Talking tech since 2003

Windows 7 is coming out in October and with all the hype surrounding Microsoft’s new operating system there might be some features which you missed in passing.  Here are 5 new Windows 7 features which are pretty awesome and all (except one) are available in all versions of Windows 7.

Feature 1: HomeGroup

HomeGroup is essentially Microsoft’s way of fixing the potential pains of sharing files and printers on home networks.  Whether you yourself or you know someone who has spent hours on end attempting to share a file or printer over their home network, you will be welcoming HomeGroup with open arms.  The way it works is simple, you create a HomeGroup on Windows 7 and then simply have your other Windows 7 machines join that particular group.  HomeGroup’s are password protected by default for security and privacy reasons, so you will need the password to join the group.  Additionally, you can pick and choose what you share – it’s completely customizable.

Feature 2: Ringtone Editor

Ringtone Editor which is part of Device Stage allows you to make your own ringtones from songs and sound files already on your PC—or get creative with your own recordings.  If your phone supports it, you can also preview a ringtone, save it directly to the phone, set it as your primary ring, or assign it to one or more of your contacts. Your mobile phone must be compatible with Device Stage in order to take advantage of this feature.

Feature 3: Play To

Play To is a really slick feature that allows you to easily stream music that is on your computer to other computers and devices in your house.  This feature works on all computers running Windows 7 and devices that are compliant with the Digital Living Network Alliance.  PlayTo

Feature 4: Location-Aware Printing

We’ve all been there, well, at least I have.  You come home from work or school with your laptop and go to print something only to find nothing in your printer tray.  Then you remember you forgot to change your default printer back to your home printer from the work/school printer.  No more!  The new feature which is included in the Professional and Ultimate editions of Windows 7 (only), works like this: Whenever you print,Windows 7 remembers which network and printer you are currently using. Then the next time you return to that spot, Windows will automatically switch the default printer to match the one you last used.  Additionally, you can also manually pair printers and networks if you so choose.

Feature 5: Remote Media Streaming

Picture this!  You’re on vacation and you realize that you forgot to put that new song you had downloaded before you left on your MP3 player so now you can’t listen to it, right?  Not quite true anymore.  While, typically you would have to wait until you got home to listen to it, if you have enabled Remote Media Streaming on Windows 7 you will have easy access to your Windows Media Player 12 library over the Internet.

To use Remote Media Streaming, both computers must be running Windows 7. Turn it on using the new Stream menu in Windows Media Player 12, and then associate both computers with an online ID, such as a Windows Live e-mail address.


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