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Windows 7
A version of the Windows NT operating system
250px-Microsoft Windows 7 logo and wordmark
Windows 7 Desktop

Screenshot of Windows 7, showing its desktop, Bliss wallpaper and the theme of Luna Aero

Developer Microsoft
Source model Closed source and shared source
Released to

manufacturing

July 22, 2009; 8 years ago
General

availability

October 22, 2009; 8 years ago
Latest release Service Pack 1 (6.1.7601) / February 22, 2011; 6 years ago
Update method Windows Update
Platforms IA-32 and x86-64
Kernel type Hybrid
License Proprietary commercial software
Preceded by Windows Vista (2006)
Succeeded by Windows 8 (2012)
Support status
Mainstream support ended on January 13, 2015.

Extended support ends on January 14, 2020.

Windows 7 (codenamed Vienna, formerly Blackcomb[7]) is a personal computer operating system developed by Microsoft. It is a part of the Windows NT family of operating systems. Windows 7 was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and became generally available on October 22, 2009, less than three years after the release of its predecessor, Windows Vista. Windows 7's server counterpart, Windows Server 2008 R2, was released at the same time.

Windows 7 was primarily intended to be an incremental upgrade to the operating system intending to address Windows Vista's poor critical reception while maintaining hardware and software compatibility. Windows 7 continued improvements on Windows Aero (the user interface introduced in Windows Vista) with the addition of a redesigned taskbar that allows applications to be "pinned" to it, and new window management features. Other new features were added to the operating system, including libraries, the new file sharing system HomeGroup, and support for multitouch input. A new "Action Center" interface was also added to provide an overview of system security and maintenance information, and tweaks were made to the User Account Control system to make it less intrusive. Windows 7 also shipped with updated versions of several stock applications, including Internet Explorer 8, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Center.

In contrast to Windows Vista, Windows 7 was generally praised by critics, who considered the operating system to be a major improvement over its predecessor due to its increased performance, its more intuitive interface (with particular praise devoted to the new taskbar), fewer User Account Control popups, and other improvements made across the platform. Windows 7 was a major success for Microsoft; even prior to its official release, pre-order sales for 7 on the online retailer Amazon.com had surpassed previous records. In just six months, over 100 million copies had been sold worldwide, increasing to over 630 million licenses by July 2012, and a market share of 47.17% of "desktop operating systems" as of November 2016[9] according to Net Applications, making it the most widely used version of Windows.

Visual stylesEdit

Types of Windows 7 themes

A comparison of the four visual styles included in Windows 7

A comparison of the four visual styles included in Windows 7 has four distinct visual styles.
Luna Aero
Win7's default visual style, Luna Aero, is built on a new desktop composition engine called Desktop Window Manager. Luna Aero introduces support for translucency effects (Luna), live thumbnails, window animations, and other visual effects (for example Windows Flip 3D), and is intended for mainstream and high-end video cards. To enable these features, the contents of every open window are stored in video memory to facilitate tearing-free movement of windows. As such, Luna Aero has significantly higher hardware requirements than its predecessors. The minimum requirement is for 128 MB of graphics memory, depending on resolution used. Luna Aero (including Windows Flip 3D) is not included in the Starter and Home Basic editions.
Luna Basic
This style has aspects that are the same to Windows XP's "Luna" visual style with the addition of subtle animations such as those found on progress bars. It does not employ the Desktop Window Manager, as such, it does not feature transparency or translucency, window animation, Windows Flip 3D or any of the functions provided by the DWM. The Luna Basic mode does not require the new Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) for display drivers, and has similar video card requirements to Windows XP. For computers with video cards that are not powerful enough to support Luna Aero, this is the default graphics mode. Prior to Service Pack 1, a machine that failed Windows Genuine Advantage validation would also default to this visual style.
Windows Classic
The Windows Classic theme is similar to that of Windows 9x, Windows 2000 and Microsoft's Windows Server line of operating systems. It does not use the Desktop Window Manager, and does not require a WDDM driver. As with previous versions of Windows, this visual style supports color schemes, which are collections of color settings. Windows 7 includes six old school themes: four high-contrast themes and the default themes from Windows 98 (titled "Windows Classic") and Windows 2000/Windows ME (titled "Windows Standard").