Engineering Windows 7

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Some Changes Since Beta for the RC

Some Changes Since Beta for the RC

We’ve been quite busy for the past two months or so working through all the feedback we’ve received on Windows 7.  It should be no surprise but the Release Candidate for Windows 7 will have quite a few changes, many under the hood so to speak but also many visible.  Some have asked if the featureset is "frozen" then what will we change--we change a lot of things in the beta based on feedback and we try to do so in a systematic manner with the focus on the goals for the release.  The goal of having a fully functional Beta was to make sure we received reliable feedback and not a lot of "hey this doesn't work at all" sorts of reports.  This has allowed us to really focus on delivering a refined RC where the changes we made are all the reflection of feedback we have received. 

Building on the previous post that looked at the broad view of feedback, we want to start posting on the feedback and the engineering actions we’ve taken in responding to the feedback.  We won’t be able to cover all the changes (as we’re still busy making them), but for today we wanted to start with a sampling of some of the more visible changes.  We’re still on the same path working towards the release candidate and of course we know everyone is anxious for the next phase of our path to RTM.  In the meantime, our full time machines are still running the Beta build. 

Today’s post is from Chaitanya, who has previously posted on some of the core user interface work. --Steven

This blog post talks about a few of the improvements that will be in our Release Candidate (RC) based upon customer feedback. There are many under the hood changes (bug fixes, compatibility fixes, performance improvements, and improvements) across the entire dev team that we just don’t have room to discuss here, but we thought you’d enjoy a taste of some changes made by three of our feature teams: Core User Experience, Find & Organize and Devices & Media.  The comments in this article come from a variety of verbatim sources, with identifying information withheld. 

Desktop Experience

1. Windows Flip (ALT + TAB) with Aero Peek

We’ve received overwhelmingly positive feedback about Aero Peek and how it helps customers switch windows with increased confidence. Daniel wrote to tell us “I’m wondering why Peek was never implemented for the ALT + TAB window. The thumbnails look/behave the same way as the taskbar thumbnails when you hover the mouse over them. It seems logical that they would exhibit the peek behavior, too”. We decided to make this change since we heard many requests for it. One can still quickly flip between and cycle through running windows using the ALT+TAB keys, but when more window information is needed Aero Peek will appear.  This is triggered by a time delay as you pause while keyboarding through running windows.

Fig 1.

Aero Peek triggered from Windows Flip (ALT+TAB)

Aero Peek triggered from Windows Flip (ALT+TAB)

2. Windows Logo + <#> keyboard shortcut

Enthusiasts often ask us for more keyboard shortcuts to simplify their common tasks. Efficiency is key. We’ve answered with a very powerful new keyboard shortcut for the taskbar that may just alienate mice everywhere. Pressing Windows Logo + <#> (where <#> corresponds to an item’s order in Quick Launch) in Vista would simply launch the item. As part of our unification of Quick Launch with the taskband in Windows 7, we now beef up the shortcut so it can both launch and switch. For example, if IE wasn’t running in Fig 1 then Windows Logo + 2 will launch the program (as it did in Vista). If IE is running with a single window, the same shortcut will now switch to the program. The magic really begins when IE is running with several windows or tabs—holding down the Windows Logo and tapping the 2 key repeatedly will actually cycle through the open IE items off the taskbar (with Aero Peek, of course). Letting go simply switches to the corresponding window. Think of this as per-program ALT +TAB shortcut for the first 10 items on the taskbar. If you need a new instance for IE, simply use SHIFT + Windows Logo + <#>. A program’s Jump List may also be accessed via ALT+ Windows Logo + <#>. Finally, you can even flip back to the last active window of a program by using CTRL+ Windows Logo + <#> (this also works by holding CTRL with a mouse click on a taskbar button). Keyboard aficionados rejoice!

3. Needy State

“Needy window” is the internal term we use for a window that requires your attention. Since the ‘90s, the taskbar has always provided some type of visualization to alert the customer to this state such as by flashing the button. A careful balance must be struck between providing information and not irritating the customer. With the new taskbar, we received feedback that Outlook reminders or a Messenger chat sometimes went unnoticed because needy windows were too subtle. For example, Mudassir opened a bug to say “The flashing is not obvious enough to get user's attention. Sometime I don't even notice it. It flashes for a little bit and then stops. If I am away the icon flashes and stops before I come back. The icon is not noticeable.” We’ve made three changes that should address the issue. First, we changed the flashing animation curve to make it more noticeable (from a sine to a sawtooth wave). Second, we used a bolder orange color. Finally, we wanted to double the number of flashes which is currently set to three. As a nod to Windows 7, we decided to go with seven flashes instead.

