Microsoft vows Windows 7 will fix Vista mistakes

Microsoft showed off Windows 7 for the first time and said the OS will reflect lessons learned from Vista.

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 on the network from being able to access applications and features they should normally have access to.

UAC did this through pop-up windows, which also were spoofed by Apple in television ads because Vista users reported they appeared so 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 OS is now more secure. In Windows 7, Microsoft will focus on the security aspects of UAC but will ensure it is not an invasive feature for users, he said.

During Tuesday's keynote, Microsoft showed off 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 the users are allowed access to.

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 new Vista feature. Gadgets are mini-applications that give users quick access to information, such as stock prices or weather, with icons that users in Windows 7 will be able to move around the desktop. In Vista, gadget icons were confined to a task bar.

Perhaps the sexiest new Windows 7 feature demonstrated Tuesday was its touchscreen interface, which lets people use their fingertips and small hand gestures to control applications on their PCs.

Microsoft demonstrated how touchscreen controls can replace the mouse for things like opening the taskbar and choosing a Windows Explorer window. If a user opens a folder with photos in it in Windows Folder, they can scroll through those photos using their fingers, and drag a photo into a Windows Paint application window and draw directly on the photo.

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Elizabeth Montalbano

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