Windows 7 - Microsoft's long-waited successor to Windows Vista - is expected to ship in 2010, if not earlier. Until now, the software giant has remained tight-lipped on the features in the new OS. (See also: Windows 7 review.)

However, since its pre-beta code release last week at the Microsoft Professional Developers' conference, more has been unveiled about Windows 7. We've taken a look at the new OS to see just what users will be faced with.

Meet your next desktop: Sidebar dies; Gadgets live

Microsoft has killed the Sidebar in Windows 7, but the Gadgets it contained live on. They simply sit wherever you choose to place them on your desktop.


Jump Lists provide easy access to common tasks

Both the Taskbar and the Start Menu now include Jump Lists - context-sensitive selections of actions relating to a particular application, such as files you've used recently or access frequently.



Device Stage: one-stop access to hardware-related tasks and information

Device Stage is a new feature that gathers all of the information (everything from drivers and applications to manuals) relating to a particular phone, printer, or other piece of hardware, and lets you access it from a single window. But it will show up only if device vendors create an XML document based on a Microsoft template, a document that also must be approved by Microsoft. The good news is that such documents are a lot easier to create than new device drivers - and vendors can stick with the drivers created for Vista.

NEXT PAGE: Libraries and a less annoying UAC

  1. We look at the features in Microsoft's newest OS
  2. Libraries and a less annoying UAC
  3. Federated search, custom themes and a new magnifyer
  4. Where's my desktop gone?
  5. A lightweight Windows Media player
  6. A new-look calculator

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