10 Things to Like About Windows 7

Paul Mah
Slide Show

The Must-Have Features in Windows 7

Get a visual walk-through of the great new features in Microsoft's latest OS release.

Windows 7 has been released for a while now, and has remained highly popular among users who have switched to it. Personally, I've been using Windows 7 as my primary operating environment since Windows 7 RC, or more than half a year.


One thing is for sure, you certainly won't find me switching back to Windows Vista or Windows XP. So what are some of the practical things to like about Windows 7? I work on Windows 7 Enterprise, and I've compiled a list of 10 of what I love about it.


Aero Peek


To quickly peer past all open windows to look straight at the Windows 7 desktop, simply point to the right edge of the taskbar. All open windows will instantly turn transparent, making it possible to see what's on the desktop. That's aero-peek for you.


In addition, simply point the mouse cursor toward any open application on the task bar to see an instant thumbnail of its window - perfect for quickly finding the right window.


Redesigned Taskbar


There was a time when I would painstakingly organize the shortcuts to my favorite applications into folders, then load them as Toolbars in order to have them show up on my taskbar. With Windows 7, getting an application icon onto the taskbar is as simple as right-clicking on the icon and selecting "Pin to Taskbar." Voila, it magically appears on the Taskbar.


Aero Snap


Honestly, I didn't really figure this out until a couple of months back. With just about every laptop being sold now having a widescreen display, have you ever needed to position two documents side-by-side? Rather than tearing your hair out in frustration, Aero Snap offers a quick and easy way to "snap" windows into the left or right half of your screen simply by dragging Windows to the edges. (You can also snap windows vertically.)


Personally, I use the shortcut combination of Win-key with Left/Right Arrow key.


Jump List


A Jump List is what you'll see when you right-click on a program icon on the Windows 7 taskbar (or Start menu). What appears depends on the specific application, but typically contains a list of frequently or last-viewed files, as well as quick access to common commands.


Improved Boot Performance


When I first installed Windows 7 on my Sony laptop, I was flabbergasted by just how fast it was. Of course, I also happened to be running off a very fast Samsung Solid State Disk - installed at great trouble, and which effectively voided the warranty, I might add.


Still, 11 seconds from loading Windows to a fully usable laptop without the benefit of Windows 7 optimized drivers is nothing to scoff at.


Support for SSD


Microsoft has done a lot of re-engineering to Windows 7 since Windows Vista to improve its SSD read and write speeds; the use of ATA commands and support for the TRIM command further increases write speeds. Features that are not relevant or that slow down SSD are also disabled by default on Windows.


I'll go as far as to say that I will not go back to a laptop without an SSD. You can read an official Q&A about Windows 7's SSD support here.


BitLocker To Go


BitLocker To Go (as with BitLocker) is found only on the Enterprise edition of Windows 7. For enterprise users, it allows them to protect the data stored on portable drives by encrypting them on-the-fly. Set up is extremely easy and recovery keys can be managed via policy-configured Active Directory Domain Services integration.


Enhanced Stability


I've been using various editions of Windows 7 for more than half a year now, and its stability is bliss compared with Windows Vista or even Windows XP. While I would be lying to say that it never crashes, it does so infrequently and is otherwise rock stable.


Windows XP Mode


Need to run Windows XP due to some legacy OS or to run some potentially dangerous software without any risk to your PC? You can make use of Windows XP Mode to run, well, Windows XP as a virtual machine. Of course, your processor must first be capable of hardware-assisted virtualization with AMD-V, Intel VT or VIA VT enabled.


If you're unsure, you can download the Microsoft Hardware-Assisted Virtualization Detection Tool to find out.


Network Virtualization


Ok, this isn't technically something that would qualify as an official feature in Windows 7. However, the folks over at Connectify found that the Windows team did some unfinished work to virtualize the network plumbing in Windows 7. Using it, they managed to build a GUI and an interface that transforms your Windows 7 workstation into a full-fledged AP for other Wi-Fi devices - while it is connected to an AP!


