I picked up Windows 7 Professional the other day, because it’s out now for anyone to upgrade or install. It’s coming on a lot of new laptops and desktop (PC’s). So I need to have my feet wet with it because I will have occassions to support it.
I got the OEM DVD from CompUSA in Fort Lauderdale and I think I saved some money at $149.99 + $9.00 Tax for a Total of $158.99. That’s probably not the best price, if you shopped online. I’m seeing $300 and $400 prices in there as well for retail single-PC licensed copies. I believe retail pricing is around $300.00 or just under that depending on where you shop. So I hope I saved around a buck-and-a-half on it.
The package wasn’t bad, once you get past that killer plastic sealed container that it’s in. You can almost damage your product just getting it out of that. Once you’re past the killer plastic bubble – then it’s just in a dvd book kind of plastic case just inside of a cardboard sleeve. You would think with OEM you wouldn’t get any kind of documentation, well you’re not supposed to need it when you purchase OEM, it’s *supposed* to be purchased with qualifying hardware. You are supposed to be a system builder. Considering that I was just in CompUSA the day before and I bought an external hard drive, and a SATA/IDE to USB 2.0 Adaptor (and the fact that this PC was originally bought from CompUSA) I don’t feel guilty about that. Anybody buying the kind of widgets that I buy at CompUSA has got to be always building something. Anyway… I was surprise to find that it did come with a little Welcome to Windows 7 Booklet. More than a few pages too. Now it wasn’t meant to hold your hand while installing, but honestly the install on Windows these days isn’t all that difficult anyway. Even a custom install, which I did, to a 2nd hard drive, in my PC wasn’t anywhere near rocket science. It wasn’t even down-the-street from rocket science. It was rather easy. Tell it I want English everything, tell it where I wanted to put it (hard drive numbers instead of C: and D: and such might surprise some people – but the volume labels are there. Mine had been an M: drive labeled “Movie Drive” because it’s a 500Gb drive that I added to copy my DVD’s onto. So I chose that and it was off an running.) Back to the little booklet Welcome to Windows 7:
Welcome to your PC, simplified. For distribution only with a PC – Contact your PC manufacturer for product support. (Yah, Microsoft isn’t gonna give you free support anyway no matter how much you paid for it.)
Let’s get started.
Follow these four steps to simply get set up:
1.) Turn on your PC.
2.) Follow instructions to complete the setup of Windows.
3.) When you’re finished, you’ll see the Windows desktop.
4.) Install antivirus software that works with Windows 7.
That’s it. Now you’re running Windows 7.
(I was actually impressed. I installed Windows 7 on another hard drive, keeping Windows Vista Home Premium in case anything didnt work, thus allowing a dual-boot to get back to Vista at least for a little while – while I try this out. Now this a newer PC with an Intel Core 2 and 2GB of Ram Memory, thus fairly new hardware – but … impressed I am that it GOT all of the hardware. After-market HDMI High-Def Video Card and all. Considering that Vista Service Pack 2 botched all of my video stuff [DVD playing including Blue-Ray] and I had to back that update back out, I was very pleased that Windows 7 *Did Not* botch this up. I only had to pull down Daemon Tools Light, and install my PowerDVD 8, and it was pretty much good to go. The display resolution went right in to 1360 x 768 on my Sony TV display over the HDMI connection. Very, Very Good. I did have to go play with the Internet time in the time settings, because somehow it had the right time zone, but not the correct clock time. Internet time failed on time.windows.com or whatever – but did work on one of the time-a.nist.gov. So far I haven’t found any hardware that it hasn’t found. Of course I’ll have to try my Logitech Web Cam and my RCA MP3 Player things later on. Installing their sofware won’t be bad anyway. But if they broke my HD DVD Playing it would have been pretty close to Game Over. But they didn’t. Imagine that?)
A few more pages into the little booklet…
Now for the fun stuff…
Make Windows 7 look and sound the3 way you want … Page 7
Nine Cool thing you can use every day … Page 9
Six ways to get more from your PC … Page 18
Let’s get too it.
Nine cool things you can use every day.
The simple things that make everyday tasks faster, easier, and a lot more fun.
(* Ok, I’m listening
1.) Start Menu
2.) Windows taskbar
4.) Thumbnail Previews
5.) Jump Lists
7.) Aero Peek
8.) Aero Shake
9.) Windows Search
(* Those are the things you should look at when and if you install Windows 7.)
The thumbnail previews with Full Size Previews – is pretty cool. Mouse over something one the taskbar and get a thumbnail preview of it, mouse over the thumbnail and get a full screen preview of it. Click that thumbnail and you actually go to that program and it’s pulled to the front. Along with on the far right of the task bar the old minimize-all-windows [show desktop] thing has moved here. Just mouse over it and everything becomes transparent and you can see your desktop. Move you mouse away and that stops. If you click that everything actually gets minimized and you can access your desktop. Click it again and you go back to where you were. I just did this while typing this article.
