Microsoft Windows Vista Explained
Whether you are a complete computing enthusiast that lives and breathes peripherals and components or a casual Office novice, you must have heard about Microsoft’s brand new product launch Windows Vista operating system. But what is so special about Windows Vista? How will it change your computing life and how will you ever know which of the 12 versions is for you?...
So what’s all the fuss about?
User-focused Interface for clarity
The graphical quality of this OS is enhanced to improve productivity and focus. New information management tools make it easy to view and organize your files any way you want.
• Instantly see all of the files across your computer in ways that make sense to you.
• Browse through open windows in 3D preview style
• 'Aero' semi-transparent graphics (supporting graphics card required, not available on Home Basic edition)
New Gadgets Panel
Gadgets connect to web services to deliver weather information, news updates, traffic maps, internet radio streams, and slide shows of online photo albums and much much more. In essence, they can be anything you want them to be and with such a wide variety of options, there will always be something to meet your interests. Microsoft Windows Vista comes with an essential set of gadgets to get you started.
Improved Searching with Vista
The system moves beyond working with static icons and simplifies the process of locating information. Powerful, integrated desktop search capabilities help you find just about anything on your computer quickly, without having to search for it by browsing through folders. The new live search capability
is designed to be a first stop option to locating your desired files.
• Live search - results appear as you type your keywords in search field
• Quick access to Live search through Start Menu
Vista is designed to be the most secure version of Windows yet. User Account Control works with Windows Defender and Internet Explorer to help reduce the impact of viruses, spyware, and other threats.
• Anti ‘phishing’ filters prevent sensitive information from being intercepted by hackers when buying or filling out forms online
• Pop up warnings if a site does not meet security checks or has been susceptible to phishing in the past.
Easier to use Parental Control
Restrict website access and program usage, set time limits, even view activity reports on specified user accounts.
• Control site access for specific websites
• Set allowance schedules
• Screen game play according to ratings and content
• Block programs
• View activity reports
User-friendly PC Maintenance
• Diagnose your own PC problems using the performance enhancement interface
• Retrieve data on the performance of each of your PC’s components
• Easy to read score based results
• Vista will automatically mine performance data and take action
New Ready Boost feature• Use the memory on your USB pen drive to help speed up your system.
Windows Photo Gallery
Edit and send picture and movie files without the need of third party software.
• Optimise images for email with ease
• Use Tags to organise your pictures making them easier to find. You can tag more than one word to each image so it is only saved once but will appear in multiple files.
• Clear previewing of files
• Supports high definition video, watch your favourite TV shows and movies with up to six times the quality of traditional TV and with full surround sound audio
Windows Media Center (not available with Windows Vista Home Basic)
Enjoy all of your favorite entertainment, including live and recorded TV, movies, music, and pictures, in one place through an easy-to-use interface.
New Network Center interface
Whether connecting to another machine, device or person, Vista simplifies the experience. Control your network experience with the Network Centre, the central place for all your networking needs.
• Create ad hoc Person to Person network
• Present to multiple PCs
• Easy to setup and connect wireless networks
• Network Explorer in Windows Vista makes it easy to share files and take advantage of the connectivity that a network provides.
• New Network Map shows you an easy-to-understand, graphical view of everything on the network, and how everything is connected.
Choosing the right Vista Edition for your needs…
There are a few things you need to identify when purchasing your own copy of Vista. The first depends solely on the general usage of your PC.
There are four different versions of Vista that are tailored for specific needs whether they are complex or simple. Choosing between four options is relatively easy when you take into account your day to day usage of your PC. The options available are:
• Windows Vista Home Basic
• Windows Vista Home Premium
• Windows Vista Business
• Windows Vista Ultimate
OEM or Retail?
Firstly, you need to know whether you require an OEM or Retail copy. A retail copy of Vista comes in a box complete with a user guide and manual, as well as direct support from Microsoft. If you are a confident PC user, an OEM copy may well be the best option for you. OEM copies include only the software on disc, and a licence for Vista.
Full or Upgrade Version?
If you are alreaady running Windows XP then you will need an upgrade version of Vista. If you are using any other previous Windows programmes, you will need to purchase a full retail version.
32 or 64 bit?
In order to run 64 bit, your PC must have a compatible processor. Most modern PCs are capable of running both versions, older PCs may only be capable of running 32 bit. If unsure, we would advise opting for 32 bit - contrary to belief, the difference in speed is minimal.
