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Windows 7 features
If you’ve gone PC shopping lately, you’ve probably noticed more computers with 64-bit processors, and you
may have wondered what advantages they offer.
Put simply, a 64-bit PC can handle larger amounts of information than a 32-bit system. Since it can use more RAM—4
GB and up—a 64-bit computer can be more responsive when you're running lots of programs at once.
Whichever system you choose, Windows 7 is ready. All packaged retail editions of Windows 7 (except for Home Basic)
include both 32- and 64-bit software.
Wondering whether a program or device works with your 64-bit PC? Look for products that carry the "Compatible
with Windows 7" logo, which means they were tested on both 32- and 64-bit versions of Windows 7. Or visit
the Windows 7 Compatibility Center to search a regularly updated list of programs and devices.
Windows 7 gives you more ways to interact with your PC by taking advantage of new strides in speech recognition
and touch technology.
Windows Speech Recognition now works better—and with more programs.
So instead of using the keyboard, you can just tell your computer what to do. Start an
e-mail by speaking the recipient's name, surf the web without a keyboard, or dictate
Magnifier is a help to people with low vision, but everyone will
appreciate its ability to enlarge hard-to-see text and pictures. Full-screen
mode magnifies the entire desktop, and lens mode zooms in on particular
areas. Inside the Magnifier window, you can click buttons and input text as
you normally would.
On-Screen Keyboard lets you "keyboard
without a keyboard," with a choice of several
different input methods: clicking mode, hovering
mode, and scanning mode.
With Windows Touch and the right hardware, you can also input text by tapping directly on the screen. And word
prediction speeds things up: type the first few letters of a word, and Windows will finish it for you.
Narrator and visual notifications
Windows 7 can read on-screen text aloud and describe some events (like error messages), helping you use
your computer without the display. With Audio Description, you can hear a narration of what's happening in a
video. Windows can also replace sound alerts with visual cues like a screen flash, so system alerts are noticeable even
when they're not heard.
Peeved by pop-up balloons? Action Center lets you
decide which Windows 7 alerts you see and which you don’t.
Action Center consolidates message traffic from key Windows
maintenance and security features, including Windows Defender
and User Account Control. If Windows requires your attention,
the Action Center icon appears in the taskbar. Click it and you’ll
see both alerts—and suggested fixes for any problems. You can
fine-tune your choices in Control Panel.
The Aero desktop experience, available in the Home
Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions
of Windows 7, mixes cool graphics with useful new ways to
manage your desktop.
Aero visual hallmarks include subtle animations and
translucent glass windows, which you can personalize. Pick
from the included color palette, or create your own custom
tints with the color mixer.
There's more to Aero than style. Point to a taskbar icon, and
you’ll see a thumbnail-sized preview—even for live video.
Hover on a thumbnail, and it morphs into a full-screen
preview. Shake and Peek cut through desktop clutter by
quickly minimizing open windows or turning them invisible.
Audio and video improvements
Windows 7 can make your PC look and sound even better.
Windows 7 is smarter about sound thanks to Automatic Stream
Management, a new feature designed to route audio to the right place.
Playing a CD? The sound emerges from your speakers. Making an Internet
call? You'll hear it on your headset.
Windows 7 also lets you connect a portable music player to your PC and
play it through your computer speakers. And it supports HDMI (High-
Definition Multimedia Interface) cables, so you can send multi-channel
digital audio and high-definition video to a stereo or TV from your PC.
Windows 7 has new features to make images and text look better,
especially on LCD monitors.
Are roses red and violets blue on your computer screen? If not,
Display Color Calibration can help make sure colors are
represented accurately. The new ClearType Tuner can make text
Finally, Windows 7 makes it easier to connect laptops to external
projectors, handy for giving presentations or watching movies. Just
press the Windows logo key+P to toggle between your laptop
screen and an external display.
Backup and Restore
Backup and Restore improved for Windows 7 creates safety copies of your most important personal files, so
you're always prepared for the worst. Let Windows choose what to back up, or pick individual folders, libraries, and
drives you. Windows can back up files on whatever schedule you choose just set it and forget it.
You can back up to another drive or a DVD. And if you're using the Professional or Ultimate editions of Windows 7,
you'll also have the option of backing up your files to a network.
