Windows 7: A Step in the Right Direction

Microsoft’s Vista operating system experienced a less than enthusiastic welcome among PC users, a scenario that Microsoft is working hard to avert with Windows 7. While the new Windows 7 will pack a punch in terms of improved efficiency, Microsoft’s goal is not to revolutionize the operating system world; instead, the goal is to provide an incremental improvement to the Vista operating system. In that vein, consumers should not expect anything too groundbreaking with the release of Windows 7, but rather an important effort by Microsoft to fix some of the serious issues that have arisen from Vista. In the words of Bill Gates, Windows 7 aims to be “more user-centric”, and focuses specifically on performance improvements. At the same time, there are a number of interesting and significant improvements and new features that Microsoft has rolled out. This article aims to take a look at some of the new features that Windows 7 brings to the table, as well as how the latest Windows release will differ from Vista. All in all, Windows 7 represents a significant improvement over Vista—fixing some of the glaring problems and offering a broad range of new features.

Performance Improvements
The jury is still out, but the preliminary results seem to show that Windows 7 has been successful in reducing start up and load times. In particular, Windows 7 has been able to reduce load times for many common office apps, such as Word. Windows 7 also allows you to clean up your computer and improve overall performance more efficiently by allowing multiple hard drives to be defragmented at once. For those who have spent hours waiting for Windows to defragment their hard drive, only to realize that defragmenter only defragmented one drive—this improvement is a welcome one. Microsoft has also rolled out a beefed up and improved Resource Monitor that replaces the old Task Manager. Resource Monitor is a sort of Task Manager on steroids, containing many of the same features and some new and helpful ones. Resource Monitor provides more detailed information on all of your resources; how the CPU is being used, how RAM is allocated, hard disk space and how network connections are operating.

Microsoft also made an important about face with the planned release of Windows 7, by making Windows 7 fully compatible with Vista and supporting all Vista files. Many Windows users were disappointed when Vista was released without support or adequate integration with previous operating systems. Although Windows 7 is only designed to offer integration with Vista, it is certainly a step in the right direction.

New Features
Beyond the performance improvements and common sense changes, Windows 7 also has a number of unique features that set it apart. Most of these features center around security and ease of use. One of those features Guest Mode. This feature can be particularly handy for the family computer, where less experienced users might be downloading software or where your computer is at a high risk for spyware or adware. Guest Mode could also be useful in the classroom, or in libraries, where many people will be using the same computer. As soon as a user logs off, Windows deletes any files the user saved and restores the computer to its defaults. Obviously, users will have to be careful with this feature, since it has the potential to delete important saved files! Beyond Guest Mode, 7 also offers parents and computer administrators the ability to regulate which applications different users have access to, and even what they can do with those applications through its AppLocker feature.

Another feature that Windows 7 offers is the Problem Steps Recorder. This feature sounds innocuous enough, but it is easy to see how it could quickly become somewhat controversial. This new application allows those who are having trouble with a program or doing a task to press the Problem Steps Recorder button. Windows will then record every keystroke that the users makes, and take screenshots of user activity. Finally, the application packages everything up into a convenient MHTML file that can be emailed or easily exported. While this could clear up some tech support headaches, users should be careful with this application, since it includes a key logger.

Overall, Windows 7 seems to be an improvement over Vista in terms of performance, as well as new features. Only time will tell how well Windows 7 will actually hold up—we can only hope that it represents a step in the right direction towards a less bloated, more user-friendly and better performing operating system.

2 comments

  1. i just installed Windows 7 on my PC. i just hope that it is as stable as Windows XP.

  2. steven · June 3, 2009

    I’ve been using Windows 7 for over 2 months and I can honestly say it’s the best OS Microsoft have released so far.

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