4. Taskbar “Open With”

Quick Launch always supported the ability to drop a file onto a pinned program and have it open with that program. The new taskbar on the other hand, always treats a drop as a pin command. Drop a program and the program is pinned. Drop a file and the file will be pinned under its respective program’s Jump List and that program automatically gets pinned to the taskbar. It was important for us to keep drag/drop consistent. We believe that for most cases people will open files through the desktop by just double-clicking them or from the Jump List and the default program will open. However, there are some scenarios when a customer wants to open a certain file type with another program. We heard this feedback and decided to revive “Open With” drag/drop on the taskbar with a keyboard modifier. One can hold down SHIFT and drop the file on the desired program.

5. Taskbar scaling

We’ve reclaimed lots of space on the taskbar by unifying launching/switching, by collapsing open windows and by cleaning the notification area. Still, some have asked for even more room to pin the programs they use regularly. We’ve made a change to squeeze in 24-39% more icons before the taskbar scrolls; depending upon your resolution, icon size and assuming the default notification area. Table 1 illustrates the new button capacity before the taskbar begins to scroll as well as the capacity growth since Beta. We believe customers will find more than enough room to pin their common programs.

Table 1.

Maximum taskbar button capacity before scrolling


Large Icons

Small Icons

% Increase from Beta (large/small icons)




25% / 36%




25% / 38%




25% / 32%




24% / 39%

6. Anchoring taskbar thumbnails

Hovering or clicking on a taskbar button surfaces all the running windows for that program. Upon seeing a set of open thumbnails, Kozlow asked “How do I know which application has opened the thumbnails group?” In other words, the thumbnails didn’t appear visually connected to the taskbar. We made a visual update that now keeps the color hot-track effect on when the mouse is over a thumbnail. In fig 2 you can see that IE retains its blue Color Hot-track visual even though the mouse is over a thumbnail.

Fig 2.

Color Hot-track stays active when the mouse hovers over taskbar thumbnails

Color Hot-track stays active when the mouse hovers over taskbar thumbnails

7. Newly installed programs

“Customer in control” is so strong a mantra for Windows 7 we don’t even allow programs to pin themselves to the taskbar when they are installed. This is a task expressly reserved for the customer. We’ve gotten some requests to make this goal a bit easier so now when a program is installed, it is automatically and temporarily surfaced at the bottom of the Start Menu. The customer can easily discover this new addition, launch it directly and optionally drag it to the taskbar for convenient access in the future.

8. Jump List length

Jump Lists are proving to be a valuable tool to quickly jump to commonly access files, folders, links and tasks. Steve filed a bug in which he said “The whole point of the jump list is to make it easier to jump to your favorite locations. However, it doesn't save me time having to scan through a long list of frequent locations.” In other words, sometimes it’s hard to parse an item when the list gets too long. Our telemetry data informs us that in most cases customers are clicking on the first 10 items. Therefore, we’ve updated Jump Lists so that only a maximum of 10 items may be automatically suggested (this doesn’t apply to tasks or pinned items). Don’t worry—there’s even a setting for enthusiasts to customize the length of the list.

9. Increased pinning flexibility with Jump List

For organizational, scaling and identification purposes, the taskbar is designed to hold files, folders and links in a program’s Jump List. Items can only be pinned to the Jump List of programs registered to handle that file type. Based on feedback we’ve received we now allow one to pin items to a Jump List belonging to a program that isn’t registered to handle that file type. Better yet, pinning the item in most cases will create a new registration so that launching it from the Jump List will always open the file with that specific program. For example, one can pin an .HTML file to Notepad’s Jump List and when clicked on from the menu, the file will always open in Notepad even though IE by default handles the file type.

