Windows 7 Overview New Features

By Michael Kieca, Instructional Development Services Graduate Assistant

Microsoft has made a giant leap when it comes to their Windows operating system with Windows 7.  With all the troubles and issues that people had with Vista, Windows 7 is a vast improvement.  For starters, the whole interface for the desktop has been completely revamped with all the same functions and user customizations available.  The biggest change is with the taskbar in the way that you can align your favorite programs for quick access, by pinning them to the taskbar.  You can also setup frequently used documents, pictures, or music by right-clicking on the program in the taskbar and adding them to the jump list.

There are also new features that help you organize the programs and windows that you have open.  The Shake feature allows you to focus on one window by clicking it with the mouse and shaking it.  This minimizes all other windows besides the one you are shaking, and to restore the other windows, you just shake it again.  The Peek feature lets you temporarily see your desktop by clicking on the bottom right of your taskbar.  Lastly, the Snap feature allows you to align two windows next to each other by dragging each to the right or the left of the screen and they will automatically split the screen in half.

Another organizing tool in Windows 7 is the libraries that are available on the taskbar to help you situate documents, music, pictures, and videos.  Each library has the option to share publicly or keep it in My Documents.  If you save a Document to the public folder, the document can be accessed by anyone that uses that computer, no matter what log-in information they use.

A tool that has been available in every Windows operating system is the search tool; but it has been enhanced.  You can use the search menu in the startup menu to search for programs, settings, and files.  You can search within the Control Panel for settings that you can customize.  You can also search within your libraries to make it easier to find documents or media files.  The searches that you execute, Windows maintains a recent list of previous searches that you can restore.

There is no longer a need to fear the Windows operating system.  The many improvements made in Windows 7 allows you to customize your desktop and organize all your documents and media files.  Windows is no longer a subordinate operating system; Windows 7 has made the next step.


  • New Desktop Interface
  • Shake, Peek, and Snap
  • Taskbar customization
  • Jump Lists
  • Libraries
  • Search Improvements

TechTip:  Windows 7 Login Differences

By Amanda Richards, Instructional Development Services Lab Assistant

Logging On

One thing that has changed within Windows 7 is the user login screen.  You might notice sometimes that the last user’s account name will appear in the user name field below the icon box.  If this is not your account that you want to use then do the following:

In order to enter your account user name and password you must click the Switch User button.

You will then need to click the Other User.. button and then you can enter in your own account user name and password.

Ejecting Your Thumb Drive or other Device:

In this version of Windows 7, the option to eject a device from your computer is not listed at all times in the bottom right hand corner.  To find it you must click the up arrow in the bottom right hand corner of your screen.  Once the arrow expands in the box you will see a USB icon. Click and choose Eject.

Logging Off

In order to log off of a computer instead of completely shutting down you must click the arrow next to the shut down option and choose, Log Off.

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