Windows 7 Coming out October 2009…
What are we getting ourselves into this time?
Read this fresh young perspective on my experience with Windows 7*…

*Note that this is from the use of Build Version 7077

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of Win7 coming soon, I thought that I’d have to give it a go and see, firsthand, if Win7 is what we’ve all been waiting for. At first glance I began to ooh and ahh over the pretty features and slightly more sleek appearance. Windows Vista had, in general, not done so hot when it came to public opinion. This was clearly stated in an article by InfoWorld, if you care to read that here. The transition from Windows 95 and 98 on up to Windows XP had been a little bit difficult; however, consumers saw that the upgrade outweighed the hassle. That was not the case with Vista, and so now we are coming to a new OS, Windows 7. And while I am no computer connoisseur, I am just about as typical of a user as it gets. I’m heading off to college this fall and use typical applications and apply a fair workload to my PC. After these past months experimenting with Windows7, you can bet I’ll be upgrading this October on my college laptop. It’s faster, smoother, and has a better appearance that all older versions of the Windows OS.

 

 

 

The first thing that caught my eye, was the awesome taskbar. No longer are your items jammed so tightly on the taskbar that, when you have many apps open, you can only see a measly 3 letters of each window. Instead, Win7 has so wisely grouped all of your windows by simply what application they’re running from. Instead of 8 individual windows for all of the e-mails you have open, you have one Microsoft Outlook icon. And when you hover your mouse over this icon, all the outlook windows you have open conveniently display right there in little boxes. This works for all your programs. As you can see below I was on my desktop and had my cursor over the MSFT icon, and it brought up, in a transparent window, all three Outlook windows that I currently had opened. This sort of gave me the idea of how a Mac has a “dock” with little icons of all your running programs. It’s a neat feature and really provides for a clean smooth transition between windows. Another cool feature is when you hover your mouse over one of the three boxes, it provides a closer look and drops off everything else you have open and just shows that window, one click and it brings back all other windows and places the one you’ve selected on top and ready to be used.

Capture.PNG

 

When I decided to stop playing with the new exciting taskbar, I moved on to attempt migration of my data from my Windows XP laptop to this new laptop with Win7. I was hesitant to attempt this because I was fearing that all would break loose and I would lose my data or not have everything copy properly. I was so wrong. Windows 7 made it really simple to transfer files. It identified all the data and sorted it accordingly. No folder was left empty and all of it went flush into the right sections. All my pictures, music, and files looked identical to how I had them before on my old laptop. I was rather pleased.

After getting the data I needed, I was surprised and excited to see what other cool features this computer had to offer. Being the girly girl that I am, I went straight to the desktop to search for all the new “Personalize” goodies. I was excited to see that, like Vista, it had the gadgets to place on the desktop. I put up the weather, a calendar, and a clock all adjusted to my time and location. Ok, so that isn’t so exciting for you who are coming from Vista, but if you’ve never had these “gadgets” before, it is cool. Moving on, I got to the personalization section. Windows 7 offers seven awesome “Themes” for your computer to follow, or you can create your own. In a theme, it customizes your desktop, color scheme, everything. Another cool feature is that your desktop background can shuffle pictures. I set it to take pictures from a certain folder, and it changes my desktop to a new picture every day. This adds to the sleek new look of Win7.

captureee.PNG

 

 

If you are moving from XP or older to Win7 you are going to be blessed with a built in search bar in the start menu. It is fantastic and instantly searches your whole computer for anything containing that keyword. You can find programs, documents, emails, etc that contain what you’re looking for. It’s so simple and is right on the bottom of the start menu. You click the Windows icon and then it says “Search Programs and Files,” type in the words you’re looking for and Ta-da! Magic. Also on the start menu, is the capability to go directly to shutdown. On Vista, you click that mischievous button that looks like it would mean shut down, and then you’re stuck in this annoying black hole where you’ve put it to sleep. On Windows 7, “Shut Down” really means shut down. It’s a glorious thing.

 

Capture2.PNG

 

 

 

 

Normally, on older Windows versions, you have to manually set everything in order to have a monitor and your laptop displaying your OS. However, with Win7 all I had to do was plug in the monitor and it switched over and I have yet to make changes to it. It remembers these settings and displays just on the laptop when I have taken it home, and when at work and plugged into the monitor it goes right back to the correct settings. It’s a good hassle-free feature.


 

While we’re going over silly features – I thought I’d take us all back to the calculator. Yes, the calculator has been one of my least favorite things on my Windows XP (can’t speak for Vista users, really, cause I’ve had minimal experience with it.) If any of you still use the calculator on your computer, you know how frustrating it is when you can’t remember if you already hit the plus sign, or what the last number you entered was, etc…well, Win7 has us geeky computer-calculator users covered! Not only does it look 10x sleeker and cooler than the only dinky flat gray one, it keeps a line of what you’ve entered and does the math as you enter it without having to hit enter.
3.PNG

Onto a little bit more commonly used feature…Internet Explorer 8: it totally rocks. The multiple “tabs” in one window has been out for a while I believe, but it still is nice, and IE 8 has added even more features. “Suggested Sites,” for example, has been one of my favorite additions. There’s a button on you I.E. window that says “Suggested Sites” and it shows a drop down window when clicked of some sites that you may like based on your viewing history. You can go further from there and click “See More Suggested Sites.” I’ve shown a screenshot of that below.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Also really cool is the ability to highlight any words on any website and click on a little blue arrow – it lets you “obtain driving directions, translate and define words, email content to others, search with ease, and more.*” For information about features and the source of that previous quote check out this site. I’ve found just one issue so far with Windows 7. Granted it could be due to the fact that I’m on an evaluation copy, it bothered me nonetheless. It’s when I’m using I.E. 8, the taskbar often beings to flicker out of control. The only way to stop my seizure-like window flashing is to hover or click the task bar enough places until it stops and returns to its normal functioning ways. It’s just a little annoying.

 

5.PNG

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All in all I have been very pleased with Windows 7 and am greatly looking forward to getting it on my college laptop while I’m down at Arizona State. It’s a great new upgrade from Vista and certainly goes leaps and bounds above XP. It’s attracting more of that hip and cool vibe we are all looking for and is easy to use. When deciding on my computer for college, I was stuck in a dilemma that many of us face: the PC I’d always grown up with and could use with my eyes shut, or the Mac with the awesome interface and that oh-so-popular iChat. Well, I think that Win7 sealed the decision for me and has provided a more tech savvy look and an easier smoother transition that what we saw with Windows Vista. Said and done, with only one noticeable glitch, I give Windows7 a total of 4.5 out of 5 stars