10. Desktop icon and gadget view options

Windows 7 makes gadgets far easier to manage, view and access by building them directly into the desktop. David’s feedback matches what others were telling us: “In Vista, I was able to hide desktop icons while my gadgets were still visible and available. I liked this feature in Vista, especially with all the icons that are constantly dropped on the desktop by app installers. I don't want to see the icons, but I still want to see my gadgets.” In Beta it was impossible to separate desktop icons from gadgets under the View setting available by right-clicking on the desktop. We made a change to afford independent control to each so that one can opt to hide just her gadgets or just her desktop icons.


11. Aero Peek for touch

We’re excited about Peek and we further refined its functionality. Our touch customers enjoy the benefits of direct manipulation, but inform us they feel left out of some of new functionality that’s available for the mouse and keyboard. We’ve made two improvements that spreads the love. First, the taskbar’s thumbnails now support a touch gesture so one can drag her finger across the UI and trigger Aero Peek. Also, the Show Desktop button is improved so a press-and-hold will allow the customer to peek at the desktop. A regular tap in both these scenarios still to commits the switch.

12. Multi-touch touch keyboard

A funny thing happens when one uses touch to interact with a software keyboard for the first time. The natural instinct is to press multiple buttons simultaneously like they do with a real keyboard. It’s quite reasonable to try to use SHIFT + <letter> to capitalize, for example. RC ushers in multi-touch support for the Touch Keyboard so that customers enjoy a more realistic experience.

13. Multi-touch right-click

People who are rely on touch give us mixed feelings towards tap and hold to bring up a context menu. This approach works, but it also involves a slight delay. We now have a fast new multi-touch gesture for right-click. Simply touch an item with one finger and use another finger to tap and summon a context menu.

14. Drag/Drop and selection

In Beta there was no discoverable way to select text in a website that scrolled both horizontally and vertically. Customers are now able to drag/drop and select items with touch, even inside scrolling pages. The new behavior is optimized for the two most common actions by touch customers—scrolling up and down and dragging left to right.


15. Internet access feedback

The new network experience from the taskbar’s notification area makes it much easier to find and connect to networks. People seem to also really like the wireless signal strength that is available at a glance. In our effort to simplify the experience we removed indications for some advanced scenarios. Based upon feedback, we’ve decided to introduce a new overlay icon which now reveals when there is a local connection without internet access.

Control Panel

16. User Account Control

If you’ve been following this blog, then you already know about a recent design change we’ve made that will prompt for any modification made to the UAC Control Panel. For more information, please refer to the earlier post on UAC Feedback and Follow-Up.

17. Locking a machine without a screensaver

It isn’t uncommon for IT administrators to want their corporate machines to auto-lock after a certain amount of time. In Beta, enabling this functionality required a screensaver to be set. We’ve since made a change to allow this functionality even when no screensaver is specified.

18. Faster access to High Performance power plan

Clicking on the battery flout from the taskbar notification area offers two different power plans: Balanced and Power saver. Windows 7 laptops are configured by default to use the Balanced plan since this setting best balances a good experience while promoting more environmentally friendly power use. However, some customers tell us they want to be able to quickly toggle between Balanced and High Performance (yet another power plan). We’ve taken a change to now show the latter in the flyout menu when it is enabled under the Power Options Control Panel.

19. Custom theme improvements

We’ve always known customers love personalizing their Windows experience. At the center of this expression of individuality are ingredients such as the desktop background, glass color, sounds and screensavers. In Windows 7 we’ve introduced themes that make it easy to enable a whole package of default combinations or for customers to save their own creations. However, during Beta we heard feedback along the lines of “I just changed my background or color and I see the change, but I thought it was saved when it really wasn’t”. We added text under each theme to not only aid in identification, but also to provide feedback on the state of a theme. The new “Unsaved Theme” text also ties better to the nearby “Save theme” command. These tweaks should make personalization a more predictable and enjoyable experience.

Windows Media Player

20. Improved Internet Radio playback

Internet radio playback continues to gain in popularity. We received feedback that sometimes playback of radio streams may be inconsistent depending on network conditions. It’s worth noting that our understanding of this issue was greatly helped by the broad scale of usage across so many customers and network topologies and our telemetry in the Beta. Windows Media Player has made changes to make streaming playback more reliable and resilient.

