Yes it is out. After using Windows 7 M3 alpha I have to say it looks much nicer. Features that have caught my attention:

  • You can mount VHD's (virtual hard disks) as drives.
  • You can boot from VHD's!
  • New taskbar (good and bad, some like it some don't)
  • Libraries
  • Gestures
  • Did I mention speed?

Yes besides the obvious improvements in overall system responsiveness you got a few little features. One that will probably go under-appreciated are libraries. It just so happens that I like to keep stuff from the same topic together. Not always are the files related to a specific topic only documents, or only videos. So the layout for "My Documents", My Pictures", etc. usually forces me to duplicate the same folder structure on all of them. My C# documents could go into My Documents\CS; consequently my C# projects would be in My Projects\CS; rinse and repeat. While the need for making a folder structure might not change from night into day here, with libraries there is an unlocked potential.

Let me explain libraries real quick. Libraries are basically a flat structure of place-holders. Each place-holder has a description and a list of folders associated to it. This enables a single place for multiple folders to appear as one structure which can be traversed ini various interesting ways not available in the previos file management tools. Tags and name ordering being of most use. Ordering by name will allow you to see all files within those folders in alphabetical order. Ordering by Tags will allow you to group previously-tagged files (not all file types support tags). So how does this help?

 Let's imagine this scenario. I have the following in topics: School, Work, Personal. I make the following structure in a folder somewhere on the disk, maybe in the user profile root? I make a folder structure in that resembles my needs, for example Work\Documents, Work\Videos and Work\Projects. I can look at it in from a top to bottom approach as well. I make Documents\Work, Videos\Work and Projects\Work. I do the same thing with all topics. I then adjust my libraries to reflect this structure (and indexing as well). So my Documents library would contain all documents folders from all topics in one view. I can order all these files in any way I wanted, and if they are tagged then I can find specific sub-topics within a particular topic. Example Work\Documents, tag Crypto would give me all my work documents with the Crypto tag.

Libraries add the definite possibility of adding "views" as an alternate way to organize and search your files. Future enhancements to this feature could really make it an innovative way to make file management. As for now, I am enjoying this neat little feature that has allowed me to simplify how I manage my files.