Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Windows 7 Secrets

Windows 7 is finally officially released. I laid my hands on it since the pre-beta build (the PDC version leaked October 08) and start drilling into the areas that concentrate most of the new features such as the new taskbar and shell integration, ribbon-based graphical UI, multi-touch and gesture recognition.

In this post I would like to focus a number of features less visible to the user but that prove to be very useful in my opinion - the top 8 "secrets" of Windows 7.

  1. Window management - docking a window very fast to the left/right side of the screen or maximizing it can be done very quickly, actions that can be performed using keyboard shortcuts:
    Win+Left Arrow and Win+Right Arrow dock;
    Win+Up Arrow and Win+Down Arrow maximizes and restores / minimizes;
    Win+Shift+Up Arrow and Win+Shift+Down Arrow maximizes and restores the vertical size.

  2. Multi-Monitor Windows Management - dock windows from one monitor to another when using multiple monitors using Win+Shift+Left Arrow and Win+Shift+Right Arrow keeping their relative position on the screen

  3. Minimize non-active Background Windows - pressing once Win+Home minimizes all background windows, and pressing it once again puts them back to the screen

  4. Reordering Taskbar Icons and Running Applications - if you haven't noticed, the pinned icons and running applications are no longer fixed, they can be reordered and starting a new instance of any of the first 5 started application can be done by pressing the Win+1, Win+2, ..

  5. Executing another instance of the same app - just Shift+Click on an icon from the taskbar to execute another instance of the application

  6. Peeking the the Desktop - want to have a look at the desktop without minimizing all windows? Pressing the small square in bottom-right of the screen or the shortcut
    Win+Space enables the user to peek at any icons or gadgets executed on the desktop.

  7. Display Projection - for a quick popup that allows selecting how to extend your screen on a extra connected monitor or projector just hit Win+P

  8. Focus and walk the taskbar - now the taskbar can be focused using the Win+T shortcut and once you are there the arrow keys allows you to select one of the applications or icons which you can activate or executing by pressing Enter

Once again those are the "secrets" that I find the most useful, but to see the full list of secrets just visit Tim Sneath's tip list for Win 7