Besides the big-ticket features in Windows 7 Release Candidate there are plenty of small but welcome touches that makes real sense in everyday use.
When you first fire up Windows 7 RC you’ll dive into major features such as HomeGroups, Libraries, Aero enhancements and the tricked-out taskbar.
But as you rack up the days spent with Windows 7 you’ll discover some of the smaller and more subtle changes from Vista. Here are four of our favourites.
Automatically change your background wallpaper changer
All those new themes are pretty swish but one of the new
Personalisation features is something that everyone can appreciate:
automatically changing the background wallpaper after a preset time
period, using any collection of images and even randomising them with a
‘shuffle’ mode (great for photos). You can also choose how the image
should occupy the screen: using fill, fit, tile, stretch and centre.
The best way to use this is to create a new library folder called
Wallpaper and into this dump all the images you want as your desktop
background. You’ll need to select at least two images to activate the
Default printers for each location
This one’s a boon for notebook users. Tired of having only one printer set as your default even though you regularly swap between several networks and thus, several printers? Windows 7 now lets you designate a default printer for each network location.
Open the Control Panel’s Devices and Printers applet, click the Manage Default Printers button on the toolbar and you can match each network to a printer.
This has been a long time coming. In fact, given the non-stop growth of notebooks for the past decade and all the other work done to make each version of Windows abetter mobile computing platform you’d have expected to see this long ago. But Microsoft was clearly listening to feedback from The Real World when it came to Windows 7.
Burn ISO files
Another ‘You’re late but we’re glad you
made it anyway’ feature. Windows 7 can finally burn ISO files straight
to a CD or DVD. The minimalistic the Windows Disc Image Burner isn’t
going to displace Nero, Roxio et al from their thrones, but it’s nice
to be able to burn an ISO image without resorting to extra software.
also incredibly easy, so much so that we expect this will become the
new way for PC manufacturers to have customers create a DVD containing
the original install image (you know, in lieu of actually giving
disc worth less than a $1 when we pay thousands of dollars for a new
Pop a blank disc into your burner, double-click an ISO file and you’re away.
if only Windows 7 would also let us directly mount an ISO image as a
virtual drive. Maybe Microsoft is hanging onto that one for Windows
8... (if so, can we also add to the wishlist the ability to reverse the
ISO burning process and create an ISO image from an actual CD or DVD?).
New Windows keystrokes
This is a win for power users and anyone who wants to keep both hands on the keyboard. Windows 7 introduces a dozen shortcut combos based on the Windows key, which oddly enough has remained one of the most under-used keys until now. We like these new hotkeys so much that you’ll find a separate post dedicated to them here