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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!

  1. Jerry
    July 16, 2016 at 10:56 pm

    No PDF?
    :(

  2. jerfrank
    December 16, 2014 at 6:32 am

    yes, the driverguide.com and nodevice.com are professional driver download website. And if you use the dell computer and upgrade your system, i think you can download the dell drivers from dell-driver.com it is a professional Dell drivers download and update website.

  3. gmonly
    July 21, 2014 at 3:21 am

    I have a win7 laptop, and a win xp desktop, I use the xp mostly. I had to reinstall xp a few days ago, and I still got all the updates. I use Firefox for my browser, so there is no problem with IE. finding a AV that does not say xp is a virus, is the hard part. I have tried all the free ones. so now I have a few apps (mailware bites, ccleaner and a few more) to block some of the stuff from getting to my PC. I also do not keep much on the xp, I back it up every day, if I need to (just in case).

    win7 you can not change the print size without changing the res (making you scroll left and right), also I have found a few other settings I do not like, like the power, you do not have full control like in xp. I have a 22 inch wide screen led monitor, so scrolling left and right is out of the question.

    win8 is the win me of the os for win, IMHO.

    I'll stick to my xp till it wont work anymore. I also have all the updates for xp on a DVD, I searched the win downloads for them, and made the disk in case they stop them downloads. (I did this just after updating my PC. I copied the installing list so I would know what to find, and what order they was in).

  4. Jen
    July 17, 2014 at 7:35 am

    Pretty sad if an operating system isn't intuitive to use (at least for the majority of basic tasks). Speaks volumes about Win 8.x

    • Tina S
      July 17, 2014 at 7:48 am

      This article is about Windows 7, Jen.

      I do think that Windows 8 is intuitive to use, but Microsoft made some strategic mistakes by forcing the modern interface onto everyone by default and now people have a lot of prejudice.

      The modern interface is intuitive for touch-enabled devices and the desktop interface is essentially the same as what you find in Windows 7; not much has changed.

  5. Wanderer
    July 17, 2014 at 4:19 am

    Classic Shell is so cool. I love how I can set it up exactly like I want.

  6. Grcoeeg
    July 16, 2014 at 10:13 pm

    Tina, a great post. I have forwarded it on to several of my friends. This will help them to move on to Windows 7, from XP. I personally am using Zorin in a dual boot with Windows 7, and have for two or more years, every time I mention Linux/Ubuntu to these guys they start to twitch and fall down, I am only occasionally booting to Windows 7 anymore. But, this is a great post, thank you.

    • Tina S
      July 17, 2014 at 7:45 am

      Thank you!

      Theoretically Linux is a great alternative to Windows, but practically it's much easier to get people to upgrade to a new version of Windows than to make them try Linux.

    • dragonmouth
      July 17, 2014 at 12:38 pm

      I beg to differ. The "chasm" that Windows proponents claim exists between Windows and Linux, is mostly propaganda. My wife and two kids use Linux and Windows interchangably. They do not dual boot, they use different PCs, and they are not any kind of computer gurus. As long as they only use GUI, they have no problems with Linux. But then the average Windows user does not use the command line, either. In fact, when I asked my wife recently whether she sees any difference between her Windows laptop and Linux desktop, and she said that as long as the apps are working, there is no difference. As an aside, since my wife got her laptop couple of years ago, I had to reload Windows at least three times while the Linux PC just keeps humming along.

      Granted that the above is anecdotal and does not apply to everybody.

    • Tina S
      July 17, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      @dragonmouth: What I meant was that most people are reluctant to try something new; they'd rather go with a new version of Windows than switch to something completely different like Linux. Of course it's easier to go with what comes pre-installed.

  7. sfw1960
    July 16, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    DOS just doesn't crash....
    Win8 OTOH......ouch.

    DosBox rules!! LOL

  8. A41202813GMAIL
    July 16, 2014 at 3:37 pm

    EX ?

    No Way.

    ( Five Years And Counting )

    XPOCALYPSE, FOREVER !

