What is Windows 7?
About Windows 7
Do you run Windows Vista on your computer but would like to be able to find documents you need at your finger tips, your PC’s speed to be incredibly fast, your PC to be more reliable and manageable? May be you run windows XP or any of the earlier Microsoft Operating Systems and have heard about the most talked about Operating System by Microsoft in quite some time and wish to switch to it? In any case you are making a smart choice because having used almost all Windows operating systems I can say without a doubt that Windows 7 is a revolution towards better and faster OS or like Microsoft says , its “Your PC simplified”. Available in the markets since October 22nd 2009, Windows 7 have been making its way to desktops, Laptops, Net books and Tablet PC’s all over the world. Let’s get you guys started with the basics of this operating system by checking out the system requirements and available packages and then we will study in detail all the new features of Windows 7 that will help you make the most of your new Windows.
To get a FREE download of the latest version of Windows 7 for your system, please visit Downloads for Windows
System Requirement for Windows 7
The critical system requirements for Windows 7 are listed below. Check it out to see if you first need to update you PC before running Windows 7 or just skim thorough the list to be sure you are on the same boat with your new Windows 7 :
• 1 gigahertz (GHz) or faster 32-bit or 64-bit processor.
• 1 gigabyte (GB) RAM (32-bit) or 2 GB RAM (64-bit).
• 16 GB available hard disk space (32-bit) or 20 GB (64-bit).
• DirectX 9 graphics device with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver.
Available upgrades and versions of Microsoft Windows 7
There are three available upgrade packages and new windows installation packages available on the Microsoft’s website or any authorized dealer for Windows 7
1. Windows 7 Home Premium.
2. Windows 7 Professional.
3. Windows 7 Ultimate.
Which of the available packages should you choose? It’s really quite simple. If you work on your pc at your home and already have windows vista home or premium then just upgrade to windows 7 home premium. If you do not wish to upgrade and want to re-install windows then buy windows 7 home premium. If you have been using windows vista premium then you can upgrade to windows 7 premium or for windows vista ultimate you may upgrade to windows 7 ultimate. For any other operating systems you can simply install the actual windows instead of the upgrades and walla! You are done!
Windows 7 interface
Windows 7 has a unique graphical user interface that is unlike the previous operating systems by microsoft. After you upgrade/install your new windows you will be able to see the interface of windows 7 as shown in the image. Let’s discuss all its unique features one at a time so that we can have a closer look at them.
New Features in Windows 7
Some of the most prominent visual changes in windows 7 are the Task Bar, the Jump List, the Aero Peek and Pinning Applications to the task bar. Where as some of the major non-visual changes are the advanced calculator with enhanced options, advanced hand writing option, improved media features, gadget gallery for adding new gadgets, and a lot of new options in control panel. Let’s start with the changes in the task bar and how to operate it.
Windows 7 Taskbar
The taskbar has been modified and turned into a location where you can pin programs or documents of your choice. Look at the new taskbar.
This makes it convenient for you because gone are the days where you had to find the programs from the Start Menu every time. To pin any program to the task bar you can either drag and drop them to the task bar or go to
Start → All Programs → Right click the program of your choice → Pin to taskbar.
The image below demonstrated this.
To unpin anything from the taskbar you can Right click → Unpin from taskbar. A small blue pin will also be displayed on it. Click that and it will unpin that item for you. Look at the image below where i unpinned ‘pic 1’ from the pinned list in MS Paint.
Rearranging your taskbar
Windows 7 gives the freedom of arranging the buttons on the taskbar into the hands of the user. You can simply drag the button from its current position to any position on the taskbar without any hassle. Your windows 7 taskbar will always look the way you want it to look. In the screenshots below, look at how i moved the acrobat reader from its current position to the new one
Making the most of your jump list
When you open files from a particular application on your computer, Windows 7 uses a feature called Jump List to make them viewable to you for your reference. This is a very important feature of windows 7 that lets us open programs, recent items and favorites using jump list instead of having to browse through the old fashioned way. No more browsing through 100’s of folders to find a particular file. Jump list is the way to do it now!
To view the jump list i am taking the example of wordpad, just go to
Related Resources on Microsoft Windows 7
To add an item from the ‘recent’ list to the ‘pinned’ list for easier access, just left click on the document → Pin to this list and that document will be pinned. To unpin something from the list, right click → Remove from the list . Remember you are merely removing the item from the list, not deleting it. Like the taskbar you can drag and drop items in the jump list from one place to another to organize the list.
