Getting Started


What's New in Windows 7 3


Installing and Configuring Windows 7 21


Obtaining Help and Support 77


Personalizing Windows 7 99


Adding, Removing, and Managing Programs 157


Using Internet Explorer 8 191


Adding Windows Live Programs and Services 239


What's New in Windows 7

Introducing the Windows 7 Family 5

Adjusting to the Windows 7 Interface 7

Organizing and Finding Files 10

Saving, Sharing, and Playing Digital Media 12

Networking in New Ways 15

Keeping Your PC Speedy and Safe 16

Using Internet Explorer 8 19

Is Windows 7 a major upgrade or just a collection of refinements? The answer depends on your starting point. If you've been using Windows Vista, the upgrade to Windows 7 should be relatively straightforward. Windows 7 is built on the same foundation as Windows Vista, so you've already sorted out compatibility hassles with programs and devices. After you learn the basics of the revamped Windows 7 desktop and adapt to changes in search and file management, you should feel right at home.

For those who are moving to Windows 7 from Windows XP, the learning curve will be steeper. You'll find fundamental changes in nearly every aspect of the operating system, and many of the expert techniques that you've learned through the years won't work any longer. Three feature sets that were originally introduced in Windows Vista will be of particular interest to anyone upgrading from Windows XP:

• Search capabilities are a key part of just about every Windows task. In Windows XP, this capability is available as an add-on that installs a search box on the taskbar. In Windows 7, you'll find a search box on the Start menu, in the upper right corner of any window or dialog box based on Windows Explorer, and in Control Panel.

• For anyone obsessed with performance and troubleshooting (we suspect most of our readers fall into this group), Windows 7 includes an impressive set of diagnostic and monitoring tools. Collectively, they offer a level of detail about system events that can be eye-opening and overwhelming.

• User Account Control was one of the most controversial and misunderstood additions to Windows Vista. This feature has been greatly modified in Windows 7, but anyone upgrading from Windows XP might be surprised by the extra layer of consent dialog boxes required for some common administrative tasks.

What's in Your Edition?

Microsoft offers Windows 7 in several editions, with a mix of features and capabilities intended for different hardware platforms, personal preferences, and business needs . In this book, we focus primarily on the three editions that you are most likely to encounter on new and upgraded PCs—Windows 7 Home Premium, Windows 7 Professional, and Windows 7 Ultimate (which is nearly identical to the Enterprise edition available for large corporate customers). A sidebar box like this one, typically placed at the beginning of each chapter, summarizes the differences in each edition as they relate to the content of that chapter. For a more detailed discussion of the differences between each edition, see Appendix A, "Windows 7 Editions at a Glance ."

If you've upgraded from Windows Vista, you'll notice changes throughout Windows. In most cases, these refinements fall into the "fit and finish" category. Many of the changes are subtle enough that you might not even notice them at first Some longstanding Windows annoyances are fixed, although others remain. You'll notice that some everyday tasks require fewer keystrokes and mouse clicks, and we predict you'll see fewer warnings and notifications as you go about your daily Windows routine .

Regardless of where you come from, our goal in this book is to help you navigate through this period of transition as quickly as possible, so that you can unlearn old habits, discover new features, and become comfortable and productive with Windows 7 .

In this chapter, we take you on a quick tour of noteworthy features and capabilities in Windows 7, with appropriate pointers to chapters where you'll find more detailed information and advice.

When you upgrade to Windows 7, you might be surprised to find some familiar programs have vanished. The most notable entry on the missing-programs list is an e-mail client or news reader: if you've been using Outlook Express in Windows XP or Windows Mail from Windows Vista, you'll need to download the latest edition of Windows Live Mail from Likewise, Windows 7 includes only the bare-bones Photo Viewer program, which can be upgraded to Windows Live Photo Gallery. (For more details on Windows Live, see Chapter 7, "Adding Windows Live Programs and Services .")

Introducing the Windows 7 Family 5

The other piece of software you'll need to add as part of your initial installation of Windows 7 is a good antivirus program. You can download a free antivirus program called Microsoft Security Essentials that works well with any edition of Windows 7, or choose from a variety of third-party options . For information on what to look for, see "Blocking Viruses and Worms with an Antivirus Program" on page 517 .

If you purchase a new PC with Windows 7 already installed, don't be surprised to find that it already includes the entire Windows Live suite and an antivirus program (often as a feature of an all-in-one security package). As always, if you prefer a different solution you are free to replace the included software with any Windows-compatible alternative.

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