Windows 7 – New features (new to me at least)

So, I’ve been using Windows 7 as my primary development box for a few weeks now and I have to say it feels good. So far I’ve been quite happy with it. I was using Windows Server 2008, and before that Vista, but I have to say it keeps getting better. I figured no better way than to list a few of my favorite new features.

Probably one of my favorite things, as mentioned by Scott Hanselman, is that I can finally shut the lid on my laptop and have all faith that it will in fact go to sleep. Even better than that, it will wake up too! I used to feel like I was winning a morning lottery every time I’d turn it on. Prior to Windows 7, I seemed to get a lot of instances where the monitor would be on, yet black, and my only choice was to forcibly power it down and boot back up, losing everything. I have had to do that once with Windows 7 so far, with 1 wonderful exception: Windows 7 told me “Hey, I tried to restore and it didn’t work last time. Want me to try again?”. Thanks, 7, please do. 🙂

Beyond that, Windows 7 continues to surprise.  I have to attach to a projector now and again when I’m presenting and perform the fabled Fn+F8 key to get my stuff to show up on the monitor. It seems that I’m a bit challenged at getting this viscous cycle to land on what I want. Again, Windows 7 comes to my rescue. I haven’t seen it documented anywhere, but hitting the Window key + P combination lets Windows 7 handle that for you and the selection is much more obvious. Thanks again 7!

Figure 1. Windows 7 Projector selector.
Figure 1. Windows 7 Projector selector.

Let’s what else has made me happy lately… by now most have experienced Aero Snap, which allows you to do things like dragging a window to the top to the screen to have it maximize. What I didn’t see documented anywhere however was a neat little feature called Aero Shake. Basically if you drag a window left and right quickly, it will minimize all the other windows that are open allowing you to focus in on just the window you shook. I haven’t seen it mentioned anywhere, but me likey!

 
That’s it for now kids!
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