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
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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–

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windows 7 taskbar power options.jpg windows 7 wireless.jpg windows 7 start menu 1.jpg windows 7 taskbar preview.jpg 200810282018.jpg


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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!