It’s no surprise that the release of Windows Vista will bring with it a major change in the way we use our computers today and going forward. Microsoft is shooting for an operating system that brings clarity and ease of use for everything that we do on a personal computer, calling it the digital lifestyle. And with the looks of this operating system as a whole, Microsoft is well on their way to making this lifestyle a reality to many consumers.
Some of the new features in Vista we will discuss in this article include:
Restructured Desktop: Redesigned and more functional than ever
Start Menu: Features an Instant Search, and more options to get you where you need to be faster than ever before.
New Sleep feature: Preserves current state of computer in a low power state and allows for resuming your work within seconds.
Windows Media Center: All in one entertainment hub with greatly improved performance over previous versions. Ability to interface with external devices like XBOX 360 and other devices using Extender capabilities. Also features HD playback.
Windows Media Player 11: An all new interface which includes common tasks to get your library customized the way you want it.
Internet Explorer 7: Tabbed browsing is introduced. Windows Defender preloaded to protect against spy ware and other known adware and phishing filter for blocking suspicious websites. Popup maintenance area introduced for cleanup of cookies, history, temporary internet files, etc. Live Search has been added to the browser for instant searches.
Parental Controls: Allow user to restrict other accounts, set time limits, and print usage reports.
Windows Photo Gallery: One stop place to view/edit/print digital images.
Windows Movie Maker: Used to modify videos and movies.
Window DVD Maker: Integrated to work with Photos and Movies to easily transfer digital media to DVDs.
DirectX 10: Built into Windows Vista. Many enhancements to help deliver the best gaming performance on a PC to date.
Over the next few pages we will discuss many of these new features that Microsoft has incorporated into Vista in more depth. Additionally, we will show screenshots of what we are referencing to give you a better picture of what is being discussed. Let us start out by listing the components that we are using while creating this preview.
Current System Specs:
Windows Vista Ultimate (Aero) RC2
AMD Athlon FX-60
Asus A8R32 MVP Deluxe Motherboard
1GBx 2 Corsair XMS3502 v1.3
150GB Western Digital Raptor Hard Drive
ATI Radeon X1900XTX 512MB
E-Power 650W PSU
Voodoo PC Customized Case Enclosure
Pioneer DVR-111DBK DL DVDRW Drive
As you can see from the specs above we are using higher-end hardware to take advantage of Microsoft Vista Ultimate’s Aero Desktop. Depending on the hardware that you have when installing Windows Vista, you may be subject to using a version of Vista that does not have all of the eye candy and visuals as the Aero Glass version we used for testing. This is completely dependent on an analysis that the operating system does on initial load.
Essentially, during the operating system install, your hardware will be scanned and Windows will automatically set visuals based on the theoretical performance of your computers components. After Vista is loaded, you can view the ratings of your hardware (CPU, memory, video card, etc.) by navigating to Control Panel ->Performance Information and Tools. This is where you will be given a Windows Experience rating for your components along with some more information about your rankings.
Some basic information about your computer
On the next page we will add some screenshots and get right into the new features of Windows Vista! Read on young padawans!