Windows 7: Changes since beta for the RC

After a long post yesterday by Steven regarding Windows 7 feedback, which focussed heavily on how Microsoft was gathering the feedback for Windows 7 and the feedback process, the E7 blog has posted the changes that users will see from Windows 7 beta to RC.

Steven emphasized in his last post that Microsoft takes users feedback very seriously and are committed to it

"The work of acting on feedback responsibly and managing the development of Windows through all phases of the process is something we are very sincere about. Internally we've talked a lot about being a learning organization and how we're always learning how to do a better job, improve the work we do, and in the process work to make Windows even better. We take this approach as individuals and how we view building Windows. We know we will continue to have tough choices to make as everyone who builds products understands and what you have is our commitment to continue to use all the tools available to make sure we are building the best Windows 7 we can build."

Chaitanya from the E7 team has posted a detailed list of various changes in Windows 7 from beta to RC based upon customer feedback. Though there are number of bug fixes, performance improvements, compatibility fixes, we are more concerned on the changes in these three areas - User Experience, Find and Organize and Devices and Media. Below are some of the impressive changes amongst the various other changes highlighted in the blog post

Aero Peeks meets Alt-Tab

Many users who love aero peek (including me) wanted to have it implemented when flipping windows using the Alt-Tab keys. Now, this change has been added to RC. Users can still quickly flip through all the windows, but when you want to see more information about a particular window, aero peek would appear and this is triggered by a time delay while flipping windows.

More Shortcuts

One of the areas where Windows 7 received positive feedback was the new keyboard shortcuts introduced. As usual, we users wanted more (and still want more!) and here are few more shortcuts added to RC:

Windows Logo + <#> - opens an application corresponding to its order in the superbar (this is already present in the current beta)

  • Windows Logo + <#> and Windows Logo + <#> (pressing twice) - Switches to the corresponding application to its order in the superbar
  • SHIFT + Windows Logo + <#> - Opens application corresponding to its order in the superbar
  • Holding the Windows Logo + tapping the <#> - Cycle through various windows in the same application, like tabs in IE
  • ALT + Windows Logo + <#> - Access programs' Jump List
  • CTRL + Windows Logo + <#> - Flip back to last active window
  • CTRL + mouse click on a superbar button - Flip back to last active window

Needy Window

In the current beta, the flashing animation which alerts when users require attention, like the messenger window when you receive a message, is very limited to 3 flashes. It is very easy to miss the alert and thus now it is increased to seven flashes!

Improvements to Color Hot-Track

One of the ways to differentiate between running and not-running applications in superbar is using the color hot-track. But this color hot-track is lost when the mouse hovers over taskbar thumbnails. In RC, the color hot-track stays active even when the mouse hovers over taskbar thumbnails!

Desktop Icons and Gadgets improvement

In Beta it was impossible to separate desktop icons from gadgets under the View setting available by right-clicking on the desktop. In RC, users can opt to hide just the gadgets or just the desktop icons.

User Account Control

This change was obvious as Microsoft had already confirmed that they are going to implement the change in RC. Due to this change, now users will get a prompt for any modification made to the UAC Control Panel

Cleaner Now Playing view in Media Player

Microsoft has responded with a visual update that is more lightweight and compact to the Now Playing view in WMP, based on customers' feedback. However, there is no screenshot posted to see those changes.

Easier access to advanced settings

I myself was frustrated when I couldn't find the Advanced Settings (equalizer, visualisations, enhancements) options in the Windows Media Player from the main window. However, they were accessible only via the List Pane Options in the Now Playing mode. Microsoft has responded to this and these options are now available via the Now Playing context menu under Enhancements.

Windows Logo+E shortcut

In Vista, Windows Logo+E launches "Computer" Explorer, but in current Windows 7 beta, it launches Libraries which is quite confusing and a change in a behavior which was prevalent for a long time! Microsoft has changed back this behavior and now in RC, Windows Logo+E will launch "Computer" Explorer.

These are not the only changes that are to be made available in the Windows 7 RC. To know more about the other changes, visit the E7 blog post.

Having seen the various feedback submitted by other users and by myself for Windows 7 , I am very much satisfied with these changes for the RC. It is not possible for Microsoft to satisfy every user, but the changes highlighted here clearly shows that Microsoft is indeed taking an open approach to the Windows 7 feedback program.

