Our gadget-obsesses siblings at Gizmodo got a chance to walk through Windows 7 at the Professional Developers Conference, highlighting a heaping serving of nice new features. Keep reading for a quick rundown of the new features (be sure to check their post for the full tour complete with screenshots and video), then let us know if the new Windows is enough to wash the bad taste of Vista from your mouth.
In total, so far Windows 7 looks like a more polished, better thought out version of Vista. Some features are simply smart updates to the existing features, like:
- You can now connect to a new Wi-Fi network with a couple of system track clicks rather than dealing with an entirely new window.
- Windows 7 can set whether or not system tray apps show up in the system tray and whether or not they can display notifications on a per-app basis.
- The dreaded User Account Control that frustrated so many new Vista users has been drastically improved, giving you more control over what kind of event will justify firing off a UAC prompt.
- Gadgets are no longer limited to your sidebar—they can now live anywhere.
- The ribbon interface ushered in by Microsoft Office 2007 has so far been added to WordPad and Paint.
Windows 7 has also incorporated several new and—dare I say—innovative features. For example:
- The new Libraries feature aggregates similar content through a single virtual library. So, for example, if you have music scattered all across your hard drive, a Music library folder still provides a single point of access to all of that music. You even have total control over what folders are included in the library.
- Windows Media Player is now also available in a quick-launching lightweight version.
- A new window resize feature automatically resizes windows in a split-screen fashion when you pull Windows to the edge of the screen (check Gizmodo's post for a video of this feature in action).
- The taskbar will be completely refreshed, providing quick-access context menus for the applications and a new look and feel that's oddly Dock-like. Hovering over an icon in the taskbar provides quick preview of all of that app's open windows.
There's a lot more to come with Windows 7, and the Gizmodo post has a much more detailed look at everything the Windows 7 beta has introduced so far, so be sure to check it out.