The official launch of the Windows 7 operating system gets closer every week and will be here if all goes well in October. Today I am going to look at a few of the features of Windows 7 that we can look forward to. Much of the basic functionality of Windows 7 is improved from Vista. I am going to go through the features of Windows 7 three at a time over the coming weeks until we have a full picture of what the new OS will offer us. The first feature that Microsoft says it has improved is the desktop with an improved taskbar preview, bigger icons, pinning, and other ways to personalize. Dealing with multiple open windows can be a pain in any version of Windows. Microsoft has added three new ways to deal with windows.
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One of the ways to deal with windows is Aero Shake where to get to a specific window you just click a window and shake your mouse and all the other open windows except the one you clicked on minimize automatically. Another of the way Windows 7 deals with multiple open windows is Aero Peak. This feature allows you to look through all of your open windows and see your desktop. This allows you to get to icons and gadgets on your desktop covered by open windows without having to minimize or move lots of windows around. Peek is only included in the Home Premium, Pro, and Ultimate editions of Windows 7.
The last of the new features for dealing with open windows is Snap. This is a new way of resizing windows by dragging them to the edge of your screen. Depending on which edge you drag the open window to will expand vertically to fill the screen and you can use the feature to position two windows side-by-side.
Another new feature of the operating system is HomeGroup designed to make sharing files and printers on a home network easier to do. The only catch is that to use the feature you need at least two Windows 7 computers on a network. I am not sure how the HomeGroup handles Vista or XP machines on a network. The feature adds a new share with menus that makes it very easy to share content like files and pictures between users on a network. Any version of Windows 7 can join a home group, but they can only be created by Home Premium, Professional, or Ultimate versions.
Windows 7 also has a new feature called Jump Lists that will take you to documents, pictures, songs or websites that you turn to each day. Opening a Jump List is done by right-clicking a program icon on the Windows 7 taskbar. The Jump Lists vary depending on the program that you are viewing. Microsoft says that the Jump List for IE 8 will show frequently viewed websites while the Jump List for Windows Media Player 12 lists commonly played tunes. You can pin anything you want to a Jump List for a specific program according to Microsoft. Some Jump Lists will allow you to quickly access commands like making new email messages.