Lets all hope now that Windows 7 RC gets released as expected and move to RTM soon!

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andrewbares,

If you have 24 in display, it takes much time to move mouse to the other side (as basically you always keep mouse more in left, right? That's where open programs shows up, etc...

Yes, I could add short cut, but they could just add "quick launch" icon enabling in some settings and all fixed

Win+Alt+#
Seriuosly? I better start stretching my fingers before the RC is released.

Let's hope it also works with AltGr, i don't have any windows-button on the right side, using both left buttons is impossible

I think you should be given an option to choose where you store your personal files. This could easily be done during installation or when creating users. Then you could have your files stored on a non-system partition, and you could easily format your primary partition whenever needed, without having to backup your files.

This has in some way gotten easier with the introduction of libraries, but still your files are stored i the c:users folder as default.

Not exactly catching my point here. I already have the partition, I would just like so specify it as the default location to all of my files. (Not having to manually edit the path of "my pictures", "my music", etc...)

All of this yet they still don't allow you to use an ATSC tuner in MCE when in Canada. Their guide info has all the ATSC channels in Canada, yet it doesn't allow you to configure the tuner when you select Canada as the region. The funny thing is that choosing the region as USA near the border gives you the guide for some of these channels...Microsoft, we don't live in an igloo with no power, FIX THIS!

I wish they could add a small number overlay on the icons in the taskbar once you hit and hold the start button. Having more than 4-5 of them it would be hard to quickly know if you should hit that 7 or 8 to start (or switch too) a particular applikation.

carpediem said,
I wish they could add a small number overlay on the icons in the taskbar once you hit and hold the start button. Having more than 4-5 of them it would be hard to quickly know if you should hit that 7 or 8 to start (or switch too) a particular applikation.

Since they're pinned to where you put them, surely you'd end up just learning which number applies to which application?

I guess it would be useful when you're doing something on someone else's computer.

Here is another tidbit in the Super Bar that most users don't know about. . .I.E.: drag the MS Word icon to the Super Bar, once it is pinned then go into your documents folder and drag Word document down to the Word icon and drop it onto the icon. Now then do that with as many Word documents as you want; now right click on the Word icon and a list of the documents will appear. There you go can't be any simpler than that, now click on the document you want and it will open.

I have done this with Acrobat, Excel, Faststone, and other applications. Once it is setup the only chances you need to make are those files you want to delete or add to the icons on the Super Bar.

There are more major features that they state then what neowin has posted.

Windows Media Player will now NATIVELY support MOV files now.

Actually Brandon Live, I've noticed that when you move or copy to or from Documents or Music and other libraries it has in the menu for example Document>MyDocuments>X. X being the file or folder name. It is pretty pointless having that as Document and My Documents and Music and My Music and so on are the same folder.

Actually, I would say that pictures makes even MORE sense to name it 'My Documents,' because it defines which documents are under 'My' (your) account, and which ones are either public or shared across the network. It's that important contrast which helps people understand ownership, since the new Libraries will incorporate multiple media sources across different computers/devices over the network.

Plus, it adds an extra level of legacy support for older applications. The biggest gripe people had with XP wasn't the 'My' before each folder; It was the fact that 'My Documents' was a junk-drawer for every file, instead of being a separate folder dedicated to just documents.

The one thing I'm not sure if it was fixed is this:

If I'm playing a DVD in Media Center, I don't appreciate having Media Player spawn in the background and playing the DVD as well... so if i pause the movie in Media Center, the background movie's still playing.

The fix is to simply turn off Autoplay for DVDs. But at least for the sake of computer newbies, don't start Media Player if Media Center's already running.

The one change in 'Windows 7' that I find totally idiotic is labelling the 'Documents' folder as 'My Documents' and the 'Music' folder as 'My Music' and so on. This was something Microsoft had finally fixed in Vista but for some inconceievable reason they have gone back to using the stupid 'My' with all the personal folders. I wish they would revert to the way ti was in Vista.

33. Reviving familiar entry points

Mando writes, "In Win7 the Win+E shortcut opens an explorer window but the path is "Libraries" instead (which isn't where I want to go most of the time). Is there a way to configure the target folder of "Win+E" or is there an alternate shortcut that will get me to the "Computer" path like it did in Vista?" RC reverts the behavior and now the shortcut will launch the "Computer" Explorer. Also, we changed the link in Start Menu -> Username to match the Vista behavior.

