We've all been playing with Windows 7 for quite some time now, and now that general availability has passed we recently asked the community what their favorite feature of Windows 7 was. We've tallied the results, and just in case you haven't explored these features yet here's an in depth overview of our community's favorite features:
Since the days of Windows XP, Microsoft has continued to simplify the way users can store their data on a PC. Windows 7 has introduced users to a new way of file organization by adding a new structure called libraries. What exactly is a library? By default Windows 7 has four separate libraries: Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos.
Most users store data in different folders across their PC in a somewhat unified manner. Libraries organize all of your data into one view, while leaving the physical location of your files in the folders in which you saved them in. In other words, Libraries monitor the folders you select and provide a single access point to all of your selected data (Music, Pictures, Video, and Documents).
Confused? Let's take another look at my music library. By default the library will monitor the following folders:
Like most people, I use various applications to download music. These programs will normally store music in a designated folder instead of the actual "Music" folder that Windows provides (Unless specified). To include these files in your library, click the "X locations" link underneath the navigation bar.
Then navigate to the folder you want the library to monitor and add the folder. It's as simple as that, now all of your music can be viewed in one library instead of opening multiple windows.
#4 Aero Peek
The addition of the new improved thumbnail previews to the taskbar has led to a new feature called Aero Peek. This feature allows you to simply hover over the thumbnail previews on your taskbar, and easily switch to that application. All other programs fade away into glass sheets.
Jump lists are a fantastic feature that allows users to quickly access application options by right clicking an open application in the taskbar. Internet Explorer's jump list features your most frequently visited websites, the ability to open a new tab, and access your options. A few programs have already started taking advantage of this feature include: Internet Explorer, Zune, Windows Live Messenger, Office 2010, Paint, Windows Media Player, and so on. Check it out:
But they don't stop there; jump lists are also available in your start menu. Applications that opens specific files will have an arrow next to it and when hovered over will show a list of your most recent documents allowing you to quickly launch files.
Image courtesy of TechRepublic.com
One of the most simplistic yet widely liked features in Windows 7 is the 'Superbar' (A.K.A. the taskbar), as Microsoft likes to call it. Applications that are running will appear in the form of an icon with a gentle glowing gradient as shown below:
Applications with multiple windows open will have extra overlays:
One of the cooler features of the Superbar is if an application is in the process of downloading or copying a file. The Superbar provides a progress bar throughout the icon of the program:
#1 Aero Snap
The number one feature that Neowinians like in Windows 7 is undoubtedly Aero Snap. Aero Snap is a very simple feature that allows you to quickly organize open windows. The feature allows you to simply drag windows to the top, bottom, left, or right side of your screen.
There is also hotkeys that allow you to quickly use Aero Snap: Windows Key+Left/Right/Up/Down.
Discover other features in Windows 7 by viewing our other feature overviews:
- Windows 7: HomeGroup Overview
- Windows 7: BitLocker To Go & Biometric improvements overview
- Windows 7: Easy Connect
- Windows 7: Problem Steps Recorder
- Windows 7: Action Center Overview
- Windows 7: User Account Control (UAC) Overview
- Windows 7: Calibate Your Display
- Windows 7: Federated Search
- Windows 7: Device Stage
- Windows 7: Internet Explorer 8 Overview
- Windows 7: Explorer Search Overview
- Windows 7: Windows Backup Overview