21. Improved playback support for video content from digital camcorders and cameras

Customers loved the increased range of formats natively supported by the Windows 7 Beta, but noticed areas where they wanted broader support.  For example, one was unable to seek to a specific spot in the video in Windows Media Player or Windows Media Center for AVCHD content that was imported from a digital camcorder. We’ve addressed this.  Also, while the support for video from some digital cameras worked great, we also got feedback about supporting a broader set of devices out of the box.  We’ve since added support for Windows Media Player to natively support the .MOV files used to capture video for many common digital cameras. 

22. Cleaner Now Playing view

Customers are sharing positive reviews of Media Player’s new light-weight Now Playing view. Still some have asked to make the experience even cleaner. We’ve responded with a visual update that is more lightweight and compact.

23. Filtering content that cannot be played

Media Player’s library view is designed to surface and showcase one’s content. However, in some cases items were displayed that couldn’t be played. For example, Apple’s lossless .M4A or .H263 MPEG-4 content would be shown in a library even though Media Player could not play them. In RC, this content will no longer appear in the library view so that there is better expectation of what is supported by the player.

24. Resume from sleep

Customers are used to resuming a CD or DVD after an interruption.  With customers choosing new low-cost, smaller form-factor, machines without optical drives, an increasingly popular scenario is to have content played directly from the hard drive. In Beta, it was not possible to resume playback on such content after a laptop goes to sleep. Customers assume the experience should match that of physical media so we fixed the experience to meet this expectation.

25. Quieting Windows Media Player sync relationships

When Media Player is open and a portable media player or a USB drive is inserted, we trigger a dialog to determine whether a sync relationship should be created with the new device. Our original goal was to be proactive and help customers make a decision in context, but we received comments that this experience is jarring. As a result, we will no longer interrupt when the player is running. This is consistent with our “customer in control” goal of Windows 7 and we trust people can manually configure this should they wish to.

26. Easier access to advanced settings

What enthusiast doesn’t want to tweak her player settings? This was echoed by several comments so we’ve made it easier to access and adjust settings. The equalizer, play speed, SRS WOW and other options are now surfaced via the Now Playing context menu under Enhancements.

27. Jump List improvement

Media Player’s Jump List provides quick access to the content customers consume. The list becomes even more powerful and complete in the RC now that we also include items launched from Explorer.

Device Stage

28. Enriching the Device Stage ecosystem

Customers have been so positive about the new Device Stage experience, one of the biggest pieces of feedback we got was “Why aren’t even more of my devices supported?”  We’ve taken that feedback to heart and then took the feedback to our IHV and OEM partners to get their support for more devices.  Our hardware partners in turn asked us to make it easier to integrate with the Device Stage and we worked with them on improvements.  Although Windows already supports tens of thousands of devices, customer feedback on the Beta introduces even more device support in RC via the new Device Stage experience.

Sound UX

29. Improving the headphone experience

Customers informed us that sometimes their audio streams did not properly move from the default speakers to their headphones. The fix required an update to the algorithm we use to detect new devices. In RC the transition works more reliably.

30. Increased audio reliability

In some cases people reported not having any audio device after installing Beta. The problem is that some audio hardware does not work out of the box with our inbox audio class driver. Amazingly there are over 26,000 custom audio drivers and while many are on Windows Update, many are still not. The Release Candidate tightens the Windows Logo test to better ensure clean install delivers baseline functionality for speakers and microphones. Furthermore, we will continue to populate Windows Update with frequently needed drivers.

Windows Explorer and Libraries

31. Improved header

It is great to see customers realize the convenience and power of libraries. Having files aggregated into one convenient view, without worrying where they are all physically located, simplifies many scenarios. The library header in Beta showed only a static string that reflected how many locations were represented as part of the library. We heard feedback that this wasn’t very clear and more importantly, customers preferred to have more information so that they could be better orientated themselves. The RC will introduce a new header that updates to reveal the subfolder as one browses a library. Furthermore, the “Arrange by” views are better expose in the upper right, in proximity of the other view and search controls.

32. Reduced confusion with drag/drop

The Release Candidate will remove the ability to drag/drop a folder into the Libraries node in the Explorer navigation pane. We know some liked this functionality to create a new library, but it also presented some serious design issues. For example, some were surprised to find a new library was created when their intent was to simply copy the folder. More seriously though, there were circumstances where people then deleted the original folder thinking it was already copied. Data loss is a grave concern of ours and we don’t want customers to suffer from such a mistake. Don’t worry though—one can still easily create a new library using the “New Library” or “Include in Library” commands in the Explorer command bar.

