Windows 7 Release Candidate Changes Increase Productivity and Workflow

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Did you know Microsoft trimmed down sound files so your computer can boot up faster in the Windows 7 release candidate? Here are a few changes we found amongst the over 70+ obvious UI changes.

Desktop and User Interface:

Gadget view options
In the Windows 7 beta it was impossible to separate desktop icons from gadgets under the View setting available by right-clicking on the desktop. Now there is the option to hide just your gadgets or just your desktop icons.

Keyboard Shortcuts:

Windows Flip (ALT + TAB) with Aero Peek
Aero Peek is now enabled for Windows Flip (or more commonly known as ALT + TAB).

Improved Windows Logo + # keyboard shortcut
Pressing Windows Logo + # (where # corresponds to an item's order in the taskbar) in the beta would only launch the program in Windows 7. In the release candidate, it can both launch and switch between Windows. For example, if IE wasn't running and the second item on the taskbar, Windows Logo + 2 will launch the program. If IE is running with a single window, the same shortcut will now switch to the program. When IE is running with several windows or tabs, holding down the Windows Logo and tapping the 2 key repeatedly will actually cycle through the open IE items off the taskbar (with Aero Peek). Letting go simply switches to the corresponding window. It works really similarly to the ALT +TAB shortcut.


Aero Peek for touch
First, the taskbar's thumbnails now support a gesture so you can drag your finger across the taskbar and it will trigger Aero Peek. The Show Desktop button is improved so a press-and-hold will allow the customer to peek at the desktop. A regular tap still allows you to switch over.

Windows Explorer
Multi-touch zoom is now enabled for Windows Explorer.

Power Options:

Faster access to High Performance power plan
Clicking on the battery icon in the taskbar notification area offers two different power plans: Balanced and Power saver. Windows 7 laptops are configured to use the Balanced by default. Now in the popout menu, you can see all three options.


Increased taskbar space
There is even more increased space on the taskbar now. The release candidate will feature 24-39% more icons before the taskbar scrolls (depending upon resolution, icon size and the default notification area).

Increased flexibility and changes to Jump Lists
When there are too many things pinned to Jump Lists, it defeats the whole purpose of easy access. Jump Lists now only automatically suggest the first 10 items (there is still the option to customize the length of the list).

Now you can also pin files and folders to programs that are not handle that file type. Pinning the item in most cases will create a new registration so that launching it from the Jump List will always open the file with that specific program (ex. a pinned HTML file to Notepad will always open the file in Notepad).

The Control Panel jump list will now list your most recent items.

Newly installed programs
When a program is installed, it automatically and temporarily surfaces at the bottom of the Start Menu. It lets the user see it, giving them the option to launch it or drag it to the taskbar.

User Account Control:

Increased security
There will be two changes to the release candidate to UAC settings. The first change is that the UAC control panel will run in a "high integrity" process (thus requiring elevation). The second change will now prompt for a confirmation when you are changing the level of UAC.

Now all we have to do is wait for April hopefully! [Microsoft: 1, 2, 3]