Windows 7 - A Quick Feature Roundup of the New Microsoft Operating System

By: Alison Brundle

Eagerly awaited and anticipated by Windows fans around the world, Windows 7 is about to be launched and is full of new features. The Windows operating system is the most widely used computer software in the world, with almost every business, personal computer, laptop and even mobile phone incorporating it into its operations. Notorious for bugs, early systems often caused considerable consternation and much tearing of hair, so the top people at Windows have been working away to smooth out the wrinkles, include new and more user-friendly features and generally bring Windows into the 21st Century.

Improved taskbar

The taskbar at the bottom of your screen is used to launch programs and move between them without having to continually open them during your operation. Before, icons were limited to your usual running programs such as Internet Explorer, email and other primary programs. With Windows 7, you will now be able to 'pin' any program to the taskbar so that it is always just one click away, rather than having to search through your C drive to find it. You will also be able to rearrange the icons just by clicking and dragging. The icons themselves have been made larger, making them much easier to use. By moving your cursor over the icon you will be able to see a thumbnail of every file or window open in that particular program, including a full-screen preview of that window.

Desktop enhancements

Windows 7 has been specifically designed to make it easier to do repetitive tasks and cut down on the amount of effort it takes. One of the most common problems is having two windows open at once and switching between them. Previously, when you wanted to compare two open windows you had to manually resize your open windows to show them side by side. Windows 7 has a new system called Snaps, which allows you to grab a window and pull it to one side of the screen. It will then automatically take up only half the screen, allowing you to see the other window and compare the two at a glance.

Windows 7 is much more interactive. Another thing you may want to do is quickly see your gadgets or grab a file from your desktop. To see your desktop just move your mouse to the lower right corner of your desktop. That'll make all the open Windows transparent-so your desktop is immediately visible. If you want to get all but one window out of your way, you simply grab the top of that window, shake it and all the other open windows will minimise to the taskbar. Shake the window again, and they'll all come back.

Windows Search

If you use the web a lot, you probably start by looking around for a search box. Now you can use the same system to find files on your computer. Originally introduced with Windows Vista, Windows Search helps you find virtually anything on your PC quickly and easily. Windows 7 also makes search results more relevant and easier to understand. If you're looking for a file, email or application, a simple click on the start button will reveal a search box at the bottom of the start menu. By entering a word or file name, you will then get an organised list of results.

Better device management

Windows 7 incorporates a new package called Device Stage, which takes device management a step further. Device Stage helps you interact with any compatible device connected to your computer. From Device Stage you can see device status and run common tasks from a single window. There are even pictures of the devices which makes it really easy to see what's there, so you can see exactly what photos are on your camera, what music you have on your MP3 player and if your printer is active.


This package makes connecting more than one computer to your home network easy. HomeGroup is set up automatically when you add the first PC running Windows 7 to your home network. Adding more PCs running Windows 7 to the HomeGroup is then an easy process. You can specify exactly what you want to share from each PC with all the PCs in the HomeGroup. This makes sharing files across the various PCs in your home as easy as if all your data were on a single hard drive.

View Available Network (VAN)

Windows 7 makes viewing and connecting to all of your networks simple and consistent. You'll always have one-click access to available networks, regardless of whether those networks are based on Wi-Fi, mobile broadband, dial-up, or your corporate VPN. It's particularly useful for those using laptops away from their usual network source.

So Windows 7 aims to make life much simpler and your programs easier to navigate. The advancements in technology have meant that the advent of a far more user-friendly system is finally here - bug-free and very 21st Century.