This is just a quick review of build 7000 with quite a few images. I searched around and couldn't only find promises of what functionality there would be, vague descriptions of function, or dry performance comparisons (I like the dry performance comparisons, and the promises). So I figured I'd get a little into the new task bar functions and some of the things I've found interesting after using 7 for a few days.
The default desktop using one of the included wallpapers
Right of the bat, it looks quite a bit like Vista. The only difference being a fatter task bar, and what appear to be larger quick launch icons, but appearances can be deceiving.
Right clicking will open up a context menu
Meet the context menu. It's a special menu for programs to quickly access functionality of that program. For IE it will show you a history of the last 10 or 20 pages you've visted, and whatever you've pinned to it.
Unfortunatly, the context menu has to be supported by the app, so it may be a while before your favorite non-Microsoft apps support it.
Just incase you forgot to turn on private browsing, you can right click any of the items to delete them.
You can pin sites to menu, and I find it makes my homepage rather absolete, as I can quickly check my e-mail, check the news or weather without having to type or click anything, or wait for my browser to load (not a long wait, but it still cuts out a second or two).
The Windows Media Player Context Menu
I didn't find this as useful as the IE context menu, but more interesting is you can resume a previous playlist, even mid song. While not mind blowing, it is a nice touch.
Where are my precious words!?
The increased icon and taskbar size is balanced by the lack of words. Programs go by their icons alone by default. Gone are the days when having 3 or 4 windows open felt cluttered. I applaud this to a degree, because I never liked it when my windows of similar types would stack, because then I had to go through a menu just to differentiate between then, but this rids me of that.
Hoving over applications with multiple instances, tabs, or windows will display thumbnails of each instance.
If you hadn't noticed, when an application is already in the quicklaunch area, it doesn't add another icon, it simply treats the quicklaunch one as the taskbar icon. You can also see that windows of the same type will simply stack, and hovering over a stacked icon will give you thumbnails of each window. Hover over the thumbnail will temorarily bring it to the front and minimize all other windows, staying in it's orientation. I found this useful, and surprisingly quick when working with multiple tabs and windows.
Unfortunately, only IE's tabs are treated as different windows. I tried out Firefox, but I couldn't change tabs using the icon, I could only open windows. So this is another feature that needs to be supported by the app.
Hovering over the WMP icon while it's running will allow users to quickly skip, pause and play
While this is a nice feature, I find it a horrible replacement for the WMP toolbar, but this didn't hugely effect me because I have media functions assigned to my keyboard. However, I was still sadened to see there is no option for the Windows Media Toolbar on the taskbar.
If 7 didn't look enough like Vista already...
A menu for all your important .txt's!
Not sure how that feature works, but I'd guess the app would have to support it. (It may simply reach out for recently open files that the app is associated with, but that's just a hope/theory).
Screen Resolution is back!
While I had few issues with SP1 Vista, one little annoyance was that I couldn't easily access my screen resolution, having to go through the Personalize menu. But it's back to where it should be.
Leaner and easier to use
Being someone that uses multiple monitors, and often will switch them up (not something that average joe does) I found this menu very simple and quick to use, not that it was much harder in any other OS I've used, but it's much cleaner.
I didn't use gadgets in Vista, I didn't have good reason, they just seemed rather clunky, and intrusive on my desktop space. But this leaner menu convinced me to try a few out. This may not being new to Vista users, but it's a nice feature for XP users (No more weatherbug!).
All those options, but still no Luna or Royale theme
This time around I actually like the personalize menu, rather than despising it for adding 7 clicks everytime I wanted to check monitor settings. For those who don't care for Aero, this may be your first stop, changing to Aero Basic, or Windows classic (Or one of the old school derivatives).
Microsoft stole this from OSX! Bastards!
Another useless cosmetic feature that I found intresting. Reminds me a bit of my 7 months with OSX.
Is it Word? Is it a Plane? No! It's WordPad!
Many of you have probably seen this, the addition of the Ribbon to WordPad. One could easily be tricked into believing this was Word, but I do like the new interface. I never used Wordpad in any frequency before, because if I needed some quick notes I'd use Notepad, and if I needed real word processing I'd use Word or OpenOffice.org, but this new interface makes me think it may work for some fast and light formated documents.
Paint with transparency!?
This surprised me the most. I think the one benefit of the competitition Microsoft gets from Apple is it can no longer have it's included applications look like crap, or lack basic function. Paint, along with all of the other included apps, look very clean and easy to use. It may no longer be an insult to imply someone made an image Paint. Now if only it had support for layers.
It looks clean and tidy...
HELP! My Control Panel Exploded!
The default view appears nice and tidy, but once you view all the control options, it's just overwhelming. I found the 'Biometric Devices' control to be rather hilarious. Thumb printing and retinal identification are only going to be used by government agencies, and hyper-vigilant ultra-paranoid users.
And for you hardcore gamers
PRTSCRN to the MAX!
While I still prefer using the Print Screen button and the GIMP, this little tool seems pretty useful. Just run it, select a screen area, and then you can draw on it, or save it as is. This may not being that interesting to those of use that know the secret arts of the PRNTSCRN button, it certainly seems useful for a quick capture, even for average joe.
Organize all your pictures and music without moving them
I found Libraries pretty useful. I never used any of those 'My' folders (My Music, My Pictures, My Movies, etc) because I reformat regularly and keep everything on an external. So the fact that I could simply add the folder I put all my Music into to the 'Music' library was great. This may mean applications that normally search for music in that folder, may instead see a library and search those folders. It makes organization easier, especially for people not using the OS in the 'standard' manner.
You got a little something on your Desktop, no your other left
Just hover over the show desktop button, and you get a moment of clairity
A little button sits on the very right of the taskbar. Just hovering over it will cause all the windows to temorarily minimize, while preserving their silhouettes. Clicking it will minimize everything, but I see little use in the hover option, unless you happened to forget what shortcuts you had on your desktop, or what color your wallpaper happened to be.
"Got any Megadeth?"
Windows Media Player 12 does add some needed features over WMP11, and only a single screen is need to exibit the differences for those of you that used WMP11. The now playing tab is now a pane, so you can easily make playlist, and arrows allow you to switch between previously played play lists and current playlists, and it will even keep your place mid song.
Ahh, Go ole' Task Manager
Using resource manger, you can now find which processes are sucking down bandwidth, and how much
I was extremely happy with this addition, bandwidth is a resource just like any other, I only wish it were just as intergrated as the others, with the process list also showing bandwidth usage.
And that's about it, the last few days have been great with 7, and I'll certainly be buying it day one. Now if only I could get some 7 t-shirts....
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Great Review and nicely done!
I havent got a copy of 7 yet but one thing I see that I hope can be changed
is the size of icons.
In the start menu properties I see that you have the small icons box checked but the icons are still huge by my standards.
Was that checked when the image above it was taken or can the icons be made smaller.
Also does the Vista trick of Crtl+Win Key and mouse scroll still make the desktop icons change in size?
It may just be my preferences but I dont need a mural for a icon.
Thanks for the reply. Sometimes its difficult to tell in a screen shot.
I just wondered about the variable sizing with the scroll wheel because you have more options than S M or L. I like to make them real small as I tend to leave alot of things on the desktop until I get around to cleaning it up. With the wheel I can make them go from the size of a aspirin to as big as a car door.