33. Reviving familiar entry points

Mando writes, “In Win7 the Win+E shortcut opens an explorer window but the path is “Libraries” instead (which isn’t where I want to go most of the time). Is there a way to configure the target folder of “Win+E” or is there an alternate shortcut that will get me to the “Computer” path like it did in Vista?” RC reverts the behavior and now the shortcut will launch the “Computer” Explorer. Also, we changed the link in Start Menu -> Username to match the Vista behavior.

34. FAT32 support

Local FAT32 hard disk drives were not support in libraries for Beta.   RC libraries will now support non-removable FAT32 and NTFS hard disk drives thanks to the feedback we received. 

35. Arrangement view enhancements

It’s been great to see people’s reaction to the arrangement views in libraries.  Being able to browse using metadata certainly makes quick work of finding files.  We’ve received many requests to further enhance the arrangement views in a variety of ways and we’ve made a number of changes in response to them.  For starters, RC makes it easier to switch arrangement views—one can now do so directly from the view context menu, which is the familiar home of switching the view mode, sorting, and grouping.  Second, the specific arrangement views themselves have been enhanced for RC.  The “Month” and “Day” views in the Pictures library now group together both the pictures and videos taken on the same date, whereas previously the videos were split out into a separate group.  The “Artist” and “Genre” views in the Music library now show the thumbnails for up to three unique albums per artist or genre instead of typically just one in Beta.  The Videos library now features a Length view that lets customers split out the shorter clips from longer movies in their video collection.  Finally, we’ve made it so that changing the grouping of the Folder view in a library is now remembered just like other arrangement view customization. People who prefer to see their files grouped a particular way no longer have to reset the grouping each time.


36. Improving performance through data

Feedback comes to us in many different forms. Typically it consists of comments customers share. However, some of the most valuable information actually comes to us automatically when people just use Windows. PerfTrack, for example, is a telemetry system that provides us with invaluable real-world performance data on over 500 different Windows scenarios. The exciting aspect of PerfTrack is that it represents what people are really experiencing “out in the wild”. Performance is a very important to both the engineering team as well as to our customers and we strive to continuously improve this area. The topic has been discussed in several posts on this blog.

Let’s look at just one example of a Windows scenario that was improved with the help of PerfTrack. The two graphs below show the performance of opening the Start Menu for both Beta and for a more recent version of Windows 7. Some caveats first—the sample sizes are different (after all Beta did go to a far wider audience) and these numbers shouldn’t be taken too literally since they really do just represent a snapshot. The different colors denote performance against the “interaction class”—the acceptable experience range defined by each feature team. In this case we want the Start Menu to appear within 50ms to 100ms. A trace capturing tool running on each machine lets us investigate and fix what may be impacting performance. The charts shows in Beta 85% of interactions were within the acceptable range (i.e. green or yellow, but not red). After examining the traces and making some optimizations, we find 92% of interactions are this range for a more recent build.

Fig 3.

Start Menu Open Times for Windows 7 Build 7000 (Beta)

Start Menu Open Times for Windows 7 Build 7000 (Beta)

Fig 4.

Start Menu Open Times for Windows 7 Build 7033

Start Menu Open Times for Windows 7 Build 7033

As is evident from this sample of changes, we’ve been very busy improving Windows 7 based upon what our customers are telling us in many forums.

- Chaitanya Sareen

Leave a Comment
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  • Re: And add a "folder size" column in the details view..

    Actualy I've always wondered WHY don't folders report size as well in any Details view in any MS OS. OK, it would slow down the operation. But couldn't this info be pinned somewhere anyway? Maybe in Win8+WinFS ;)

    Re: how many free space I have left on each disk. Maybe it could be back on the status bar of Explorer?

    Another great suggestion. I too have a same problem, often when working on other people's computers as an admin. Knowing how much free space there is on current partition would be great!

    Re: feedback tool not working - for me neither. I have 2 IDs, one is tied to MSDN and other to Connect, but neither works.. Probably primary reason why I've stopped testing Win7. Was so frustrating to have some things to report (like scrolling with mousewheel not working in Control Panel) and being able to do so..

