The Advantages of Windows 7

Written by anni martin
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The Advantages of Windows 7
Use Microsoft's Upgrade Advisor to test your computer before buying Windows 7. (portable pc image by Albo from Fotolia.com)

Operating systems direct the information flow in your computer. When you start a program or connect to the Internet, an operating system tells the computer hardware and software how much memory to use and provides directions for connection. Released in 2009, Microsoft Windows 7 is an operating system for a PC. Considered more stable than its predecessor, Windows Vista, Windows 7's advantages include enhanced computing performance and a cleaner interface.

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Interface

Windows 7 features a new interface with the Taskbar. The Taskbar has icons rather than labels, so you have less clutter on your screen. When you mouse over an icon, a thumbnail appears (a process known as Live Preview) so you can get an idea of your open applications before clicking them. You can rearrange icons on the Taskbar by clicking and dragging them. Other enhancements to the interface include Aero Peek, which allows you to see through open windows on your desktop and Aero Themes, which let you customise your Windows desktop more easily.

Start Menu

Windows 7 has a redesigned Start Menu. The Start Menu is now a circular icon and shows recently-used applications on the left side of the menu. The right side is the list of commonly used folders and system applications, such as Control Panel. One advantage in the Windows 7 Start Menu is Jump Lists. They provide another way to navigate through frequently used programs without opening Windows Explorer and wading through folders. Jump Lists for Microsoft Word, for example, show recently created documents, while Jump Lists for Internet Explorer show websites.

Security

One benefit of Windows 7 is a more secure operating system. The Action Center has replaced Vista's Security Center. At the right side of the Taskbar is the System Tray, containing icons that indicate applications--such as a virus checker or firewall--are running. This is also a notification area. You can manage the computer's security features--such as the firewall, antivirus software and automatic updates--from the Action Center. It is configurable, so you can set the User Account Control (UAC) slider to a security level you prefer. Many programs install icons in this area for automatic updates. You can block applications from putting notifications in the System Tray via a control panel in the Action Center.

Applications

Windows operating systems come with applications to run media, add numbers and perform some basic image editing--among other functions. An added advantage in Windows 7 is the redesign of some of its system applications. Windows Media Player, the Calculator utility, Internet Explorer, Paint and WordPad all received new interfaces with Windows 7.

Hardware Support

Windows 7 contains new features to help manage hardware peripherals you attach to the computer. Device Stages appears in the Taskbar to help manage printers, digital cameras and other peripherals. When you plug in a device, an icon appears on the Taskbar. Right click the icon to get more information about the hardware, such as where to order ink for a printer or a battery gauge for a digital camera.

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