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Changes, New Features, and Application Support in Windows 7

written by: Bruno Kos•edited by: Lamar Stonecypher•updated: 3/26/2009

Windows 7 in its beta attempt is all set to attract computer users with its many improved automated options and multi-functionality applications. Technical and non-technical users can now talk about Windows 7 functionality in the open. Here is a compiled list of known compatibility changes.

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    Windows 7 is being looked upon as a phenomenal upgrade over Windows Vista. Although, Windows 7 is yet to hit the markets, its pre-release version in the form of Windows 7 Beta is being presently tested. Windows 7 is being promoted as the most interactive operating system (OS) with a user-focused interface that humbles every competitor. It boasts of numerous automated options and some innovative multi-touch functionality features. Some of the applications that will be supported on Windows 7 include:

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    Multimedia Application on Windows 7

    Windows 7 operating system will make working on Windows media files a lot easier. With the help of its improved version of codec algorithms, Windows 7 is all set to provide you the software that can easily read all the files in the Media Center and compress them for effective media operations. Yes, it can compress large media files in a short span of time giving you various audio and video codec algorithms in respective formats that are relative to the formats of the devices you use. For example, there is pulse-code modulation for audio CDs, MPEG 2 for DVDs, AAC Audios for Apple online store etc. These formats are often the receptacle for the codecs and have names like DivX, Real Player, AVI and QuickTime. Windows 7 will have many inbuilt support systems for multimedia applications and, as compared to Vista (which relies on third parties most of the time), will be more compatible.

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    Anti-Spyware and Anti-virus solutions

    Microsoft has decided to go with three main Anti-virus/Anti-Spy ware programs with its OS Windows 7 in the beta stage - AVG v8, Kapspersky 8 and Norton 360 from Symantec.

    For more information see Antivirus Solutions for Windows 7.

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    Firewall Security on Windows 7

    Firewall Profiles incorporated in Windows 7 are similar to those in Windows Vista, but Windows 7 has provided a little improvement. Windows versions, in general, have multiple firewall profiles – different for different networks. There is a Public firewall profile for public networks, a Private profile for home networks, and a Domain profile for domain-controlled network.The traditional problem with this setup was that Domain-controlled profiles tended become predominantly active. This problem occurs mostly with Vista. Window 7's approach to firewal profiles is to allow the user to select the firewall profile specific to the required network and for for the required Ethernet, wireless, or other interface. Note that this may require an initial manual installation.

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    Compression tools, Office Productivity Suite and Internet Browsing

    Little has been revealed about compression tools and office productivity features of Windows 7. Of course – if you believe sources, it would be similar to Windows Vista but with better scope of improvements. For Vista, 7-zip has remained effective in compression applications and its office productivity suite included open office along with Microsoft 2007. Let’s see if they are compatible with Windows 7 as well.

    Windows 7 will have more secured option of Internet browsing. Also, in Windows 7 operating system users will have the flexibility to turn off IE8 and other built-in applications. But as far as other web browsers are concerned (like firefox and Chrome), they are apprehesive of their security and compatibility with windows 7.

    To get an insight of the deeper technical aspects in Windows 7 applications, visit page 2.

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    Complex Technical Applications for Windows 7Windows 7 is being looked upon as a phenomenal upgrade over Windows Vista. Although, Windows 7 is yet to hit the markets, its pre-release version in the form of Windows 7 Beta is being presently tested with its applications fully supported. There are some complex technical applications or incorporations by windows 7
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    Upgrade to NDIS 6.20, Server 2008 R2

    NDIS was initially developed with a collaboration between 3Com Corporation and Microsoft. It is currently used commonly across Microsoft Windows. NDIS, or the Network Driver Interface Specification, is one of the most advanced APIs (Application Programming Interfaces) used by NICs (Network Interface Cards). The most commonly-used versions of NDIS supported by Windows, currently, include:

    • NDIS 6.0: Windows Vista
    • NDIS 6.1: Windows Vista SP1, Server 2008

    The NDIS 6.20 version will provide extensive media-related functional extensibility. It will also include much more support for media-related OOB (out of band) data.

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    Introduction of SSD TRIM

    Windows 7 will include a major change by doing away with the use of its much-trusted Windows Disk Defragmenter for SSDs. Instead, it will introduce the more efficient SSD (Solid State Drive) TRIM. To increase the productivity of such drives, Windows 7 will use a new format that will include the placement of the partition on the SSD in a different way. Until now, all mechanical disk drives had a standard alignment wherein the starting point of the partition would be in the middle on an SSD drive. This was compromising on the performance by as much as 40 to 50%. This problem will no longer be seen in Windows 7 and hence we will get improved SSD version with high speed features. However, in a number of mechanical drives, the operations takes place in one spot making the possibility of file defragmentation for better optimization.

    VHD Support — This improvement will be accompanied by incorporating greater support for the Virtual Hard Disk (VHD). Further, it is reported that Windows 7 can be booted from a VHD drive, adding to the number of options in which users will be able to boot Windows. VHD files will be more flexible and users will be able to create them or boot from them just like WIM.

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    Refurbished Windows Media Center

    Windows Media Center that is currently being used in Vista will retain most of its current features like the basic design and the overall functionability. However, it will be made more user-friendly with the introduction of a more interactive interface using a number of shortcuts and with enhanced browsing options:

    • H.264 Video Playbacks will be made easier by using a Media Center Extender and even an Xbox 360 will be supported
    • Browsing in the Media Library will be a bit different as the listed items won't have the usual ‘Album Art’ design and the basic background color scheme of white-blue will be given a more dynamic appearance
    • Picture Library has been improved with better slideshow capability and users will be able to individually grade their images
    • There is greater support for television support in the form of the Windows Media Center TV Pack that was released in 2008 and will now be a standard part of the Media Center
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    Greater Security, Courtesy: Windows Action Center

    Windows 7 is bound to provide more comprehensive and personalized security solutions such as geo-tracking. Other features:

    • In Windows Vista, PUMA (Protected User-Mode Audio) related security features are available to only those applications which run in the Protected Media Path setting. However, this restriction will be removed in Windows 7
    • Windows Action Center would replace the present Windows Security Center. Users will have four individual type of notifications to choose from, which will be a part of the new User Account Control Interface