Windows 7 Service Pack 1 (SP1) Original OS
Among Windows 7’s new features are advances in touch and handwriting recognition, support for virtual hard disks, improved performance on multi-core processors, improved boot performance, DirectAccess, and kernel improvements. Windows 7 adds support for systems using multiple heterogeneous graphics cards from different vendors (Heterogeneous Multi-adapter), a new version of Windows Media Center, a Gadget for Windows Media Center, improved media features, XPS Essentials Pack and Windows PowerShell being included, and a redesigned Calculator with multiline capabilities including Programmer and Statistics modes along with unit conversion for length, weight, temperature, and several others. Many new items have been added to the Control Panel, including ClearType Text Tuner Display Color Calibration Wizard, Gadgets, Recovery, Troubleshooting, Workspaces Center, Location and Other Sensors, Credential Manager, Biometric Devices, System Icons, and Display. Windows Security Center has been renamed to Windows Action Center (Windows Health Center and Windows Solution Center in earlier builds), which encompasses both security and maintenance of the computer. ReadyBoost on 32-bit editions now supports up to 256 gigabytes of extra allocation. Windows 7 also supports images in RAW image format through the addition of Windows Imaging Component-enabled image decoders, which enables raw image thumbnails, previewing and metadata display in Windows Explorer, plus full-size viewing and slideshows in Windows Photo Viewer and Windows Media Center.
The default taskbar of Windows 7.
The taskbar has seen the biggest visual changes, where the old Quick Launch toolbar has been replaced with the ability to pin applications to taskbar. Buttons for pinned applications are integrated with the task buttons. These buttons also enable Jump Lists to allow easy access to common tasks. The revamped taskbar also allows the reordering of taskbar buttons. To the far right of the system clock is a small rectangular button that serves as the Show desktop icon. This button is part of the new feature in Windows 7 called Aero Peek. Hovering over this button makes all visible windows transparent for a quick look at the desktop. In touch-enabled displays such as touch screens, tablet PCs, etc., this button is slightly (8 pixels) wider in order to accommodate being pressed by a finger. Clicking this button minimizes all windows, and clicking it a second time restores them.
Window manager in Windows 7 has several new features: Aero Snap maximizes a window when it is dragged to the top of the screen. Dragging windows to the left or right edges of the screen allows users to snap software windows to either side of the screen, such that the windows vertically take up half the screen. When a user moves windows that were snapped or maximized using Aero Snap, the system restores their previous state. Aero Snap functions can also be triggered with keyboard shortcuts. Aero Shake hides all inactive windows when the active window’s title bar is dragged back and forth rapidly (metaphorically shaken). Unlike in Windows Vista, window borders and the taskbar do not turn opaque when a window is maximized with Windows Aero applied. Instead, they remain translucent.
Action Center, which replaces Windows Security Center in Windows XP and Vista
When the Action Center flag is clicked on, it lists all security and maintenance issues in a small popup window
Windows 7 includes 13 additional sound schemes, titled Afternoon, Calligraphy, Characters, Cityscape, Delta, Festival, Garden, Heritage, Landscape, Quirky, Raga, Savanna, and Sonata. Internet Spades, Internet Backgammon and Internet Checkers, which were removed from Windows Vista, were restored in Windows 7. Users are able to disable or customize many more Windows components than was possible in Windows Vista. New additions to this list of components include Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player 12, Windows Media Center, Windows Search, and Windows Gadget Platform. A new version of Microsoft Virtual PC, newly renamed as Windows Virtual PC was made available for Windows 7 Professional, Enterprise, and Ultimate editions. It allows multiple Windows environments, including Windows XP Mode, to run on the same machine. Windows XP Mode runs Windows XP in a virtual machine, and displays applications within separate windows on the Windows 7 desktop. Furthermore, Windows 7 supports the mounting of a virtual hard disk (VHD) as a normal data storage, and the bootloader delivered with Windows 7 can boot the Windows system from a VHD; however, this ability is only available in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions. The Remote Desktop Protocol (RDP) of Windows 7 is also enhanced to support real-time multimedia application including video playback and 3D games, thus allowing use of DirectX 10 in remote desktop environments. The three application limit, previously present in the Windows Vista and Windows XP Starter Editions, has been removed from Windows 7. All editions include some new and improved features that originated with Vista, such as Windows Search, Security features, and some features new to Windows 7. Optional BitLocker Drive Encryption is included with Windows 7 Ultimate and Enterprise. Windows Defender is included; Microsoft Security Essentials antivirus software is a free download. All editions include Shadow Copy, which—every day or so—System Restore uses to take an automatic “previous version” snapshot of user files that have changed. Backup and restore have also been improved, and the Windows Recovery Environment—installed by default—replaces the optional Recovery Console of Windows XP.
Windows 7 includes improved globalization support through a new Extended Linguistic Services API to provide multilingual support (particularly in Ultimate and Enterprise editions). Microsoft has also implemented better support for solid-state drives, including the new TRIM command, and Windows 7 is able to identify a solid-state drive uniquely. Native support for USB 3.0 is not included due to delays in the finalization of the standard. At WinHEC 2008 Microsoft announced that color depths of 30-bit and 48-bit would be supported in Windows 7 along with the wide color gamut scRGB (which for HDMI 1.3 can be converted and output as xvYCC). The video modes supported in Windows 7 are 16-bit sRGB, 24-bit sRGB, 30-bit sRGB, 30-bit with extended color gamut sRGB, and 48-bit scRGB.
For developers, Windows 7 includes a new networking API with support for building SOAP-based web services in native code (as opposed to .NET-based WCF web services), new features to simplify development of installation packages and shorten application install times. Windows 7, by default, generates less User Account Control (UAC) prompts because it allows digitally signed Windows components to gain elevated privileges without a prompt. This behavior has been criticized for allowing untrusted software to be launched with elevated privileges by exploiting a trusted component. Microsoft’s Windows kernel engineer Mark Russinovich acknowledged the problem, but noted that malware can also compromise a system when users agree to a prompt.