Connectify is particularly useful when trying to share the Wi-Fi connections at hotels and cafes with only one user ID. In fact, there appear to be a number of users who switched to Windows 7 just for this feature!

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Add Comment      Leave a comment on this blog post
Jun 27, 2010 9:41 AM Jenda Jenda  says:

Erm ... aero peek-a-boo ... what for???

Redesigned taskbar? Don't fix what ain't broke! Now add all those icons you used to have there.

Jun 29, 2010 3:50 PM andru andru  says:

All these features are ready for use in all major open source distros.

Just try UBUNTU Lucid Lynx or PCBSD and get rid of windoze backhouls, fragmentation, slowness, worms .... Get smart save your time and money.

Oct 25, 2010 6:20 PM Ned Ned  says:

Aero Peek. If that type of feature is so attractive to you, your desk top must look like a trash pit - just like so many others I have seen.

I, and anyone else with half a brain, have no use for such a pathetic, useless toy. Everything you have on your desktop consumes resources eg, wallpaper and icons. All the years I have been using Windows, since 3.11, I have never found it necessary to clutter my desktop, it is and always has been a clean sheet of blue.

I am still using XP and when the time comes that it is no longer supported - bye, bye Microsoft - hello Linux.


Apr 2, 2011 7:01 PM seo seo  says:

After using windows 7 ultimate for almost a year, i must admit that it's the best os Microsoft ever created.

When i bought my laptop, it was preinstalled with vista (the worst os ever made i think). Windows 7 is like an improvement of windows vista however.

Ned you said that you still use xp. I think that windows 7 is better than xp, maybe a little heavier!

I tried ubuntu linux as well and i can say that i was very pleased but it lacks some applications that i need for my work. For the average user however and especially if you wish safe browsing i would recommend definitely recomend it.

May 13, 2011 10:12 AM ?atas?e?? ?st?se??d?? ?atas?e?? ?st?se??d??  says: in response to Ned

Hello NED. I think that you are wrong my friend. You said : "Everything you have on your desktop consumes resources eg, wallpaper and icons".

I will have to tell you that Windows 7 created for the purpose of media users to have unlimited wallpapers and icons without wasting system resources. This is the reason Windows 7 is the fastest and most reliable OS when it comes to desktop applications for "daily users" like you and me. I am using "Windows 7" 2 years and i abandoned "Windows XP" because they are full of bugs.

Now, you are welcoming linux. Ok, i agree, linux is the best OS out there but, tell me something. Do you thing that Linux OS is for "daily users" like you, me and the rest of the ppls? Linux is made for pros and for their work. Don't you think?

Jun 17, 2011 11:16 AM F?t???ta??a F?t???ta??a  says:

Amazing article ! I love windows 7 too, they are really - really fast

Jun 27, 2011 5:15 PM kbit kbit  says: in response to F?t???ta??a

Hello F?t???ta??a,

I think that i will have to agree with you! I also love windows 7 and especially the ultimate version! I think it is the fastest OS out there!

Jul 4, 2011 6:05 PM a?? a??  says: in response to ?atas?e?? ?st?se??d??

Hello "?atas?e?? ?st?se??d??",

I will have to agree with you.

I am using windows 7 ultimate edition for almost 2 years and i must say that i am really impressed.

What impresses me more is the fact that between windows 7 ultimate and windows 7 home edition the difference is like earth and sun.

I also agree with your opinion about linux. This OS is not for the daily user. It is only for corporations.

Very nice article & discussion.

Aug 30, 2011 4:26 PM gamoxristos gamoxristos  says: in response to a??

i have to agree with all of you guys. I really love windows 7. On the other side i think you are all noobs and your link building sucks

glipste mou ton poutso tora vlakes :P

Oct 13, 2011 8:57 AM Simon Simon  says: in response to gamoxristos

I am a Mac guy... but i respect windows... we tech world is big enough for two operating systems....

Dec 20, 2011 5:52 PM rugs rugs  says: in response to Simon

I really love windows 7

Jan 16, 2012 4:54 PM f?t???ta??a f?t???ta??a  says:

Very nice article!!!!!!!


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