    Re: people are going to have to count out from the side to figure out which # key launches what. As a solution for this, why not overlay numbers over the icons when the windows key is pressed.

    I second this, this is a good and functional idea

    Re: About Greedy Windows flahsing: Could Windows not delay Taskbar flashing until it detects either keyboard or mouse activity ?

    I can't really agree with this, just opposite. Ever worked on several computers at the same time? And some of them being at the other table few meters away? Close enough to see the flash or popup, but not close enopugh to keep moving mouse just so that computer "knows" you're there. Your suggestion was in good spirit, but not good for everyone.

    Re: I'm disappointed that the Win-E change was reverted

    I'm not. OK, so maybe there should be both hotkeys? But 99% of times I DO NOT go to "My Documents" or similar folder while working. Could be that this is because I'm IT administrator, so most of times I'm in folders that users don't go at all, but I really want Win+E to stay _E_xplorer. Too bad that Win+M, Win+D & Win+L are already taken for Minimize, Desktop and Lock (instead of _M_y _D_ocuments or _L_ibraries :) ) but maybe they'll think of something ..

    Well, other than this and what I've said before... Great work on W7. Really looking forward to it. Finaly a new "pet-OS" for me, been a long time since first XP beta debuts :)

  • One change I'd really like to see regars using the taskbar on a vertical position. I've started using the taskbar on the right side to make better use of my widescreen monitor. In Win7, for the first time it actually felt right, no glitches, no weard behavior at all, but there's one deal breaker: the taskbar is a little too wide: you can clearly see there is too much extra room in each side of the icons.

    Then I tried to use small icons, and for my surprise, the taskbar size did not change at all.

    I really hope you adress that, as widescreen monitors are becoming the default on most computers, and Win7 should allow us to make the best possible with the layout they provide.

  • About networking change.

    I hope this is not the only change there is with networking in the Notification Area. Me as an admin, we're in desperate need to be able to right click on a networking icon, and adjust the properties of the network.

    Starting Vista this feature is gone. Uh, how nice it was in XP, we always in our corporate network are enabling these two blinking computers even when the connection exists, and we always use the right click to get the the place where IP address is to be configured.

    In Vista, and in 7 left clicking or right clicking makes no difference. Even after opening the Networking and Sharing Center, Properties of the network is still not there, no right click even there... Very far it's become hidden from an administrator to adjust the network connection settings.

  • quote


    Re: About Greedy Windows flahsing: Could Windows not delay Taskbar flashing until it detects either keyboard or mouse activity ?

    I can't really agree with this, just opposite. Ever worked on several computers at the same time? And some of them being at the other table few meters away? Close enough to see the flash or popup, but not close enopugh to keep moving mouse just so that computer "knows" you're there. Your suggestion was in good spirit, but not good for everyone.



    Why not flash it 7 times (classy, btw!), and if there was no keyboard/mouse activity during the time it was flashing (nor any for the following, say 2 minutes), then enable a "flash again" upon the user's return.  Making this turn on/off-able as well of course.

    @peterfnet- why not use a different media player program then?  I've been a Windows user since the early-mid 90's and have never used Windows media.  Agree with you in principle - the player could support more formats out of box, of course.

  • I've just noticed my last post was not posted :( So here it is again..

    Regarding ALT+# being per-app equivalent ot ALT+TAB. Shouldn't there be ALT+SHIFT+# to completent it like ALT+SHIFT+TAB does? For going forward/backward through the windows...

    Oh, and also, regarding 3rd point - 3. Needy State

    Has anyone thought about scenario (which is nothing unusual for some people, specialy younger ones) where a person gets online, opens MSN, and is greeted by several friends and/or offline messages? Imagine 7 windows times 7 flashes.. Well, you need just one more to make it 50 :) So please think about this new "feature" once again. Maybe make it configurable in Messenger itself? I know I'd make it flash just once and that's it, as I hate interuptions of any kind while working on something else.

    And while I'm at it (sorry :/ ) I certainly dislike any application getting focus while I'm typing something, be it in Word, Excel, or just in text-box in IE like this one. I type and type, and all from nowhere something blinks, and I probably press yes/no/cancel/whatever since I'm typing, but I never even saw the window. I soooo hate when this happens. And it happens. Way too often. Applications should be forbiden to get focus unless a) it's window is clicked by a user; b) it's taskbar button is clicked by a user; c) app was started by a user (and no toher app was switched to after that)... Sorry for ranting. But be that post that didn't get posted, similary to my feedbacks that never get posted by Win7 system ;) :) Cheers!

