Windows 7 Beta ReviewZertz , tacohunter52 - February 23, 2009
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So what's totally new, you ask? Honestly, Windows 7 doesn't really bring anything you haven't already seen in Vista or any other operating system for that matter. However, most existing elements have had their user interface improved with focus on ease of use, and it looks like developers understood there is no need to have to dig deep into a multitude of menus to modify simple options.
While Microsoft may not have made any huge or innovative changes, they did improve upon the usability. To keep the neophytes from getting frustrated, Microsoft didn't redo the whole user interface, or change all the things that were deemed "wrong" with Vista. What they did was make small and simple changes that make everything easier. Sometimes this is all you need. Some of the best changes are the ones where you know something is different, but you can't quite put your finger on it. You have to think about it for a few seconds to remember, "Oh yeah, there used to be a preferences tab there. I'm glad they changed it." Microsoft managed to make quite a few of these, and not one change is for the worst.
One of my favorites is something that's been around for a while now. If you're in a program, let's say Internet Explorer, and you want to maximize your window, all you need to do is drag the window up to the top of your screen. While this may take a few nanoseconds of your entire life, in the grand scheme of things, it is more visually pleasing than clicking the maximize window button. An invisible outline will appear around your screen, and when you let go of the mouse, voila, you've successfully maximized your window...THE SEXY WAY! Microsoft took this a step further by implementing what I'll call the "Window Stretch". If you decide you want your window longer, all you need to do is stretch it down to your task bar, and it will automatically stretch it to the top of your screen. While I'm not sure why you would want to do this, I'm sure someone has the need for "stretchy" windows.
Most of us have right-clicked our desktop, scrolled down to preferences, and gone to display options in order to do things like changing resolution or adding a second monitor. But why should screen resolution be in the same place as screen savers and wallpapers? Microsoft apparently felt the same way, as now all you have to do is right-click your desktop and BAM, screen resolution. I know it's not that big of a deal, but they tried. And hey, I like it.
Another nice little change that has been made is that you no longer need to fish through your control panel in order to find how to change your desktop settings. Microsoft made a nifty little category in the start menu titled "Getting Started". While they have always had this, it has never actually been as helpful as it is now. When you launch it, you will have options to make text larger, change the annoying User Account Control (UAC) settings (frankly, it really doesn't do anything besides give you annoying pop ups for the things you run), and personalize windows. In the latter section, you can change the color of your task bar and windows, set the transparency, change screen savers, and switch wallpapers.
You can also change your themes and their settings, although messing with the ease of access settings can give unwanted results.