Nice Win7 features…

My continuing experience with Windows 7 (Beta 7000) continues to be very positive.  Not perfect, but positive – and I am more than ready to move on from Vista to Win7.  Funny thing, though… my Vista experience has personally been quite good, but I can see very clearly how Win7 is better in a whole lotta ways.

CASE IN POINT:
Taskbar options and progress “feedback”

win7superbarALT

The screen capture (above) show a few things about the new Win7 taskbar (dubbed “Superbar”). 

First of all, the default taskbar view has all program icons – whether active or inactive – as just icons.  No text to the right.  As you can see in my screenshot, though, my active programs have descriptive text, and they’re “more visible”, if you will.    The inactive (not launched) programs are still just icons only, which is fine. 

Even better, we have a choice in this.  Not everyone will like the default view, and this option is a good go-between.  One of my favorite things about Windows is that you have a full-customizing abilities.  Make it your own!  I’ve seen some wacky Windows setups – and that’s fine.  Ever seen an iPhone?  How different to they look from one another?  Not very.  There are always issues giving “too much leverage”, of course, but I appreciate the option.

(Note: you can choose this option by right-clicking the taskbar, select Properties, and set the Taskbar Buttons option to “Combine when taskbar is full”.  As more Windows of one type open up concurrently, the program rolls itself back into a single-icon view again.)

If I have a dislike about this setting, well… it’s that my icons are shifting around all the time.  With the old-school “quick launch” area, I always knew where my Outlook, Firefox, and Zune icons lived.  With this setup, however, they shift as programs open.  With nothing open, my Zune icon is fairly far left.  With Outlook and Firefox open, though, my Zune icon is nearly in the middle of my taskbar.  Ideal?  Perhaps not…or it’ll just take some getting used to.

Secondly, my file copy “progress” shows up on the taskbar itself, which is really great visual feedback.  File copy processes typically get lost behind your other windows, and thus easily forgotten.  I would *love* to see this type of feedback worked into other programs: FTP clients, CD/DVD burning, Windows DVD Maker, or anything.

Thirdly, my currently selected window is identifiable as the “gray” button on the taskbar.  I like the visual feedback here, but it’s almost too noticeable for me.  Also, to my eyes the text is somewhat more difficult to read.  Perhaps that’ll change a bit before the final release.

SUMMARY
So, I continue to enjoy my Win7 experience – and so are many others, if the feedback is to be believed.  Also, the interest in Win7 is quite phenomenal right now!  It seems that a lot of folks really want Microsoft to succeed with this release. 

Count me as one of them.

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