When I first had the idea to compile a list of all the new Windows 7 features, I thought that one or two posts would be enough. Well, obviously I underestimated the number of new features in Windows 7. There will be five articles in this series: User Interface, Applications and Functions, Security, Networking, and, last but not least, Administration. Of course, the last three posts are the best ones from an administrator's point of view. I am also planning to publish another list of Windows Server 2008 R2 features.

This Windows 7 features list is mostly a summary of Microsoft's Windows reviewer's guide, which was only available for a couple of days. Perhaps this is a hint that they are already planning to drop features. It is also possible that new features will be added to the final version. Furthermore, it is quite likely that I didn't include all known features.

However, I am planning to update this list whenever I become aware of a new or dropped feature. I will notify you about changes via Twitter and through my weekly Tweets wrap-up in this blog. Changes in the articles will be highlighted with a different color for one week. If you know of a missing or dropped feature, please leave a comment below or send me a message. Of course, any other response is welcome too.

One further note: You might find the articles in this series hard to understand at times because the text is very condensed. I will blog about the most important new features in more detail later. The main purpose of this list is to get an overview of the enhancements in Windows 7. Please, let me know if you have described one the features in your blog or know of a more detailed source. I will add a link then.

Okay, let's get started.

Aero Desktop (improved)

  • Aero Peek: A specific open window or all open windows can be made transparent
  • Aero Snaps: Open windows can be snapped to screen borders
  • Aero Shake: Desktop items can be minimized or maximized by shaking them
  • Maximize a window by dragging its border to the top of the screen
  • Dragging the bottom border expands the window vertically
  • Dragging two windows to opposite sides will resize them to fill half of the screen

Windows Taskbar (the Superbar) (improved)

  • Graphic thumbnails for open windows
  • Switch between multiple windows by just hovering over the taskbar thumbnail
  • Icons are big enough to be selected easily with the new touch feature
  • Applications can use the taskbar to provide information (a progress bar for example)

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Libraries (new)

  • Libraries are containers similar to folders, but their content is based on file properties such as file type, pictures by date taken, or music by genre
  • There are default libraries (documents, music, pictures, etc.) and one can create personalized libraries
  • Libraries can contain files, not network shares, which are indexed by Windows Search

Jump lists (improved)

  • Jump lists are automatically populated links in the Start Menu to frequently accessed sources (apps, documents, etc.)
  • Taskbar items, the Internet Explorer, and Windows Media Player will have them too, allowing you to jump directly to a certain task of a program

Windows Sidebar (improved)

  • Is no longer a sidebar
  • Gadgets are now placed on the desktop
  • Gadgets are resizable
  • Aero Peek lets you see gadgets behind open windows

Windows Explorer (improved)

  • New user interface (have to find out more)
  • New copy engine: fewer prompts, shows file names being copied, more reliable

Scenic Ribbon (new)

  • Paint and WordPad now have a ribbon similar to the one in Office 2007
  • Third-party developers can integrate ribbons into their apps

Start Menu Search (improved)

  • Searches in Libraries (also external files)
  • Search results are grouped according to Libraries
  • System administrator can define up to five external search destinations
  • Search will be executed on the server

Windows Search 4 (improved)

  • Input recommendations based on previous searches
  • Dynamic filters to narrow down results
  • New relevance algorithm
  • Word highlighting in results
  • Search Federation: search external resources (servers, Sharepoint, Web sites (OpenSearch))

Tablet PC enhancements (improved)

  • Supposed to have improved handwriting recognition
  • Supports handwritten math expressions
  • Personalized custom dictionaries, and supports new languages

Sticky Notes (improved)

  • Ink support
  • Paste support
  • Note colors
  • Resize possible

Accessibility (improved)

  • Improved speech recognition
  • Magnifier (whole desktop or portion of the screen)
  • Accessibility support tools for developers

Windows Touch (new)

  • Windows 7 can be controlled by touching the screen
  • It also supports multi-touch allowing you to use more than one finger

Other desktop enhancements (improved)

  • More styles
  • Region specific styles
  • Multilingual browsing no longer requires font installation, language-based fonts
  1. Ilija 14 years ago

    It just looks great, and it has some nice features (like Libraries) so I’m can’t wait to try it.

  2. Yeah it really looks nice. I will buy a new laptop these days and I am tempted to install Windows 7 on it.

  3. fignewtonyee 13 years ago

    I already have it.

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