Microsoft Windows 7 One Year Later

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Microsoft Windows 7 One Year Later

by Nicholas Kolakowski

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Windows 7

Microsoft intended Windows 7 as a replacement for both the critically maligned Windows Vista and the sturdy-but-aging Windows XP. It may be succeeding: According to analytics firm Net Applications, Windows 7s market share stands at 17.10 percent, versus 60.03 percent (and falling) for Windows XP and 13.35 percent for Windows Vista.

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Familiar Desktop

Windows 7s desktop was instantly familiar to anyone who had used a previous version of Windows, although Microsoft "tweaked" features such as the Start button.

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Windows XP Mode

For legacy applications incompatible with Windows 7, Microsoft included a "Windows XP Mode" that can run programs in a virtual XP-compatible environment.

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Content from across a users PC or network can be grouped within a Windows 7 library for easy access.

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More Control

Microsoft intended its new library format to give both users and administrators a higher degree of control and customization over ordering information.

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Windows Power Management

Microsoft claimed that Windows 7 was the first Microsoft operating system to include a granular level of control over energy-saving options. Administrators can run power-efficiency diagnostics charts and centrally manage power settings.

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Windows 7 includes HomeGroup, a feature meant to simplify home networking. Microsoft intended Windows 7 to play an integral role in its "three screens and a cloud" strategy, in which shared applications are delivered to a localized cluster of devices via the cloud.??í??í??í

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Pin to Taskbar

Windows 7 allows users to "pin" applications to the taskbar. From there, a right-click on the applications icon will open a shortened menu of options. Microsoft designed this feature in the name of convenience, sparing users a hunt through the Start menu for a particular program.??í

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Snap allows users to reposition and resize windows by dragging them around the screen. Different windows can be expanded vertically, positioned for side-by-side comparisons with other windows, or maximized to fit the screen.

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Touch Screen

Microsoft baked touch-screen functionality into Windows 7. The feature found its first use in touch-screen laptops. However, Windows 7 could soon find its way onto touch-screen tablets.

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Microsoft let its freak flag fly a little with Windows 7s wallpaper choices, some of which are decidedly ... eclectic.

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BitLocker/BitLocker To Go

BitLocker gives IT administrators more granular control over his data is protected; the program can be enabled on drives running Windows 7 via a single mouse-click. BitLocker To Go allows those administrators to control security for removable storage such as USB devices.

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