I recently posted an article about my experiences with Windows 7 during the initial setup and configuration. While it was a minor improvement over Vista, it brought with it some concerns such as the issue with a non-hashed password field when adding yourself to a Wireless Network.
This time around since I don't need a camera to take pictures, I will be able to provide you with some screenshots so you can follow along. We're going to jump right into opening up all the common windows, panels, and configuration items in Windows 7 and see what we get.
Opening the Games panel for the first time gives us a prompt to automatically check for news and updates about games we have installed here. If you’re a STEAM user, this will likely be redundant, but if you have non-STEAM games, this might prove useful. Time will tell if game manufacturers jump on board with this and actually give Microsoft the information so it can update you. Other than that, the games panel is exactly the same as it was under Vista.
Moving on to Paint, as some of you may have heard, it has been graced with the ribbon that was pioneered with Office 2007. Love it or hate it, it seems the ribbon is here to stay. New features include shapes, and a few different brushes, more notably the bottom panel shows the canvas dimensions at all times, as well as a handy zoom slider. By default it wants to save in the PNG format, rather than the Bitmap of old. There’s also a new entry in what is essentially the File menu which makes the current project your desktop wallpaper and various options to center, tile, or stretch it accordingly.
Next up is the Libraries. This replaces the "My Documents" folder of old. These libraries are Documents, Pictures, Music, and Videos. What is interesting here is that when opening a specific Library, at the top right hand corner you will see "Includes: 2 library locations" by default. Clicking on this shows which actual folders are considered to be part of the "Library". By default it’s the C:"Users"Public"Documents and C:"Users"ME"Documents. Substitute the Document folder with Music, Video, or Pictures and you get the idea. From the locations panel though you can Add or Remove folders to this Library. So for those of you like me, that put your Music collection on a secondary location or even a network location, it seems you will be able to simply add that folder to the library and cut out what you don't want and bam your in business. I have to give Microsoft a +2 for this feature. On the other hand, if you’re trying to backup a friends hard drive attached as a slave, you might need to look in multiple locations to find their data.
Browsing further into the Network panel shows that the router itself is listed here. It shows up as "Residential Gateway Device" and clicking on it brings up its properties. The properties contain its MAC, IP, and unique ID, as well as the model make and version. I like this as it brings a little more information to the average user, but it’s nothing new to techies that can use a command prompt.
Control Panel is next on the hit list today. In here we see they have done away with our escape to "Classic View". Instead there’s a button that looks similar to all the others labeled "All Control Panel Items". I'm not sure what to think about this, as I rather liked my Classic View and the way it was laid out. This new view and lack of options to change its look and feel leave me feeling like a Mac User rather than a Windows Power User.
So far, I like Windows 7 as it feels snappier than Vista did, but then again I haven't loaded anything to it just yet. My major complaint is the new Start Menu. I already hate having to mouse over an icon to get my list of windows I have open. Alt-TAB and Flip3D are going to endure heavier use under Windows 7 I think. Once we have looked at all Windows 7 has to offer, our next stop will be customizing it to operate the way we want it to so stay tuned.