As an environment to work and play in, Windows 7 beats Vista, hands down. But it isn’t perfect, and you may find yourself missing a few features that have disappeared. Here’s how to get them back.
Recover missing programs: Windows 7 lacks the bundled-with-Vista applications Windows Mail, Movie Maker, and Photo Gallery. Microsoft offers newer and supposedly better versions of these programs free at its Windows Live Essentials download site. As I write this, the Live version of Movie Maker is still in beta.
Bring favorite programs back to the Start menu: The Vista Start menu’s left pane contained a list of favorite programs on top of one for recent programs, but Windows 7 lists only the recent ones. To restore the favorite-program list, click All Programs, then drag a favorite program to the Back link at the bottom of the panel, hold it there until the recent list reappears, and drop it at the top of the list. (You can pin a program to the taskbar that way, too.)
Pick your favorite folders (and remove Microsoft’s): If you’re viewing a folder you frequently visit, right-click Favorites in the left pane and select Add current location to Favorites. If the Favorites list is too long, right-click an item you don’t visit often and select Remove. Don’t worry; it won’t delete the folder, just remove it from this list.
One thing you don’t have to do: Fortunately, you don’t need to turn off the Sidebar as you did in Vista. Microsoft wisely removed that pointless resource hog.