If you want to hear the latest and coolest Mac commercial, stop by my house sometime. My wife (the Mac) and I (the PC) argue relentlessly about the benefits of these two platforms and the operating systems that run them. My wife has been winning the battle of late due to the complete failure of the Windows Vista operating system and this has left me begging to answer the question: What’s new with Windows 7?
Stability. Windows 7 seems stable out of the box and easier to install than Vista. I had one of the earliest versions of Vista and it took my computer several hours to finally get to where it would run all of my peripheral devices. Not so with Windows 7. All of my peripherals loaded seamlessly from the first time I ran Windows 7. Windows 7 did not take hours trying to find the right printer driver, nor did it crash the first time it burned a DVD.
Taskbar. The Windows 7 taskbar has remained mostly unchanged from Windows Vista. The taskbar in Windows 7 is slightly larger than before and it allows you to see the applications you have open.
Windows Media Player. The newest version of Windows Media Player found in Windows 7 allows you to share your mp3s with other networked devices. By using the “Play to” option, WMP pushes your desired tune to your desired device and plays it. This must be done in range of your wireless network, but it is a feature that I found pretty cool.
Jump Lists. Perhaps the most unique new feature of Windows 7 is Jump Lists. Jump lists allow you to point your mouse over an application and see recently opened items. For instance if you have Windows Media Player opened and you hover your pointer over the application a list of recently viewed movies and songs will appear. I found this to be very useful and intuitive.
Security. Gone are the days of tirelessly clicking away at Window’s Vista’s constant reminders of security. Microsoft 7 has done a good job putting all security features together in what they are dubbing the “Windows Action Center”. While this has increased the usability of the Microsoft OS, the verdict is still out as to how efficient Windows 7 will be in taking care of external threats.
While these new features are added benefits to Windows 7, and prove that Microsoft is making headway with its operating system, Windows 7 does have some features that are markedly familiar to Apple’s Snow Leopard OS. The “Stacking” feature of Snow Leopard is present in Windows 7. The stacking feature allows you to browse contents of certain folders in stacks the hover above the application icon. The taskbar is also a close clone to the all-too familiar OSX dock feature. I definitely am not complaining. Mac OSX touts its user friendly features, and I believe that Windows 7 has come close to beating OSX in user friendliness. Only time will tell.