Windows 7 – the full details, with screenshots

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windows-7-taskbar.pngOkay, as promised, here’s the lowdown on Windows 7 – Microsoft’s new operating system – which could be launched as early as the middle of next year.

The UI is rather different to XP and Vista, contrary to what I said the other day about things not changing much. The taskbar is the biggest change – you can see it above. All words have been replaced with big icons, which then show window previews when you move your cursor over them.

windows-7-jump-lists.pngIf you right-click the icons, then a menu comes up called a “jump list”. That could include recently used files, save games, playback options, or anything else the developer wants to add. Quite handy, I suppose.

The start menu hasn’t changed drastically – frequent and recent files are given more prominence, but other than that, the changes that arrived in Vista are still in place, including the awesome search box.

windows-7-desktop-peeking.pngWindows management is very different, though. You can drag a window to the top of the screen to maximise it, or off the top to restore it. You can also drag windows to the left and right edges of the screen to make them take up 50% of the monitor – for ease of multitasking.

You can also ‘peek’ at Windows – exposing them briefly, just so you can see any important info, without fully switching to them. You can also ‘peek’ at the desktop – very useful because the sidebar has been binned in favour of just putting gadgets on the desktop.

windows-7-system-tray.pngLastly, let’s talk System Tray. Is yours a repository of useless applications that only function occasionally when you plug obscure gadgets in? Mine is. In Windows 7, applications won’t be allowed to just show up there – you have to explicitly approve their presence there. If you don’t approve things, they simply won’t be seen.

So those are the big Windows 7 UI changes. I’m sure more stuff will surface over time and, as previously mentioned, there’ll likely be a beta towards the start of next year. Can’t wait. Can you?

Microsoft PDC (via Ars Technica)

Related posts: Windows 7 to be unveiled | Microsoft revealing “technical information” regarding Windows 7 in October, says W7 dev blog

Duncan Geere

5 comments

  • Very nicely written post it contains useful information for me. I am happy to find your distinguished way of writing the post. Now you make it easy for me to understand and implement the concept. Thank you for the post.
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  • There is an alternative MAC OS X – how many idea’s have Micro$oft stolen from Apple. peek = quick look, look at Dock windows 7 start menu, jump list =stacks, the list is endless

    • Apple has taken just as many ideas from Windows over the years. Besides, the end goal is a great user experience, so I don’t really mind who has stolen from who, as long as the best features end up in the OS I’m using.

  • Can’t wait to see what supercomputer spec they will print on the System Requirements. Maybe the Linux community will make one big push soon to make it a real alternative as I still have to use windows for some things 🙁

    • They’re apparently planning for it to be very scalable, targeting netbooks as a market, so I don’t imagine the sys reqs will be too egregious. I agree that it’d be nice if Linux was a real alternative, however.

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