Chapter 19. Laptops, Tablets, & Touchscreens

Portability is today’s reality in computing. Laptop sales are trouncing desktop PC sales. Netbooks are cheap and insanely popular. And for millions of people, the computing platform of choice isn’t a computer at all—it’s a cellphone.

That’s why Windows 7 is crammed with special features for the peripatetic PC. On a laptop, for example, you can change your power-consumption configuration with a quick click on the battery icon in the notification area. All the important laptop settings, like network switching and projector settings, are clustered in a single place: the Windows Mobility Center.

Touchscreen computing is, in Microsoft’s opinion, ready for prime time, despite the fact that only about six people ever bought those tablet PC machines that Bill Gates was once so excited about. To prove its point, Microsoft has built iPhone-like multitouch gestures—pinching and spreading, swiping a finger, rotating two fingers—right into the operating system, ready for any touchscreen-equipped PC that comes along.

Those features join all the existing tablet PC features like pen control, digital ink text input, and handwriting recognition. (This stuff used to be available only in a special Tablet PC Edition of Windows; now it’s part of the basic operating system.)

And finally, are you a fan of the old offline files feature, which keeps folders on your laptop synchronized with the master copies on the company network? If so, you’re in luck; the Sync Center ...

Get Windows 7: The Missing Manual now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.