I know, I know, this blog is usually about Microsoft Office, but knowing your way around Windows 7 is a great way to get more done with Office. So watch this space for our weekly intrusions, and learn how to take full advantage of the new OS.

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Today, let’s briefly stand back and stare at Windows 7. Looks like you’ll be able to:

· More quickly and easily access frequently-used items

· Juggle more tasks (oh, great) with fewer hassles

· Spend more time doing, and less time waiting

· Set up your desktop for maximum aesthetic and productive goodness

Ready? Let’s see how.

The pure, concentrated joy of finding stuff.
Most of us work with the same kinds of programs and files every day—and now you can get at them more quickly, without the need to remember their names. The Jump Lists feature lets you point to a program and instantly see a list of related items to choose from.

Alternatively, when you know what information you need but not where it is, use the Search box in the Start Menu. It knows what you want—reads your mind, almost. You’ll have what you need in a jiffy.

Multi-tasking and sanity can co-exist.
The phone rang. A colleague just emailed you with a question. You need a factoid for a PowerPoint you’re creating. Your coffee cup is empty! Windows 7 lets you juggle multiple windows, programs, and files without turning your desktop into one that, er, looks like my physical desk (you wouldn’t want that).

New features like Snap, Peek, and Shake, together with a customizable, amazingly intuitive taskbar, will have you completely in control—of your desktop, anyway—to help you focus without slowing you down.

Get right to it.
Windows 7 cuts delays at sleep and resume, frees up more memory for your hungry applications, and even gives USB devices a quicker handshake. And searches, for all their new powers, are faster too. You’ll save time, stay more focused, and catch the early train home.

Become one with your desktop.
Windows 7 lets you deck out your desktop with themes (unless the boss insists on everyone using the Acme Corporation screen saver). Handy gadgets can keep time, predict weather, or run slide shows while you’re down in the conference room—and you can put them anywhere you want on your desktop.

We’ll be back.
There’s much more to Windows 7, but that’s the big picture. Get ready to maximize your productivity and show your true colors... and stay tuned in the coming weeks as we examine specific tools, features, and tips for getting the most from them.

Keith