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Have you finally decided to upgrade from Windows XP Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps Upgrade From Windows XP to a Modern OS in 7 Simple Steps It's time to say goodbye! Microsoft is ending official support for Windows XP on April 8 2014. Are you at risk? If you are still running this ancient operating system, it's time to upgrade. Read More and managed to get a cheap copy of Windows 7 4 Cheap Ways To Obtain A Legal Copy Of Windows 7 4 Cheap Ways To Obtain A Legal Copy Of Windows 7 It seems like Microsoft is hitting the nail with Windows only every other version. Windows 7 was one of them. Thing is, Microsoft doesn't sell Windows 7 anymore. Here are your options. Read More ? You made the right decision! You will get used to Windows 7 in no time. Best of all, we have many great resources to help you settle in and get up to speed. Follow me.

What’s New In Windows 7?

Microsoft’s Explore Windows 7 features page contains an A-Z list and thorough coverage for each item with demo videos, screenshots, and descriptions. The site is a very useful resource to familiarize yourself with everything that’s new in Windows 7.

Explore Windows 7

Most notable features include:

  • Live Taskbar Previews 

    The taskbar has undergone several changes. Apart from jump lists and pinning (see below), taskbar items now feature live previews of each open window. When you move your mouse over the preview, you will see a temporary full size view of the window. Click the preview to open the window.

Windows 7 Taskbar

  • Windows Search 

    The Start Menu now contains a handy search bar, which will find programs, files, and Control Panel items. Just hit the Windows key on your keyboard and the cursor will default to the text field, ready to take your query.

Windows 7 Start Menu

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More You Should Know About Windows 7

Back when Windows 7 was released, we wrote many articles for new users. They included tips and hacks 15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks 15 Best Windows 7 Tips and Hacks Read More , such as how you can re-arrange system tray icons, create your own keyboard shortcuts, or customize the power menu, and cool keyboard tricks 25 Cool Windows 7 Keyboard Tricks That Will Impress Your Friends 25 Cool Windows 7 Keyboard Tricks That Will Impress Your Friends Read More , like Windows + X to open the Windows Mobility Center. Windows 7  has changed since it was first released and even if you’ve used it before, there may be many features you never knew existed 5 Windows 7 Features You Didn't Know Existed 5 Windows 7 Features You Didn't Know Existed Windows 7 contains many little-known features. Here we highlight the more impressive ones that could boost your productivity and deepen your love for Windows 7. Read More . You can find all our Windows 7 related articles here.

Windows Mobility Center

In case you didn’t notice, Windows 7 comes in a 32-bit and a 64-bit version How to Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Operating Systems How to Choose Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows Operating Systems When you install Windows, you can pick between the 32-bit and 64-bit version of the operating system. We help you choose the version that is right for you. Read More . If you didn’t upgrade your hardware, you probably had to go with the 32-bit version 4 Easy Ways to Know If You're on a 64-Bit Version of Windows 4 Easy Ways to Know If You're on a 64-Bit Version of Windows Are you using a processor that supports a 64-bit operating system and are you running a 64-bit operating system? The average off-and-on PC user probably doesn't know the answers to these questions, although they should.... Read More . That’s neither good nor bad; while you won’t be able to benefit from 64-bit What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? What Is the Difference Between 32-bit & 64-bit Windows? Do you know whether your computer is 32-bit or 64-bit and does it even matter? Yes it does! Let's take a look at where these terms come from and what they mean for you. Read More , you also won’t run into software compatibility 3 Websites To Find Software Compatible With 64-Bit Operating Systems 3 Websites To Find Software Compatible With 64-Bit Operating Systems Chances are, those of you who are buying a brand new computer in the next year will be getting your hands on something running a 64-bit operating system. x64 has its pros and cons, but... Read More issues.

Not Liking The Windows 7 Look?

Would you like to get the Windows XP look and functionality back? This can be done!

Briefly, use the Windows XP Luna theme, set up Windows 7 so you can install the theme using Universal Theme Patcher, install the theme, adjust the Taskbar, get Classic Shell, change the Start Menu style, change the Start Button, and customize the look of Windows Explorer. If that was too fast, have a look at Matt’s article on how to make Windows 7 look like Windows XP How To Make Windows 7 Look Like Windows XP How To Make Windows 7 Look Like Windows XP Some people have a hard time letting go of Windows XP. If you know someone like that, follow this tutorial and they won't even know you upgraded them to Windows 7. Read More .

Windows XP Luna Theme

It’s not perfect, but it’s a start. Feel free to let us know in the comments what Windows XP features you’re missing and we might know a solution.

Software Or Hardware Not Compatible?

Buggy software or a lack of hardware drivers, that’s probably the most annoying part about upgrading to a new operating system. Fortunately, Windows 7 offers workarounds.

Windows 7 comes with a wide selection of hardware drivers. If your hardware isn’t automatically recognized, search the manufacturer’s website 3 Resources For Windows 7 Printer Drivers To Get Your Printer Working 3 Resources For Windows 7 Printer Drivers To Get Your Printer Working Read More for a Windows 7 driver. You can also try third party resources like Driver Guide or NoDevice.

For software that won’t cooperate, Windows 7 has a compatibility mode. Right-click the program shortcut, select Properties, and open the Compatibility tab. From here you can run the compatibility troubleshooter or run the program in compatibility mode for Windows XP.

Windows Compatibility Mode

If you cannot find a driver or if your software won’t work under compatibility mode, you can try running Windows XP inside a virtual machine What Is a Virtual Machine? What Is a Virtual Machine? Virtual machines allow you to run other operating systems within your current operating system, but why does that matter? What are the pros and cons? Read More , i.e. a piece of software that runs on Windows 7 and can host other operating systems. This will allow you to install software and hardware under Windows XP and use it straight from your Windows 7 desktop.

If you have Windows 7 Professional, you don’t even need a Windows XP license. Just install Microsoft’s Windows Virtual PC and run XP Mode How To Run Windows 7 In XP Mode & When You Need This How To Run Windows 7 In XP Mode & When You Need This Read More . Otherwise, I recommend using the third-party tool VirtualBox. More details can be found in my article on how to hold on to an old version of Windows 5 Ways To Hold On To An Old Version Of Windows 5 Ways To Hold On To An Old Version Of Windows Do you find it hard to work with your new Windows? Are old software or hardware no longer working? Here is how you can combine the best of the old with the new Windows. Read More .

What Else Did You Learn About Windows 7?

We have covered some of the best features and most common problems users have encountered in Windows 7 Top 5 Most Common Windows 7 Problems and How to Fix Them Top 5 Most Common Windows 7 Problems and How to Fix Them Read More . If you find other issues, you can ask us for a solution on MakeUseOf Answers.

If you have been using Windows 7 for a while, is there anything else you think a new user should know? Please share in the comments!

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