Performance and Improvements in Windows 7

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As previously mentioned, Microsoft is promoting that Windows 7 is designed to:

  • Decrease Start up and Shutdown times by 20 seconds
  • Go to Sleep and Resume faster
  • Use up less memory
  • Pop up Search results faster
  • Reconnect to your wireless network more quickly
  • Recognize USB devices faster

This is promising news, because slow wait time appeared to be one of the chief complaints regarding Windows Vista. Windows 7 also saves time by not booting up various devices during Start Up unless they are currently being used. In other words, if you are not using a Bluetooth device when you start the computer Windows 7 will not waste time by running that program in the background; it will wait until you have plugged it in.

However, performance tests of Windows 7 indicate that actual improvements vary and depend greatly on the conditions of your specific computer and the programs you are running. We will go into more detail regarding your computer’s ability to run Windows 7 in future lessons.

What can you do in Windows 7?


aero desktop with Peek 3D

Aero is an interface that makes your visual interactions with the desktop fun and easy.

  • Aero Peek makes your open windows transparent so you can see your desktop. It also allows you to peek at items in your taskbar for a thumbnail preview.
  • Aero Snap is a quick way to resize your windows to make them easier to read, organize, and compare.
  • Aero Flip allows you to preview all open windows from a central window or 3D view that you can flip through.
  • Aero Shake allows you to take your mouse and shake only the open window you want to focus on, and the rest will disappear.


’ro Desktop with Jump Lists

The taskbar is now more convenient to use, with larger views and easier access.

  • Jump Lists allow you to right-click an icon in the taskbar and immediately access items like music, videos, or webpages you use on a regular basis.
  • Pin allows you to place programs on the taskbar and rearrange the order of the icons.
  • Action Center allows you to control the alerts and pop-ups you receive regarding maintenance and security.


Search Results

As soon as you start typing in the Search bar of the Start Menu, you will instantly see a list of relevant options grouped by categories with highlighted keywords and text. This allows you to easily scan for the documents, music, pictures, and emails you are looking for.


Access your files in Libraries

Libraries allow you to organize your files in one place so they are easy to search and access.

Windows 7 has four default Libraries for documents, music, pictures, and videos; however, you can customize and create you own Libraries based on your needs.


Select Gadgets for your Desktop

You can select or download gadgets such as a slide show, calendar, or weather update to add to your desktop. The live updates of some gadgets like weather, stocks, and feed headlines are quite convenient.

Additional things you can do in Windows 7

  • Device Stage: When you plug a device into your computer such as a camera, mobile phone, or flash drive, a window will open up with a menu of popular tasks, status information, and options for your device.
  • Windows Live Essentials: Windows Live Essentials is free software that enhances the Windows 7 experience. It replaces Windows Mail and allows you to email, instant message, edit photos, and blog.
  • HomeGroup: HomeGroup allows you to connect two or more PCs on a home network to easily share and access files and printers.
  • Windows Touch: You can use Windows Touch with a touch-screen PC to browse and flick through the screen using your fingers with multi-touch technology.
  • Remote Media Streaming: With Remote Media Streaming, you can access your music, pictures, and videos stored on your home PC remotely using the Internet.


Windows 7 Desktop

By now, you should have a better idea of what Windows 7 is all about. Now you can start considering if upgrading to Windows 7 will be a good choice for you. In making this decision, you may want to compare your desires with what your current computer is capable of.

While Microsoft is promoting that Windows 7 can be used on older computers, this does not mean that all of the features will be available or work the same as they will on a new computer. For example, we have found that some of the Aero features, like Peek and 3D, do not work on one of our older, 32-bit computers.

In addition, upgrading to Windows 7 from XP is more complicated than upgrading from Vista. In the next lesson, we will review the cost and requirements for running Windows 7 which are important factors in making a decision.

In the meantime, you may want to consider the following questions:

  • How valuable are the new features and improvements with regard to my computer needs?
  • Can I afford the upgrade, and do I have the time to devote to installing and adjusting to the new operating system?
  • What are the system requirements for Windows 7, and how will it perform on my computer?
  • If I am in the market for a new computer, does Windows 7 meet my needs?
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