Before Microsoft released Windows Vista, it attempted to explain that their new product would redefine all future guises of operating systems and create a new format that would effectively change the way we use computers. Whether it succeeded or failed in that attempt when it was released in 2007 can be determined by what Microsoft decided to aim for with its latest operating system, the successor to Vista, Windows 7. Whereas Vista was meant to be almost a completely new operating system, Windows 7 was designed more as an updated version, in-line with previous Microsoft operating systems. Does that mean Vista was a failure? Not necessarily as it could also be seen as a slightly different direction from the preceding Windows XP, and it could be argued that without the feedback generated from Windows Vista, Windows 7 may never have happened; or at least, may never have been as much of a success as it has been.

To begin with, Windows 7 was developed to be more compatible with ancillary components such as plug-in USB devices and wirelessly connected equipment, compared to Windows Vista. What Microsoft has done is to attempt to program support for all types of technology to make installation much easier. In order to do this, Windows 7 had to be able to recognize all types of devices and hardware and either provide default drivers pre-installed in the operating system, or the ability to ‘fetch’ suitable drivers from manufacturer’s internet databases. Another function that Windows 7 has, or has improved upon, over Windows Vista is the ability to make better use of a computer’s resources. Microsoft has toned down the number of programs and services that are loaded up on start-up so that computer resources are not wasted on ancillary programs that are not being utilized. This has meant that Windows 7 ultimately runs faster than Windows Vista.

The Windows 7 taskbar is another area that has been not only improved upon, but almost completely changed. Users are now able to customize the taskbar much more than in Windows Vista, to the way they want it. The seemingly constant notifications that plagued Windows Vista are gone and in comes a new function that enables users to preview running programs just by hovering over their icons in the taskbar, a feature that looks especially cool when hovering over windows containing movies or games. Windows Vista’s User Account Control became something which many users complained about. Vista’s UAC is arguably too orientated towards security on your local machine from changes that are made by users, meaning that if any options are changed, including things as trivial as mouse pointer speed, a confirmation box pops up to ask you if you are sure of the changes. Windows 7 has addressed this issue and now only notifies you on important or major adjustments in the operating system.

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