Pinning programs … You can drag most things (programs) to the task bar and pin them there. Say I want paint (for screen shots) to be handy. Just drag it to the taskbar and click Pin. You can drag it off to be asked to unpin it later if you want to. This is similar to how you can do this in Mac OS X – except you don’t get the cloud of smoke that you get when dragging something off in Mac OS X.
Jump Lists are ok I guess. The recent programs and files stuff has moved to that. You can right click a pinned or open program for the jump list – including Web Pages in Internet Explorer. There’s a video for that On your start button, Getting Started are some links. There’s a video on MS that you can download that tells about some of these new features. Comparing 2 Windows, Snap and Resizing … check those out as well.
Aero Shake – Grab the the top of an open window and shake it. All others will minimize to the taskbar. Yep it works!
Aero Peek – I accidentally already described this, without knowing the name of it. Above I was talking about the Show Desktop or Minimize All Windows which now lets you just “peek” at your desktop. Say you want to see one of your desktop gadgets to see the network traffic, or CPU usage, or your nice clock. You can just peek at them and the desktop – for as long as you like. Move your mouse back off of that little rectangle to the right of the time/date and your right back in the window / program that you were working it. That’s… pretty cool
Before I go on, there’s something that was a bit of an issue. My brother ran one of the beta versions of Windows 7 and took it back off because he said “There was NO mail program?” I noticed from the beta and pre-release versions that I ran in VMware virtual machines, as well, that there was no email program in sight. Somewhere in Windows 7 I found out the skinny on this. You now have to download Windows Live Mail if you were an Outlook Express (or Windows Mail in Vista) fan. It’s free and supposedly will take all of your emails, contacts, and settings from the previous programs. So far I’ve downloaded it – but stopped for the time being. I could n’t find the import function to pull in my stuff from Vista or XP email programs. I’m sure it’s there, I just need to work on this a little bit more. Which brings up another thing that I hate, but some people might like, they keep hiding the Menu Bar in programs for the sake of making things look simpler. And I keep having to turn that on. I hate that. You just have to be able to get to the menus so you can configure things. I had a bit of trouble finding UNDO in MS Paint. It’s there. I like things simple, but I don’t want them soooo simple that I have hunt for things that I need.
Let’s get more.
Six ways to get more from your PC.
The features that help you do even more of what you want every day.
Windows Media Center – yup – still there – even in Windows 7 Pro. I never used it much anyway on Vista Home Premium. It always seemed to be more of a PITA than it was worth. I rather find HD content (tv programs and such) on the web myself. My TV tuner card – I don’t think helps me much with DirecTV Satellite TV considering my HD Sat box is hooked up HDMI to the TV. My tuner card also doesn’t seem to get Comcast Cable – which I also have here – but my Sony TV does get the QAM and Analog Channels, so didn’t need Media Center for that either. I finally removed the Media Center icon from my Vista Desktop awhile back. Anyway I should have a look at this, maybe they have improved it? There’s a Play To thing that’s new and might be worth having a look at.
Watch TV on your PC – yah ok, we’ll see…
Play To – now this is something I might try later – I think it allows you to stream multimedia content over your network or something. (Hey I did title this “First Look”) So I’ll have a look at that some more later on.
HomeGroup – Haven’t really messed with this either. It sounds rather homely. I probably won’t care. But you might?
Resume from Standby – I dunno. I never go in standby in the first place. But you might? It’s new and improved! It supposedly wakes up your PC a lot faster.
Shortcuts – Now this might be interesting…
Windows Key Shortcuts …. Hmmmmm…. yum yum.
Windows + Up Arrow – Maximize
Windows + Down Arrow – Restore or minimize
Windows + Left Arrow – Snap to left
(By the way Windows + R = The Run Box! Woweee!!!! gimme my “cmd” command prompt or “devmgmt.msc” my Device Manager. Of course you have to spell things right in there. You can use the Start > Search – box for those things too, and you can even have an easier time finding them not knowing the spelling.)
Windows + Right Arrow – Snap to right
Windows + Home – Restore or minimize all other windows
Windows + T – Press once: focus the first taskbar entry. Press again: cycle through taskbar entries.
Windows + Space (hold the windows key) – Peek at the desktop. Oh ho ho hoooo that Aero Peek thing again. That’s a nice keyboard shortcut! Windows (hold) tap space but keep holding Windows Key. Let go when you’re done. I *Like* that.
Windows + G – Bring gadgets forward to the top. Nahhhh. Well kind of nice, I like Aero Peek better. With this one the gadgets stay in front and you have to click back on your window to get rid of them again.
Windows + any number key (1-9) – Open a program on the taskbar. Example: Win + 1 launches the first pinned program. That could be handy when the time comes.
Windows + + – Zoom in. The magnifier thing.
Windows + – - Zoom out. It actually just becomes Windows + or Windows -. Might help with fine print?
Task Bar Shorcuts
Shift + click on icon – Open a program
Middle-click on icon – Open a program
Shift + Right-click on icon – Show window menu (restore, minimize, move, etc.)
Drag up from a taskbar icon – Opens Jump List
Thank You and Good Bye for Now!
Alan Spicer Telecom / Marine Telecom
communications (at) marinetelecom.net