Windows 7: This time Microsoft gets it right

In his hands-on review of the Windows 7 pre-beta, Preston Gralla decides that Microsoft's upcoming OS shows great promise.

Those who listen to music or play videos on their PCs will be pleased to see that there is now a built-in way to do both without having to launch Windows Media Player.

Those who listen to music or play videos on their PCs will be pleased to see that there is now a built-in way to do both without having to launch Windows Media Player.

File organization and search

One of Windows 7's most subtle changes will have a surprisingly large impact on the way that people use their computers. It changes the way in which files and documents are organized.

In earlier versions of Windows, including XP and Vista, you're practically forced to organize all of your files and documents under the Documents folder in your user account. Everything about Windows, including default locations for saving, default locations for searching and so on, is built that way. Organize things differently, and you'll make your life difficult.

Windows 7 changes that. Instead of organizing your files and folders in a Documents folder, there is instead an overall Libraries folder, under which separate Downloads, Music, Pictures, and Videos areas can be found.

However, that's not the big change. You can now include folders from other locations on your network in your Libraries. For example, if you have three PCs, and you would like to be able to see all of your work files from all those PCs in one location, you can drag them to your library. Those folders will still live in their original locations but will also show up in your library.

Search has also been improved considerably. From your Windows 7 machine, you can now easily search through other PCs on your network. Place the folders from another PC into a library, do a search on that library, and you'll search the other PC's folders

In addition, search results are easier to scan, and they present more information for each file. It's also much easier to filter searches using file name, author, and file type, because those filters appear just underneath the Windows Explorer search box when you put your cursor into the box.

But you don't need to be in Windows Explorer to search other PCs, as long as you've added folders from those PCs to your library. When you do a search from the Start menu's search box, you'll search through those folders as well.

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Preston Gralla

Computerworld
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