It only makes sense ... clicking on libraries and your username took you to the same place in beta... glad they fixed it

"24. Resume from sleep

Customers are used to resuming a CD or DVD after an interruption. With customers choosing new low-cost, smaller form-factor, machines without optical drives, an increasingly popular scenario is to have content played directly from the hard drive. In Beta, it was not possible to resume playback on such content after a laptop goes to sleep. Customers assume the experience should match that of physical media so we fixed the experience to meet this expectation."

That's something I sent feedback about, so I'm pretty happy.

The Media Player improvements are better, but the enhancements should be accessible from the standard view as well. You shouldn't have to switch to the "Now Playing" window to edit preferences.

The appearance of the superbar is still a no-go for me. It's hideous. And it HAS to have more functionality.

The ability to pin other things to an icon besides items the app can open would be nice. I'd like to associate my WoW armory pages with the WoW launcher icon rather than the web browser, for instance. And I'd like the ability to add separators to the superbar. And the ability to control the background of the bar independently from the rest of the window UI. (All were submitted.)

You know why they put it on the right? Because it can be in a corner now, so it is accessable extremely quickly. Just like the start menu or to close a maximized window, all you have to do is toss your mouse to a corner, in this case the right one, and you don't even have to look at the screen, just click, and you'll be taken to your desktop.

The old placement required you to look at the screen and precisely click on the icon. The new placement is faster and more accessable.

I guess you could create your own shortcut and put it in a "quick launch" bar though. I'm runnin W7 beta, with large icons pinned, but have made myself a quick launch bar with small icons, too reduce the space taken up by pinned progs.

Doggis85 said,
I guess you could create your own shortcut and put it in a "quick launch" bar though. I'm runnin W7 beta, with large icons pinned, but have made myself a quick launch bar with small icons, too reduce the space taken up by pinned progs.



If you really require the 'Show Desktop' icon on the left on the start menu, just add this icon on the start menu.
http://www.herby.virtualplastic.net/files/MinUnMinAll.zip

I'm very happy having it on the right, and personally reckon it's all about getting used to it!

Well done so far Microsoft, 7 is coming along nicely

# seems like a bad choice for users in france and belgium (azerty keyboards) where the # character is the third character on the "3" button.

So for us, it's a useless combination

I really wish people would stop complaining about the start menu. I've just read the blog mentioned above and they're a lot of people doing just that. Mainly that they want it to go back to the old menu we had in xp and previous versions. How on earth do these people seriously think the old start menu is easier and better to use than the new and current one we now have is beyond belief. People seriously need to learn to adapt to change and move with the times.

Exactly. You can't expect Microsoft to stay the same with their products the entire time. They need to innovate too, and maybe the Vista complainers should just spend some time with Vista, see for themselves. The changes are benefitial, they just don't want to see that.

My dad flipped out when our Vista PC didn't have a My Computer icon on the desktop. I told him that you never really use the My Computer section, you just go straight to your Documents, Pictures, etc. And if he wanted to get to My Computer, he could just press Start, then Computer, which is easier than going to the desktop. But he demanded that there be a Computer icon on his desktop, so all he had to do to get that was press Start and drag the Computer option onto the desktop.

Some people just hate change. But hey, most people love Obama and "Change", maybe that's because most everyone hated Bush, and they wanted something different. Maybe that's why Windows 7 will be such a success. People hate Vista and they want something "better" so Microsoft is giving them some "change" and the people love it.

That's my take.

I do. I found the superbar to be unwieldy in the beta. You can't just glance at it to see what you're working on. You have to mouse over it.

Not liking all the changes. I liked that Explorer opens in Libraries, I don't really want to use the my computer view much in any Windows. IMO we should be moving away from systems that emphasize drives and directory trees. Hopefully you can at least choose the behavior.

Explorer still opens to the Libraries folder if you click on the icon in the taskbar, or use the Win+# shortcut for it.

Further, the links in the start menu like Pictures and Music will still open to the Pictures and Music libraries.

Brandon Live said,
Explorer still opens to the Libraries folder if you click on the icon in the taskbar, or use the Win+# shortcut for it.

Hurray! In which case I'm happy with all the listed changes.

I really miss the possibility to add your own shortcuts in the Start-menu. (Where you have the list of user, pictures, music, etc...) Edit: I would like to add e.g. videos and downloads.

