What is Windows 7?
Windows 7 is the latest member of the Windows OS family and improves upon it's predecessor, Vista, in many ways. Windows 7 Ultimate is the most powerful edition of Windows 7 and has several features not included with the Stater, Home Premium, or Professional versions. The overall goal of this new operating system is to provide an aesthetically pleasing user interface, along with easy to use entertainment options, business capabilities, and other extras.
It even allows its users to run a number of Windows XP productivity programs in its Windows XP mode. Also, for the security conscious the option to encrypt your documents with BitLocker or BitLocker To Go is available. As an added bonus users have the flexibility to work in 35 different languages. Windows 7 Ultimate is truly the operating system of choice for all those who require a professional environment to work in that provides ease-of-use, a variety of entertainment options, power, and versatility.
With Windows 7 Ultimate you can easily simplify everyday tasks with new navigation features such as Aero Shake and Snap. Aero shake allows you to focus on one window simply by selecting a window of interest and shaking the mouse back and forth. After this all other windows disappear, to reverse this effect simply repeat the process to make all the windows reappear. Another useful navigation feature is "Snap" which allows you to resize windows for comparison or greater ease-of-use just by dragging them to the edge of the screen. Using this method windows can be made to expand in any direction or even to take up the entire screen. These and other new navigation features included in Windows 7 make it quite simple to use while being productive as well.
The Windows 7 Ultimate OS also markedly improves on Windows Vista in several key departments making it far superior to its predecessor. It takes full advantage of 64-bit PC hardware and memory which is quickly becoming the standard in both the desktop and laptop industry. The OS is also designed to make your PC both sleep and resume quickly so you don't have to wait. It also consumes less system resources when running so that you are provided with a faster system for either work or play.
The best version of the newest operating system on the block has a whole lot to offer. Perfect for handling both professional and everyday tasks Windows 7 seems to have it all. If you're in the market for a new OS and require a blend of power, versatility, and user-friendliness the Ultimate Version of Windows 7 is probably for you. Correcting all the mistakes made in Vista and adding great new features has truly made Windows 7 Ultimate the operating system of choice.
1. Problem Steps Recorder
As the local PC guru you're probably very used to friends and family asking for help with their computer problems, yet having no idea how to clearly describe what's going on. It's frustrating, but Microsoft feels your pain, and Windows 7 will include an excellent new solution in the Problem Steps Recorder.
When any app starts misbehaving under Windows 7 then all your friends need do is click Start, type PSR and press Enter, then click Start Record. If they then work through whatever they're doing then the Problem Steps Recorder will record every click and keypress, take screen grabs, and package everything up into a single zipped MHTML file when they're finished, ready for emailing to you. It's quick, easy and effective, and will save you hours of troubleshooting time.
2. Burn images
Windows 7 finally introduces a feature that other operating systems have had for years ? the ability to burn ISO images to CDs or DVDs. And it couldn't be much easier to use. Just double-click the ISO image, choose the drive with the blank disc, click Burn and watch as your disc is created.
3. Create and mount VHD files
Microsoft's Virtual PC creates its virtual machine hard drives in VHD files, and Windows 7 can now mount these directly so you can access them in the host system. Click Start, type diskmgmt.msc and press Enter, then click Action > Attach VHD and choose the file you'd like to mount. It will then appear as a virtual drive in Explorer and can be accessed, copied or written just like any other drive.
Click Action > Create VHD and you can now create a new virtual drive of your own (right-click it, select Initialise Disk, and after it's set up right-click the unallocated space and select New Simple Volume to set this up). Again, you'll be left with a virtual drive that behaves just like any other, where you can drag and drop files, install programs, test partitioning software or do whatever you like. But it's actually just this VHD file on your real hard drive which you can easily back up or share with others. Right-click the disk (that's the left-hand label that says "Disk 2" or whatever) and select Detach VHD to remove it.
The command line DISKPART utility has also been upgraded with tools to detach a VHD file, and an EXPAND command to increase a virtual disk's maximum size. Don't play around with this unless you know what you're doing, though ? it's all too easy to trash your system.
4. Troubleshoot problems
If some part of Windows 7 is behaving strangely, and you don't know why, then click Control Panel > Find and fix problems (or 'Troubleshooting') to access the new troubleshooting packs. These are simple wizards that will resolve common problems, check your settings, clean up your system and more.
