GADGETS

Windows 7 Highlights

Microsoft Windows 7 has quite a few hidden gems that will appeal to business users, mobile mavens, accountants and Web surfers alike. Here’s a few of the highlights. 

Wallpapers

Windows 7 includes a bevy of wallpapers and themes – many you might actually use. Some highlight architectural images, some landscapes, and some just have wacky characters. All make it easy to add a little personality to your PC.

Aero Shake

In Windows 7, when you click on any window's title bar and shake it, every other open window goes away. This reduces the clutter on your screen, letting you focus on the one window you care about. Shake it again and the other windows reappear. Microsoft calls it Aero Shake, and it also lets you clear off the desktop completely, as in this image. Just move the mouse to the lower right of the screen to hide all the open windows and get your bearings back.

Windows Media Player

The Windows Media Player 12 application now supports many more video formats, including several popular formats for high definition video files such as AVCHD and XVID.

Homegroup Networking

In all current versions of Windows, networked computers join a "workgroup" — even computers at home! Windows 7 introduces homegroups instead, designed specifically to make it easier to see which computers are on your network and share media among them.

Jumplists

Windows 7 offers "jump lists," an easy, one-click way to launch applications. When you click on an icon in the Windows taskbar, you will see a jump list that includes any open windows as well as some convenient links.

Internet Explorer 8

Internet Explorer 8, included with Windows 7, runs faster and is more standards compliant.

Internet TV

Games for Windows

Windows 7 supports games such as EA BattleForge that work with the more advanced DirectX 11. DirectX is a programming tool for game designers; the newest version (only in Windows 7) borrows a technique called tessellation from CGI movies to add tons of detail without slowing gameplay.

64-Bit Computing

With Windows Vista, Microsoft offered a separate version for computers that use a 64-bit processor. These PCs can access massive amounts of RAM, well over the 4GB maximum for 32-bit computers. With Windows 7, every version except Home Basic includes both the 32-bit and 64-bit version. The latest laptop and desktop computers typically now ship with a 64-bit processor.

User Account Control

Windows 7 lets you tweak the options for security prompts, a scourge from Windows Vista. Vista's notorious "User Account Control" feature translated into a barrage of security warnings for common tasks, even for users installing well-known software like Apple iTunes. In Windows 7, these prompts are nearly absent, and Microsoft argues that security is even tighter.

Windows 7 Highlights

Microsoft Windows 7 has quite a few hidden gems that will appeal to business users, mobile mavens, accountants and Web surfers alike. Here’s a few of the highlights. 

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