Sunday, November 02, 2008

Windows 7 News Roundup – The Very Best


Intro to W7 class is now in session!  Pay attention!

I’ve recently started to work at collecting news and information about Windows 7.  Just when I was getting comfortable with Vista and was deliberating the upgrade of our two XP systems to Vista, now a few things are clear.

  • Vista looks to be treated as a “road-bump” in their Windows OS releases.

  • That W7 is hoped to be the savior of the future of Microsoft.

  • That W7 is remarkably similar to Vista under the hood, but it is different in many respects.

I think that now Vista SP1 has resolved many of the underlying issues with it, most XP users (home/corporate) are in no hurry at all to switch to Vista; except with purchase or build of a new system.  I certainly fall into that category.

That said, just as I am getting used to and finding many things to like about Vista, it looks like Windows 7 will again require some major UI adjustments.

So with the big Microsoft effort taking the wraps of an early version of W7, the Net has been flooded with posts, reviews, and analysis of all things Seven.

I’ve been dutifully reading them all and have collected the very best (IMHO) of these posts for posterity.  Once you get done working though this Valca syllabus, you should have a pretty decent working knowledge of what W7 will deliver as well as what it means to you.

Hang on.  It’s a bunch.

Bookmarking ready? Netbooks open?

OK class, let’s begin!

First Big Picture Looks

These posts show us the major design elements and features of W7.  Particularly the desktop, revised task-bar, and window and file management elements.  Overall the Windows feel is still there, but there will really be new ways of relating to your data.

Deeper into the Eye Candy

Like most Windows faithful, the technicals are interesting and important, but come-on, we want eye-candy to inspire us.  Looks like W7 won’t disappoint.

  • Windows 7 UX tidbits: color hot-track – istartedsomething – Applications minimized to the action/task bar will glow with a intuitive color based on the application itself.

  • Windows 7 themes: glass, basic and classic – istartedsomething. At least in the developmental versions of W7, it looks like you can roll back the theme to Classic, and Vista'ish styling.  To a point as we will soon see.

  • Windows 7 DPI scaling: my 7 is bigger than your 7 – istartedsomething. Supersize my DPI please!

  • Improvements to fonts in Windows 7 – istartedsomething. Font display and management will get a major overhaul in W7.  Should be much more helpful and intuitive; especially for those like me who have a bazillion fonts installed.

  • Windows 7 and light sensors: let there be light – istartedsomething. W7 will be able to interface with future laptops that have light sensors to adjust the screen display for optimal viewing enjoyment.

  • Tidbits about the new "superbar" taskbar – istartedsomething.  The new action/taskbar is going to be radically different in W7 from XP and Vista.  Prepare for something much different, and maybe, just maybe, much more useful.

  • More on the Windows 7 UI: new taskbar will be mandatory – Ars Technica.  Oh. Did I mention that you have to have the new W7 action/taskbar?  No rolling it back to the Vista/XP task-bar behavior Windows users world-wide have gotten used to.  Cope. You will like it. Microsoft says so.

  • Why you should contribute to Win7 Taskforce  - istartedsomething. Long Zheng continues his campaign to make the UI interface in Windows (W7 now) more logical and beautiful for Windows users.  It makes a lot of sense. Hop over to the Windows 7 Taskforce page to view and comment on the most popular submissions for the past 30 days for GUI elements needing tweaking and repairs.

Greater than the Sum of its Parts

Haven’t fallen asleep yet? Good. Teacher’s watching…

For IT Professionals

  • Windows 7: What’s coming for business users -All about Microsoft | – First indications that Microsoft is trying to woo their enterprise and corporate IT customers.  Something that has not been going so well with Vista: Includes Branch Office caching, new imaging (ImageX?) method, BitLocker to Go (for USB devices), AppLocker, Direct Access (allows employees to stay connected to their W7 system data from anywhere Internet connections, VHD support.

  • Windows 7 management features will make IT admins grin – Ars Technica takes the teases above and fleshes them out with added detail and explanations.  Real world stuff that many IT shops may find appealing.

  • Windows 7 Preview, Part 5: Business and IT Pro Features - Paul Thurrott adds a bit more information that the Ars Technical post above leaves out.  But not much.

  • Windows 7 M3 Interactive Install Screenshot Gallery - Paul Thurrott has a fantastic gallery of screenshots for a pre W7 setup.  Looks very polished and easy for both IT and home-users to follow.  Reminiscent of Vista, but not quite as confusing to some.

Diving Deep

These posts are only for those GATE students or those wanting to earn extra credit.

Windows 7 and Netbook Support

For Christmas we are almost committed now to getting Alvis a Netbook.  No decision yet but we are strongly leaning to a Sapphire Blue Acer Aspire One Mini Laptop running XP.  So future compatibility and performance of Windows 7 on it is a prime concern.

Looks like it should do sufficiently well.

W7 will you be ready?  Will you care?

You probably should.

Class dismissed until next time.  Study up!

--Claus V.

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