In pictures: What's new in Windows 7?

We look at the features in Microsoft's newest OS.

Windows 7 — Microsoft's long-waited successor to Windows Vista — is expected to ship in 2010, if not earlier. Until now, the software giant has remained tight-lipped on the features in the new OS.

However, since its pre-beta code release last week at the Microsoft Professional Developers' conference, more has been unveiled about Windows 7. We've taken a look at the new OS to see just what users will be faced with.

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Meet your next desktop: Sidebar dies; Gadgets live

Microsoft has killed the Sidebar in Windows 7, but the Gadgets it contained live on. They simply sit wherever you choose to place them on your desktop.

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Jump Lists provide easy access to common tasks

Both the Taskbar and the Start Menu now include Jump Lists — context-sensitive selections of actions relating to a particular application, such as files you've used recently or access frequently.

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Device Stage: one-stop access to hardware-related tasks and information

Device Stage is a new feature that gathers all of the information (everything from drivers and applications to manuals) relating to a particular phone, printer, or other piece of hardware, and lets you access it from a single window. But it will show up only if device vendors create an XML document based on a Microsoft template, a document that also must be approved by Microsoft. The good news is that such documents are a lot easier to create than new device drivers — and vendors can stick with the drivers created for Vista.

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Yardena Arar and Harry McCracken

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