BitLocker Drive Encryption
How can you help protect your data from loss, theft, or hackers? The answer: BitLocker. Improved
for Windows 7 and available in the Ultimate and Enterprise editions, BitLocker helps keep everything from documents
to passwords safer by encrypting the entire drive that Windows and your data reside on. Once BitLocker is turned on,
any file you save on that drive is encrypted automatically. BitLocker to go a new feature of Windows 7 gives the
lockdown treatment to easily-misplaced portable storage devices like USB flash drives and external hard drives.
We gave Calculator a fresh look and new
features, including new Programmer and
Statistics modes. Unit conversion translates
Celsius to Fahrenheit, ounces to grams, and
joules to BTUs. Handy calculation templates
can help you compute stuff like fuel economy
and auto lease payments.
Calculation history displays what you’ve done,
and if you've got a touch screen PC, you'll be
able to tap out calculations right on the screen.
With Windows 7, we’ve made it easier to get more done on the desktop.
New ways to juggle windows
Overwhelmed by open windows? Windows 7 comes with three simple yet
powerful new features called Shake, Peek, and snap to help you instantly clear
through desktop clutter.
Spectacular new wallpapers
We spend a lot of time staring at our PCs. Aesthetics shouldn't just be an
afterthought. That's why Windows 7 includes a slew of new desktop
backgrounds—wallpapers—that range from sublime to silly. Or try the new
desktop slide show, which displays a rotating series of pictures (ours or yours).
Your desktop will never be dull again.
Since Windows 95, the taskbar has served as
the go-to spot for launching programs and
switching windows. Times and PC habits have
changed. So in Windows 7, the taskbar has
been completely redesigned to help you work
smarter, cut clutter, and get more done.
Gadgets, the popular mini-programs introduced in Windows Vista,
are now more flexible and fun. Based on your feedback, we've done
away with the Sidebar, so you can stick your gadgets anywhere on
In Windows 7, working with printers, cameras, phones, music players and other devices has never been easier thanks
to two new features: Device Stage and the Devices and Printers folder.
Think of Device Stage as a home page for your hardware: When you plug something into your PC, you’ll see a
menu of popular tasks for that type of device. A multifunction printer, for example, will show options for printing and
scanning. In previous versions of Windows, these were often located in separate menus. It gets better. Manufacturers
can customize Device Stage, so for many devices you'll see status information and menu options tailored to your
specific model—right down to a slick photorealistic mug shot.
Devices and Printers
The new Devices and Printers folder shows you everything connected to your PC, making it a handy way to
check on a printer, music player, camera, mouse, or digital picture frame (just to name a few). It's also the place to add
a new networked or wireless device and troubleshoot problems with a device or printer.
Gamers take note: Windows 7 includes a new version of DirectX, the software behind the eye-popping 3-D
visuals and immersive sound effects found in many of today's PC games. DirectX 11 includes numerous improvements.
It's designed to be more efficient, leverage the power of today's multi-core processors, and provide support for
sophisticated shading and texturing techniques such as tessellation. The result: smoother 3-D animation, and graphics
more lifelike and nuanced than ever before.
Plan to use your PC at the office or
for telecommuting? Then you might need to
connect to a domain. A domain is a type of
computer network commonly found in the
workplace. (In technical-speak, it's a
collection of computers that's centrally
administered and operates under common
rules.) The Windows 7 Professional and
Ultimate editions are designed to join a
domain quickly and more securely. Just
follow the easy-to-use wizard, which prompts you to enter your network credentials. A few moments later you're in
Gadgets put information and fun like news, pictures, games, and the phases of the moon right on your
desktop. In Windows Vista, gadgets were corralled in the Sidebar. Windows 7sets they free on the screen, where you
can move and resize them as you like. Drag a gadget close to the edge of the desktop or another gadget and watch it
snap neatly into place for a streamlined look. Open windows getting in the way of your gadgets? Use Peek to make
them instantly reappear.
The Games Explorer in Windows 7 was redesigned to satisfy both casual and hard-core gamers alike. You can
now elect to get software updates and news feeds for installed titles. The Games Explorer also tracks wins, losses and
other fun stats. And don't miss the great new multiplayer games in Windows 7.
