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Windows 7

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

By: Arie Slob
Windows 7

The purpose of this FAQ is to provide you with some general information about Windows 7.

Q: Windows 7?
A: Windows 7 is Microsoft's next Windows client operating system, formerly known by its code-name(s) "Blackcomb" and "Vienna". The name "Windows Seven" or "Windows 7" was confirmed as the products final name in October 2008.

Q: When will Windows 7 ship?
A: Microsoft has announced a shiping date of October 22, 2009. For pricing information see this article.

Q: What features will be included in Windows 7?
A: Microsoft is making some major functional changes and a wide number of smaller changes to Windows 7. Based on early builds of Windows 7 and reports published online, here are some changes that are being planned:

User Account Control improvements. Windows Vista's most hated feature is being completely overhauled to be more customizable. Four settings will be available (Figure):

  1. Never notify me - The user is not notified when a program tries to install software or make changes to the computer. The user is not notified when they make changes to Windows settings or when programs try to make changes to Windows settings.
  2. Only notify me when programs try to make changes to my computer - The user is notified when a program tries to install software or make changes to the computer, including Windows settings.
  3. Always notify me - The user is notified when programs try to install software or make changes to the computer. The user is also notified when they make changes to Windows settings or when programs try to do so.
  4. Always notify me and wait for my response - The user is notified when programs try to install software or make changes to the computer. The user is also notified when they make changes to Windows settings or when programs try to do so.

Updated Windows Explorer. Windows Explorer (Figure) is being updated with a number of new features, including a new toolbar, and a new icon view style called Content (Figure). The search box has also been updated, and is now resizable (Figure).

Extended ReadyBoost. First introduced in Vista, ReadyBoost in Windows 7 adds support for concurrently using multiple lash devices (such as USB keys, Secure Digital cards, and internal flash devices) and for caches larger than 4 GB.

Improved "Out Of Box" experience. Microsoft made several improvements to Windows 7 so a user's first experience when running the OS for the first time will be improved. Windows 7 expands on Vista's setup routine; for example when installing Windows 7 on a PC that includes a Wireless Network, setup will prompt you to join a network during the setup phase.

Multi-touch. Windows 7 will include integrated support for multi-touch displays and support the "Surface" multi-touch technologies.

HomeGroup networking. Windows 7 HomeGroup makes it easier to create a home network where PCs share pictures, music, videos, documents, printers, and other resources with each other. Computers running Windows 7 automatically identify and connect with each other (Figure).

Location Aware Printing. When you change network locations, such as when taking your work laptop home for the evening, the default printer setting can change to relect the best printer for that new location. When you print at work, Windows 7 will print to your work printer. When you print at home, Windows 7 will automatically select and use your home printer.

ClearType Text Tuner. A ClearType Text Tuner can be found in the Windows 7 Control Panel. In the past, Microsoft Powertoys provided access to a ClearType Tuner which has now been integrated into Windows 7. This will let users configure their display to their personal liking (Figure).

Sidebar Removed. Microsoft removed Windows Sidebar from Windows 7, but the Windows Gadgets infrastructure remains. In Windows 7, Gadgets can only be viewed on the desktop. As such, the Gadget Gallery found in the Windows Sidebar on Vista is now available from the desktop right-click menu.

Windows Solution Center. Microsoft replaced Windows Security Center with a new utility called Windows Solution Center. Besides monitoring Firewall, Automatic Updating, Virus and Malware protection, Internet security settings and User Account Control settings, the new Solution Center will also monitor PC maintenance and performance, backup, troubleshooting, Network Access Protection (NAP), and much more (Figure).

Microsoft Paint. Windows 7 includes a dramatically improved version of Microsoft Paint (finally!), the first major upgrade to this software since it first appeared in Windows (Figure). This includes the Scenic Ribbon to replace the old menu's, similar to the ribbon in Microsoft Ofice 2007. Controls in Paint are touch-ready, so you can even use your finger to paint and choose colors or shapes (when you have a touch screen).

Internet Explorer 8. Windows 7 will include the latest version of Microsoft's Web browser.

Windows Media Center. Windows 7 will include a new version of Windows Media Center.

Microsoft WordPad. Word Pad also takes advantage of the Scenic Ribbon. Other improvements to WordPad include highlighting, line breaks, additional text colors, bullets, indents, print preview enhancements, picture insertion, and zoom, making WordPad a capable word processor (Figure).

Calculator. Calculator has a new look and some brand-new features. You'll find calculation history, unit conversion (Figure), calculation templates, date calculations, and controls that are optimized for touch.

Sticky Notes. Sticky Notes support ink and text input. You can paste text into Sticky Notes, resize them on the desktop, and use note colors to personalize or organize Sticky Notes.

Q: What are the System Requirements to run Windows 7?
A: Basically they are the same as the Windows Vista requirements.

  • 1 GHz (or faster) 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20GB (64-bit)
  • DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or higher driver
  • DVD-ROM Drive
  • Audio output capability
  • Internet access capability
  • Windows XP Mode requires an additional 1 GB of RAM, an additional 15 GB of available hard disk space, and a processor capable of hardware virtualization with Intel VT or AMD-V turned on

Q: Will Windows 7 be a 32-bit or 64-bit operating system?
A: Windows 7 will be available in both 32-bit (x86) and 64-bit (x64) versions.