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Now that Windows 7 is over the finish line and not just a work in progress, it's clear that Microsoft really has delivered on its ambitions. Windows 7 includes all the features that were promised, wrapped up in an interface that makes them easy to find and use.
These range from the trivial but popular personalisation options to the clearly useful tools, like built-in 3G support, native ISO burning and remote streaming, to significant work under the hood, some of which delivers significant performance improvements today and some of which will only show up with new hardware options like built-in GPS.
Windows 7 is a modern operating system with an attractive but functional interface, a host of new features and excellent performance.
Performance and battery life can be hampered by poor settings in third-party software and hardware, and Microsoft hasn't included a tool to warn you about such problems. Legacy dialogues still lurk in some corners of Windows 7, and multi-monitor support, while improved, still has too few options.
Windows 7 combines the security and architectural improvements of Windows Vista with better performance than XP can deliver on today's hardware. No version of Windows is ever perfect, but Windows 7 really is the best release of Windows yet.
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Mary (Twitter, Google+, website) started her career at Future Publishing, saw the AOL meltdown first hand the first time around when she ran the AOL UK computing channel, and she's been a freelance tech writer for over a decade. She's used every version of Windows and Office released, and every smartphone too, but she's still looking for the perfect tablet. Yes, she really does have USB earrings.