Windows XP to Win7


The shift is on, and more of our desktop machines are moving from Windows XP to Windows 7 (skipping Windows Vista).  Although XP was originally released in 2001, it has held its own, and only recently (August 2012) did it get overtaken in market share by Windows 7.  Below are some quick tips on how Win7 differs from XP.  Feel free to share feedback, concerns, or ask questions about your transition to Win7. 

5 Quick Tips

Start Menu 

Gone are the flyout menus, where you would often lose track of where you where and constantly navigate with your mouse making sure you're in the right menu.  Folders are in as you click in to see the contents, and use the back button if you go too far. 

Search in Start Menu

In the screenshot above, you'll also notice a Search bar that allows you to quickly find programs and depending on the speed and indexing of your computer, files directly from your start menu.  If you're looking for something on your computer, this should be your first stop, as search has vastly improved with Win7, though remains a bit sluggish compared to Google. 

Condensed Taskbar

In Windows XP, multiple programs would quickly clutter the bottom of your computer screen, the area known as the taskbar.  In Windows 7, you'll see the icons fill from left to right, along with smaller icons for running processes in your system tray (bottom left).  Fear not, you'll still be able to see the contents of those windows (next tip). 

Hover and View, Hover and Close

If you have multiple instances of a program open (for example, in the screenshot above, I have two windows of Google Chrome running), you can get a snapshot view of the window by hovering over the icon in the taskbar.  Plus, you can even close the window directly from the taskbar.  Look for a red "X" in the top right of the window preview. 

Pinning Programs

Want to keep some favorite programs (besides IE and Windows Media Player) in your taskbar?  Simply right click on the icon and select the "Pin this program to taskbar" option.  Conversely, you can unpin programs (like IE and Windows Media Player) through the same process.

5 More Tips

Browsers: IE9, Firefox, Chrome

You will have Internet Explorer 9 (IE) pre-installed with Windows 7.  However, you can add Firefox, Chrome and/or other applications to your stable of Internet Browsers.  As we discussed in the Browsers module, having a range of applications helps when something isn't working right in one browser or the other. 

Screenshot - Alt/Print Screen

An oldie, but a goodie - you can capture the screen on a PC easily, but using the keyboard combination: Alt-PrintScreen (upper right of keyboard, usually).  This places a screenshot onto your clipboard, so you'll need to paste it somewhere.  MS Word or MS Paint are two solid options and most likely, one will be installed on your machine.  Screen captures often assist tech staff in troubleshooting issues as well. 

Drag and Drop - bookmarks

Return to a website over and over, and wish you had it on your desktop.  If you drag the site's icon (see screenshot below) onto your desktop, you'll be able to create a desktop shortcut that will automatically open the browser and the webpage.  Don't forget - you can always add bookmarks in your browser, but this is handy for quick access from your everyday computer station.  

Program shortcut on desktop

Instead of pinning the program, if you want to create a shortcut to an application on your desktop, simply right click on the program in your Start Menu and look for the "Send to", "Desktop" option.  You'll have a shortcut icon created that will open the program every time.  

Adding Printers

Start, Devices and Printers.  Add a printer and double click on it to have Windows automatically install the driver (may take a few minutes). 

Additional Links