Vista Blitz: Part 2
By Steve Ragan Feb 1, 2007, 19:06 GMT
Members of a South Korean family try the new Microsoft operating system Windows Vista in a specal pavilion at Coex Mega box in Seoul, South Korea. Wednesday 31 January 2007. EPA/HAN MYUNG-GU
In Vista Blitz Part One, we covered the basics of Windows Vista. What they were and how much they cost.
In this section, we will talk about the features of Windows Vista. Windows Vista has made a large jump from Windows XP. The biggest change comes in the ‘brain’ of the operating system, its Kernel. The Kernel was rewritten to add a layer of security that no other version of Windows offers. This protection is called PatchGuard and it is what Microsoft will base its “most secure operating system ever” promise to consumers on.
PatchGuard aside, there are several revamped areas on Windows Vista. Each of the features listed below will be available on Windows Vista Ultimate Edition. Some features are not an option on Basic or Premium Editions of Windows Vista; those options are listed with details in parentheses.
Windows Defender: (Basic, Premium, Ultimate)
This program is the Spyware and Malware protection offering from Microsoft. Many users of Windows XP will already know this program, as they have been able to use it for some time. Using a new caching technology Vista’s version of Defender will scan your system faster; speeding up the time it takes to scan large file systems. It watches several important locations on the computer and monitors the system for changes, and will prompt for user interaction regarding changes.
Instant Search (Basic, Premium, Ultimate)
Instant search is an improvement over the searching offered by current Windows systems. You will find the Instant Search feature on the Start Menu, Explorer Menu, and on other programs such as Windows Media Player 11, and Windows Photo Gallery.
This feature enables you to search for a file name, a property, or even text contained within a file, and it returns pinpointed results. Instant Search is also contextual, optimizing its results based on your current activity.
Aero Desktop (Premium, Ultimate)
Aero is the new look to the Graphics User Interface (GUI) offered to users of Windows Vista. One of the reasons you need the extra RAM and beefed-up video card for your computer, is to view and use the new interface. What is unique about this GUI is the ‘glass’ appearance you get when using it.
The ‘live taskbar’ feature is also a new bonus. In the past, you hovered the mouse over an item in the taskbar and got a title or description of the program, or task minimized there. Now you will get a full resolution image display of the task, it looks like a mini screen capture.
The ALT+TAB is called ‘Windows Flip’. Windows Flip shows you live thumbnails of your open windows instead of generic icons, making it easier to quickly identify the windows you're looking for. One of the windows displayed will always be your desktop itself, giving you a fast and simple way to minimize all the open windows on your desktop. Windows Flip-3D is the feature added for START+TAB scrolling. When you press START+TAB, Windows Flip 3D dynamically displays all the open windows on your desktop in a 3D, stacked view. In this view, you can rotate through your open windows to find the one you're looking for. Windows Flip 3D can even show live processes such as playing video.
Windows Meeting Space (Premium, Ultimate)
Windows Meeting Space is a scaled back version of Office 2007 Live Meeting An advanced version of what many Windows 98 or 2000 users will remember of NetMeeting. The goal is to instantly connect users, up to nine at a time, with others on a LAN or WAN (Local Area Network, Wide Area Network). Once connected, users are able to share a whole host of documents and files and collaborate on their creations.
This feature is geared towards business rather than home use. However, schools can adapt this and make use of it in a classroom setting.
Windows Mail Center (Basic, Premium, Ultimate)
Windows Mail Center is the new Email and News group program inside Windows Vista.
Microsoft took all of the things that were good in Outlook Express, and removed the things that were often problems for users. One of the things many who use Outlook Express complained about was the limits or errors with large file attachments. This restriction is removed in Vista allowing for the same rules in Mail Center that are used in Outlook for larger attachments.
Mail Center also sees what some only got with Outlook. The added Junk Mail filter and Phishing filter to this email program is adaptive, and learns as it is used. This is a new level of email security offered by Microsoft and will come standard for Vista users.
Windows sidebar and Gadgets (Basic, Premium, Ultimate)
On the desktop users will get a familiar feature often seen in Macintosh’s OS X. Things like a calendar, the nifty looking clock, calculator, and more. If you want to customize where the side bar goes, or what gadgets or links are included with it you can. Hidden, top placements, bottom placement, all of those are viable options on Vista. Windows Vista comes with an essential set of gadgets to get you started, and you can easily download more from an online gadget gallery. This gallery hosts gadgets from a wide variety of developers and publishers and offers an extensive selection to meet your specific needs.
Windows ReadyBoost (Basic, Premium, Ultimate)
This feature allows you to us a SD or USB memory card to expand on the system memory in your computer. Instead of adding more RAM to the system, you can tell Vista to use the added module to boost system performance. This is unique to Windows Vista, and is likely to be a big hit with gamers and power users.
There are many features and options on Windows Vista. If you want to browse the full list, visit Microsoft’s Vista launch site.
In Part Three of the Vista Blitz we will talk about the Business side of Vista and what, if any, security worries exist in the minds of IT businesses and home users.