You will notice that in the earlier snapshots that the ‘Show desktop’ button was not visible in the task bar. This is because in Windows 7 it has been replaced with a small button on the extreme right hand corner of the task bar. It can not be moved or deleted from its place unlike the other buttons on the task bar though but a very important and interesting feature of this button is that if you hover your mouse on it this ‘Preview desktop’ enables you to view whatever gadgets you have on your desktop or plainly just shut out all the open windows, replacing them with the rectangles as shown in the image.
If you want to use this button normally as ‘Show desktop’ and thus minimizing all the open windows, just click on that rectangle.
Windows 7 has another unique feature called Aero shake which lets you minimize all windows except the one you are working on. To enable this option just quickly shake the title bar of the window you want open back and forth with your mouse. To maximize the windows again do the same on the window that is open. This feature is very helpful while multitasking. Now with windows 7 you won’t have to worry about clustered windows in your background!
Snapping windows to the side or the top
A fun and easy way to change the size of the window you are working on is provided by Windows 7. If you need to maximize the window you are working on then drag the window from the title bar to the top of the screen until you see the outline of the maximized screen. After you see the outline release the window and your window will be maximized.
Dragging the title bar to the side of the screen will display the window you are working on in half of the screen. This is especially helpful when you need to compare two documents side by side. To use this feature on windows 7 all you need to do is drag the window from the title bar till the corner of the screen until you see the outline of the extended window.
Snapping windows vertically
Snapping the windows vertically will elongate the window to the maximum in the vertical direction. Extremely helpful in reading long documents this feature in windows 7 can be activated by dragging the title bar of the window vertically in the upward direction. Dragging the title bar away from the window will make the window go back to its original size. Look at the original picture
Understanding Windows 7 Control Panel
Do you want to adjust your computers setting? Build up a network? Or change the appearance? Or maybe you need to manage all the user accounts on your computer? Where do you go for a one stop shop which gives all this and more? Control panel of course! In windows 7 you can go to control panel by
Start → Control Panel.
Once you are there you can select to view your computer settings by category, small icon or big icon. If you choose to view by category then here is what your control panel will look like.
There are a lot of things you can do while visiting control panel in Windows 7. Lets discuss a few of those things. One of the most important tool here is the System and Security option which allows you to review the status of your computer, basic information about your computer, create a backup for it, or simply diagnose and fix problems related to appearance, network, sound, hardware and security etc. Network and Internet option however allows you to manage ‘homegroups’ on your computer which in turn lets you share pictures, music, videos, documents and printers etc. Pretty handy if you have a couple of computers hooked up to a central server.
Hardware and Sound lets you add an external device, view already connected devices. You can also connect your computer to a projector from here. Where as Programs lets you uninstall programs that you no longer need to be on your computer. User Accounts and Family Safety lets users add more accounts for a computer or remove the unwanted ones. Change the passwords, set up parental controls etc.
Would you like to change the look of your screen? Go to Appearance option which lets you do all this. You can change the resolution of your screen from here, make text larger or smaller and similar settings can be done from here.
If you need to change your keyboard and other input languages, or to change the location that is set on your computer, the format of date and time and your starting day of the week etc then all these settings and more can be customized using Region and Display option in the control panel! Simply select your desired settings and click ‘save’.
Confused about all these settings? Just bought a pre-owned computer with weird settings? Or just not in the mood of doing all this? Well there is an easy way out! Select Ease of Access and let Windows 7 do the work for you and select the best settings.
If instead of category you would rather like your control panel to display items according to icons then you can change it using ‘view by’. The only disadvantage to this is that your control panel will look clustered and clumsy this way, but hey if you like the messy look then go for it. Here is how your control panel will look like if you select to ‘view by small icons’.
Gadgets in Windows 7
Windows 7 offers unique gadgets that can be placed on your desktop screen but unlike windows vista, these gadgets can be moved anywhere around the desktop screen. Some of the most popular gadgets include calendar, news headlines, picture slideshow, clock, currency convertor and weather etc. To activate these gadgets,
Managing the settings of your new windows
Changing the Account Picture
To personalize the picture that you see in the start menu in your new Windows 7 go to
Start → click the picture → change picture → select the picture of your choice → ok.