  • Excellent job! These changes hit the nail on the head for me and address most of my annoyances with Windows 7. I can't wait for RTM.

    That said, there are still some suggestions I would like to make:

    1) Gadget organization is more difficult in Windows 7 than it is in Windows Vista.

    Consider this scenario: I have several gadgets lined up vertically on top of each other, on the left side of the screen. I add a new gadget to my desktop and want to move it to the top of my existing gadgets. To do this, I have to move every single gadget and position it into place manually. In Windows Vista, gadgets would slide out of your way as you drag another gadget around. The code to do this is relatively easy. Please consider adding this "automatic sliding" feature for all screen edges in Windows 7. It would make arranging gadgets much less tedious.

    Also, I feel that the gadgets snap too "hard" to the screen edges. It requires a lot of "force" to undock a gadget.

    2) Better Windows Media Player/Center visualizations are needed. The current ones look dull, washed out, pixelated, and old. You should update the visualizations and add something fresh, full of energy, and smooth. Most importantly, ensure that each one performs well on less powerful hardware.

    3) Along the same token, better screen savers are needed! Add some new interesting and vibrant screen savers!

    The aura screen saver was nice but it wasn't smooth looking and had the appearance of a curtain waving around at times. It also had a tendency to be very dark and green with little color variation. The windows energy screen saver was awesome looking but had noticeable stuttering on most computers. Please make it perform better on less powerful hardware.

  • @LuxZg I can see lots of blinking getting annoying, but it's better than the "hopping" icons on OSX.  It's enough to make me insane.

    Perhaps mousing over the blinking could cancel it, then you could mouse over your MSN icons (with one linear mouse motion) to return them to a normal state.  (Configurable!)

  • Re: Uh, how nice it was in XP, we always in our corporate network are enabling these two blinking computers even when the connection exists, and we always use the right click to get the the place where IP address is to be configured

    I've seen several comments like these.. and I couldn't agree more :) Fortunately my company went around Vista, but I'm hoping they won't do the same with W7.. so I have to hope that little "blinkers" will be back in taskbar beside the wireless icon.. :)

    Re: Why not flash it 7 times (classy, btw!), and if there was no keyboard/mouse activity during the time it was flashing (nor any for the following, say 2 minutes), then enable a "flash again" upon the user's return.  Making this turn on/off-able as well of course.

    Isn't it like that by default? I thought (at least in XP) that taskbar buttons do that. They blink, if noone notices, they blink again after some time. Not sure.. I mostly do click them.. But if it's not like that than yes, that's a good way to do it. But ain't 7x still a bit excessive? See my other post (which I thought was posted before the one to which you've replied)

    Regarding taskbar on sides: has anyone actualy thought about having secondary taskbar? One on each side (or one on "classic" bottom, and one on the side)?? I know it's a weird thing to suggest, but it would also solve the problem which someone mentioned regarding multiple displays. Just give us multiple taskbars/toolbars. One primary (with start menu and notifications area), and others which would act just as separate launch/taskbar areas. OK, I'm getting to the weirdo territory fast. Sorry.

  • Cool changes.

    On the gadgets, I may be in the minority, but my Vista configuration I actually use the sidebar to keep a close eye on my workstation performance. Instead of completely eliminating the sidebar, why not make an option to autohide or turn off the bar?

    On the design side, windows support for multi-monitor setups has been maturing over the years, but there is always one thing missing: the option to have the taskbar extend to the other monitors.

    Another feature that seems compromised in multi-monitor pcs is the coordinate system. Windows seem to always assume that the primary display sits at (0,0), the leftmost screen usually. In some cases this is not true, like in a three monitor setup, whereas I have users picking the center monitor as the main display. In this case some applications seem confused by the setup, specially if one or more of the displays are set in a different orientation from the primary (portrait vs landscape). Easily the best example is the Win7Beta wallpaper utility. Set two or three monitors, at least one of them in portrait mode and the primary in landscape. Choose the wallpaper and you will find out how some of the options (full, scale, etc) stop working as intended.

