Windows 7 is a personal computer operating system developed by Microsoft, a version of Windows NT. Development of 7 occurred as early as 2006 under the codename “Blackcomb”. 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 criticisms faced by its predecessor, Windows Vista (such as performance improvements), whilst maintaining compatibility with hardware and software designed for Vista. While retaining a similar appearance to Vista, 7’s interface was streamlined, 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. 7 also shipped with updated versions of several stock applications, including Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Windows Media Center.