It’s great to see Windows 7 Beta finally released to the world! We're very proud of what has been accomplished over the last months; in many ways, it sets a new quality bar for a beta operating system release. Building on top of the Windows Vista foundation, Windows 7 adds a great deal of polish and refinement to both the user interface and the underlying architecture, while at the same time introducing many new features and improvements that support new hardware, give power users and casual users alike better tools to manage their digital lives, and enable new classes of application experience.
Over future blog entries, I’ll spend time drilling into some of those areas in more detail; of course, there are plenty of articles already out there that dissect Windows 7 in some depth, with the Windows SuperSite and Ars Technica providing notably comprehensive entries. I’d also like to draw particular attention to the series of Windows 7 interviews that Yochay Kiriaty has been posting on Channel 9, which give the inside scoop on the development of many of the most significant new features.
For now, though, I want to focus in on some of “secrets” of Windows 7: the many little tweaks and enhancements that we’ve made in this release that I’ve discovered and collated over the last few months of using Windows 7 across my home and work machines. These are the things that are too small to appear in any marketing document as “features”, but that you quickly miss when you switch to an older version of Windows. There are some who think that we’re arbitrarily hiding functionality to make Windows easy for casual users, but I’d argue that a great deal of effort has been put into this release to satisfy power users. In homage to those of us who enjoy discovering the nooks and crannies of a new operating system list, I’ve put together the longest blog post that I’ve ever written. If you’ve downloaded and installed Windows 7 Beta recently, I think you’ll enjoy this list of my thirty favorite secrets. Have fun!
This side-by-side docking feature is particularly invaluable on widescreen monitors – it makes the old Windows way of shift-clicking on two items in the taskbar and then using the context menu to arrange them feel really painful.
If it’s not obvious by the semi-tortuous steps above, it’s worth noting that this isn’t something we’re exactly desperate for folks to re-enable, but it’s there if you really need it for some reason. Incidentally, we’d love you to really try the new model first and give us feedback on why you felt the new taskbar didn’t suit your needs.
Don't forget [b]Win + Home[/b] is a new shortcut to minimize ever window EXCEPT the active one.
I'm not a fan of the removal of the quick launch feature. It creates additional work to launch new instances of programs, such as IE, and their position is not fixed on the tool bar. I use a double high task bar and pinned applications move all over. I also do not like having to find an IE window and right clicking to start a new IE window. This creates additional work and clicks to do something very simple.
After re-enabling the quick launch feature, I'm 1000x happier with the task bar and I like the new features it has. Just give us one click access to re-enabling the Quick Launch menu for those of us that like. I tried the new behavior for several days, and found myself cursing quite frequently.
It's interesting that the Globalization wallpaper for Australia, Canada, and South Africa are all the same.
Brilliant post, i have sat here and done all those tips, i love the vertical taskbar especially on the second monitor on my mutisetup works a treat.
The snapping on resize is a nice touch, well done guys
also, middle click won't launch another instance if you jave intellipoint installed. it's flip-3d by default.
A few more:
Great list! Overall I'm pleased with Windows 7, except 1) lack of Windows Media Player taskbar miniplayer, 2) lack of sidebar (you could move gadgets onto the desktop in Vista, why take away the sidebar? At least make it optional), 3) revamped tray - seriously, WTF?
Tim Sneath in the team put together a really detailed list of nice features which you get with Windows
Regarding the wallpapers... I can't see the following path on my Win7 filesystem:
Nevermind, figured it out
Tools|Options -> Untick 'Hide protected operating system files'
I had previously only Shown Hidden Files/Folders/Drives
Thank you very much for this! Very helpful!
I chose not to read any blogs \ postings for Win 7 until after I had run it withing VPC for a couple of days .... We've installed it upon a HP2133, and whilst it runs quite well it lacks the aero interface; and James O pointed out that you'd already covered a couple of my observations ....
Guess I'll be installing it onto the NC10, and see whether it degrades or improves the battery life.
I like the new appearance of the taskbar, but I do want the QL bar back.
Otherwise great betta ... someone has a sense of humour
Great tips!! Thanks!
Now if only I could sort the All Programs list so that folders were at the TOP again!
First of all, add YAVFIS (Yet Another Vote For ISO Support). I'm actually surprised that mounting VHDs made it before ISO support.
Also you left out my favorite cute new interface feature -- "shaking" the caption bar to minimize all but that window (aka the GUI version of Win+Home).
Tim Sneath , “Client Platform Guy”, has posted a list of 30 Windows 7 Tips and Tricks.   His blog