturally, Windows 7 will look an awful lot like Vista, but, that's not to say that it won't deliver a number of important additions, perhaps the biggest being a series of "gestures" that will interpret your mouse hovering over something as an indication that you'd like to see more information about it. PC Mag's Michael Muchmore provides some further details: 
Hovering your mouse over a Taskbar button brings up horizontal preview thumbnails of each document open in an app, and hovering over one of those brings up a full-screen preview of the document. You can now drag Taskbar buttons along the bar, positioning them where you like, instead of where the OS wants to put them.

New Applications - While most choose to install productivity suites likeOpenOffice or Microsoft's own Office, Windows has always come with applications, like Calculator and Wordpad, both of which will see some visual tweaks to make them look a little less dated. Some new apps will come along as well, like Sticky Notes, as described by Download Squad's Lee Matthews:
Other small but useful additions abound, like sticky notes. Notes can be posted around your desktop and then gathered to a virtual corkboard - release them to their original locations with a single click. Create a new note and it's automatically saved. Should you close the board by accident, it'll remember the position of all your stickies when you relaunch.

Better Security - As mentioned above, Vista hasn't proven to be completely impenetrable, but it is a big step forward in terms of security when compared to XP, which has proven to be... less than secure. From what we've heard so far, Windows 7 won't be a huge step forward in this respect, but will include some useful additions, including security for something that more and more people are using: USB thumb drives. PC Pro's Barry Collins explains:
IT departments can set a group policy that forces USB drives to be encrypted before the employee's allowed to copy files off the corporate network on to the stick, saving IT departments from employing more drastic measures, such as disabling USB ports.

Less Annoying - Vista may be more secure, but it came at quite a cost: the User Account Control, or UAC. The UAC is what's responsible for the incessant pop-ups that ask you if you're sure you want to install this app, or delete that file, or allow access to this drive to this program. Windows 7 will also include the UAC, but PC Mag's Michael Muchmore indicates you can tone it down:
In Windows 7, the UAC enforcement can be adjusted with a slider ranging from Always notify to Never notify... You can tell also Window 7 to only notify you when programs try to install software but not for system changes as a halfway measure, with the most stringent choice being to notify for both activities and to wait for your response.

Bottom Line: It's Much the Same - So, Windows 7 definitely has some tidy improvements, but ultimately it won't be that much different. This is a point PC Mag's Lance Ulanoff makes, stating "Instead of promising "Wow" (big mistake), Microsoft and Ballmer are coming right out and saying that this OS will be a lot like the last one, but in the best and most important ways." That sounds like change PC users can believe in -- whenever Windows 7 runs for your office.

Want to see what else Ulanoff has to stay, and see Windows 7 in action? Check out the video below. And for more in-depth and ongoing coverage of Windows 7, make sure to check out Download Squad.

(Via - Switched)

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