Whether you're new to computers or a seasoned pro, Getting Started can get you up and running faster on
your new PC. Getting started is a central place for transferring and backing up files, adding user accounts, and
personalizing Windows 7 in other words, all the things you typically do with a new PC after opening the box.
HomeGroup takes the headache out of sharing files and printers on a home network. Connect two or more
PCs running Windows 7, and HomeGroup makes it easy to automatically start sharing your music, picture, video, and
document libraries with other people in your home. Concerned about privacy? So are we. That’s why HomeGroup is
password-protected and puts you in total control. You decide what gets shared—and what stays private. You can also
make your files "read only," so other people can look at but not touch your stuff. You can join a HomeGroup in any
edition of Windows 7, but you can only create one in Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, or Enterprise.
Internet Explorer 8
Our fastest, easiest, and safest browser ever. Here's just a small taste of the smart new features in Internet
Explorer 8. To see more—or download it for yourself—visit the Internet Explorer 8 website.
The search box now displays relevant suggestions the moment you start typing. When you spot your search term, you
can just click it a huge time saver. Internet Explorer 8 even uses your browsing history to narrow its suggestions.
Results are also more visual with weather reports, stock charts, photos, and other relevant images.
Need to map an address? Define a word? Forward a link? Then you need Accelerators. New in Internet
Explorer 8, Accelerators make it easier to do things without navigating to other websites. Simply highlight some text,
then click the blue Accelerator icon that appears to see what you can do. Look for Accelerators on popular sites like
Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo!, Wikipedia, and more.
How often do you check weather reports, sports scores, stock prices, or auction bids? It can be a chore to keep
up with fast-changing sites. Now a new feature called Web Slices can do it for you. When you spot the green Web
Slices icon on a site, click it. If something changes on that site, the Web Slices icon in your Favorites bar lights up. Point
to the glowing icon to see what's changed.
If a webpage doesn't look right, just click the new Compatibility View button on the Address bar. The button
corrects misaligned text or images on pages designed for older browsers.
Internet TV, new in Windows 7, brings you the best of online entertainment in one place. Watch TV shows and
movies even titles from your Netflix instant queue all from within Windows Media Center. No TV tuner required.
The programming, drawn from sites all over the Internet, is arranged in Media Center's handy program guide. It
features shows, sports highlights, web episodes, and more. Most of the content on Internet TV is free, but some
services such as Netflix might require a subscription.
Jump Lists new in Windows 7 take you right to the documents, pictures, songs, or websites you turn to each
day. To open a Jump List, just right-click a program icon on the Windows 7 taskbar. (You'll also find them on the Start
menu.) What you see in a Jump List depends entirely on the program. The Jump List for Internet Explorer 8 shows
frequently-viewed websites. Windows Media Player 12 lists commonly-played tunes. Your Jump List missing a favorite?
You can "pin" whatever files you like there. Jump Lists don't just show shortcuts to files. Sometimes they also provide
quick access to commands for things like composing new e-mail messages or playing music.
Need to work in multiple languages?
If so, the Ultimate and Enterprise editions
of Windows 7 were designed for you. These
editions can display menus, dialog boxes,
Help topics, and other text in 35 different
languages. Switching between them is easy
and free. To change languages, just download
and install a Multilingual User Interface (MUI)
pack from Windows Update. A few clicks later,
and Windows will be speaking your language.
Libraries new in Windows 7 make it easier to find, work with, and organize files scattered across your PC or
network. A library brings your stuff together in one place—no matter where it's actually stored. The result? You get
more done. Say you're assembling a family album from snapshots stashed on an external hard drive, your spouse’s PC,
and your work laptop. In the past, hunting down specific shots would've been a chore. In Windows 7, you simply
create a library, name it something (perhaps, "Family Photos"), and then tell Windows which far-flung folders your new
library should include. Your photos are still physically located in three different spots—but now they show up in a
single window. Windows 7 comes with libraries for documents, music, pictures, and videos. But you can personalize
these, or create your own, with just a few clicks. There's more. You can also quickly sort and shuffle your libraries—for
example, documents by type, pictures by date taken, or music by genre. And easily share libraries with people on a
home network (see HomeGroup).