    • Tina S
      July 16, 2014 at 3:54 pm

      You're hardcore!

      If you ever decide to upgrade, please send me an email because I'll be curious to know what made you give in after all! :)
      tina at this domain

    • A41202813GMAIL
      July 16, 2014 at 4:37 pm

      Your Comment Was Deleted ?

      I Missed Your Email Address ?

      The Next Purchase On My List Is To Buy A Recent Motherboard ( MB ) With Lots Of PCIEXPRESS16 ( P16 ) Slots, And All The Related Components.

      With Older ( P16 ) Cards It Is Easy To Circumvent Any ( MB ) XP Drivers Absence.

      A Faster Machine With GPU, Sound And Network Cards Is Enough For 5 Or 10 More Years.

      I Bought My First PC In 1991, Because I Used My Then Company As A Long Time Guinea Pig, For Testing Purposes.

      When A New Long Time Guinea Pig Is Presented To Me, I Might Jump Again, But I Do Not Expect It Soon.

      Cheers.

      ( Five Years And Counting )

      XPOCALYPSE, FOREVER !

    • Tina S
      July 17, 2014 at 7:43 am

      at this domain = @makeuseof.com :)

    • A41202813GMAIL
      July 17, 2014 at 11:04 am

      Sorry, I Received The Email Notification Before Your Comment Appeared Here.

      I Incorrectly 'Ass'umed It Was Deleted.

      The MUO About Page Has Plenty Of Information On All You, Guys.

      Cheers.

      ( Five Years And Counting )

      XPOCALYPSE, FOREVER !

  9. Marcus M
    July 16, 2014 at 7:40 am

    Cool.. I know some people moving from XP to 8, so this is perfect to show them!

    • Tina S
      July 16, 2014 at 3:22 pm

      You mean you want them to upgrade to Windows 7 instead? ;)

  10. ReadandShare
    July 15, 2014 at 8:40 pm

    I used to have a bunch of "reference type" CD-ROM'S - History of Art, History of Music, Biology, Astronomy, etc., etc. -- none of them will run on Win 7 (Home Premium). I think being 16-bit was the issue. Had to toss all of them.

    So, something to be aware of for those who treasure their CD-ROM collections from the '90s and '00s. Maybe get the Win 7 Pro for its emulation feature.

    The good thing is that the pain of loss faded fairly soon after. Nowadays, if I needed to check on something, Google is much faster. For better and for worse, I learn far fewer things sequentially nowadays -- most all new knowledge come to me more in distinct bits.

    • Howard B
      July 15, 2014 at 9:05 pm

      If you needed to run 16-bit software, why not install Windows 3.11 in DosBox? It *does* work; some people have even gotten Windows 95 to run in DosBox with a "virtual hard disk" file.

    • Howard B
      July 15, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      This is news? Windows 7 turns 5 years old in October, and many of Windows 7's features (jump lists, taskbar previews, Start Menu search, Compatibility Mode) all debuted in 2007 with Windows Vista.
      I'd say the things that are missed the most (ReadandShare remarked) is dropping 16-bit (Windows 3.x) compatibility, which can be fixed with a VM like VirtualBox, Bochs, or DosBox. I wouldn't recommend running any "network-capable" OS like Windows XP in a VM (unless you simply disable networking) because it *will* get infected through unpatched flaws, and thoroughly virus-scan any software you're going to run on a Virtual Machine before allowing it in.

    • James V
      July 16, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Before you toss your old software and hardware (printers, scanners), try it on Linux using the Wine app. I dual boot all our PCs, and use Windows less and less. Well, actually, not at all in the last year or so.

    • Anthony Lenzo
      November 28, 2014 at 5:57 pm

      @ReadandShare I had the same issue with software & hardware when I upgrade couple computers to Windows 7 and one to Windows 8. The workaround I did was to install Virtual Box (https://www.virtualbox.org/wiki/Downloads) which is a free to use virtual machine, which then I installed Windows XP. From their I can still run my software & hardware that couldn't be run the newer Windows OS.

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