After the rather lackluster launch of Windows Vista, Microsoft is ready with another operating system that could succeed Windows XP in the true sense. While Windows Vista offered a flashy new interface, it failed to create a stir in the market due to its poor performance, compatibility goof ups and the lack of any impressive features. The new Windows 7 operating system, which is set to be launched on October 22, 2009, has been designed to fix the old and new annoying features of its immediate predecessor and the older versions.
Although impressive design has never been Microsoft’s strength, the company has managed to improve tremendously on this aspect in the Windows 7 operating system. While users might take a while to get accustomed to the new Taskbar and Aero Peek of Windows 7, they will be pleased with the changes and the ease of use of this OS.
Windows 7 Operating System: What Has Been Discarded?
There are several capabilities and programs that were a part of Windows Vista are no longer present in Windows 7 versions. Some of the discarded items from a long list are:
Quick Launch: This feature had been the trademark of Windows XP and enabled a one-click access to programs. You could add any program to Quick Launch by dragging its icon to the Quick Launch toolbar. This distinctive feature has been eliminated from the Windows 7 versions.
Troubleshooting Warnings: Windows 7 has got rid of the onslaught of word-balloon warnings related to troubleshooting issues and potential security problems.
Windows 7 Beta: What’s New or Improved?
Some of the new or improved features of the Windows 7 operating system are:
Taskbar: The Taskbar is unique to Windows and offers the Windows experience mainly through the Start menu and System Tray. While the Start menu got a much needed redesign in Vista, in Windows 7, the System Tray and the entire Taskbar get a complete makeover.
o The old small icons and text labels that appear for applications currently running on the system are replaced by larger, unlabeled icons in the new Taskbar. The new design reduces the clutter on the Taskbar.
o You also have the option of shrinking the icons and bringing the labels back if you feel uncomfortable. You can also reorganize the position of these icons in the Taskbar.
o The capabilities of Quick Launch have been included in the Taskbar of Microsoft Windows 7.
o The Live Preview feature of Windows Vista has been improved such that you can simultaneously view the thumbnails of all the running applications just by taking the pointer to an icon.
o A new feature called Jump Lists in Microsoft Windows 7 lets you perform several tasks within an application even if the application is closed. For example, you can open the browser, initiate an InPrivate stealth browsing session or visit any of the eight most frequently visited web pages by using the Jump List of Internet Explorer 8.
o You can view the Windows 7 screen (desktop) with one click, even if you have several open windows, by using the brand new feature called Aero Peek. This feature can be accessed by using the kind of nub at the extreme right edge of the Taskbar. If you hover your pointer to the nub, all windows become transparent, revealing the Windows 7 screen. You can access the applications and icons on the desktop by clicking the nub.
Windows 7 Compatibility
The requirements for the 32-bit version of Microsoft Windows 7 are similar to that of the premium editions of Vista. However, the Windows 7 compatibility requirements for the version built for the 64-bit processor are significantly higher than that for the 32-bit version.
32-bit processor 64-bit processor
Memory (RAM) 1 GB of RAM 2 GB of RAM
HDD free space 16 GB of available disk space 20 GB of available disk space
Apart from the RAM and HDD requirements, you must have a DVD drive (only to install from DVD/CD Media) and DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM driver model 1.0 to install Windows 7 versions.
Security – Windows 7
In Vista, the security – Windows feature, User Account Control (UAC), insistently prompted you to approve the running of applications or change systems settings in order to prevent rogue software from tampering with your PC. In Windows 7, you have more control over this irritating feature. You can alter your UAC settings to notify only when your Windows settings are being changed by software, instead of you.
Windows Upgrade Offers
Various companies are providing their customers with special offers for a Windows upgrade. For example, Acer has announced that customers who purchase a qualifying Windows Vista-based PC from June 26, 2009 to January 31, 2010 would be eligible for an upgrade to Windows 7.
Windows 7 beta is far from being flawless. While some features do not seem fine tuned properly, others can not be utilized to their true capability without additional support from third party applications. However, the overall final shipping Windows 7 versions appear to be the worthy successor of Windows XP that Vista never was.