Windows 7 My choice

It is great to write about the features of an operating system or some other applications, as there are lots and lots of things to be searched on and also the chance to find out pros and cons of different aspects and eventually to put them in such words that even a layman could understand everything without any major hiccups. I was doing the same while writing about Windows 7 for queue to be published in my book Spotlight and to my surprise I came across with several new features that I couldn’t find before even after using Windows 7 since a long time back. If you also one of them who don’t know some of the really exciting features of Windows 7, then you should go through the top 10 features of them described here in a reverse order.

10) Federated Searches

This is a special feature of Windows 7 that helps Explorer reach beyond the desktop to search remote repositories and does it through the search connectors. There are several sources available online through which you can download these connectors to your own system. One of such sources is atistartedsomething.com of the noted blogger on the net Mr. Long Zheng for Flickr, from where I have downloaded and successfully installed the search connectors. There is more to connectors than only to search remote repositories, for the people who used to hook to external sites like Flickr. As in the words of Mr. Zheg, it opens a broad scope before the user to search the files on remote Windows Home Server, to search for the documents on Google docs, to search for music files on Pandora and video files on YouTube as well as locating specific PDF files from your own library. There is no limit to its reach to the remote stores of data and files.

9) Library

With the help of library you don’t remain limited to view the contents of only one directory, instead you can view the contents of more than one folder at a time. As for an instance, you can view every single document of My Documents (C:\Users\<username>\Documents) as well as Public Documents (C:\Users\Public\Documents). This is not the limit; you are allowed to view any document of your choice irrespective of its location. Though, this is not a completely new feature in itself, Windows Vista too allows to re-execute the saved searches and also to create the virtual folders in Explorer. But in addition to those, Windows 7 also allows to write something to those save searches, which was not possible before Windows 7.

8) UAC Slider (User Account Slider)

UAC slider is remarkably a new feature that deserves complement and I firmly believe that I’m now better protected in comparison to the protection provided by the older version Windows XP. I have always felt that how would it be great if I had a protection system that allowed me to choose the level of protection myself and that also quite easily. Yes, there is no doubt that it is always good to be 100% secure and protected, but don’t you think that sometimes it becomes necessary to bring down the level of protection for your own sake? This is what the UAC slider in Windows 7 provides to its users. There are different level of protection that you can set at your own heck and call. The choices are: (i) Never Notify, (ii) Notify if programs try to force any change in the system, (iii) Default- Notify if programs try to force any change in the system, and (iv) Always Notify.

(7) Action Center

This Name very much sounded to me like only a slight modification to the Security Center. But I was wrong. I found it doing a lot more different and useful works that I could have never imagined with Security center. As, its name suggests it really means action. With the help of Action Center you can not only alter the security information, like Windows Firewall, User Account Control, Windows Update, Windows Defender, Network and Internet security settings, etc. but can also access the maintenance information as well as troubleshoot the problems of the system.

(6) Jump Lists

When I first saw it I was not impressed at all, but contrary to my expectations I had to think otherwise once I tested its applications. They can prove to be good friends of yours by saving some of your precious time. Just right-lick any of the taskbar buttons under jump lists and you will immediately presented with common actions associated with the button, like opening a new tab in IE8. IE8 jump list allows you to add any of your selected websites to it and then you will only be a click away to jump to that site. May be this will only save a little time for you, but this little time means a lot to the enterprises, as several of these little times could add up to become days.

(5) Live download for applications

Windows still comes with in-built Media Player & Internet Explorer, but there are some new applications that need to be downloaded before their execution. Some of those applications include: Windows Live Family Safety, Windows Live Photo Gallery, Windows Live Mail, Windows Live Writer and Windows Live Call. All of these applications can be easily downloaded from the site of Windows Live download. I never used these applications in Windows Vista, so it suites me that there is no need at all to install them on Windows 7 machine. But still I can use them as and when I like to. As for an instance, Parental Controls are no more able to block the websites or to keep a record of the child’s activity, so it becomes imperative to download Family safety that provides all those facilities.

(4) Improvements in Energy-Efficiency

Energy-efficiency has become one of the most talked about industrial topics these days. Everyone likes to see their system running fast and be powerful, yet they don’t like their systems to use any extra power rather they expect their systems to consume even less power. Hence, the engineers who have designed Windows 7 took care of this thing and tried to reduce the power consumption as well as deter from harming the environment. Windows 7 has additional features that support the saving of energy, which were also included in older versions of Windows like in Windows Vista there is the feature called Power Options. These features help in reducing the consumption of power, when the system is in the idle mode. Additionally, the option of Shutdown further reduces power consumption by letting system go into the sleep mode. Windows 7 has been designed in such a way that it also supports the newer device power modes in addition to reduce the power consumption during idle mode.

(3) Explorer 8 features

The last week, I noted in my post about some of the very useful features of IE8 that will help in further improving the experience of surfing the net. The features include Web slices, InPrivate browsing and Accelerators. People are using the feature of Web Slices for the eBay updates and similar other works and this thing save their precious time from navigating the sites that are most often visited. Accelerators are really accelerating the time to find a definition or translation for a selected word. There is another benefit of downloading Accelerators is that I immediately reach to the full IMDB list of movies and shows of the celebrities of which I select the name.

(2) PowerShell 2.0

Although this feature is not for an average user, unless you are a master of the command line, hence you can’t say anything about this feature surely. But if this feature is looked from the view of a system administrator then it is certainly a good command line feature that has been included in Windows 7. If my opinion is taken then I will say that Microsoft should completely replace the CMD.exe with PowerShell, as it has everything that CMD.exe includes in addition to the several other new features.

(1) Windows XP Mode

Definitely, it looks somewhat odd to have this feature at the no. one spot in my favorite list. But more honestly, it is at no. 6 place in my favorite list of Windows 7 features, but there are certain reasons that made me move it up to the no. one spot. First, Microsoft may have included the virtual XP keeping in mind that the enterprises will hesitate to include any new OS, as may be there existing applications would not function in the same way as they are doing under Windows XP. Second, there are several people out there who don’t want to replace their Windows XP, but now they have no reason to fear as Microsoft is providing them with free Windows Virtual PC as well as Windows XP Mode drop-in. But don’t forget that this free offer is only for those who already have Windows 7 Enterprise, Professional or Ultimate Edition. Third reason is somewhat childish, as this reason includes the annoyance of my colleague Randall Kennedy towards Windows XP. Most often I call Randall a tech tabloid journalist, who has rather some good points about the compatibility issue of Windows XP, which could have been handled easily. But anyway, Microsoft has now heeded to this suggestion by providing its customers with the solution.

So, these were my 10 top reasons why I like to use Windows 7 and put it as a winner. You must have your own opinion on Windows 7 but if you don’t know how to put them in words, you can have my ideas. I would like to have some light party conversations with you if you are at the gathering of Star Trek, TechEd 2009 or on something else similar to it.

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