5. Startup repair
If you've downloaded Windows 7 (and even if you haven't) it's a good idea to create a system repair disc straight away in case you run into problems booting the OS later on. Click Start > Maintenance > Create a System Repair Disc, and let Windows 7 build a bootable emergency disc. If the worst does happen then it could be the only way to get your PC running again.
6. Take control
Tired of the kids installing dubious software or running applications you'd rather they left alone? AppLocker is a new Windows 7 feature that ensures users can only run the programs you specify. Don't worry, that's easier to set up than it sounds: you can create a rule to allow everything signed by a particular publisher, so choose Microsoft, say, and that one rule will let you run all signed Microsoft applications. Launch GPEDIT.MSC and go to Computer Configuration > Windows Settings > Security Settings > Application Control Policies > AppLocker to get a feel for how this works.
7. Calculate more
At first glance the Windows 7 calculator looks just like Vista's version, but explore the Mode menu and you'll see powerful new Statistics and Programmer views. And if you're clueless about bitwise manipulation, then try the Options menu instead. This offers many different unit conversions (length, weight, volume and more), date calculations (how many days between two dates?), and spreadsheet-type templates to help you calculate vehicle mileage, mortgage rates and more.
Don't take any Windows 7 applet at face value, then ? there are some very powerful new features hidden in the background. Be sure to explore every option in all Windows applets to ensure you don't miss anything important.
8. Switch to a projector
Windows 7 now provides a standard way to switch your display from one monitor to another, or a projector ? just press Win+P or run DisplaySwitch.exe and choose your preferred display. (This will have no effect if you've only one display connected.)
9. Get a power efficiency report
If you have a laptop, you can use the efficiency calculator to get Windows 7 to generate loads of useful information about its power consumption. Used in the right way, this can help you make huge gains in terms of battery life and performance. To do this you must open a command prompt as an administrator by typing 'cmd' in Start Search, and when the cmd icon appears, right-click it and choose Run as administrator.
Then at the command line, just type in 'powercfg -energy' (without quotes) and hit Return, and Windows 7 will scan your system looking for ways to improve power efficiency. It will then publish the results in an HTML file, usually in the System32 folder. Just follow the path it gives you to find your report.
10. Understanding System Restore
Using System Restore in previous versions of Windows has been something of a gamble. There's no way of telling which applications or drivers it might affect ? you just have to try it and see.
Windows 7 is different. Right-click Computer, select Properties > System Protection > System Restore > Next, and choose the restore point you'd like to use. Click the new button to 'Scan for affected programs' and Windows will tell you which (if any) programs and drivers will be deleted or recovered by selecting this restore point.
11. Set the time zone
System administrators will appreciate the new command line tzutil.exe utility, which lets you set a PC's time zone from scripts. If you wanted to set a PC to Greenwich Mean Time, for instance, you'd use the command
tzutil /s "gmt standard time"
The command "tzutil /g" displays the current time zone, "tzutil /l" lists all possible time zones, and "tzutil /?" displays details on how the command works.
12. Calibrate your screen
The colours you see on your screen will vary depending on your monitor, graphics cards settings, lighting and more, yet most people use the same default Windows colour profile. And that means a digital photo you think looks perfect might appear very poor to everybody else. Fortunately Windows 7 now provides a Display Colour Calibration Wizard that helps you properly set up your brightness, contrast and colour settings, and a ClearType tuner to ensure text is crisp and sharp. Click Start, type DCCW and press Enter to give it a try.
13. Right-click everything
At first glance Windows 7 bears a striking resemblance to Vista, but there's an easy way to begin spotting the differences ? just right-click things.
Right-click an empty part of the desktop, for instance, and you'll find a menu entry to set your screen resolution. No need to go browsing through the display settings any more.
Right-click the Explorer icon on the taskbar for speedy access to common system folders: Documents, Pictures, the Windows folder, and more.
And if you don't plan on using Internet Explorer then you probably won't want its icon permanently displayed on the taskbar. Right-click the icon, select 'Unpin this program from the taskbar', then go install Firefox, instead.
14. Desktop slideshow
Windows 7 comes with some very attractive new wallpapers, and it's not always easy to decide which one you like the best. So why not let choose a few, and let Windows display them all in a desktop slideshow? Right-click an empty part of the desktop, select Personalise > Desktop Background, then hold down Ctrl as you click on the images you like. Choose how often you'd like the images to be changed (anything from daily to once every 10 seconds), select Shuffle if you'd like the backgrounds to appear in a random order, then click Save Changes and enjoy the show.