Tell Me About... Windows Vista - Part 2
|Published:||Jul 20, 2006|
|Author:||Michael E, Callahan|
Windows Vista - Part 2
by Michael E. Callahan aka Dr. File Finder
This question submitted by Anthony Lucriccio, Dennis Walters, AnnaAnna a Kona, Diane Waltonberger, Annette Reed and numerous others
Last week I talked a little about the history of Windows Vistaand told you about some of the basic changes. In this second part of atwo-part series, I'll tell you about just a few of the cool, new thingsyou'll find in this next major release of Windows.
Keeping It Fast!
One of the first things that impressed me about Vista is how fastit is. It seems faster to me than Windows XP Professional and there aresome reasons why. Vista has a feature called "ReadyBoost" thatutilizes the flash memory found in USB devices. This feature helpimprove the overall performance of your system. There's also a newfeature called "SuperFetch" that will automatically load youprograms you use most frequently into RAM or Random Access Memory. Thatmeans they load quite a bit faster.
As I mentioned in the first article, the networking in WindowsVista is very easy-to-use. Instead of just having a "Network Places"section, there's an application specifically designed to manage all ofyour networking. This Network Center can handle wirelessnetworking, cabled networking, connecting with other devices like PDA's,and so on. I have to point out that it is different from whatyou're used to, but I think it also works better.
In Windows Vista they've really pulled out the stops when itcomes to security. A new "User Account Control" basically forces you towork in a more "standard" mode, rather than in "Administrator" mode. Asyou do different things on your computer you are asked toauthenticate each process. In a sense you're telling Vista, "Yes,I know this is a potential danger, but it needs to be done." It letsyou approve of things before they're done so your system is more secure.
Under Windows Vista all processes that run in the background do socompletely separated from each other and with a very low "privilege." Windows Firewall has been reworked and now monitors both outboundand inbound traffic on your network. Windows Defender, the anti-spyware tool recently released for Windows XP, is built right in toWindows Vista. And, there's also a new feature called BitLockerthat will let you encrypt your entire drive. That means if someone stealsyour computer they won't be able to get anything off of it.
A "Mobility Center" gives you nearly all options for mobile computing inone spot. A very cool feature is the Sync Center that makes iteasy to synchronize information between two computers. This is great forkeeping your PC and laptop in sync. There are also features for thosewho use Tablet PCs.
Searching has really gotten a boost in Windows Vista. You can searchfrom a number of applications and can even save your searches. Thesesaved searches are like "virtual" folders that are easily updated.
Windows Easy Transfer is a new feature that really makes it easyto transfer all your settings from one Vista computer to another. Thatcan be a real time-saver. There are updated versions of Windows MediaPlayer and Internet Explorer 7. Ahh, and if you're looking for "OutlookExpress" it now Windows Mail. It's also improved. Another Windowsstandard that's been upgraded is Windows Explorer. In my opinionthe interface is greatly improved. Microsoft has done some amazingthings with folders and icons. Icons, for example, can even show you thecontents of folders! That's slick.
There's been a lot of talk about one new application and that's theWindows Sidebar. This is a cool idea and it lets you have apersonal area right off to the side of your desktop. I have a strongfeeling that shareware developers will be creating some neat tools to goin your Sidebar.
Among the other new things you'll find a very nice Windows DVDMaker along with a nicely-done Photo Gallery application.There's also another application called Windows Calendar thatwill help keep you organized.
I've received many questions about Windows Vista. Thequestion that comes up the most is:
"Will I be able to run Windows Vista?"
Well, folks, this is an area where even I was surprised. Most people,including me, assume that something a powerful as Vista, with so manynew features and applications, is going to have system requirements thatare extreme. Well, guess again.
Minimum system requirements for Windows Vista Beta 2 are an 800 MHzprocessor and 512MB of RAM. You'd also need a CD-ROM drive, and a harddisk with 15 Gigabytes of free space. Now, the release version may varysome, but I'm sure it won't be a lot. Essentially, if you can run XP,you can run Vista. The biggest area of concern is the graphics mode.You'll need a graphics card that can support the 3D video. Now keep inmind these are just rough estimates right now and they vary depending onthe version of Windows Vista. So, if people tell you that Vista willrequire too much in system requirements, they're wrong!
That brings us to a close on this two-part series on Windows Vista. Ihope you found it informative. Am I going to upgrade? You bet. Remember,it's still in beta and a lot of things will change and get betterduring the beta process. This is going to be a major release of Windowsand it will change the way you compute. Is it different? YES! But in myopinion, it's also better and to me that's what counts.
I'd like to thank Anthony Lucriccio, Dennis Walters, AnnaKona, Diane Waltonberger, Annette Reed and numerous others forasking this question.
If you have a question on any technology topic that you'd like someone to tell you about you can submit it via email by clicking HERE You will not receive a reply, but all topics will be considered.
Michael E. Callahan, known around the world by the trademarked name Dr. File Finder, is regarded as the world's leading expert on shareware. Dr. File Finder works with software programs and developers full-time, and in the average year he evaluates 10,000 programs. Since 1982 he has evaluated over 250,000 software and hardware products. Mr. Callahan began evaluating software online in 1982 and no one has been at it longer. He currently works doing online PR and marketing for software companies, and is the Senior Content Producer for Butterscotch.Com.