So, Windows 7 is here. Vale Windows Vista. Actually to say Windows 7 is here is a little off, a large slice of humanity has already loaded the software in its beta and Release Candidate versions. But as of October 22, it is in the stores, all official and more ready to work for you than Vista ever was.

The slogan Microsoft has put with Windows 7 is ‘Your PC. Simplified.” At the press launch the simplification message was a mantra, along with phrases like “just make it work”, and “fewer interruptions”.

These oft-repeated messages at the press launch are what Microsoft heard back from the public. For Windows 7 Microsoft conducted 16,000 online interviews to test program scenarios and proposed new features, and having compiled the feedback they then spent 40,000 hours testing online responses in the field. Eight million users were involved in beta testing.

To eliminate the sort of compatibility issues that Vista had, hardware and software companies were brought on board early. In short, Microsoft really asked and actually listened this time, they didn’t just build. Windows Vista gave the distinct impression that Microsoft was simply lusting after the look and feel of the Mac OS X. With Windows 7 they have married workability to attractiveness and ‘flash’.

Features

First up, Windows 7 starts and closes down faster than Vista, and is more power efficient, so there’s longer battery life on offer for notebook users. Other highlights of Windows 7 include:

  • Taskbar: scrolling over the applications and documents open in the Taskbar and you’ll see a thumbnail representation, or, in the case of a video file, it will play the video within the thumbnail. Also particularly handy, are the Jump lists, showing the last 10 open documents on each program in the dock, plus the ability to be able to ‘pin’, or have appear permanently at the top of the Jump List, key documents.
  • DeviceStage: see the status of all your connected devices, and quickly synchronise and manage them.
  • Snap: Drag an open window to your screen’s border to automatically re-size it. Snap two different windows to the left and right borders for a perfect comparison.
  • Shake: click on an open window and shake your mouse to minimize all other open windows. Shake the pane again to restore the windows to their original size and placement.
  • Windows Touch: For those with touchscreen monitors, you’re able to use your fingers multi-touch gestures. Tasks such as using your finger to pinch and enlarge images, scroll albums and web pages,

Pricing

The following are the RRP prices for the various flavours of Windows 7. There was almost instantly retailers discounting these prices.

Upgrading from Vista and XP

  • Home Premium – $199
  • Professional – $399
  • Ultimate – $429

Full (new) program

  • Home Premium – $299
  • Professional – $449
  • Ultimate – $469

Windows Anytime Upgrade

  • Windows 7 Home Starter to Home Premium – $79.95
  • Windows 7 Home Premium to Professional – $89.95
  • Windows Anytime Upgrade: Windows 7 Home Premium to Ultimate – $139.95

System requirements

  • Processor required: 1GHz or faster 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
  • Memory required: 1GB RAM (32-bit) / 2GB RAM (64-bit)
  • Video card: DirectX 9 graphics processor with WDDM 1.0 or later driver.
  • Hard disk: 16GB available disk space (32-bit) / 20 GB (64-bit). For the download version, an additional 3GB is required.