Microsoft

Windows 7: A first look

Check out this photo gallery for the first official screenshots of Microsoft's successor to Vista — Windows 7. The software giant debuted Windows 7 to the world at its Professional Developers Conference in the United States this week.

Check out this photo gallery for the first official screenshots of Microsoft's successor to Vista — Windows 7. The software giant debuted Windows 7 to the world at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) in the United States this week.

The desktop — gadgets emancipated

This is the standard look for the Windows 7 desktop. The first thing you may notice is that the gadgets are not restrained to the sidebar as they were in Windows Vista.

At the lower part of the desktop is the enhanced taskbar and new systray which we shall look at now.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Taskbar Previews

In the enhanced Windows 7 taskbar, many actions are initiated by hovering over items.

By hovering over a running application, previews of all windows for that application are shown. In the case of Internet Explorer, thumbnails of the browser's tabs are shown.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Jump Lists

Jump Lists are a new feature in Windows 7 that allow easy access to recently used documents on a per application basis. As well as the recently played tracks shown in the image above, there is also the option to play frequently used items, perform application specific tasks or close the application.

There is also the option to unpin an application from the taskbar. Pinning an application to the taskbar provides the same functionality as having the application in the quick launch section of the taskbar in previous Windows versions, but also allows the jump lists to interact with the application. The functionality is near identical to keeping an application in the Dock in OS X.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Jump List in Destination menu

The menu formally known as the Start menu is now called the Destination menu. In this menu jump lists are also available. In this picture jump lists are available for Paint (which has received a facelift), IE, Word and Windows Explorer.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Systray improvements

Previously the systray was the haunt of all manner of annoying and noisy applications — not any more. In Windows 7, only applications that the user wants will appear in the systray. By default, applications wanting to make use of the systray are stored in an overflow area shown above; only if the user so chooses, are applications then shown in the systray.

(Credit: Chris Duckett/Builder AU)

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Customisable notifications

Once applications are moved by the user into the systray, they can still be noisy and annoying. Consequently, Windows 7 allows user to adjust the amount of notification received. A similar system exists with UAC in Windows 7.

(Credit: Chris Duckett/Builder AU)

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Desktop Peek: before

One thing that you may not have noticed is the clear rectangle on the far right of the taskbar. This provides the ability to show the desktop temporarily while the mouse is hovering over it. Clicking on the clear rectangle will perform the same action as "Show Desktop" in previous Windows versions.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Desktop Peek: after

The desktop when peeking at it. Note the outline of the open windows.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Libraries

Windows Explorer has received a number of cosmetic updates. Uses of Places in OS X will recognise Libraries as it's analogue. Libraries shows all Documents, Music, Pictures or Videos available on the system regardless of their place in the filesystem. Individual folders are able to be optionally added or removed from Libraries.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Device stage

One major improvement to Windows 7 is how it handles devices. Devices are shown in Windows Explorer with a photo realistic icon rather than the stylised icons that have been used previously.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Icons represent devices

When a device is connected, the user is able to manipulate and use the device in an area dubbed "Device Stage". The top half of Device Stage is able to be customised by the device vendor, while the lower half is dedicated to tasks involving the device.

Tasks will launch the vendor software that came packaged with the device, although the user is able to change which software is launched for what task. For example, the user can select which software syncs photos with a camera.

(Credit: Chris Duckett/Builder AU)

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Themes

Windows 7 now allows users to easily create and personalise themes. The Aero Glass colour is one of the key elements to be customised within Windows 7.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Federated search

The search functionality within Windows has also received a facelift and been federated. Federated search allows the same search query to be carried out independently throughout a network on the networked computers or even on a Sharepoint site.

(Credit: Microsoft)

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Paint and Ribbon

Paint has become the recipient of the infamous Office ribbon. As well as the new look, Paint now defaults to saving images in PNG format rather than BMP as in previous versions.

(Credit: Chris Duckett/Builder AU)

About Chris Duckett

Some would say that it is a long way from software engineering to journalism, others would correctly argue that it is a mere 10 metres according to the floor plan.During his first five years with CBS Interactive, Chris started his journalistic advent...

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