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Summary:

I’ve continued to tinker with the Windows 7 beta and like the little usability touches that offer a better experience. Take the new Start menu for example. Next to the Internet Explorer shortcut is a little arrow. Simply hovering over it or tapping it causes the […]

I’ve continued to tinker with the Windows 7 beta and like the little usability touches that offer a better experience. Take the new Start menu for example. Next to the Internet Explorer shortcut is a little arrow. Simply hovering over it or tapping it causes the menu to expand to the right. Your recent browsing history appears in the expanded area, making for a quick click if you wanted to navigate to a recently viewed website or page.

Windows 7 Start menu with IE Browsing History

Windows 7 Start menu with IE Browsing History

The same goes for other frequently used applications that appear in the Start menu as well. Paint is right above Internet Explorer in my menu; you can’t see the same little arrow in the shot above, but it was there after I saved a file in Paint. Clicking or hovering over it offers me a list of the Recent files used with the application. Very nice!

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  1. I like the little improvements too, but I just cant get used to the taskbar. Even if I make small icons and disable grouping… I’m just too used to the standard Windows taskbar. If they gave an option for using the Vista taskbar I would have no qualms with W7, other than the still-inferior-to-xp network connection manager. (IMO, of course)

  2. What you’ve described is the way the taskbar’s Jumplists appear on the Start Menu. It’s the equivalent of right clicking on or dragging up from a taskbar shortcut.

  3. @gmazin: Gizmodo have a great article on the new taskbar that’s worth a read:

    http://i.gizmodo.com/5131933/giz-explains-why-the-windows-7-taskbar-beats-mac-os-xs-dock

    The more I use it the more I appreciate it. It’s great to use on a tablet where the Jumplists work brilliantly.

  4. ok, so what about the Samsung Q1UP, I installed W7 and would love to see your take on the build for the UMPC. The only thing not working is the Web Cam, everything else works. Would you consider the challenge of installing on the Q1?

  5. the addition of jumplists & right-click taskbar icons for limited functionality was a very clever idea by MS.

    the rumor going around is that MS plans on dumping both the quick launch & system tray by final release. they claim the quick launch has been replaced by pinning programs to the taskbar (which is NOT true at all, W7 implementation is far more limited). the system tray is supposedly being replaced by being able to right-click taskbar icons for limited functionality (which is exactly what the systray is & much more true). dont be surprised if the start button/orb isnt what youre used to by final release either.

    W7 is an impressive Beta, but really isnt even close to what the final versions will be. keep in mind, MS doesnt want W7 to resemble Vista at all (and i dont just mean dropping Aero, everybody already knows that will come at the end).

  6. That’s assuming, Kevin, that people still use IE by the time Win7 Gold comes out?

    Won’t necessarily be a big selling point in the EU, either…

    As for the rest of the OS, well, we’ll just wait and see what usefulness disappears between this Beta and the Gold, shall we?

  7. GoodThings2Life Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    I’ve been using this feature a lot and absolutely loving it… and this is from an XP guy who has HATED the “Recent Documents” menu on the Start Menu since it appeared in Windows 95. (In fact, I have always turned it off instead favoring the in-application recent file menus.)

    Actually, I find it interesting the number of people who– like gmazin– seem to dislike the Superbar.

    *Most* of the complaints are generalized “it’s different, so I don’t like it” mentality, so they spend all their effort working against it which of course validates their opinions in their own mind.

    But I’ve been pressing everyone who says they hate it to be precise and explain why in specifics, and no one has yet been able to provide a reason other than “it’s different.”

    “It requires more steps to do things,” is the most common excuse, but it’s simply not true, and believe me I’ve tried looking for examples. In fact, with only a handful of minor exceptions (the most notable I’ve found being adjusting network adapter settings), everything takes exactly the same steps as XP *or* 1 click *LESS*. The few exceptions I’ve found so far require exactly 1 click more… like Network Adapter settings which requires 3 instead of XP’s 2 and Vista’s 11.

    Actually… I’ll admit… I hate the Network Sharing Center. It is still the only idea dumber than Microsoft Bob, but at least they’ve made it 3 clicks instead of Vista’s 11 (as I said above), AND I submitted a feature request about it to re-add the “Change Network Adapter Settings” and “Change Windows Firewall Settings” options back to the right-click icon for the system tray icon.

    Now here’s the thing… I’m definitely a power user, so every click and every mouse gesture counts in terms of productivity and efficiency. Worse, if I can’t click/mouse/key-shortcut my way to where I want to be in less than 5 steps, then I know it’s too cumbersome for end users too.

    Fortunately, if people stop fighting the new steps, and spend a half-hour or hour learning the new steps, they would probably be a whole lot happier with it than not.

  8. GoodThings2Life Wednesday, January 21, 2009

    @Mtoc, I have no idea where you’ve heard your rumors OR what you’re smoking (joke), but the quick launch is already gone, and I’ve heard nothing to even suggest that they’re revamping the system tray area any more than they have.

    The only thing I’ve heard suggested is that they add further functionality to the Libraries, tweak some of the visuals on both the superbar and system tray, and continue working on performance and show-stopper bugs.

  9. GoodThings2Life, What I don’t like is that you can’t group and show text simultaneously. For example, if I’m talking to multiple people, I can’t tell who just sent me an IM without mousing over the icon and seeing rather than just glancing at the icon. Same things apply to word documents, if I’m working on a multi page project, I have to mouse over and pause for the window to pop up (if I could make the pop-up instantaneous this wouldn’t be an issue).

    Of course I can solve both of these issues by “never grouping” but then my next complain is now it doesn’t move inactive icons out of the way. It looks ugly (and I have launched an application instead of maximizing a window because of this) to have small icons taking space in between of larger icons. They should allow you to move all inactive applications to the left or to the right of the active ones.

    Of course, I can take my time, but that isn’t exactly efficient. I work on a PC, I don’t work by the hour, so speed matters.

  10. The following page tells you how to speed up the taskbar thumbnails:

    http://www.techknowl.com/2009/01/speed-up-windows-7-taskbar-thumbnail.html

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