- improved taskbar - larger icons, placeable taskbar icon order, preview and full-screen preview before switching to window
- Jump Lists - see the files you've used recently by right-clicking on the icon on your taskbar. you can pin files to the jump list.
- new ways to work with windows - maximize by dragging window border to top of screen, restore by dragging away from top of screen, drag bottom border of window to expand it vertically. compare windows by dragging to left and right sides of screen: each window will fill 1/2 the screen. to see the desktop gadgets by making all windows transparent, drag mouse to lower right corner of desktop.
- Internet Explorer 8,9,?10 - this does not have support for SVG, though few sites use it at this point (Jan 19, 2009).
- Windows Live - some features previously included in the OS are now available for download through Windows Live Essentials
- device mgmt - single Devices and Printers screen to connect to them. Device Stage goes further with device mgmt (status, run common tasks.
- Home Networking through HomeGroup. minimum 2 PC's running windows 7. go to Network and Sharing Center to choose what you share.
- faster - starts up, shuts down, resumes from standby faster,
- extended battery life - things like adaptive display brightness.
- theme packages
- levels of UAC control (as compared to Vista's 1 way of doing things for alerts.
- native support for SSD's
- Share music and videos
- touch screen support
- handwriting recognition support - math expressions, etc.
- you can drag icons to the taskbar to make a "quick-launch" icon for it.
- new toolbar, windows 7 users like it better than previous toolbar
- You don't have to download Windows Media Player, it's built in now. However, there may be later upgrades to Windows Media Player (later versions, like there was for XP).
- sticky notes. Start, type in sticky
- access Netflix in Windows Media Center. if it isn't enabled, Tasks, Settings, General, Auto Download Options to install.
- enhanced calculator. 4 modes: standard, scientific, programmer, statistics. unit conversion. mortgate payments.
- Device stage. simplifies device handling. devices appear as pictures of the device. window can be minimized to the taskbar.
- Problem Steps Recorder. records your steps in HTML what you are trying to do so you can email to tech support. Start, type in PSR
- adjustable UAC - slider
- use checkboxes instead of control-click to select multiple files
- you can run Windows XP Mode, I think it's a version of Virtual PC which thinks it's XP and runs on windows 7. best of both worlds. it's available from either the start menu or via download at microsoft.com. FAQ.
- if you have 512MB of RAM or more, makes old machines run faster and boot faster than windows 98. you might need to turn aero off.
- revives old boxes. (see above comments)
- Run menu item can still be enabled like vista/2k/xp/98. even if you don't enable it, you should still be able to run items using [windows-logo-flag-key]-R. The Windows logo key looks like a little flag. Unless you are one of those who used it on a regular basis in XP, you would not know it was gone. But when you need it (usually in a crunch), you really need it. You can get it back by right-clicking on the Start menu|Properties|Customize|Advanced. search for "Run command" and make sure it is checked.
- taskbar small icons are now larger compared with xp. looks like wasted space, but it's really not, those icons get stacked on top of each other, and semi-transparent (up to 3 to show multiple instances). what you are getting is more real estate if you multitask!
- Quick Launch Toolbar replaced by new taskbar is much handier. you can make one - maybe. but read the comments before you try.
- memory limits imposed by the OS of 192GB. ack! I know workstations which have 256GB of RAM and HPC servers with 512GB! BAD for high-end workstations. 64-bit address space? what 64-bit address space? only on itanium, which almost nobody develops for. I put in a change request for windows 8.
- the big Windows 7 books I read say that Windows 7 upgrade is not a wise idea, and to go with windows 7-certified systems and 7-certified hardware. Of course, It is also been arguable over the years that no upgrade is a good idea. But in this case, the Output Protection Manager in Vista and 7 will de-focus/down-resolution (fuzz up) your non-compliant video, audio, and network communications such as skype. I couldn't get Microsoft to get rid of that feature - they turned me off because I couldn't get the name of the feature right I think, however, there are copy-protection and digital rights issues it is protecting - something needs to change! The Output Protection Manager also disables SPDIF IN if I am not mistaken - motherboard manufacturers simply don't even include an in port. So if you are planning on doing SPDIF stuff, get an XP machine and appropriate sound card.
- many vendors who sell high-end machines put the OS on an 64-256GB MLC SSD.
This is a mistake for several reasons:
c:\Program Filesand the
c:\Usersfolder always resides on the OS drive and the OS drive cannot be changed except during OS installation. In times past (XP) the Microsoft OS is incapable of recognizing a change to the registey where the folder locations are set.
- you as a user must know that you need to install your programs onto the other drive.
- for a dev, Your best machine configuration is to have several 1TB or larger drives (one for backup). Windows 7 takes 20GB plus another 29GB (or who knows in the future - DVD-sized service packs, etc) just for updates. then there's your data, which often takes up a whole lot more, and people generally don't stray from My Documents which is on the OS drive. Avoid the SSD-as-OS-drive configuration; it's not wise.
- MLC at 3300-5000 writes/block is <1/20th the lifespan of an SLC SSD at 100k writes/block. there is a wear leveling algorithm which makes them last a lot longer (the bigger the drive you have). but for general data usage, lifespan is greatly reduced. I estimate about 13 years for 256GB TLC unless you do 30 OS installs then drive is kaput.
- 2nd and primary drives were being "lost" by 7 (this apparently has been fixed by updates). there are 2 articles for getting them back:
- according to one article, 86% of windows 7 PC's are maxing out their memory (RAM). I found that a system uses between 6GB minimum to 20GB punding the system to give you an idea, most PC's (at that time) come with 3GB RAM. various pre-made desktops are coming out with 3GB, 4GB, 6GB, 8GB, 16GB RAM, available at costco.com and WalMart, 16GB would fit just about everyone's needs.
- related to above, what I have discovered is that windows 7 has a bug that ignores virtual memory and only uses Physical RAM - so max out the RAM (this doesn't mean adding sticks - replace old RAM if old ram is smaller than maximum spec cpu and mobo can take, you want all same vendor and all same model sticks)! costs money. but no more out of memory computer freezes. to speed up your machine, just disable the virtual memory that's not being used anyway.
see article about HW and App compatibility and differences between Vista and 7. All else is same code base as Vista, which means it may have the Output Protection Manager for non-certified HW, which downgrades your video, audio, and network communications (by requiring all net comm to be encrypted). also, see this article about "10 reasons why Vista haters will love 7".