Windows 7

Windows 7 - News, Features, and Slideshows


  • Windows 7 uptake could be stalled by economy

    The turbulent economy could hinder enterprise adoption of Windows 7, even though many companies opted to skip Windows Vista and are still running Windows XP OS, analysts say.

  • Microsoft denies Windows 7 UAC vulnerability

    Microsoft is denying that there is a security hole in the User Account Control (UAC) feature of Windows 7 after a blogger reported it last week and posted what he said was a fix for it.

  • Windows 7 first impressions and Microsoft's XP quandary

    After downloading the Windows 7 beta last week and tossing it on a VM, I finally made the move and selected it as my default Windows installation. Normally, my Windows desktops are VMs that I RDP into from my Macs, via the VMware Workstation console on my big Linux workstation where they run. However, I have an IBM Intellistation zPro running Vista that's my 'big box' Windows install. It has been powered off for a few weeks now. Instead, I opted to take an HP 2710p tablet and turn it into my physical Windows 7 box, at least to start with.
    There was nothing special about the installation, except for the fact that it thankfully only takes a few clicks. Much to my surprise, however, when the 2710p booted post-installation, just about every piece of hardware was accurately detected and available. A few pieces missed the cut, such as the fingerprint reader, but Windows 7 helpfully pointed that out and even gave me a link to download the Windows 7 driver and software for it. That was very handy.
    The new taskbar is supposedly the killer feature of Windows 7, and it's certainly an improvement over every other taskbar implementation Microsoft has introduced. Unlike some others, however, I don't see this as besting Apple's Dock, but it's definitely a better alternative to anything found in Windows XP or Vista. However, the fact that clicking on an open application icon in the taskbar doesn't actually bring that application window into focus if it has multiple open windows drives me nuts. You have to click the icon, then select the window you want — too much mousing around.
    After reading Tim Sneath's "Bumper List of Windows 7 Secrets," I opted to place the taskbar to the left of the screen, and I find it handier on smaller screens.
    The eye candy when hovering over active applications is nifty, and it makes window selection simpler to some degree, with the caveats noted above. Microsoft even introduced single-app window selections, a la Mac OS X's Cmd-~ switcher, but it's really annoying to access. To only switch between windows in the active application, you must hold down the Ctrl key and repeatedly click the icon in the taskbar. This is less than useful. There's an Alt key and a tilde key on this keyboard — use them.
    Fast application switching is a problem on Windows now and will continue to be in the future. The issue is the Alt-Tab method of switching between open windows, which is only useful if you have a small number of open windows. When you have dozens, it's fairly useless. When this switching method was first introduced, there simply wasn't enough horsepower to have dozens of windows open anyway and so it didn't matter. Times have changed, however. Apple's method of using Cmd-Tab to switch between applications, and Cmd-~ to switch between windows in that application is a much better design.
    All the Vista-compatible applications I've tried have successfully started and run under Windows 7 beta, including several that were problematic under Vista, such as the ShoreTel client. There are the normal UAC annoyances, but they can be disabled just like Vista if you like to live on the edge. As with all my Windows installations, I paid the performance penalty and installed a virus scanner and Windows Defender to keep an eye out for viruses and malware.
    This being a tablet, I was able to test those features too. It's much the same as with Vista, no problems there. Of course, with my newfound use of the left-hand taskbar, I had to move the Tablet Input Panel to the right-hand side of the screen. It might be a little faster than Vista, but I haven't noticed any significant increase in performance on this laptop and I'm not going to run benchmarks on beta code.
    So Windows 7 is very nice and all and perhaps it is the best iteration of Windows yet, but there really isn't that much there, other than the improved taskbar. When Apple released Leopard, there were significant feature additions and improvements, such as Spaces, Time Machine and so forth. That type of step forward seems to be missing from Windows 7. In addition, there's still no compelling reason for businesses to switch from Windows XP and that's Microsoft's biggest problem of all.
    For the majority of business users, Windows XP and Office 97 or 2000 are more than enough to handle day-to-day business tasks. In this economy, upgrading functional server and desktop operating systems isn't in the budget, especially when there's no business reason to do so. This isn't a secret, since the corporate response to Vista was lukewarm at best. Those who jumped on the Vista bandwagon initially, certainly aren't going to be thrilled to make another leap to Windows 7 so soon. I do know that I'm in absolutely no hurry to move away from Windows XP as the corporate desktop except in some extreme cases — it's just not worth it.
    This leaves Microsoft selling to home users and power users, while also relying on the OEM installations to push copies of Windows. The problem there is that by working on Windows 7 so soon after Vista's launch, Microsoft has effectively orphaned Vista — why buy a copy now when Windows 7 is right around the corner?
    In a nutshell, did Microsoft peak with Windows XP?

  • Review: Windows 7 beta shows off task bar, UI goodies

    The just-released Beta 1 version of Windows 7 is a solid, fast-performing, stable operating system that appears to be just about fully baked and ready for prime time. It is much further along than Windows Vista was during its initial beta phase, and it appears to be feature-complete. Based on the stability and speed of this beta, don't be surprised if Microsoft releases Windows 7 before 2010 rolls around.

  • Windows 7 leaks to Web, pirates downloading

    Leaked copies of Windows 7 hit the Internet only hours after Microsoft handed out a preview build to developers last week, according to searches at several BitTorrent tracking sites.

  • Windows 7 sees MS taking aim at Google

    After some details were unveiled at Microsoft's Professional Developers Conference last week, the outline of the new operating system is taking shape. What you won't see when that alpha comes out is the way that Microsoft will try to use Windows 7 as a Trojan horse in its war against Google.

  • Windows 7 alpha at PDC: Microsoft

    Microsoft has confirmed that it will hand out preview copies of Windows 7 to attendees at this month's Professional Developers Conference (PDC).

  • Windows 7: Seven upcoming developments

    One stone-cold fact about Windows 7 is that we need more stone-cold facts in order to understand the new operating system that is likely to arrive in early 2010.