First Look at Windows 7

I was a long time Windows XP user and I had been hearing good things about Windows 7. My old computer wasn’t up to the task of a new OS, but my new computer came with Windows 7 installed.

I’m a few months into my exploration of Windows 7. It has been an interesting task to work with an operating system after using XP for so long.  Here are some of  my discoveries:

– I had been using Firefox as my Internet Browser, but decided to give Internet Explorer 8 a try for a while.  I  like the way IE8 “Favorites” in Windows 7 are stored in a folder just like they were in XP. That makes it easy to rename, move or delete them while in Windows Explorer. Sometimes IE8 forgets what size window it should be when it is opened. If that happens, open IE8, resize the window to however you want, then exit the program by choosing File-Exit. The next time IE8 is opened, it should open to the window size you want

– Windows Explorer is a 3 pane window that shows the folder hierarchy, the file thumbnail, and a preview, if applicable. I like that.

– Windows 7 comes with a Sticky Notes utility. You can change the color of the note by right clicking on a blank space on the note. The only way to format the text font or size is to paste pre-formatted text into the note. You can make the text bold, or italic, or underlined by using the CTRL key plus the first letter of the effect you want to make. There are other sticky notes programs available on the internet that have many more features than this.

– Stickies are good for capturing transient thoughts, but for more permanent notes, I decided to use WordPad.  I can click on the file name of the note, and the contents show up in the Windows Explorer preview pane.

– Windows 7 can un-compress files, but I haven’t tested to see whether it will handle files other than .ZIP. It can also compress files to .ZIP.

– I wanted a Mahjong game. Windows 7 has one, along with the usual Windows games.

– Windows Live components were installed on my new computer. These included Messenger, Mail, Writer, Photo Gallery, Movie Maker and a few others. I’m sure they are all useful, but I haven’t chosen to use any of them so far, so will likely uninstall them.

– The version of Windows that I have supports the use of a tablet, so there are a number of little programs for inputting your handwriting.  I don’t have a tablet, but I tried these programs out using a mouse. It would take a lot of practice to create legible anything with a mouse…

– The Snipping Tool is a wonderful little program. It can be used to “snip” a copy of anything on the screen. I use it to capture all sorts of little bits.

– If you want to change the Windows appearance, right click on the desktop. Choose Personalize. You can use the installed themes, or find more themes on the internet. If you click on the icon for Window Color, you go to Advanced Appearance, which lets you change all sorts of things.

– You can personalize your desktop so that it displays a sequence of images, rather than one static one. In XP you could do this for your screen saver.

– Libraries are a great way for organizing folders. They are sort of like My Documents in Windows XP in that they appear at the top of the “food chain” in Windows Explorer. You can create Library folders, and then link to other folders from all over your hard drive.

– Fonts management is accessed through the Control Panel, or by clicking on the Fonts Folder. A thumbnail preview of the font is a welcome addition.

There are numerous other things about Windows 7 that make it a great OS. The more I use it, the more I like it. It is a “10 Really” program – I really, really, really etc like it.

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