  • I love what you guys have done so far, and I have a couple suggestions of further improvements. I considered e-mailing them, but given the massive volume of e-mail you guys receive according to your previous post, this seems like a better bet.

    First and foremost... the "Favorite Links" pane in Explorer. I like to customize this quite a bit. Vista's default links are Documents, Pictures, Music, Recently Changed, Searches, and Public. I make links for Computer, Videos, Downloads, User Folder, Desktop, Recycle Bin, and Control Panel (What can I say, I like Favorite Links!). The problem then occurs with a program's Open/Save window. The Favorite Links pane in this window has duplicates of some of my entries (2 Computers, 2 Desktops, and a Recent Places link that isn't in my normal pane) and these links aren't sorted like they are in my Explorer FL pane. Also, some of these entries I can't delete. Please let me have more control over the Open/Save window's FL pane!

    Other things I would like to see:

    - An integrated batch file rename utility. This would make renaming newly imported pictures so much easier, among other things.

    - An integrated file shredder with a secure overwrite feature. Make a bunch of warning labels if you want, but please give us an integrated way to securely delete files.

    - A better copy utility. Add a pause/resume feature, restart a failed copy option, things of that nature.

    - Make sure 3rd party programs can't break Aero. Every time I start a video in VLC, my screen turns black and then comes back in Vista Basic mode. Not only is it distracting and annoying, but I can't see why it happens. WMP doesn't turn off Aero when I play a video. Neither does a Flash video in a webpage. This happens with other programs too, particularly some games.

    - Another thing to consider adding is a disc image creating/virtual drive mounting program. There are already some pretty good 3rd party utilities for this, though, so maybe an integrated one isn't needed.

    - The last thing I wanted to address is the detection of monitor resolution during installation. I've seen wallpaper sites that can detect my monitor's resolution correctly. Why can't Windows? (I don't know If you've already addressed this, but the 800x600 default in XP drove me CRAZY)

    Overall, I am looking forward to Windows 7 with lots of excitement.

  • +1 on the "better copy"

    How many times have I left an "overnight" directory copy going at work to find, the next morning, that one file hung the whole process up because it was corrupt or locked.  Why not continue copying the rest of the files?  And why not calculate how much disk space is left before copying (I love getting "disk space" problems 1/2 way through a copy)

    So many good ideas but a feature freeze will unfortunately exclude most of them.

    Very excited about Win 7 also.

  • There's a behavior I noticed in beta but didn't see addressed here.

    Jump lists will show hidden files and folders, which seems like a privacy/security risk. The easiest example is the Windows Explorer jumplist of recently visited/opened items. If you go to a hidden folder a few times in Explorer (let's say you have your registration codes in there or your personal financial data or something), it'll show up clearly visible in the jumplist for Windows Explorer as a recently or commonly visited folder, and anyone can easily click to access it.

    Obviously encrypting and such is the best security policy. But a hidden file or folder should never become "unhidden" by appearing in a jumplist, unless specifically pinned there by the user.

  • Can we please stop being afraid of file extensions? By default, Windows 7 still hides file extensions for known file types.

    People have been living with file extensions on all common OSes for years now. They know what they are. It's not necessary to hide this anymore, and it can actually lead to confusion, naming files with multiple extensions (photo.jpg.jpg for example), stuff like that.

  • +1 on the "better copy" from me, too. the idea about copying what's possible, report errors afterward is very good. So is the disk space calculation.

    to timjb: if you quote me, quote me properly. i said i am going to kill anyone who removes the search field >permanently<

    means i am not against changes to it's behavior as long as i can still use it the way i want.

    i didn't really understand how you use the classic menu but imho the new taskbar suits your style of work better than the classic startmenu. (the pressing number keys for programs -> win+number to launch an app pinned to taskbar)

  • @jasoncross: agree about hiding the extensions, being a "power user". But i know enough people who are still confused why their file stopped working after they renamed it (guess why :D)

    Why do we need extensions anyway? A certain other OS opens files basing on the format, not the extension afaik, why not do the same for windows? ^^

    I must admit i liked the fact that win7 (and vista, too) do not mark the extension when you rename a file. It might be a bit annoying in some scenarios but i'm happy about it most of the time.

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