Microsoft Windows 7 RC1
Windows 7 Release Candidate 1 (RC1) is a polished piece of work, ready for prime time
- Early beta tests suggest that the OS will be quicker than Vista
- Too soon to make a proper assessment of the operating system
It's way too early to make a proper assessment of Windows 7, but Microsoft has made its intentions clear: Windows 7 is intended to right the wrongs Vista wrought, but retain that operating system's good points. And at this point, we can't argue with that. Our early beta tests suggest that the OS will be quicker than Vista, which can only be a good thing. We'll be updating this review as we get more information on and time with Windows 7, so be sure to bookmark this page.
Windows 7: searching and organising
One interesting new feature in Windows 7's Explorer is called "libraries". In essence it's a way of making like content scattered in various folders easily accessible. The OS ships with several predefined libraries — for documents, music, pictures, and video — but you can create your own based on whatever criteria you choose — file type, date created, or other metadata such as music genre.
Windows 7 libraries
Libraries figure actively in Windows 7's improved search. Results are organised based on libraries rather than on file locations. Windows 7 also allows you to perform so-called federated searches — searches across multiple PCs on your network. So, for example, you might search for photos across the photo libraries of all the PCs in your HomeGroup.
Windows 7: more multimedia in more places
Once upon a time, Microsoft's approach to audio and video seemed to hinge on Windows Media Player and its file formats coming to dominate digital entertainment the way Windows dominates the PC. Instead, we live in a world where multiple approaches to media flourish, and where iTunes and the iPod, not Microsoft-based products, are everywhere.
Windows 7's new multimedia capabilities acknowledge this reality by emphasising features that help the OS play well with others — including with products that hail from a certain company named after a piece of fruit.
Windows 7 aims to streamline playback, too — so much so that it offers two different lightweight ways to consume media without employing full-strength Windows Media Player. You can listen to music and watch video by using the preview pane in Windows Explorer, without launching Windows Media Player at all.
Or you can load up WMP but work with a simple view that hides you media library and fits comfortably into a small floating window on your desktop leaving the rest of your display visible (and usable).
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PCW Evaluation Team
A smarter way to print for busy small business owners, combining speedy printing with scanning and copying, making it easier to produce high quality documents and images at a touch of a button.
I've had a multifunction printer in the office going on 10 years now. It was a neat bit of kit back in the day -- print, copy, scan, fax -- when printing over WiFi felt a bit like magic. It’s seen better days though and an upgrade’s well overdue. This HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 looks like it ticks all the same boxes: print, copy, scan, and fax. (Really? Does anyone fax anything any more? I guess it's good to know the facility’s there, just in case.) Printing over WiFi is more-or- less standard these days.
As a freelance writer who is always on the go, I like my technology to be both efficient and effective so I can do my job well. The HP OfficeJet Pro 8730 Inkjet Printer ticks all the boxes in terms of form factor, performance and user interface.
I’d happily recommend this touchscreen laptop and Windows 10 as a great way to get serious work done at a desk or on the road.
Ultimately, I think the Windows 10 environment is excellent for me as it caters for so many different uses. The inclusion of the Xbox app is also great for when you need some downtime too!
For me, the Xbox Play Anywhere is a great new feature as it allows you to play your current Xbox games with higher resolutions and better graphics without forking out extra cash for another copy. Although available titles are still scarce, but I’m sure it will grow in time.
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