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Much Improved Calculator

Actually one of the most impressive improvements in Windows 7—at least for me—is the Calculator. First off, Microsoft added two more modes: Programmer and Statistics. Previous versions of Windows only included Standard and Scientific.

Another extremely useful addition is the History feature. As you see in Figure 4, each calculation is displayed line by line. When a line is selected, the value is shown in the space below. For example, Figure 4 shows the calculation 1 + 4, and you see the result of 5. If you mess up, don’t worry. You can double-click a line to edit a previous calculation. Then when you’re finished, you can click Edit > History > Copy History, so you can paste all the calculations in a document. If for some reason you find History distracting, you can disable it by clicking Options > History.

Figure 4 The History feature of the Calculator.

Also off the Options menu is the new Unit Conversion, Date Calculation, and other utilities. As Figure 5 shows, the Unit Conversation utility lets you convert between many different measurements. Next time you’re counting calories, building something, or doing math problems, you have a measurement calculator to rescue you.

Figure 5 The Unit Conversion utility.

The Date Calculation utility can come in handy when scheduling. You can type in two different dates and it will spit out the difference in years, months, weeks, and days. You can also give it a date and tell it to add or subtract a certain amount of time, and it will come back with the date.

The Templates utility includes three calculators. You can bring up the Gas Mileage calculator to see how your vehicle is performing. The Lease Estimation calculator can help you figure out your leased vehicle payment. You can figure a home payment with the Mortgage Estimation calculator.

There's Even More to Appreciate

We discovered a few smaller changes that Microsoft has made in Windows 7. Now we can burn disc images and use Virtual Hard Drives with Windows tools. We can also easily set up Wi-Fi encryption with WPS, calculate much easier, and open the .docx and .odt formats in WordPad. We just discovered the tip of the iceberg. Soon you’ll be able to browse around Windows 7 and see even more changes.

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