After people amass a decades worth of digital information, finding pieces of that information becomes the biggest challenge. Windows 7s libraries tackle the organization part of that problem by letting one library show the contents of several folders. Store your music in the Public Music folder, for example, and those tunes automatically appear in every user accounts Music library.
Libraries break tradition, and IT people will be doing a lot of tutoring in the months to come. But once people grasp the concept, theyll be able to spend more time working with their information rather than finding it.
With Windows 7, Microsoft finally realized that people dont need the same level of security on their home networks as they do on the Internet. Homegroups let everybody type a single password into their networked PCs. Those PCs then join hands to become a Homegroup, where every PC on the network can share all the music, pictures, and videos stored by everyone else. Of course, anybody can opt out of sharing their media. But chances are, most people will embrace this easier way to share their vacation photos and music.
Windows 7s a huge step forward from Microsoft Vista, and its versatile enough to last for years to come. But Windows 7s certainly not perfect.
As to be expected, Windows 7 is often too much about Microsofts needs, rather than your own. For example, Windows 7 no longer comes with an e-mail program, so Windows 7 understandably pushes Microsofts new Windows Live Mail program as a replacement.
Try to download Windows Live Mail, though, and the installation program tries to install Microsofts entire suite of Live programs. Then the installer tries to hijack your Home page to Microsofts ad-soaked MSN, and switch your search engine to Microsofts Live Search.
And the program repetitively begs you to sign up for a Windows Live e-mail address, no matter how many e-mail addresses youve accumulated over the years.
If youre upgrading Windows Vista to Windows 7, Microsoft switches your default browser to Internet Explorer 8, no matter how many years youve been using Firefox. Internet Explorers Favorites and Feeds areas come pre-stuffed with links to Microsofts products.
In short, Microsofts trying to wring as much cash as possible from their enviable position of automatically landing atop 90 percent of the worlds desktops. Theres nothing wrong with a business making money, of course. One day, hopefully, Microsoft will be a little less obnoxious about it.
Lets hope the company doesnt pile it on so thick it ruins the Windows 7 experience Ive found so far.