Nifty Windows 7 Features

>> Monday, November 23, 2009

We've all hated Windows Vista for every torture that it inflicted upon us. And many of us were very skeptical about Windows 7 and whether it would be able to live up to our expectations. Right from the early Betas down to the RTM (Release-to-Manufacture), Microsoft had taken it upon itself to rollback all the Vista-esque pain and provide us with a leaner, meaner computing experience. On October 22, we finally got Windows 7. We upgraded. We loved it. We hated it. We said every damn thing that we possibly can about it. But the results are in and people like Windows 7. More so than they ever loved Vista. Or any other Redmond OS before that. And to celebrate that fact, we are going to round up some of its best features.

  • Jumplists: Remember the plain-Jane right-click on taskbar buttons? Well, with Jumplists, all that is a thing of lore. Jumplists are handy little lists which pop-up when you right-click on application buttons on the taskbar. Depending on application support, these lists may show the most recent files opened with a particular application or even go on to show some of the most common tasks you can perform with the application.

  • Superbar: The taskbar itself has been revamped and renamed to be called the Superbar. It's been given a fully-transparent Mac-style dock look. It's also much bigger now. The Quick Launch bar has been done away with and the application buttons themselves are mere icons (no text). Show desktop has been replaced by Aero Peek at the rightmost edge of the taskbar.
  • Aero: The Aero engine from Vista has been revamped completely. It now consists of Aero Peek (the live thumbnails displayed when you hover the mouse over an open application in the superbar), Aero Shake (shaking an application window back and forth with the mouse minimizes all other windows and vice versa), and Aero Snap (dragging a window to the left, right and top edge of the screen makes it snap to the left side, right side and maximize respectively).
  • Start Menu: The Start Menu has been pimped out and now features a search box that actually does some searching. Most applications have a button along with their entry, clicking on which shows up the most recently-used files for that applications (kinda like a mini-Jumplist feature). Applications can be Pinned to the Start Menu as well as the Taskbar.
  • Winkey on Steroids: The little Winkey on your keyboard is actually useful with this version of Windows as it performs a myriad of functions now. Here's a little list to get you started:
  1. Win + P: Start projection on additional display.
  2. Win + T: Shift focus to the taskbar and navigate between application buttons using arrow keys.
  3. Win + X: Open the Mobility Center (laptops only).
  4. Win + Arrow Keys: Activate Aero Snap for current application (give it a spin).
  5. Win + Space: View Desktop

  • Media Center: The Vista Media Center wasn't very usable. The W7 Media Center is just the opposite. You'll love browsing through your music collection if you have it properly tagged along with album arts. Plus the Media Center ties in seamlessly with various streaming content providers. There is also good support for TV Tuners.

As you can make out, after the debacle called Vista, Microsoft has gone out and listened to all the little things that the users wanted. This is probably the biggest factor which has contributed to the runaway success of the OS. You can follow the link below and check out Lifehacker's Complete W7 Guide. Or you can leave comments about your W7 experience.


Abhigyan November 25, 2009 at 5:12 PM  
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Abhigyan November 25, 2009 at 5:12 PM  
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Abhigyan November 26, 2009 at 6:10 PM  

@Akshar: Not only does it look nice. It also works nice. It's far more stable than any other version of windows.

Anonymous,  November 28, 2009 at 12:18 PM  

Hi Obi (van kenobi).. great to see this blog..
awesome stuff dude..

even I wanted to jump ship to win 7 but just didn't have the time, or the patience to change everything... guess I'll do that in the winter hols..

btw.. as far as the win keys are concerned, I liked some of Vista's shortcuts like:-
win+d: desktop (toggle)
win+space: sidebar
win+e: explore
win+f: find
win+r: run
win+u: utility manager (never used that)
win+l: lock comp
i think there were many more.

but it's good to see that it's been beefed up even more..


is there any way to make the 7 startbar really really small, cos I use a taskbar mod in vista (if found the vista taskbar too large as well) that makes it half it's original height.
The prblm is that I have a laptop with a really broad (and short) screen, so that loss of real estate at the bottom really pinches. ... i've seen the default small option, and that sucks, and i don't want to auto hide it cos i find that to be freaking annoying.

would love to have some help there..

k then.. catchya in Gurgaon.. have a great time..


Abhigyan November 28, 2009 at 1:47 PM  

@Shaurya: Thanks for the comment. The Windows Vista Winkey Shortcuts still work with Windows 7. So you can go ahead and use them without expecting any glitches.

With regards to the taskbar, I am actually going to be doing a post on desktop modding very soon. You could pick up some (or ALL. Yay!) of the tips from there. Check back soon for that update.


Abhigyan December 2, 2009 at 1:51 AM  

@Dipankar: If only us mortals could afford the price of a Mac over here.

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