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Microsoft promises to deliver a more user-centric operating system with Windows 7. Codenamed Blackcomb, the first official announcement regarding Windows 7 was made by none other than Bill Gates and Steve Balmer, top honchos of Microsoft during the Microsoft PDC meet sometime in October.
While Windows 7 promises to have some similar features with Windows Vista, the new OS also promises several innovative enhancements and new features that we have not yet seen in both XP and Vista. These changes would affect the user interface, input methods, boot performance, multimedia, and security and safety features. But, of course, these are over and above the main new features of Windows 7 which are advancements in touch, speed, and handwriting recognition.
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The New Input Methods of Windows 7
As publicized by Microsoft people, Windows 7 will have new touch features. This was even demonstrated during the All Things Digital Conference which was held sometime in May. Although there's not much detail as to this new input method will be implemented, none other than Bill Gates mentioned that Windows 7 will also have improved speech and handwriting recognition technology. These have made many people pretty excited with the launch of Windows 7.
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The Changes in User Interface of Windows 7
While Windows 7 would take off from where Vista left off in terms of the user interface, there are several changes that would be introduced including desktop slideshow, several libraries for Windows Explorer, and a federated search engine in Windows Explorer that would crawl external custom databases and online services as well. Additionally the Windows Taskbar would also receive some changes in Windows 7. These would include a 10-inch pixels taller taskbar than Vista taskbar, a fade-in highlight effect for the start button orb which will now sit inside the Windows 7 taskbar, integration of the Quick Launch toolbar into the taskbar, an expanded preview pane that interacts with the overall preview pane, a unique jump list for each application which will let you access recently opened documents using the applications, and some other new features for the user interface.
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The New Multimedia Features of Windows 7
While Windows 7 will retain most of the design features of Windows Media Center, it will however introduce several new user interfaces, particularly shortcuts and browsing functionality. Windows 7 will also incorporate the Windows Media Center TV Pack which was released not so long ago, allowing for television support. In addition, Windows 7 will support the following media format - MP4, MOV, 3GP, AVCHD, ADTS, M4A and native codecs such as H.264, MPEG4-SP, ASP, DivX, Xvid, MJPEG and more.
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The New Security and Safety Features of Windows 7
Receiving quite a number of changes is the new User Access Control which became quite annoying in Windows Vista. Fortunately for Windows 7 the UAC will let you choose from four different levels of notifications. It will also support geo-tracking and would limit users’ control of applications to track. In addition, the Windows Security Center will now be called Windows Solutions Center in Windows 7.
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Other Features to Expect from Windows 7
Of course there are still some other new features coming from various sources claiming to be official and reliable as far as Microsoft is concerned. These include management features such as DirectAccess, BitLocker, support for multiple heterogeneous graphics cards, more items added to the Control Panel, and a startup time of up to 15 seconds maximum. But whether these new features will be delivered by Microsoft in Windows 7 still remains to be seen. But as it is, we should expect something radically different from previous Operating Systems released by Microsoft in Windows 7.
And now the waiting begins.