|29 Oct 2008||#1|
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A Close Look At The New Windows 7 Taskbar
"Microsoft introduced some fundamental design changes in the Windows 7 presentation today. This article will take a closer look at what Microsoft has shown. One of the most talked new features is the new Windows 7 Taskbar. We already talked about the increase in size but Microsoft has revealed some interesting information about the taskbar today. If you look at a picture of the Windows 7 Taskbar you notice that it is displaying icons and no names which is a different approach than before. Each icon still represents an application, file or folder that has been opened. It is possible to change the order of each icon in the taskbar which was one of the most requested features for it. It is even possible to pin applications at a certain position in the taskbar so that they will always be available in the same spot.
The screenshot above is a closeup of the Windows 7 Taskbar as it is implemented in the latest build. Previews of each item of the taskbar are now available by simply hoovering over one. Even more interesting is the ability to display not only the current active window of the application but also other open tabs of it. An Internet Explorer preview would for instance display the open tabs of the browser while a Word preview all open documents. It is likely that there will be a maximum of preview windows that can be displayed at a time. The user can load a window or application by simply moving the mouse over the preview icon. It should be noted that it is now possible to place programs permanently into the Windows Taskbar which was was only possible in the Quick Launch area in previous Windows versions. Open applications and folders are visualized by a border which makes it easy to distinguish between open and closed programs. Multiple open windows will be visualized by icon stacks. The size of the taskbar icons can be altered to provide space for more icons or less but bigger ones.
A right-click on an icon in the Windows 7 Taskbar will open so called Jump Lists. This is another interesting new feature. Jump Lists provide access to the last used files, documents or website history. It can also contain the most common tasks like playing all music tracks or resuming a playlist. A user could use it to open an Excel spreadsheet that he opened previously to continue working on it.
The Windows 7 System Tray has been redesigned as well. A design focus was to design it in a way that it would add less interruption to the userís workflow. After installation only four icons are displayed in the Windows 7 System Tray: Volume, Power, Network and Action Center. Icons of applications that install a system tray icon will be hidden by default and notifications suppressed which obviously can be changed in the options. Hidden meaning that they can be accessed from the Caret. A right-click provides access to the Customize Notification Icons panel. The user can change the status of any icon in the system tray in the options there.
Date and time can still be configured after the users liking. Versions with both the time and date in two rows and only the time are possible. The far right contains a new feature called Peek. If the user moves the mouse over that panel all open windows become transparent making the desktop shine through. A click on it will show the desktop.
Microsoft added options to customize the Windows Taskbar. Users will be able to change the color of the Windows Taskbar and the transparency levels of the taskbar and the preview windows.
Screenshots and links
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