What’s new in Windows 7: Faster & easier
Windows 7 was built around your feedback, so you’ll see a lot of things you’ve asked for. You asked us to make everyday tasks faster and easier, to make your PC work the way you want it to, and to make it possible to do new things. And that’s exactly what we’re doing. See how it’s coming to life.
Improved taskbar and full-screen previews
The taskbar at the bottom of your screen is what you use to launch programs and switch between them when they’re open. In Windows 7 you can pin any program to the taskbar so it’s always just a click away, and you can rearrange the icons on the taskbar just by clicking and dragging. We’ve made the icons considerably bigger, too, so they’re easier to use. Hover over the icons and you’ll see thumbnails of every file or window that open in that program, and if you hover over the thumbnail, you’ll see a full-screen preview of that window. Move the cursor off the thumbnail and the full-screen preview disappears.
With Windows 7, we focused on keeping the things you use most right in front of you. One example: The new Jump List feature. It’s a handy way to quickly reach the files you’ve been working with. To see the files you’ve used recently, just right click on the icon on your taskbar. So right-clicking on the Word icon will show your most recent Word documents. Plus, if there are other files you want to keep handy, you can just pin them to the Jump List so they’ll always appear. That way, the documents you’re likely to want are just a couple clicks away.
Some programs, such as Windows Media Player, can pre-populate their Jump Lists with common tasks. For example, on the Jump List for Windows Media Player, you’ll see options to Play All Music or resume your last playlist. On the Jump List for Internet Explorer, you’ll see frequently and recently viewed websites. With some programs, you’ll even have quick access to tasks that, in the past, were only available from within the program, such as composing a new e-mail message.
Windows 7 simplifies how you work with the windows on your desktop. You’ll have more intuitive ways to open, close, resize, and arrange them.
With Windows 7, it’s easier to do things you do all of the time. For example, before, when you wanted to compare two open windows, you had to manually resize your open windows to show them side by side. With Snaps, you can simply grab a window and pull it to either side edge of the screen to fill half the screen. Snap windows to both sides, and it’s easier than ever to compare those windows.
Another thing you may want to do is quickly see your gadgets or grab a file from your desktop. To see your desktop just move your mouse to the lower right corner of your desktop. That’ll make all the open Windows transparent-so your desktop is immediately visible. Want to get all but one window out of your way? Grab the top of that window, shake it and all the other open windows will minimize to the taskbar. Shake the window again, and they’ll all come back.
- Now you don’t: See through to the desktop with invisible windows
Looking for something on your PC? What’s your first instinct? If you use the web a lot, you probably start by looking around for a search box. Now, you can find things on your computer the same way. Introduced with Windows Vista, Windows Search helps you find virtually anything on your PC quickly and easily. Windows 7 also makes search results more relevant and easier to understand.
Looking for a file, e-mail, or application? While you can easily look through folders and menus, there’s an even faster way. Just click on the Start button and you’ll see a search box at the bottom of the Start menu. Just enter a word or few letters in the name or file you want, and you’ll get an organized list of results.
Windows 7 uses libraries to show all content of a particular type in one spot. Say you’ve got photos in several locations on your PC. A lot will be in your Photos folder. But you might have some in documents folders too. Your photos library makes it easy for you to browse and use all your photos, no matter where they are on your PC.
By collecting things into a single view, libraries make it simpler to find what you’re looking for. They’re even more powerful with Windows Search. You can search your Libraries using filters to customize your search. For example, when you’re looking for music you can search by album. Or search for photos by the date they were taken. You can go to your Documents Library, click on authors, and see all the documents on your computer sorted by author name.
- Windows Search
Internet Explorer 8
Available now, Internet Explorer 8 helps you do what you want online, faster. With innovations to the address bar, search, tabs, and the Favorites bar, Internet Explorer 8 brings you more information, with less effort.
To start, as you type a search request you’ll immediately start seeing relevant suggestions from your chosen search provider, complete with images when available. The twist: search will also use your browsing history to narrow the suggestions. If you see what you’re looking for, you can go right to the list without finishing the request.
There are online services you use all the time. Like mapping a location. With Accelerators, you can highlight a bit of information on any page, click on the blue Accelerators icon, and choose from a variety of relevant services. So if you highlight a street address and right click, the Live Maps Accelerator will show a map preview right there on the page. In addition to mapping, you’ll find Accelerators for e-mailing, blogging, searching, translating, and sharing information. Popular services including eBay and Facebook offer special Accelerators you can use with their sites.
A Web Slice is something you use when you need to track information on a website, but you don’t want to keep going to the site. Use a web slice for things like auction items, sports scores, entertainment columns, and weather reports. When the content you’re watching changes, you’ll see it right away in the Web Slice in your Favorites Bar.
Better device management
One of the great things about PCs is how they let us use such a wide array of devices. In the past, you had to use several different screens to manage different types of devices. But With Windows 7, you’ll use a single Devices and Printers screen to connect, manage, and use whatever printers, phones, and other devices you have on-hand.
- All together now: See all your devices in one spot.
A new technology in Windows 7 called Device Stage takes device management a step further. Device Stage helps you interact with any compatible device connected to your computer. From Device Stage you can see device status and run common tasks from a single window. There are even pictures of the devices which makes it really easy to see what’s there. Device manufacturers can customize Device Stage. For example, if your camera manufacturer offers a custom version of Device Stage, then when you plug your camera into your PC, you could see things like the number of photos on your camera and links to helpful information.
Today, you may have a network in your home that you use to share an internet connection. But it can be hard to share other things, like files and printers. Do you have one or more computers in your home but only one printer? If you’re like most people, when you need to print a file that’s on your laptop in your bedroom on the printer in your den, you probably e-mail the file from one PC to another or transfer it on a USB drive. And if you need to find a file but don’t know which computer it’s stored on, chances are you’re in for a long night as you traipse from PC to PC and search each one.
HomeGroup, a new feature in Windows 7, makes connecting the computers in your home a painless process. HomeGroup is set up automatically when you add the first PC running Windows 7 to your home network. Adding more PCs running Windows 7 to the HomeGroup is an easy process. You can specify exactly what you want to share from each PC with all the PCs in the HomeGroup. Then, sharing files across the various PCs in your home-and many other devices-is as easy as if all your data were on a single hard drive. So you can store digital photos on a computer in your den and easily access them from a laptop anywhere in your home. Similarly, once in a HomeGroup, the printer in your den is shared automatically with all of the PCs in your home.
View Available Network (VAN)
Windows 7 makes viewing and connecting to all of your networks simple and consistent. You’ll always have one-click access to available networks, regardless of whether those networks are based on Wi-Fi, mobile broadband, dial-up, or your corporate VPN.