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Five Small Things We'll Appreciate in Windows 7

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You’ve probably heard about the big improvements and new features in Windows 7, but what about the small ones? Eric Geier, author of 100 Things You Need to Know about Microsoft Vista, shows you a few of them. You’ll see there’s even more to appreciate.
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If you've read much about Windows 7—coming the second half of 2009—you've probably heard about the big changes. The taskbar has been resigned, User Account Control (UAC) has more options and isn't so annoying, HomeGroup is supposed to make sharing on networks easier, and Libraries help you quickly organize and access files. Well, what about the small changes? That's what we're going to talk about here. We'll discover a few small changes that you’re more than likely to appreciate.

CD/DVD Image (ISO) Burning

If you've even ever downloaded a CD or DVD image (ISO) file on Windows Vista or earlier versions, you've probably figured out that you must download a third-party tool (such as PowerISO) to burn it to a disc. However, this isn't necessary in Windows 7. Microsoft has included an image burning utility.

To use Windows 7's native ISO burner, simply double-click a CD/DVD image or right-click it and select to burn the image. Figure 1 shows the dialog box that appears where you can click Burn to start the disc writing.

Figure 1 Burning an image to CD/DVD.

Virtual Hard Drive (VHD) Support

If you use virtualization applications, such as Microsoft Virtual PC, you'll likely enjoy the native support of Virtual Hard Drives (VHD) in Windows 7. Now you can mount or attach VHDs to Windows where it will appear on Computer with a drive letter. Additionally, you can create VHD files, either with a fixed or dynamic (expanding) size.

To attach or create VHDs, you can use the Disk Management utility. To access this utility, open the Control Panel, choose System and Security, and under the Administrative Tools section, click the Create and Format Hard Disk Partitions link. Now as Figure 2 shows, on the Disk Management window, click the Action menu to either Attach or Create a VHD.

Figure 2 Attaching or creating a VHD.

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