I have notified MS through the feedback program, but seems no action has been taken... :-S

In my case, the most missed shortcut was "Win+E"... i hate those libraries popping up instead of computer!... glad is back again

Many great changes. The one with the color hot-track is nice and the Win + E change. I'm guessing there are more small changes though. RC is going to be great.

I'm just glad they changed the Win+E back to Computer. I hope I like the new "arrange and sort" methods..don't like them much right now in 7. Hoping for a return of a more aethestically pleasing sort bar...

I have a feeling it's going to be even faster! ;-)

darkmanx21 said,
I'm just glad they changed the Win+E back to Computer. I hope I like the new "arrange and sort" methods..don't like them much right now in 7. Hoping for a return of a more aethestically pleasing sort bar...

I have a feeling it's going to be even faster! ;-)

I'm happy with all the changes except this one! :'(

I found it really useful to be able to type Win+E, "doc", Enter to get to my documents library.

Multi-touch touch keyboard :-) Super!!

And "Improving the headphone experience" is the fix i required ...bcos it very annoying if someone inserts headphone but still sound comes from the main speakers ..!!

So, Ctrl+C & Ctrl+V will work in Touch interface too!!! ;-)

guruparan said,
And "Improving the headphone experience" is the fix i required ...bcos it very annoying if someone inserts headphone but still sound comes from the main speakers ..!!


That is a driver problem, not Windows

themailnurse said,
That is a driver problem, not Windows

speak to your soundcard manufacturer. The creative drivers have headphone detection built in

Actually this is a windows 7 problem. Not one I'm having myself but a fix is mentioned in the blog mentioned above.

I hope they'll listen to my request and enable you to put .url shortcuts or .lnk files on the superbar, in the beta that just tack themselves to the internet exploer icon.

Actually, an even better option would be giving IE8 the ability to convert .url shortcuts into "Web Applications" with custom window frames and UI elements. Google Chrome has this feature built-in, and Firefox has it available through a plugin.

danisflying527 said,
I don't think the orb looks out of place at all

Doesn't look like it on a static screenshot, but there's been the orb jumping bug when putting the mouse pointer over it, at least on my netbook anyway and looks weird.

Even if the orb did look out of place, which it doesn't in my opinion, design changes are the last thing to happen when it comes to releasing new products. ;]

well all the UI design changes happened ages ago and Vistas were fairly early in too. I doubt it's going to change.

I think MS for the better has shifted towards cementing the UI and thus the OS's identity at an earlier stage than they perhaps did with previous releases. It's a good thing as hopefully by doing so less things get missed such as areas in XP with ancient icons and the like.

When I had a problem with Vista, the tech at MS that I talked to refered to the "orb" as the "pearl". I could not find the pearl on my desktop and told him so. He said it was the round icon at the left of the task bar. Has anyone else heard of it being called a pearl?

Never heard of the "pearl" either.

The Start Icon does seem a little weird where it is, but when you're actually using the computer your not going to notice those tiny things like that.

I like the Windows 7 beta, looks like it's gonna be really sucessful!

mrmckeb said,
Does anyone else think the orb looks out of place in the Windows 7 Taskbar?

This has been brought up before by me as well as other members (sorry I can't link to other people's comments, as I don't have the links on me). Many people agree that the Start Button Orb is definitely not the best MS could do for this Windows release.

Heck, just a couple of their designers could do better with a cup of coffee and a few extra hours at their keyboards. And I mean this quite literally.

Looking good This'll end up being the first box copy of Windows I've ever bought. All other Windows copies I've owned have been OEM

Sam Symons Live said,
Looking good This'll end up being the first box copy of Windows I've ever bought. All other Windows copies I've owned have been OEM :)

i thought u was gonna say you pirated them.

stevember said,
You still bought them, they not free when buy computer.

He was making the distinction between boxed (i.e. retail) and OEM (i.e. comes with a computer).

I'm with you Sam, this will be the first retail box of Windows I've bought, go Windows 7!

Ha, I was thinking the same Sam. I think the only boxed copy of Windows I ever bought was Win98 upgrade. Although I'm in the official feedback panel and they'll send us a gift, I'm gonna purchase it nonetheless to transition as quickly as I can.

Will OEM disks still be available through Newegg like in previous version of Windows? If so I may go that route again, as I wouldn't want MS support. Or I may just go with the "upgrade" version.