Sunday, November 29, 2009

Windows 7 Cool New Features

I recently acquired a new desktop with Windows 7 installed on it. There are a number of new features in Windows 7, but here I'm going to list a few that I find absolutely awesome. Some of these features might not be exclusively new to 7, but as a took a pass on Vista, I'll list them here anyway.


An awesome feature of Windows 7 is the ability to drag a window to the screen edge and it will “snap” into place. So if you drag the window to the left or right side of the screen, it will resize to fill one half of the screen. This is great if you want to view to windows side-by-side to compare them or work in both simultaneously.
In addition, you can also drag the window to the top of the screen to maximize it.  Drag it again and it is restored to its original size. You can also grab the top or bottom border of a Window and drag it to the corresponding screen edge. When you do, the opposite edge will automatically move to fill the entire height of the screen.
Finally, you can also use the WIN+ARROW KEY to have the same effect. In fact, using the keyboard, you can actually move snapped windows across multiple monitors. You can also maximize the window by using WIN+UP ARROW or minimize with WIN+DOWN ARROW. Manually resizing windows is a thing of the past!


If your anything like me, you generally keep a lot of windows open at a time. It can become very stressful trying to focus on just one when your desktop is cluttered with dozens of unrelated, half-complete tasks. In that case, Shake is to the rescue! Just grab the window you want to focus on, and shake it back and forth a couple of times. All of the other windows will minimize, leaving you with just the window you want. Want all of your clutter back? Easy as pie: just shake the window again and all of the windows are restored to their original positions. Wasn’t that easy?

Jump Lists

Have a file you open a lot. A website you visit frequently.  Well now those frequently used items are only two clicks away. Just right click on an icon either in the Start Menu or on the Taskbar and you’ll get a list of your most recently used files. In addition, you can pin files to the list so that they will always be available.

Live Taskbar

If you’ve ever experienced the joy of trying to find exactly which browser window you were looking for when you’ve got 5 or more open, you will love the Live Taskbar.  Just hover the mouse over the program icon and you will get a selection of thumbnails showing you the contents of each window. And if you are using Internet Explorer, you will even get thumbnails for each individual browser tab to choose from. Then, if you hover over the thumbnail Windows will hide all of the other windows on the screen and just display the one you are hovering over.  All you have to do now is click on the thumbnail, and presto, you are working in your chosen window.


These are just a few of the cool features available in Windows 7, and they don’t even scratch the surface. My recommendation would be to definitely check it out. A word to the wise, though. Make sure you look at the comparison between the different SKUs as they each have different limitations. There are 4 major editions: Start, Home Premium, Professional, and Ultimate. If your going to shell out the extra money for a higher SKU, make sure you’ll actually be using the features you get for that money.
I didn’t think that the features I specified here really did justice to the complete package. So I’m going to be adding several more posts about more features that I enjoy in Windows 7. You can see the next one on Pinning, Windows Search, and Aero Flip 3D here.

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