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Product: Windows 7
Company: Microsoft
See Pricing  Purchase at
Review By: Andre Da Costa

with Byron Hinson, Robert Stein & Fernando Fhualpa contributing

Desktop & Personalization

Table Of Contents (70 Pages)
1: Introduction & Executive Summary
2: Pricing, Editions & System
Installation, Setup & Upgrading
4: Initial Impressions
5: Daily Usage
6: Connectivity & Networking
7: Windows Internet Explorer 8
8: IE 8 - Developer, Compatibility & Security
9: Accessories (Search, Applets, etc.)

10: Windows Media Player 12 & Media Center
11: Enterprise & Security Improvements
12: Windows Virtual XP Mode
13: Device Stage & Printing
14: Remote Assistance - Easy Connect
15: Customizing Windows 7
16: Maintenance & Power Management
17: Gaming & Desktop Graphics Performance
18: USB Transfer Tests

19: Desktop & Personalization
20: Support Tools
21: System Restore & Recovery Options
22: Tablet PC & Windows Touch
23: Windows Update & Other Enhancements
24: Windows 7 Developer Support
25: Competition
26: Conclusion & Online Resources

The Desktop is the first place you experience when you start Windows. Improvements would be considered minor, but there is better synergy between windows and features like Gadgets. Microsoft introduced the Windows Sidebar in Vista which hosted a collection of web based applications that delivers quick information whether its Stock Quotes, Weather, latest info from subscribed sites and a Slideshow to name a few. Windows 7 makes gadgets easier to use, they are free to roam the desktop enabling you to position them anywhere and make some of them smaller or larger. If you like to keep your gadgets at the edges of your screen, they’ll snap into place like magnets. Are there any new Gadgets? Well, there is a new Windows Media Center Gadget that gives you quick access to your media such as Photo’s, Music and Videos. The Notes Gadget has been replaced by Sticky notes. Sticky notes are a lot more powerful; they are resizable and support inking along with date and time. You can also take advantage of the new effects added to Alt-Tab 2D which provides a full size preview of your open windows when invoked.

The Personalization Explorer features improved customization and accessibility. For persons who like to make their Windows experience unique, Microsoft has reintroduced expanded theme capabilities. Windows XP and Vista offers the ability to customize the interface to a certain degree, such as changing the window and Start menu colour for instance. If you wanted additional options, you had to turn to third party solutions such as Star Dock. In 7, Microsoft provides in addition to window colour, the ability to choose pre-packaged themes that matches the bundled wallpapers. Glass colour options have increased from 8 in Vista to 16 in 7 with a collection of up to 13 new sound schemes. Packaged wallpapers automatically play as Desktop slide changing your desktop background at specified intervals; you can even create your own themes and save them. The themes explorer itself is more centralized providing a one stop approach to customizing your Desktop Background, Sounds and Screen Saver while you are at it. In Vista, the cumbersome separate dialog from XP’s Display settings was a confusing experience and multiple step approach to making Windows your own. I personally suggested collapsible panels in Windows Vista, but this new look and approach is even better! Microsoft still includes the venerable Windows Classic theme for those who just can’t escape the Windows 95 experience.

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