Windows 7 interface, Desktop and icons

If there is something that we have already got used to, it is the Windows interface. A task bar, buttons representing open applications, a desktop with icons, etc. The interface that we have known for 13 years is completely integrated into the “how to use a computer” for most people and changing it taking into account that tremendous mass of users who are not too fanatical about changes is not an easy task. Therefore, today we will talk about some of the new features of the operating system interface that will replace Vista: Windows 7.

Before talking about what is new and different, let’s bear in mind that inside, the change will not be radical. Windows 7 will use the same kernel as Vista , which means that fortunately it will not have much higher hardware requirements (as happened when going from XP to Vista, where a machine that ran XP without problems suddenly became completely obsolete when changing OS) . The fact that you use the same kernel will also imply that the hardware that already works in Vista will not have any problem in Windows 7; the radical change in the way the OS relates to the hardware will not change, neither to return to the XP model nor to abandon the Vista model. The explanation for this is very simple: Microsoft explains that many of Vista’s problems are due to poor software work by application developers who failed to adapt to the new security features of the system, and for the same reason, now that a year and a half has passed and a lot of those developers have already adapted to Vista and it wouldn’t make sense to throw them back into the swamp.

Windows 7

So where is the change? From what I can see, Windows 7 is more of a mature look at Windows Vista than a creation from scratch; from a certain angle we could say that Windows 7 promises to be what Vista never was. The change is basically in the relationship of the operating system with the user, that is, in one of the issues that are a commonplace in these times where usability is a fashionable concept: in the interface.

7 things we will find in 7:

A completely changed task bar. Just as the change between Windows 3.11 and Windows 95 was huge thanks to the introduction of the taskbar and the start menu, with Windows 7 Microsoft makes a big bet and completely renews the taskbar : no more text with the name of the programs (in fact in the taskbar there will not only be programs, but also devices, such as printers, scanners, telephones, etc.), completely recordable buttons, multi-level navigation (that is, when I go above a button I will have access to a thumbnail view of the window, as in Vista, but also when I go above the mini-window I will have access to each window or tab of the application) . Some say that now the look and feel of the bar is very similar to the OSX dock, but I hope it improves the current bar without getting close to the famous dock, which is one of the few things about OSX that I don’t like at all.

Jump lists. This concept speaks of contextual actions related to each application (something like what you could do with the contextual menu on a file, but much more worked and now also available for programs), which you can access both in the menu buttons start as in the taskbar buttons. An example of this would be: being able to control the media player without having to enter it, or check the history of Internet pages visited without having to open the browser window. Application developers will have access to create their own Jump Lists through an API, which would make them dedicated to the interaction with the programs could change radically.

Windows 7 we get a good surprise

Aero reloaded. One of the disappointing things about Vista is Aero: using the GPU only for bar transparency and navigating between windows seemed completely poor to me (compared to the graphical window and desktop handling capabilities offered by both OSX and Linux) and it seems like to the people of Microsoft too, since Windows 7 brings a quite renewed Aero, where we can make our windows transparent at will to access information from other windows or from our desktop without losing focus on the active application, as well as seeing our gadgets (another point to discuss) and interacting in a better way with them, maximizing and minimizing in a much easier way. I hope that with the final version of Windows 7 we get a good surprise, since I believe that in this age of ultra-mobility and tiny screens attractive and efficient window management is essential. A remarkable aspect is that Microsoft compiled information from its famous “User Experience Improvement Program” (that thing that every time it asked me for access to my information it found a resounding NO) to create shortcuts that serve to manage windows. For example, it is said that since almost all people when working with several windows actually get information from two of them most of the time, there will be quick shortcuts to be able to see and move between two of those windows. Interesting.

Gadgets take over the desktop. Very much in line with the current trend of using small applications that fulfil a function or deliver specific information, now the Sidebar disappears to allow us to install gadgets anywhere on the desktop and thus access the information we need. Thus, the desktop is conceived as a support for input and output of information instead of a flat space where only to place files.


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