/* Windows and Linux Program Software Reviews: October 2009 */

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Reviews Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium

Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium



Products by Microsoft

Platform: Windows 7

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Product Details

* Easily create a home network and connect your PCs to a printer with HomeGroup
* Make the things you do every day easier with improved desktop navigation
* Start programs faster and more easily, and quickly find the documents you use most often
* Windows 7 Home Premium (includes 32-bit & 64-bit versions) makes it easy to create a home network and share all of your favorite photos, videos, and music--you can even watch, pause, rewind, and record TV
* Make your web experience faster, easier and safer than ever with Internet Explorer 8

* Platform: Windows 7
* Media: DVD-ROM
* Item Quantity: 1


# Product Dimensions: 8 x 6 x 2 inches
# Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
# Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.

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Reviews Microsoft Windows 7 Home Premium


#1 VIRTUAL LIBRARIES
With virtual libraries, the special folders like Documents, Pictures, Music and Videos have all become libraries. Instead of being a physical storage location, they're indexes that point to one or many locations on the computer you're using, as well as other computers you're networked with. In a home setting, where you're running Windows Home Server, you can now easily direct file stores to your server. Also in the home, housemates can easily see each others' data by including their respective folders in one another's libraries. When you search a library, you're searching your computer and any other computer that has folders you've added to your library. You determine which physical location will be the default location for saving new files to your library. This is, for me, the single best feature of Windows 7, and is an excellent reason to upgrade.

#2 START SEARCH
The Start Search has been improved in Windows 7 so results appear instantly as soon as you click the Start button, and then either type the name of a program on your computer, or a task you'd like to perform (like, "change my display settings"). No more hunting folder hierarchies to find that elusive program, or spend time figuring out where Microsoft has placed something in the Control Panel. This is a tremendous time-saver.

#3 AERO SNAP
The Aero user interface has three new tricks -- Shake, Peek, and Snap -- but only Aero Snap is a major leap forward. Have you ever tried comparing the contents of two windows together, side-by-side? It's painful to do because you have to fiddle with resizing the two windows. With Aero Snap, now all you do is grab the title bar of one window, sling it to the left, and Windows 7 will automatically resize the window to fill-up one-half of your screen display. Do the same with a 2nd window by slinging it to the right, and it'll fill-up the right-side of your display. You can start comparing two windows in...an Aero Snap. Aero Shake and Peek are cute, but not nearly so helpful.

#4 TASKBAR
Gone is the Quick Launch bar that too many people didn't know existed. Now, the whole Taskbar is a quick launch bar -- drag and drop any program icon onto the bar, and you're one click away from starting the program. Also, it's so easy to move the taskbar around now. I keep it on the left vertical on my computer. Gone is the system tray, too -- Notification Area takes its place. The Action Center alerts you to anything you need to do to keep your computer working smoothly.

#5 PROGRAM COMPATIBILITY
Any program can be run in one of many compatibility modes now. Windows 7 has a wizard that will help you pick the right, earlier version of Windows under which to run an older program -- just right-click on the program icon and choose "Troubleshoot Compatibility". Or, You can do the same thing more quickly by right-clicking on a program icon, click the Compatibility tab, enable Compatibility mode, and select the earlier version of Windows you want to run with your program.

#6 STICKY NOTES
Less functional that the Vista Sticky Notes -- which nobody used -- but now I actually use Sticky Notes to put reminders on my Desktop. They're quick, easy, and work just like a regular Post-It note only you don't get fingerprints on your screen!

#7 JUMP LISTS
There are two kinds -- Jump lists that let you quickly pick a task to perform, and Jump lists to quickly select a document to open and edit in the associated program. Jump lists include most recently used files, or you can pin your own files, too. These are nice time-savers.

#8 SAVED SEARCHES
In Windows Explorer, you can create filtered searches and then save them in your Favorites for later use. This is handy to find filtered data in the future. When you re-execute the search, it creates a dynamic results set (so your search is never stale).

#9 CONTENT VIEW & ARRANGING
Also in Windows Explorer, two new features. Now you can arrange a folder into subdivisions by date (great for your pictures folders!). You can use the Content view to combine thumbnails of files along with details that usually are found only in the Details view.

#10 USER ACCOUNT CONTROL
Most everyone hated UAC in Vista (even though it helped to keep your computer safe). In Windows 7, Microsoft tamped down the annoyance factor of UAC. You can change your date and time without setting off UAC, for example. You can also decide whether UAC should go into secured Desktop mode whenever it does get triggered (secured Desktop is when your screen darkens and you're forced to respond to UAC's dialog box asking permission to run a program or make a change to your system). You can easily turn-off UAC, too.

#11 PAINT, WORDPAD, CALCULATOR
All three of these utilities got updated. Wordpad and Paint have the Office-like "ribbon" now, and Calculator has a few new memory keys, touch sensitivity, and a Programmer view for those dealing with hexidecimals and binaries.

#12 HOMEGROUP SHARING
This is the easiest way to share data with others in your (home) network. HomeGroup creates a password that is shared among computers, and that takes care of all the issues with user accounts, file permissions and "access denied" problems. This is great for unsophisticated home networks. I made this feature last because I'm not using it -- I just think it's a great idea for inexperienced users. Note: all the networked computers need to be running Windows 7 to make HomeGroup sharing work.

Reviews Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007

Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007



Products by Microsoft

Platform: Windows Vista / XP

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Product Details

* Includes 2007 versions of Excel, PowerPoint, Word, and OneNote
* Essential software suite for home computer users makes it a pleasure to complete schoolwork and other tasks
* Work with confidence and security thanks to the improved automatic Document Recovery tool and the Document Inspector tool, which removes personally identifiable information from your document
* Intuitive user interface that exposes commonly used commands; updated graphics and formatting galleries help you to easily produce high-quality documents
* Enhanced Help system includes online tutorials with step-by-step instructions; includes OneNote, a digital notebook that helps you gather, organize, and search many types of information in one place

* Platform: Windows Vista / XP
* Media: CD-ROM
* Item Quantity: 1


# Shipping Weight: 9.1 ounces
# Shipping: Currently, item can be shipped only within the U.S.


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Reviews Microsoft Office Home and Student 2007


Microsoft offers 2007 the "ribbon", a new and more intuitive to access features that we used to find in the menus. While the features are basically the same, they are now grouped according to when and how you would normally use. The program ran fine on my Win XP laptop, which had RAM 512MB , and it works even better on my Vista laptop with RAM 2 GB . Microsoft offers 2007 groups are accessible by clicking on tabs that are arranged in the order you want to use. The best way to get a better understanding of this change is to check the screenshots, or download a free trial version of Microsoft Office.

I know other software has allowed this for sometime, but the ability to make a document that will launch in Adobe Reader with all the functionality of Word or Excel is something I've been waiting for. I'm surprised no one is talking about the ability to save documents in .pdf (what was once exclusive to Adobe).