Microsoft are due to release their new operating system windows 7 to the world next Thursday (people in the UK may experience delays though as the postmen are skiving again). After the debarcle that was windows vista with it’s sluggishness even on high spec machines and it’s numerous prompts to confirm things like deleting a file anything Microsoft would release would be a major improvement.
I’ve been using Windows 7 as my main operating system since the RC was released and I had a look at a couple of the betas too. However, thanks to the windows 7 launch party, I’ve also been running the final relase for the last week. But is it any good. I’ll be looking at some of the features, new and old
The desktop has a totally new look and feel about it with the taskbar undergoing a complete redesign. Applications can now be pinned to the taskbar in a replacement for the quicklaunch bar and clicking their icon will lauch the application. Running applications are now depicted by their icon alone (though there is the option to revert to a more old school task bar if you prefer. The new taskbar also automatically creates keyboard shortcuts for the applications pinned to it which can be launched by pressing windows+number key where number key is the number the icon is along the taskbar (win+1 will launch the first application, win+2 the second and so on)
The desktop also now sports the option to add gadgets anywhere to it rather than just limited to a sidebar like in windows vista. Perhaps the coolest new feature of the desktop is the addition of slideshow backgrounds. You can now have the desktop run a slideshow of pictures from your pictures library (more on libraries in a bit) or any other location and it will automatically change the background every few minutes/seconds or however long you want. Why pay £50 for a digital photo frame when your PC can do the job on a much bigger screen!
Most homes these days have more than 1 PC. Windows 7 simplifies the sharing of files, media and even printers across all devices on the network with the homegroup. You simply add the PCs you want to the homegroup using a password and then all devices in that group share files, media and the printer. It will also stream media to devices such as the xbox and even the PS3. By sharing the printer this eliminates the need to buy a wifi or other network enabled printer
Files such as documents, pictures, videos and music are now organised into libraries rather than folders. A library can span multiple folder locations on the hard drive but still display the files as though they are in one folder making it easy to access all your files of a specific type, wherever they are.
Virtual Operating Systems
An inclusion in the higher end versions of windows 7 (ultimate/professional/business) is a virtual environment for a second OS and a fully licensed version of windows XP to use in this environment
Once the virtual machine is setup it is a fully functioning genine copy of windows XP. The following picture shows the machine running and passing windows genuine validation.
As mentioned above, this feature is only available in the higher end versions of windows 7 (home premium being the main version excluded) and will only work if your PC’s processor supports the virtualisation elements it requires.
Experience index, whilst widely being a bit of a pointless number, is a back. To make way for new hardware advances since the release of vista the scale has been regraded with a new maximum score of 7.9. As before anything over 3.0 should be able to enjoy all the features of windows vista and my netbook that has a score of 2.0 is running it quite nicely with aero turned off.
There is too much that is new in windows 7 to discuss in this post without me being here all day. This hopefully summed up some of the main new features. Windows 7 is a huge improvement on vista and anyone who can upgrade should do so. Windows 7 is available from amazon.co.uk and many other retailers