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Windows 7 review

Our final and definitive verdict on the best Windows operating system ever

Our Verdict

For

  • Improved performance
  • Pinned icons
  • Live thumbnails
  • Jump lists and window snaps make Aero useful as well as attractive
  • New ways of organising files with libraries
  • Improved backup
  • Less annoying notifications

Against

  • XP Mode isn't an integrated option yet
  • Microsoft backed down on libraries and Ctrl-E brings up My Computer instead
  • You can't add NAS drives to libraries
  • Ultimate edition is almost unnecessary except for adding BitLocker – which should be in the Professional Edition – and rather expensive (as are the Anytime Upgrades)
  • Yes, it's what Vista should have been (but it's more than that)

We tried out the Windows 7 touch features on a Dell Latitude XT2 tablet, which currently comes with Vista.

drag

DRAG: Drag up from an icon on the taskbar to see the jump list for it

Vista gives you single-finger touch for making selections and clicking buttons, with an on-screen 'mouse' that you can drag around to click the left, right and middle buttons, plus touch versions of the eight pen flicks – up, down, left, right and into the corners to scroll, copy, paste and so on.

PAINT

PAINT: Back to school; paint with multiple fingers at once in Paint

Installing Windows 7 gives you the same level of touch control; you can drag and drop, single, double and right-click without doing any setup and it feels a little smoother and more fluid than Vista as you do it.

The on-screen 'mouse' touch pointer is off by default because Windows 7 is really designed for multi-touch.

PAN

PAN: Here we're dragging the page up and down; it will bounce at the top and bottom of the page

Obviously on a new touch PC everything will be set up for you, but because we'd upgraded the XT2 we had to install the N-Trig drivers by hand (which was straightforward).

pointer

POINTER: If you want, you can turn on the on-screen mouse to help you touch accurately

This adds a new tab to the control panel, for controlling 'panning' – swiping your finger up and down on screen to scroll through long documents and web pages without using the scroll bar.

You can also flick backwards and forwards; very handy in Internet Explorer. If you're used to Windows Mobile, press and hold gives you a right-mouse click – but you can also press with one finger and tap with another to get right-click.

keyboard

KEYBOARD: The on-screen touch keyboard is easy to use

Apps need to be written specially to understand two-finger rotate; we tried rotate in Windows Live Photo Gallery and it worked well.

Windows will try to zoom any app if you use the pinch and drag gesture; this works very smoothly in Internet Explorer and Excel, a little more jumpily in WordPad and other applications that support mouse-wheel zoom.

touch

TOUCH: IE8 has zoom and scroll touch features; drag on the address bar to get this easy-to-touch list and the on-screen keyboard

Tap with two fingers at once and you zoom in to where you tapped. And until software developers like Corel launch the multi-touch graphics tools they've been working on, you can always open up Paint and paint with as many fingers as you want.

Tech Specs

Product TypeOperating System
Brand NameMicrosoft
Software Sub TypeClient
Distribution Media/MethodDVD-ROM
Licence TypeLicense and Media
Platform SupportedPC
Language SupportedDanish
Licence Quantity1 PC
ManufacturerMicrosoft Corporation
Product NameWindows 7 Ultimate - 64-bit
Software NameWindows 7 Ultimate 64-bit
Licence PricingOEM
Manufacturer Part NumberGLC-00734
Manufacturer Website Addresshttp://www.microsoft.co.uk
Marketing Information

Windows 7 Ultimate is the most versatile and powerful edition of Windows 7. It combines remarkable ease-of-use with the entertainment features of Home Premium and the business capabilities of Professional, including the ability to run many Windows XP productivity programs in Windows XP Mode. For added security, you can encrypt your data with BitLocker and BitLocker To Go. And for extra flexibility, you can work in any of 35 languages. Get it all with Windows 7 Ultimate.