Windows 7: Navigation

WindowsFirst impressions are not always correct. In the case of Windows 7 I was somewhat mistaken. Not hugely, but a little bit.

The thing that most turned me off at the beginning, navigation, is better than I thought and an improvement over XP in some ways. I still think Move To/Copy To should be in the context menu. At the very least.

It’s taken me 5 days so far to get the taskbar straight. Only because it’s such a circus of options. Anyone who’s already using Windows 7 has been through it and for anyone still using XP or something else it won’t mean much. So I’ll probably stop writing about Windows 7 pretty soon.

Windows 7 Navigation

Left-click on the Start button brings a list of programs, up to 20 on my screen that can be pinned. I never used this in XP so it’s something to get used to. If you have a program pinned there, you can also pin documents that open with that program. This seems fine in theory but I have programs pinned to the Start menu that won’t open from there. They’ll open only if I navigate all the way to their installation location down under OS (C:)/Program Files. Programs can be pinned to the taskbar as well as or instead of.

When the taskbar gets too crowded, all the icons hide except for the file that’s open on top. One click will bring all the other icons back again.

At the bottom of the pinned program list under the Start button, there’s an “All Programs” list instead of the tree in XP. It can’t be put in alphabetical order so I find it confusing.

I think the ultimate navigation is something that slides out from the edge of the screen. I shouldn’t have to drive all over town to find my programs.

Right-click on the Windows Explorer icon brings a list of pinned folders. My main 12 instead of having them on the desktop. Plus another 20 or so of my choosing. I would prefer if documents could also be pinned there, but that doesn’t seem possible.

The system tray can be divided into icons that are showing and icons that are hidden under a small Up arrow. So that helps. I thought it was either/or and that wasn’t working.

There’s nothing on my desktop anymore. Not even the Recycle Bin that’s optional.

I killed off the Quick Launch menus because they’re too small of a target. An easier way is to put the shortcuts in a folder and add them to the Pinned list in Windows Explorer. It’s only two clicks to get to the folder with the shortcuts. Other option is put them all over the Desktop but then I have to use the tiny Show Desktop button to get to the Desktop.

The Search box under the Start button searches everything on the computer. And it’s very fast about re-indexing as you go. After I increased the system font, the search box got larger too so it doesn’t feel quite so claustrophobic in there.

The Address bar in all Windows folders can also be used for navigation. This is hugely helpful. If you ever find yourself lost, home is close at hand.

Address Bar, Windows 7 Navigation

And at the end of the address bar is a Search box for the particular folder.

Search, Windows 7 Navigation

When you’re dragging and dropping files the folder lights up in blue so you’re more likely to drop it in the right place. Another nice feature.

Moving Files, Windows 7 Navigation

So, that takes care of navigation issues. Moving forward slowly …

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