Microsoft vows Windows 7 will fix Vista mistakes

It will improve the problematic UAC, offer touch-screen interface

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UAC prevents users without administrative privileges from making unauthorized changes to a PC. But because of how it was set up in Vista, it can prevent even authorized users from accessing applications and features they should be able to use.

UAC did this through pop-up windows, which also were spoofed by Apple in television ads after Vista users reported that they appeared extremely frequently, even when users were performing authorized tasks.

Sinofsky acknowledged that Microsoft "went a little too far with UAC," but as a result the Windows client operating system is now more secure. In Windows 7, Microsoft will focus on the security aspects of UAC but will ensure users won't find it to be an invasive feature, he said.

During the keynote, Microsoft showed some new features in Windows 7, including a streamlined view of all the files and folders contained not only on a user's PC, but also any other PCs on networks that he is allowed to access.

This feature is called Libraries, and it will improve desktop search in Windows 7 by allowing users to search more comprehensively across PC folders than ever before, according to Microsoft.

Microsoft also changed its Gadgets feature, another Vista addition. Gadgets are mini-applications that give users quick access to information, such as stock prices or weather reports, via icons. In Vista, gadget icons were confined to a task bar; with Windows 7, users will be able to move them around the desktop.

Perhaps the sexiest new Windows 7 feature demonstrated was the touch-screen interface, which lets people use their fingertips and small hand gestures to control applications.

Microsoft demonstrated how touch-screen controls can replace the mouse for actions such as opening the task bar and choosing a Windows Explorer window. If a user opens a folder with photos in it, he could, for example, scroll through those photos using his fingers and drag a photo into a Windows Paint application window and draw directly on the photo.

Copyright © 2008 IDG Communications, Inc.

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