Scheduled maintenance alerts, system outages, and other important information
One of the most obvious things that is different about Windows 7 is what Microsoft did with the Task Bar. With larger pinned icons that quickly and easily navigate through the various tasks being done, Windows 7 makes the old Quick Launch a distant memory. If you are hit with a bit of nostalgia, then just Bing “quick launch windows 7” for directions on how to get it back – but believe me, you won’t miss it. With this improved Task Bar, you can switch around how the programs are ordered, get full screen previews and even pin more of your favorite programs directly to it. Right- click on any of the icons, and you get a “Jump List” that shows the recent files (or web pages) used by that program – and yes, you can pin your favorites there too. Windows 7 makes navigating downright fun and fast.
With Windows 7, setting up a home network turns literally into a no-brainer. Setting up a home network that actually worked well in older versions of Windows sometimes was not something that the feint of heart would want to attempt, but the Windows 7 HomeGroup feature makes it a down right sin NOT to set up all your PCs with a home network. Not only do you get the essential files shared (photos, music, videos, documents), but you can literally make one of your PCs a multimedia hub feeding streaming entertainment to the other PCs on the network (you can even access your media remotely with “remote media streaming”). For HomeGroup functionality as well as remote media streaming, you do need the PCs to all be running Windows 7 – but really, you’d want to because it IS that slick and easy!
One of the big gripes about Windows Vista was that it needed A LOT of horsepower behind it to really run effectively. With Windows 7, you not only get vastly improved boot up times, but you get snappier program response, better recover from sleep time and faster shut down time. All around Windows 7 is leaner, meaner and just that much better than all other versions of Windows before it. It basically does more with what you have (there’s even a version of Windows 7 for cheaper netbooks). With laptops, because of Windows 7’s better power management and its very cool location aware printing features (it switched default printers between the home and office), Windows 7 will quickly become your operating system of choice. Believe me, if you’re a Windows XP holdout, Windows 7 will quickly make you a convert!
Microsoft looked for a way to improve its handling of devices and in Windows 7 it has hit a home run. Cell phones, digital cameras, music players, printers old and new, even your PC – Windows 7 has made one easy place to manage all your device
One of the really nice features that Windows Vista introduced to the Windows family was the Search Box in the Start Menu. Honestly, it is like regressing going from that back to Windows XP and having to root around with its search functions. With Windows 7 you get that search box on steroids. It is now faster, more inclusive and easier to use than before. Want to find out what’s new in Windows 7, just click on Start and type in the search box: “what’s new with Windows 7”; or perhaps you are looking for ways to get started with windows 7, then simply type in “getting started”; or perhaps you’re thinking or getting started with HomeGroup, then type in, you guessed it: “HomeGroup”. It works great with searching your documents, photos and music too (down to a word or phrase included a document). Basically, you find the things you are looking for faster and easier than ever before.
Windows 7 has taken actually using your open windows on the desktop and whipping them into shape to a whole ‘nother level with Snap. With the snap feature, you simply “snap” the windows against the side of the screen to resize and arrange them. For example, you can take a window, drag it by its top border to the top of the screen and it “snaps” into maximized size. Do it again to that window and it returns to its previous size. You can even snap two windows side by side for easy comparison. The similar “shake” feature lets you grab the top border of an open windows and with a quick “shake” of the mouse, make all the other windows minimize. The Peek feature is kind of like the old “show desktop” from the quick launch bar – but with a twist. This handy little button on the far right of the task bar (right next to the clock) will minimize all the windows when clicked on once, and bring them back again with another click – but if you hover over it with out clicking you can “peek” at your windows desktop (including any gadgets you have).
As we have seen, Windows 7 is quite a robust operating system in itself. Microsoft had the forethought to also add what they call “Live Essentials” to the mix. This is a set of free programs that you can pick and choose from in one convenient package. They are downloaded, so you will need internet access (which if you’re reading this Tech Tip – you more than likely already have). With Live Essentials for Windows 7, (which is a little different than the Windows Live Essentials package for other versions of Windows) , you get a bunch of free basic programs such as a photo editor, an e-mail program, instant messenger, etc. Not to be overlooked is Microsoft’s newly released “Security Essentials” package that provides virus, malware and spyware protection for your PC. And not to be overlooked is the greatest flexibility ever offered with a Windows package. With Windows 7, you can quickly and easily turn on and off Windows features to suit your needs (such as Internet Explorer and Windows Media Player).
So, give Windows 7 a go and we’re sure you’ll find that it is simply the best operating system that Microsoft has ever put out.
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