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01 Nov 2008  
Bare Foot Kid
Microsoft MVP

W 7 64-bit Ultimate
Windows 7: Desktop Enhancements

Windows 7 Preview: Desktop Enhancements.

If there is a theme to the various UI-related enhancements Microsoft is making in Windows 7, it's "putting the user in control." In fact, that theme could be easily applied to many parts of Windows 7, including even User Account Control (UAC), which is being made more configurable and, if you'd like, less annoying. For now, however, let's focus on the UI specifically. Much of what's changing in Windows 7 is happening in the UI. And it's almost universally good news.

Enhanced Windows Taskbar

I've described Apple's Mac OS X Dock as a user interface disaster that messily combines shortcuts to running applications and other open windows with shortcuts to frequently-access programs that aren't necessarily running at the time. The Windows Start Menu and Taskbar, I felt, have always been far more logical.

Apparently, Microsoft agrees with Apple because the new version of the Windows Taskbar in Windows 7 dispenses with the separation of shortcuts for running and saved applications, and instead allows you to access either, willy-nilly, from the same place. That apparent mistake aside, the new Taskbar still has a number of important new features that separate it dramatically from previous Windows versions. It's really cool, and really, really useful.

From a visual standpoint, the new Taskbar is a bit taller by default than the one from Vista, and it's more glass-like than its predecessor with a clear sheen that lets the background seep through. As before, its broken down into a few logical areas, with a new Start Orb on the left, the shortcuts area in the middle, and the tray notification area to the right. To the right of the tray area is a small glass slab representing a new way to go directly to the desktop.

Read more at the source.

Later Ted
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