5 Productivity Increasing Features In Windows 7

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 1, 2009
Updated • Jan 11, 2018
Windows, Windows 7

If you compare Windows Vista and Windows 7 you see lots of similarities. So many that most Windows 7 users who have been using Windows Vista in the past might be hard pressed to name ten new features of the operating system.

Most of them would probably start with obvious changes like the new Windows 7 Taskbar but after that? Many of the new features are "under-the-hood" features that most users will never come in contact with. And then there are features that modern hardware and software are not taking advantage of yet, like multi-touch or DirectX 11.

Windows 7 did introduce some new features that can increase the productivity. Since my recent switch to the operating system I have discovered five that I like a lot as they help me speed up Windows 7 which increases my productivity throughout the day.

1. Taskbar previews

The taskbar has been completely revamped in Windows 7. It is now possible to stick applications to it, see the number of open windows and thumbnail previews, or make use of jumplists. The features that I personally like the most are the thumbnail previews, as they allow me to quickly find the Firefox, Thunderbird or Internet Explorer tab that I was looking for and the new icons that show the number of open windows and that display file transfers.

Especially the previews save lots of time. Think of Firefox with ten open tabs. If you wanted to access a specific tab you previously had to display the window again, locate the tab in the web browser and click on it. Now you simply hover the mouse over the taskbar icon, locate the tab and click on it to be taken directly to it in Firefox.

2. Libraries

windows 7 libraries

If you are like me, you store multimedia files in various locations of the operating system. They are located on various hard drives and in various folder structures. Vista and XP were highly inflexible by concentrating on the My Documents hierarchy for those files.

This could led to a lot of file searching or a lot of self-discipline and work to build a centralized storage location for multimedia files. Even then users could run into trouble if they ran out of hard disk space on their primary hard drive.

Windows 7 introduces libraries. Libraries are basically virtual folders that can display the content of multiple folders in its folder structure. With that it is now possible - or shall I say more comfortable - to access multimedia files in one folder on the hard drive even if those files and folders that are displayed are spread over multiple locations and hard drives.

3. Aero Peek, Aero Shake and Snap

If you want to arrange two windows next to each other in Windows 7 you can do so by pinning one of the windows to the right side and one to the left (or use the shortcuts Windows-Right and Windows-Left for that). They will automatically be positioned so that each is taking up half of the screen estate of the computer monitor. That's the new Snap feature. It is also possible to move the window to the top to maximize it.

Aero Shake can be used to minimize all but the active window by shaking it around on the computer desk. Aero Peek finally can be used to peak through the windows to see the computer desktop which might be handy for users who make use of gadgets in the operating system.

4. Automatic recognition of digital cameras

windows 7 digital camera

Back in the days of Windows XP I had to install a software program for my digital camera so that it would be recognized by the operating system when connected. This was the only option to directly connect the digital camera to the system. I still had the option to remove the memory card and place it in a card reader but all of that meant more work than it should be.

Imagine my surprise when I first connected the digital camera to Windows 7. The operating system automatically recognized the camera and offered to copy the pictures that I had taken to the hard drive in a menu that was displayed automatically. This was comfortable and without any pre-configuration on my part.

5. Windows 7 Homegroup

windows 7 homegroup

Windows 7 Homegroup makes it easier to create a home network and share files and printers with other users on the network. Setup has been simplified and takes only a few minutes tops to set it up.

The shared folders and printers then appear in the places sidebar in Windows Explorer from where they can be accessed.


I'm still discovering new features in Windows 7. Have not even touched some of the new tools yet, like the snipping or note taking tool. While the similarities to Vista are still very clear and dominant, Microsoft managed to add and change features in Windows 7 that actually aid the user in completing tasks faster and with less knowledge required. Some of the features in this list can be emulated by installing third party software that provides that functionality.

If you have worked with Windows 7: What is your experience in this regard? Do you like other features that have not been mentioned in this article? Let us know in the comments.

5 Productivity Increasing Features In Windows 7
Article Name
5 Productivity Increasing Features In Windows 7
The article looks at five productivity increasing features of Microsoft's Windows 7 operating system including the new taskbar, and libraries.
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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):


  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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