Windows 7 Beta ReviewZertz , tacohunter52 -
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One of the first things I noticed was that the startup times had changed drastically. In Vista, it would take only a few seconds to go from the boot screen to my login screen, then another 20 seconds to get completely started up. With Windows 7, it takes about 30 seconds to get from the boot screen to the login screen, but then only a few seconds to get to the desktop. It sounds a little bit strange, but I was actually relieved by it. I have a habit of locking my computer in order to leave the background tasks running. In Windows 7 my computer will only stay locked for a few hours before automatically logging me off. I was a little frustrated, but at least it started up right away with nearly no downtime. Overall startup times may have increased, but if you often simply log off and leave your computer on, you'll see a major improvement.
With Vista, Microsoft introduced Aero, something they kept touting as a revolutionary interface feature, but ended up just being pretty windows with clear borders. In this latest version, not much has changed, but you are now able to make things more transparent, and as such, things seem to look slightly better.
Speaking of the start menu, while it hasn't changed much compared to Vista, it brings a couple interesting new additions. The recently used programs functionality has been revisited and now brings more to the table than simply a shortcut to the most recently used applications. Some programs have a small arrow on the right of its name, and when you hover the cursor over for a brief moment, a menu will pop up on the right, displaying the files last used by that specific program. This makes it easy to quickly open documents without having to browse to them.
The beloved task bar icons have taken a turn for the better as well. Now when you open a program, instead of a bar displaying in the taskbar, an icon will appear on your bottom left. Scrolling over the icon will make a miniature window open, and if you have multiple instances of a program, multiple windows will pop up. Scrolling over these miniature windows will make all the larger windows disappear, except for the one directly associated with the miniature window you're hovering over. If you're running a program such as F@H, then the icon will still be on the bottom left. Instead of appearing on your task bar it will be in a little box accessible by clicking an up arrow.