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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Five Ways Windows 7 Improves on Vista


I’ve spent the last couple hours tinkering with the Windows 7 beta, which is running in a dual-boot configuration on a fairly low-powered Acer Aspire notebook. The verdict? So far, so good.

I haven’t done any performance testing yet, but I have discovered some things about Windows 7 that should please anyone who’s constantly rolling their eyes at Vista’s shortcomings:

  1. When you right-click the desktop, there’s a new context-menu entry: Screen Resolution. In Vista, you had to delve deep into the annoying Personalization menu to change the resolution setting.
  2. When you click Start, there’s now a “Shut Down” button instead of that vague power icon (which in Vista defaults to Standby mode, inexplicably).
  3. Speaking of which, Windows 7 seems to shut down significantly faster than Vista.
  4. There’s an Explorer icon right on the Taskbar! No, not Internet Explorer (though that’s there, too), but rather Windows’ File Explorer. I’ve often wondered why Microsoft always buries this important tool.
  5. The Connection menu that resides in the System Tray has been greatly simplified. It no longer requires a separate dialog to choose and connect to a network — you can do both right in the little pop-up window.

Not everything is perfect. For example, I can’t figure out how to enable the thumbnail previews that are supposed to appear when you mouse over an app in the Taskbar. But for the most part, I’m liking what I’m seeing.

How about you? Have you tried the beta yet? If so, hit the Comments and share your thoughts! If you didn’t get to it this weekend, don’t worry: Microsoft has extended the Windows 7 download deadline through January 24 and removed the initial 2.5 million-download limit.



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