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Dated: Nov. 05, 2009
Related CategoriesWindows 7
by Rinch Anderson
If you're one of the squillions of people who think Windows Vista's numerous and incredible improvements over Windows XP are ace, that it's worth every penny, that it's everything it promised to be and more, then go back to the universe you came from, you don't belong here! If, however, you are not a space alien from an alternate dimension, here are 7 reasons why you might think Windows 7 is the coolest Windows... evah.
1. User Interface
There's no denying it, the clever bees at Microsoft have finally developed a user interface that is actively cool. This must be the nicest upgrade in the history of Windows. The improvements to Vista's hum-ho Aero interface are, in a word, schmick! Gone is the old Quicklaunch toolbar. In its place the new integrated taskbar where you can 'pin' your favorite apps, mouseover the taskbar button to see a live preview of an active app's open windows, left-click on one to switch to that window, right-click to bring up the new Jump list, or mouseover the show desktop button to peek at the new desktop slideshow through the transparent frames of your open windows. You can access settings for all these features through the new personalization control panel. This is how your desktop should be.
2. Keyboard Shortcuts
Windows 7 includes several new keyboard shortcuts with a coolness deserving special mention. You can finally add a new folder instantly with
ctrl shift N – no more wading through right click menus. It doesn't stop there either, there are a swathe of new shortcuts to try... Zoom with
win +/-, open apps from the taskbar with
win N (where n is the taskbar slot number), preview your desktop with
win G to see your gadgets,
win arrow to snap the active window left, right, up or down, or even
win X to see an exploded X-ray view of the computer you're using (ok not really, this opens the Windows Mobility Center) – the list scrolls on...
3. Jump Lists to Navigate
One of the first cool things you'll notice is that right clicking a Windows 7 taskbar button brings up a Jump List so you can quickly access recent documents or special features of that program. You can save time by opening your most visited websites directly from the jump list. Pin your favorite apps to the taskbar to use these cool features when the app is closed.
4. Better User Account Control
The infamous User Account Control too, is finally a little bit cool... well, way cooler than before anyway! Until now, UAC was a horrible implementation of a fair idea to protect users from evil. Unfortunately, it was so annoying that most savvy users turned it off completely. Windows 7 does this better – way better! There's now a GUI with a slider control that lets the user select between being notified for almost everything, most things, or nothing at all. Done proper like and not nearly as annoying.
5. Fantastic Hardware Support
Hardware support out of the box is so cool that just about every device from everywhere has a functioning driver – even old stuff. Extensive public beta testing has ensured that there are thousands upon thousands of functional drivers available in Microsoft's database plus an extensive support network for troubleshooting. Microsoft has made a considerable effort here and this is what will make the difference to most users. It is a real joy to install a new operating system and boot up for the first time into a desktop with every device functioning perfectly.
NB: Combine with a fast internet connection for that special happy feeling
6. Run Windows 7 On Your Old PC
One easily overlooked fact about 7 that makes it genuinely cool is that it will install on old machines which couldn't run Vista. If you've got aging hardware that wouldn't upgrade to Vista, you might be surprised to learn that Windows 7 is leaner and meaner and a LOT more compatible with older systems – give it a try and see if Windows 7 can't inject some new life into your old clunker.
7. Make the Switch to 64-bit
The ultimate coolness of x64. Nearly all systems sold in the last few years sport 64-bit architecture. Windows x64 was introduced with Windows XP and it has grown in popularity and support with Vista. Now, vendors are properly supporting 64-bit and you can expect to see significant performance increases when using the 64-bit version of your application in Windows 7 x64. 32-bit applications are still supported using Windows on Windows64, so there's no reason to wait! Whether you're an Intel insider or into AMD, it's definitely time to make the switch.
All this adds up to a singularly impressive operating system. It's almost as if someone at Microsoft has been paying attention. Were they actually listening when they asked "Where do you want to go today?"
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