10 reasons to upgrade to Windows 7

Windows 7 is loaded with a host of new features designed to make the things you do every day faster, easier, more efficient and, most importantly, fun. Here are some key ways that Windows 7 can help simplify the way you get things done with your PC.

"We designed Windows 7 to be more nimble and always ready when you are"

1. Quicker access to the things you use most

Jump Lists are lists of recently opened items, such as files, folders or websites, organised by the program that you use to open them. You can use a Jump List to open items and you can also pin favourites to a Jump List, so you can quickly get to the items that you use every day.

2. Get music and video, even on the go

Ever wish you could enjoy the music, videos and pictures on your home PC while you're away? Now you can. With Remote Media Streaming in Windows 7, you can tap into your complete Windows Media Player 12 library over the Internet. Forget about copying all your media from your home PC to your laptop or having to choose what to bring on your digital media player – now you can access anything you want, anytime you want.

3. Homegroups make sharing easier than ever

Have you ever needed to print a file at home when you weren't connected to a printer? Did you decide that even with a home network, it was easier to just put the file on a USB drive and take it to the PC with the printer? That's one reason why we created HomeGroup. New with Windows 7, HomeGroup takes the headache out of sharing files, devices and printers on a home network. Connect two or more PCs running Windows 7, and HomeGroup makes it easy to automatically start sharing your music, pictures, video and even document libraries with others in your home.

4. Live taskbar previews

With Windows 7, you can point to a taskbar icon to see actual images of all of your open files or programs. Then, move your mouse over the image to preview the window full-screen. Click on the full-screen image, and you can start working with it immediately. You can even close windows from the thumbnail previews – a big time saver.

5. Easily size and arrange windows

Snap is a quick (and fun) new way to resize open windows, simply by dragging them to the edges of your screen. Depending on which edge you choose – top or bottom, left or right – the window will expand vertically, fill the screen, or you can even position windows side by side. Snap makes reading, organising and comparing windows a... well, you get the picture.

6. Windows 7 loves your touch

Touch technology has been available in Windows for years. But Windows 7 extends it to every corner of your PC. The Start menu and taskbar now sports larger, fingertip-friendly icons. Familiar Windows 7 programs are also touch-ready. You can even finger paint in Paint! Windows Touch – available only in the Home Premium, Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows 7 – also recognises multitouch gestures (with the right monitor). Need to zoom in on a picture? Move your fingers apart. Want to right-click on something? Touch it with one finger and tap the screen with a second on the screen.

7. Performance improvements

Nobody likes to wait. That's why we designed Windows 7 to be more nimble and always ready when you are. Key performance improvements include:

  • Sleep: Windows 7 is designed to sleep, resume, and reconnect to your wireless network more quickly.
  • USB support:  When you plug in a portable flash drive or other USB device for the first time, Windows 7 can have it ready for you in seconds. If you've used it before, the wait is even shorter.
  • Leaner and less busy: Unlike its predecessors, Windows 7 is designed to run speed-sapping background services only when you need them. Not using a Bluetooth device? Then the Bluetooth service in Windows 7 stays off. Windows 7 is also less memory-hungry than Windows Vista – another under-the-hood tune-up that can boost overall performance.

8. 64-bit support

If you've been PC shopping lately, you probably noticed more computers with 64-bit processors and you may have wondered what advantages they offer. Put simply, a 64-bit PC can handle larger amounts of information than a 32-bit system. Since it can use more RAM – 4 GB and up – a 64-bit computer can be more responsive when you are running lots of programs at once. Whichever system you choose, Windows 7 is ready. All packaged retail editions of Windows 7 (except for Home Basic) include both 32- and 64-bit software.

9. Find things faster with improved search

In Windows 7, you can find more things in more places – and do it faster. Start typing into the Start menu search field and you'll instantly see a list of relevant documents, pictures, music and emails on your PC. Results are now grouped by category and contain highlighted keywords and text snippets to make them easier to scan.
Few people store all their files in one place these days. So Windows 7 is also designed to search external hard drives, networked PCs and libraries. Overwhelmed by your search results? You can instantly narrow them down by date, file type and other useful categories.

10. Keep your data safe

Improved for Windows 7 and available in the Ultimate and Enterprise editions, BitLocker helps keep everything from documents to passwords safer by encrypting the entire drive that Windows and your data reside on. Once BitLocker is turned on, any file you save on that drive is encrypted automatically.

BitLocker To Go – a new feature of Windows 7 – gives the lockdown treatment to easily misplaced portable storage devices like USB flash drives and external hard drives.

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