Windows 7 Gets Pre-Release Makeover - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

Software // Operating Systems

Windows 7 Gets Pre-Release Makeover

Microsoft has tweaked three dozen features in the beta version of its new operating system.

In response to user feedback, Microsoft has made numerous changes to the Windows 7 user interface as it readies the operating system--viewed by many as a make or break product for the software maker-for formal launch later this year or early next year.

Windows 7 screen shot
(Click for larger image and for full photo gallery)

Included in the changes, which number three dozen, is a new keyboard shortcut that allows the user to launch an application simply by pressing the Windows logo key in combination with a number that corresponds to the apps' order in the Quick Launch menu. For example, if an application is listed fourth in Quick Launch, it could be opened by pressing the Windows key in convert with the number 4 key.

Microsoft also made changes to alerts that signal when an application needs attention. The icon for a so-called "needy" application will now flash up to seven times, as opposed to the previous three, in an effort to grab the user's attention. Changes also include a more noticeable flashing animation in a bolder color of orange.

Other changes include modifications to the taskbar pane that allow it to display a greater number of application icons, a change that makes it easier for users to pin new apps to the taskbar, and more flexible icon and gadget view options.

Additional changes affect Windows 7's touch-screen capabilities, Control Panel, and Explorer features.

"As is evident from this sample of changes, we've been very busy improving Windows 7 based on what our customers are telling us in many forums," wrote Microsoft engineer Chaitanya Sareen, in a Thursday blog post that details the changes.

Microsoft needs Windows 7 to be a hit. Vista, the company's current OS, has failed to catch on with mainstream computer users while businesses have shunned it outright. Many users have complained about Vista's hardware requirements, intrusive security measures, and lack of compatibility with older applications.

Dissatisfaction with Vista has allowed Apple to gain share against Microsoft in the computer operating system market in recent months. Windows' market share in November fell below 90% for the first time in years while Mac OS is now flirting with the 10% mark, according to market watcher Net Applications.

InformationWeek has published an indepth report on Windows 7. Download the report here (registration required).

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
How to Create a Successful AI Program
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  10/14/2020
Think Like a Chief Innovation Officer and Get Work Done
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  10/13/2020
10 Trends Accelerating Edge Computing
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  10/8/2020
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Current Issue
[Special Report] Edge Computing: An IT Platform for the New Enterprise
Edge computing is poised to make a major splash within the next generation of corporate IT architectures. Here's what you need to know!
Flash Poll