Adjusting to the Windows 7 Interface

The basic building blocks of the Windows interface have remained unchanged for years, with only relatively minor tweaks to break the familiar routine. With Windows 7, those familiar pieces get the biggest makeover they’ve had since the turn of the century.

The basic layout of the Windows taskbar is the same as it has been for more than a decade: a Start button on the left side, a clock and some small icons on the opposite side, and room in between for buttons that represent programs.

By default, those taskbar buttons are noticeably bigger than the ones you’re accustomed to from earlier Windows versions.They also serve a dual purpose: to start up programs and to switch between running application windows. You can pin shortcuts to the taskbar so that they’re always available (even when the program they represent isn’t running) and drag buttons left or right to reorder them.

When you move your mouse over a taskbar button that represents a running program, the Aero interface shows you a live thumbnail preview of every window associated with that button. Hover the mouse over a preview, and a nifty new feature called Aero Peek hides other windows to show you only the one you’ve highlighted. Move the mouse away from the preview and Windows restores your desktop.

For programs that support lists of recently opened files, you can right-click to display a Jump List. You can “pin” frequently used items to this list as well so that they’re always available.

Every Windows user has, at some point in their computing lifetime, watched in horror as the number of icons in the notification area rose to double digits and threatened to over-whelm the rest of the taskbar. In Windows 7, notifications are hidden by default. You can customize individual notifications so that they’re always visible, or click the arrow to the left of the visible icons to reveal and work with the collection of hidden icons. In the Notifica¬tion Area Icons dialog box, you can adjust each icon’s behavior indi¬vidually or use the links at the bottom of the dialog box to globally change the appearance and behavior of this area.

Arguably, personalizing the Windows environment with custom desktop backgrounds, sounds, and screen savers has only a minor impact on productivity. But those tweaks are still psychologically important. In Windows 7, the entire collection of personalization set-tings is consolidated in a single dialog box.

Source of Information : Microsoft Press - Windows 7 Inside Out

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