Microsoft unveiled Windows 7 today at the Professional Developers Conferences (PDC). There wasn’t anything too unbelievable, but they did show off a revamped Taskbar that some are saying is inspired by Mac’s Dock. Windows 7 will use what looks like oversized quick launch icons. Don’t be fooled though. Those icons are used to not only start apps, but also switch between them. Here’s how Microsoft’s Windows Blog explains the new “tiles” on the Taskbar:

The new Windows Taskbar in Windows 7 focuses on application “tiles”. These application tiles can be arranged or re-arranged anywhere on the Windows Taskbar simply by grabbing the tiles and moving them where ever you want on the taskbar. Users will be able to “pin” applications they use the most to the new Windows Taskbar via the Start Menu by simply dragging and dropping those apps from the Start Menu to the Windows Taskbar.

What makes it even more interesting is that when you hover over one of the tiles you’ll see a live preview of all the application’s open windows. You can then use those previews to switch between each of the different windows… kind of like tabs:

windows 7 taskbar live preview.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

And it still gets better. Those preview windows are a bit too small to see intricate details, and Microsoft has finally realized that. So now when you hover over one of those previews it will immediately bring that particular window to the front of the screen so that you can clearly see its contents. If you hover off the preview it will be sent back to the position where it resided.

One of the last things I wanted to show off is Microsoft more extensive use of “glass” throughout the operating system. Now when you want to preview the desktop it will make the windows on top transparent leaving a glass-like frame to hold their place:

windows 7 desktop before.jpg windows 7 desktop after.jpg
(Click to Enlarge)

In the end I think Microsoft is definitely on the right track with the new Taskbar in Windows 7. Plus I’m really loving the fact that you can see both the date and time without needing a double-height taskbar.

Don’t forget to check out what’s new in Windows 7 Media Center, and enjoy some more screenshots courtesy of Channel 10 at Microsoft…

–Taskbar & Start Menu–

(Click a thumbnail to enlarge)
windows 7 taskbar power options.jpg windows 7 wireless.jpg windows 7 start menu 1.jpg windows 7 taskbar preview.jpg 200810282018.jpg


(Click a thumbnail to enlarge)
windows 7 calculator.jpg windows 7 devices.jpg windows 7 explorer.jpg windows 7 explorer photos.jpg windows 7 documents.jpg windows 7 media player.jpg windows 7 play to.jpg windows 7 safety filter.jpg windows 7 live mail.jpg windows 7 live messenger.jpg windows 7 movie maker.jpg windows 7 live photo gallery.jpg

–Taskbar Video Demonstration–

Thanks for the tip Oliver!

There Are 11 Comments

  1. Wow, for not the biggest changes, looks pretty freakin awesome. The one thing that looked no good, both in skin and content, is the start menu. I think the Vista start menu is pretty darn near perfect.

    The taskbar changes look pretty cool. Darn, now I’m gonna want to upgrade to Win7!

    Update: Just watched the video. Freakin awesome, especially “peek”! Also, kinda odd, the start menu in video is all good, but the one under “taskbar and start menu” in ur screenshots is no good.

  2. Finally a reason to upgrade! (Still with XP and see no reason to upgrade to Vista..) I especially like the context-sensitive right-click menu on the taskbar, that seems very very useful. I’m just wondering if I can still fit my 30+ icons on the new taskbar :P

    If you like to see the date in the systray, next to the time, try making your taskbar twice as high and putting the quicklaunch icons at the bottom (effectively creating something similar as the new taskbar). For eye candy you could use LClock to display the time & date :)

  3. I love the look of Windows 7, I just hope it is better the Vista.
    Can Microsoft deliver the goods this time?
    I hope so, as I am now getting very excited. Cannot wait to try it.

  4. Duh???? It is STILL VISTA just on Steroids,LOL. They shouldn’t call it “Windows 7″ it should be named Windows “OS XI” for all the “Apple Crap Features” being ported into it. Well they always said imitation was the sincerest form of “Tush Kissing.” Ha ha ha.
    I’ll bet their passing out cigars over at APPLE, or retaining appropriate legal consultants waiting too pounce. “Nothing new under the SUN any more.”

    Well at least all those Upgraded Graphic Cards will get Used. Enough said. The Giant know as Microsoft is “Sleeping once again.”

  5. If Microsoft so excited about Windows 7, isn’t this a clear evidence of how bad Windows Vista is. No matter how many Bill Gates’ ads promoting Vista, computer users are saying…Hasta la Vista Baby.

    I hope Redmond learned its lesson and release a better operating system next year. Will it be on time?

  6. netster007x wrote:
    Just watched the video. Freakin awesome, especially “peek”! Also, kinda odd, the start menu in video is all good, but the one under “taskbar and start menu” in ur screenshots is no good.

    The “peek” mode is definitely a great idea, and there’s no doubt that it’d save me a lot of headaches. There are a lot of times where I’d switch back and forth between windows trying to get content from one to put into another, and that would keep me from actually having to switch to the window.

    Change wrote:
    Will it be on time?

    I bet it will actually be early. Some sources are saying that internally Microsoft is shooting for next summer already. I bet they’ll try to get it out in time for the holiday season next year at the very least.

  7. This task bar is just like apples operating system Tiger. THey are stealing again.

  8. applefan wrote:
    This task bar is just like apples operating system Tiger. THey are stealing again.

    I wouldn’t say they are stealing. If you think about it the new Taskbar isn’t all that much different than the existing one. For the most part they’ve just removed the text from each item on the Taskbar, and made them more permanent.

  9. OMG!…….It looks SOooo Just Like KDE 4 …Pharrk….did Micro$oft have their Innovation Gland removed or what!?…SAADLY DISSAPOINTED! …I’d post screenshots of my current Ubuntu system but the M$ Script kiddies would accuse me of trying to look like Windows7.

  10. Hi all i been using win7 R.C for a while now it is ok , its a lot different to its vista counterpart its less on mem in many respects anyone who used vista knows its a big memory juice supper even more with areo turned on thats why most of us re upgraded back to xp lol.win7 isnt copying anyones Os really only fetures people asked for got through to final rc the kernel was totaly stripped and rebuilt for todays market .
    All in all t is a pretty good O.s. , tho it may not be to everyones taste , and i have to be fair there are fair priced os out there that do just as good job as win 7 without the hefty pricing tag .

  11. tried it out, its not bad, it has improved over vista, but still hasn’t made up to leopard or snow leopard

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