Windows 7 in Pictures: 10 Cool Desktop Features

In anticipation of Windows 7 being released into the wild on Oct. 22, here is an up-to-date pictorial guide to the most compelling navigation and networking features of the OS.

Since the general beta release, Windows 7 has been through the testing wringer and has come out with mostly high marks for its speed, flexibility, user interface (UI) and networking features.

The starting point of all this UI efficiency is the revamped taskbar, which allows faster and easier management of application windows, while also adding some visual flair.

Some Windows 7 features that will unclutter navigation are clickable thumbnails that appear when you mouse over a taskbar button, jump lists and Aero Peek, which makes all windows transparent except the one you want to look at. On the networking side, HomeGroups links Windows 7 computers on your home network to share photos, music and videos through Media Streaming.

Here's our photo collection of 10 key interface and networking features new to Windows 7.

Aero Peek

Aero Peek expands on Vista's Aero graphical interface. If you have many windows open, Peek brings the window you want to focus on to the front, while turning all other open windows into transparent "glass sheets." Peek also works on the desktop. If you mouse over the "Show Desktop" control at the far right of the taskbar all windows on the desktop turn to glass, allowing the entire desktop to be seen.