When I wrote recently on the Windows 7 upgrade and install process, people complained that indeed I gave little shrift as to why I had gone through with the upgrade. I heard your comments, even the nice ones, and now bring you the best parts of Windows 7, from a blogger’s perspective, one day in.
To begin, I have been using Windows 7 off and on for some time. Of course, this is my first few days with the final build, but I did run the betas in virtual environments.
That aside, the keyboard shortcuts in Win7 are perfect. If you usually have more than eight windows open at any given time, window management can be quite a pain in the glutes. With the keyboard shortcuts in Win7, windowing moves from being a mouse based problem, to a keyboard lead solution.
Take a good look at this list of keyboard shortcuts for Win7, I bet that there are many there that are new to you.
Jump Lists. What I love most about Win7 is its speed. It feels like a lightweight rocket ship that just wants to save me time. JumpLists can be summoned by right clicking on any program that is pinned to the taskbar. Zune, for example has a “shuffle all music” option. The JumpList for Chrome is amazing, look at it, over on right.
Win7 has a much improved alt-tab functionality, with great movement between applications. This combined with the newly upgraded multiple application management in the taskbar means less clicks, more work. In Vista, there was a horrible nested list of all the different instances of Word that you were running. Win7 kicks it up a notch, away from annoying, and gives you manageable live previews of all the running windows of that application.
The taskbar itself is four times as good as it was before. I use RocketDock, probably a testament to my Apple roots, but since the move to Win7 full-time I have used it probably once or twice. The ability to pin applications to the start bar combines the Windows and Apple launch designs ethics in one great mixture.
Search has been improved, it feels much faster and the user interface from the start menu has been improved. You can now see more, faster, and it seems, more accurately.
Finally, this is just a short list after all, I love the ability to drag windows to minimize, align half screen right or left, or maximize. Until Dell decides to ship me another flat panel, my pixel real estate is valuable. The more efficiently I use it the better. Also, now that half screening is faster, I use it more, meaning that I use alt-tab less.