Windows 7 Professional

What's New

With the release of "Windows 7", Microsoft introduced a variety of changes to the user interface and functionality. Highlights of the major changes are detailed below.

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All of these items, which apply to Windows 7 operating system, are discussed in more detail below. Clarion owned equipment will use 'Windows 7 Professional 64-bit version'. For even more information see "additional information" located on the right-side of this window. The information listed there contains more in-depth discussions on each of the new features in Windows 7 including videos to help understand "what's new".

Windows Explorer

  • Certain folders in the navigation pane can be hidden to reduce clutter
  • 'Preview Pane' & 'Create New Folder' buttons added
  • Storage Space Progress Bars that were only present for hard disks in Vista are now shown for removable storage devices
  • Windows Explorer 'view control' supports multi-width columns in List view

Start Menu

  • The Start Button/'orb' now has a fade-in highlight effect when the user moves the mouse over it.
  • My Documents is gone - now called 'Libraries'. By default, a new user account in Windows 7 contains four libraries for different file types:  Documents, Music, Pictures, and Videos
  • A "Devices and Printers" option has been added that displays a new device manager
  • The "Shut Down" icon in Windows Vista has been replaced with a text link indicating what action will be taken when the icon is clicked. The default action to take is now configurable through the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window.
  • Taskbar Jump Lists are presented in the Start Menu. When the user presses the right-arrow key, the right-hand side of the Start menu is widened and replaced with the application's Jump List.
  • The 'Search Box' can find more things in more places-documents, email messages, songs-and do it faster. Start typing in the Start menu search box, and you'll instantly see a list of relevant files on your PC. You can search by typing the name of the file, or based on its tags, file type, and even contents. To see even more matches, click a category in the results, like Documents or Pictures, or click See more results. Your search terms are highlighted to make it easier to scan the list.
  • The Snipping Tool can take a snapshot of all or part of your screen. Recipes, news stories, book reviews-you name it. Sometimes the easiest way to save a copy of something is to simply take a snapshot of your screen. Snipping Tool captures a screen shot of anything on your desktop, like a picture or a section of webpage. Snip a whole window, a rectangular section of the screen, or draw a freehand outline with your mouse or tablet pen (or your finger, if you're using a PC with a touchscreen). Then you can annotate, save, or e-mail the image using buttons right in the Snipping Tool window. Snipping Tool is available only in the Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions of Windows 7.
  • Sticky Notes - Already as necessary as pencils and paper clips, Sticky Notes just got more useful. In Windows 7, you can format a note's text, change its color with a click, and speedily resize, collapse, and flip through notes. If you've got a Tablet PC or a touchscreen, Windows 7 Sticky Notes support pen and touch input, too-you can even switch between different input methods within the space of a single note. Sticky Notes is available only in the Home Premium, Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions of Windows 7.


The new Windows 7 taskbar is still the same familiar place for switching between windows...however, it's even easier, more flexible, and more powerful. See highlights below for some of these new features: 

  • Jump Lists (Jump Lists take you straight to your favorites) With Jump Lists, you can get right to the documents, pictures, songs, and websites you use most often simply by right-clicking a program button on the taskbar. You'll also find Jump Lists on the Start menu-just click the arrow next to the program name (see image below).




    • To open a Jump List, just right-click a program button on the Windows 7 taskbar. You can also get to Jump Lists by clicking the arrow next to the program name on the Start menu. 
    • What you see in a Jump List depends entirely on the program. The Jump List for Internet Explorer shows frequently viewed websites. Windows Media Player 12 lists commonly played tunes. Is your Jump List missing a favorite? You can "pin" whatever files you like there.
    • Jump Lists don't just show shortcuts to files. Sometimes they also provide quick access to commands for things like composing new email messages or playing music.
  • Pinning (Pin a program to your taskbar for easy access) 
    • In Windows 7 you can pin favorite programs anywhere on the taskbar for easy access. Not crazy about the button lineup? Rearrange them any way you like by clicking and dragging. You can even pin individual documents and websites to Jump Lists on your Taskbar. 



  • Live Taskbar Previews (The new taskbar previews show you what's happening on your desktop)
    • In Windows 7, you can point to a taskbar button to see a live preview of its open windows-including webpages and live video. Move your mouse over a thumbnail to preview the window full screen, and click it to go open the window. You can even close windows and pause video and songs from the thumbnail previews-a big time saver. 


** For more information on the new features of the "Taskbar"


  • Themes
    • Support for themes has been enhanced in Windows 7. In addition to setting the colors of the window chrome, desktop background, desktop icons, mouse pointers and sound schemes, themes in Windows 7 include desktop slideshow settings. A new control panel interface, accessible through the "Personalize" context menu item on the desktop, has been introduced which provides the ability to customize and switch between themes, as well as download more themes from Microsoft's web site.
  • Desktop Slideshow
    • Windows 7 includes a desktop slideshow that changes the desktop background in a designated amount of time with a smooth fading transition. This feature supports pre-downloaded sets of wallpapers 
  • Gadgets 
    • Microsoft Gadgets are lightweight single-purpose applications, or software widgets, that can sit on a Microsoft Windows user's computer desktop, or are hosted on a web page.
    • Types of Gadgets:
      • Web gadgets - run on a web site, such as or Spaces.
      • Sidebar gadgets - run on the desktop or be docked onto, run on the Windows Sidebar.
      • SideShow gadgets - run on auxiliary external displays, such as on the outside of a laptop or even on an LCD panel in a keyboard, and potentially mobile phones and other devices. 
    • Gadgets put information and fun-like news, pictures, games, and the phases of the moon-right on your desktop. In Windows Vista, gadgets were corralled in the Sidebar. Windows 7 sets them free on the screen, where you can move and resize them as you like. Open windows getting in the way of your gadgets? Use "Peek" to make them instantly reappear. 

Aero (Windows 7 user interface)

The Aero desktop experience, mixes graphics with useful new ways to manage your desktop including "Translucent" windows, Thumbnail-sized previews, and 'Shake and Peek".

  • Components of Aero
    • Aero PeekHovering over a taskbar icon shows the thumbnail of that program. Hovering over the thumbnail shows a preview of that program in full view. Aero Peek also refers to the "Show desktop" button to the far right of the new taskbar. 
    • Aero ShakeShaking (quickly dragging back and forth) a window minimizes all other windows. Shaking it again brings them back.
    • Aero SnapClicking and dragging a window to the right or left side of the desktop causes the window to fill the respective half of the screen. Snapping a window to the top of the desktop maximizes it. Resizing a window to touch the top or bottom edge of the screen maximizes the window to full height, whilst retaining its width; these windows will then slide horizontally if moved by the title bar, or can be pulled off, which returns the window to its original height.
    • Jump ListRight clicking on or clicking and dragging upwards an icon on the taskbar enables several options, including pinning and displaying recent documents. Program-specific options, such as opening a new window in a browser, are included if supported by the program.

What's Moved?

Some familiar buttons have been changed or removed from the Start menu
in Windows 7 (but you can add them back if you want to)

  • The Printers button is now the Devices and Printers button. You can click this button to display a list of all peripheral devices connected to your computer, including printers, faxes, monitors, and your mouse.
  • The Recent Items button has been removed from the Start menu, although the files and programs you've recently opened will still appear in the Jump List for the Start menu automatically. You can also add the Recent Items button back to the Start menu if you prefer.
  • You might also notice that the classic Start menu option, which gave your Start menu the look and functionality of previous versions of Windows, is no longer available in Windows 7.

Where can I go for more help?

Please contact the Help Desk in Computing Services at or x2640 with any questions.

Last Updated 6/12/18