You can now see your chosen picture on the start menu. It’s just a little thing but together all small things add up to make your personal computer truly personal.
Changing the Desktop Background
Like previous windows, windows 7 lets you change the background screen that you view. To change it click on any part of the screen on the desktop that is empty
Personalize → Desktop Background → picture location/browse picture from your computer → save changes
and you will have your desired background image in no time!
You can also choose to fit the image in different proportions. To change how you view the picture select picture position and change the settings according to your liking. To display more then one picture at an interval, choose multiple pictures and then select ‘change picture every’ to your desired time frame and check ‘shuffle’.
Changing the Sound Scheme
To change the sound you hear when any event occurs on your computer, such as receiving im messages, emails etc you can easily click any blank spot on the desktop
How to change the text size and Window color
Bored with the same old color of your task bar and start bar? Well you can change it using windows 7. Just click on a black spot on the screen
Personalize → window color → save changes.
As simple as that! To change the text size, again click on a blank spot on the screen?screen resolution?make text larger or smaller and then choose from the available options and click apply. By default your text size is set to 100% which is the smallest.
Using multiple email accounts using windows 7
Do you have more then one email address and wish to view them all from a single platform? If the answer is yes then embrace windows live mail! Windows live mail is a downloadable email program that enables you to access multiple accounts from it. Available as a free download from Microsoft download center, it is a replacement to outlook express. Once it finishes downloading, add your email addresses using ‘add an email account’ and enjoy the comfort of viewing all your emails from one place.
Organizing Windows 7 Library
A Windows 7 has an easy to sort library that can be arranged according to various options. In Windows 7 it’s quite simple to transfer pictures from an external drive to the pictures folder. Left click on the folder that you need to copy to your computer, select Add to library – Pictures and your folder will now be a part of your windows 7 library!
Searching for files and folders in windows 7
To search for a particular folder, type in a few letters from the name of that file/ folder, your search begins and all your drives are scanned for your desired file. It then displays all the matches found containing the keyword you typed in. Take a look at this example below where we searched for ‘kash data’ . Notice that the name of our folder was in all caps but we searched in lowercase. Our search engine still displayed the correct result even though we had just typed in the first three letters. Hence Windows 7 internal search is not case sensitive.
Internet Explorer 8
Internet Explorer 8 is included in windows 7. Why is that so exciting? Well the answer lies in its cool features that are totally unique and unlike any other versions of explorer. These include faster and more responsive web browsing and easy organization. Its feature called “accelerator” lets you fish out all the information on the web within a few clicks of the mouse whereas another new feature called “web slicing” is like your personal reminder that keeps you up to date with the changing information without having to go through the trouble of repeatedly going to a particular website. Unique browsing options make internet explorer 8 more secure and private.
Once the extension is installed via the Add-ons page, users can browse and quickly install personas through the Tools menu (Tools → Personas), or directly from the Add-ons page by clicking the Wear This button.
Accelerators in Internet Explorer 8
With the use of an accelerator everyday out-of-the-webpage browsing has become very easy. Simply click the blue icon that appears when you highlight text from any webpage. After that a drop down menu will let you select whatever you wish to do, be it to obtain meanings of a specific word, driving directions or to simply look the highlighted text up on any search engines. Accelerator will cater to your every need. The image below shows some of the default accelerators that pop up when you click the blue icon.
Web Slicing in IE8
If adding our favorite website to the favorites bar is not enough for you then internet explorer 8 has something even better! For updates to our most frequently visited webpages like weather updates, emails, scores to our favorite basket ball game , or the item you placed a bid on at ebay there is the brand new feature of web slicing . Located in the command bar, the web slice option looks like this and turns green whenever it is available on a page. To activate it just click on the icon, you can now easily access that ‘slice’ of the web by just pointing your cursor over it in the favorites bar. If an update is available in that web slice, you will see the tab flashing.
In order to learn more about Internet Explorer 8, please visit Microsoft IE 8 New Features
All in all Windows 7 has been a great success ever since its launch. We covered all the basic topics that will help you along your way to discovering Windows 7. For learning about the keyboard shortcuts and updated news and developments in Windows, visit the List of Windows 7 Keyboard Shortcuts .
Related links to Microsoft Windows 7