OK, now that the above is out of the way I can get to a review of the OS.
First off, all I can say is WOW. This operating system is WONDERFUL. You can tell A LOT of thought went into this OS. Everything comes across as really polished. As opposed to Vista where you saw legacy application that just had a Vista window around them, all of the applications feel like a real part of the OS. For example, Wordpad, Paint and Calculator have all been updated (Notepad stays the same though it doesn't feel out of place). I will cover them later. Right now, I want to focus on the OS.
When you first install Win 7 this is how your desktop looks (albeit with less icons, because I have already installed some stuff )
As you can see at the bottom of the previous image, there is a new taskbar. In this section I discuss how this task bar differs from the previous.
The NEW Taskbar
Those expecting a skin over the old 95/98/ME/XP/Vista task bar are in for a surprise. This one isn't just pretty, it has loads of new functionality. First off, lets get acquainted with the new appearance by comparing the difference between an open task and a link:
The Internet Explorer icon and the WMP 12 icon are links (a la quicklink), while the rest with squares around them are running tasks. If the square has an additional edge to the right of it there are two open items of that type. You can see this for the running task between the IE and WMP 12 icons, that second edge denotes two open windows. It sounds like it would be some what confusing but in practice it is not at all.
When you lay your mouse over one of the running tasks something interesting happens (people using Vista will recognize this):
You get nice previews of the tasks that are running (IN REAL TIME), which means if you have a movie playing in WMP 12, then you can watch the movie play in the small preview window. Also, there is a small red square with an x in it for closing programs from the task bar (no need to right click close anymore).
This is what happens when you move your mouse over one of the previews of the running tasks. The task comes to the foreground with the rest turning to glass outlines. If you slide over to the second preview, the second window comes into view with the previous window turning to a glass outline.
One thing that is nice is you can easily drag start menu icons around (I can't remember if you can do that with the old taskbar or not).
Lastly, for those of you who use the Show Desktop button a lot, it has moved.
The square to the left of the Time/Date is the new Show Desktop button. If you put your mouse over it, all windows go clear. If you click it, then all windows are minimized.
You may have noticed the weird glow around the icons for the running tasks when I put my mouse over it. The color of this glow is determined by the colors in the icons. If you see the examples below, the glow for firefox is orange, the glow for Paint is white, the glow for the snipping tool is red, etc.
If you look closely you will see the glow follows the position of the mouse. Compare the above pic with the one below. You will see the source of the orange glow has moved.
While I don't have an image for this, everything you see happens rapidly on my laptop (Core2Duo 1.6Ghz, 4GB of ram, Intel 945GM integrated graphics) including all graphical effects etc.
For the first time ever in Windows, not only is customization a priority, but it is located in places and done in ways that MAKE SENSE!
Customization is KING!!!!
The System Tray
Yes ladies and gentlemen you can FINALLY customize the system tray. This means hiding or showing system tray icons, changing the order of the icons etc. Oh yeah, the system tray is now called the Notification Area.
To customize the System Tray, you click on the up arrow by the system tray. A small window will appear with the hidden icons and a customize option.
Upon clicking Customize, a new window appears.
As you can see, each possible system tray icon appears with a drop down box next to it. The options are "Show Icon and Notifications", "Hide Icon and Notifications" and "Only Show Notifications". THe action basically is, Show the icon all the time, hide it all the time, or only show it when it has an alert. To change the order of the icons, you simply drag them back and forth.
Customizing Windows Appearance
Just as before, the quickest way to access the customizations is to right click on the desktop. WHen you right click on the desktop this menu appears:
Yes, that is Screen Resolution finally unhidden.
To customize the Windows Appearance, choose the option Personalize:
This is the menu that appears. The big box in the center is the various windows themes. If you see the themes with multiple images, these are themes with multiple backgrounds and windows will cycle through the backgrounds gradually over time, default is every 30 minutes. I could see this being useful for parents who set the background to images of their children.
At the bottom, you have the ability to select different aspects to change. These include Background, Window Color (color of the glass), Sounds and Screen Saver.
Clicking on each of these opens up the menu for that option.
Summary so far
So far I love it, it has been solid and stable. Intuitive and easy. I will expand this review more as time goes on but I have spent several hours on it so far and am exhausted.
Edited by PedroDaGR8, 10 January 2009 - 07:16 PM.