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Getting Teased by HomeGroup

Windows 7 includes a new networking feature, HomeGroup (see Figure 6), designed to help average consumers easily configure sharing among their computers.

The feature can help, but many will be disappointed when they figure out that only new Windows 7 PCs will work with it.

Most families will still have Windows XP and Vista computers around. It would be nice if Microsoft released an update for these older Windows versions.

Addition of the Ribbon to Windows Applications

If you've used Microsoft Office 2007, you've met the Ribbon, which is another love-it-or-hate-it feature. If you like it, you'll be happy with some of the redesigned Windows applications. As Figure 7 shows, this includes Microsoft Paint and WordPad.

The options from the menu bars on the top (such as File and Edit) have been dissolved onto what is called a Ribbon. Shortcuts are group together by the task type. For example, Find, Replace, and Select are all grouped in the Editing section of the Ribbon.

Personally, I don't have anything against the Ribbon; the only annoyance is it takes some time to get used to it.

Looking Beyond the Imperfections

Though we have discovered several new annoyances in Windows 7, it seems like Microsoft has made improvements. You have more control over User Account Control (UAC), and with the default settings, UAC prompts won't bug you all the time (as with Vista).

There have been many networking improvements, even beyond the new HomeGroup feature. Windows will now natively support CD/DVD images and virtual drives. Touch screens are supported. A new Library feature helps access and share your files.

If you are a Vista-hater, Windows 7 might not make such a great impression. However, unless you move to Linux or Mac OS X, you are stuck with Microsoft. If upgrading to Vista weren't a big bother, Windows 7 should do you just fine.

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