Windows Vista Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Basic is the operating system for users with basic computing needs. It is easy to set up, it helps you use your PC more securely and reliably, and like all of the editions of Windows Vista, it is compatible with the widest range of software, devices, and services that you use and trust. If you simply want to use your PC for tasks such as surfing the Internet, corresponding with friends and family using e-mail, or performing basic document creation and editing tasks, then Windows Vista Home Basic will deliver a safer, more reliable, and more productive computing environment.
Windows Vista Home Basic contains all of the basic features to make your computing experience easier, safer, and more reliable. Even if your existing PC seems to be adequate for basic tasks such as reading e-mail and browsing the web, by upgrading your PC to Windows Vista Home Basic or by purchasing a new PC installed with Windows Vista Home Basic, you will benefit from a better computing experience. (Home Basic edition does not feature the new Aero graphics feature or Windows Media Center.)
Windows Vista Home Premium
Windows Vista Home Premium features all of the great new features of Home Basic plus the stunning Windows Aero graphics and Media Center. Navigate quickly between applications using the three-dimensional, real-time, animated view of all of your open applications and documents. Organise and play your pictures, movies, videos, and music with Media Center. Create your own DVDs and edit your own high-definition movies. You can even use Media Center to record and watch your favourite TV shows (even HDTV) and to access new kinds of online entertainment content. Extend your Media Center experience to your Xbox 360 for the ultimate entertainment network.
Windows Vista Business
Designed to meet the needs of business organisations of all sizes.
For small businesses, Vista Business will help keep PCs running smoothly and securely so you will be less reliant on IT support. For larger organisations, Vista Business provides dramatic new infrastructure improvements, enabling your IT staff to spend less time focused on the day-to-day maintenance of PCs and more time adding strategic value to your organization.
Powerful new ways to organize, find, and share information while staying better connected helps your business run more efficiently than ever before.
Built-in protection against malicious software, or malware, impending hardware failure warnings minimise risk of losing any important business data. An array of sophisticated new backup technologies helps protect your information even in the event of a catastrophic hardware failure.
Vista Business features Small Business Resources, a how-to guide leading you through everyday tasks and troubleshooting in easy-to-follow, non-technical language.
The new Windows Tablet and Touch Technology in Vista Business includes improved handwriting recognition and easier ways to browse documents and programs without using a keyboard.
Computers that include Windows Vista Business and an auxiliary Windows SideShow display will also allow you to access critical business information even when your computer is turned off.
Windows Vista Ultimate
Windows Vista Ultimate is the most comprehensive edition of Windows Vista. It is the first operating system that combines all of the advanced infrastructure features of a business-focused operating system, all of the management and efficiency features of a mobility-focused operating system, and all of the digital entertainment features of a consumer-focused operating system.
For the person who wants one operating system that is great for working from home, working on the road, and for entertainment, Vista Ultimate is the operating system that lets you have it all.
Vista Ultimate includes all of the features that make it easy to connect remotely to business networks. So when you're working from home, you'll have advanced networking capabilities, such as the ability to join a domain, and support for Group Policy.
Vista Ultimate also includes Windows BitLocker Drive Encryption that provides new levels of protection against theft for your important business data whether you are at home, on the road, or in the office.
Vista Ultimate delivers all of the entertainment features available in Windows Vista Home Premium. It includes everything you need to enjoy the latest in digital photography, music, movies, analog TV, or even HDTV.
What do I need to run Windows Vista Home Basic?
Windows Vista Basic capable PC includes at least:
• 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
• 512 MB of system memory
• 20GB Hard Drive capacity + 15GB Free Space
• A graphics processor that is DirectX 9 capable
What do I need to run Windows Vista Home Premium/Business/Ultimate?
To get an even better Windows Vista experience, including the Windows Aero user experience, ask for a Windows Vista Capable PC that is designated Premium Ready, or choose a PC that meets or exceeds the Premium Ready requirements described below. Features available in specific premium editions of Windows Vista, such as the ability to watch and record live TV, may require additional hardware
A Windows Vista Premium Ready PC includes at least:
• 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
• 1 GB of system memory
• 40GB Hard Drive capacity + 15 GB free space
• Support for DirectX 9 graphics with a WDDM driver, 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)2, Pixel Shader 2.0 and 32 bits per pixel
What is an Operating System?
An OS is the part of your PC that manages the relationship between the hardware and software resources of your computer and you wouldn’t be able to do anything on your PC without one. For instance, if you have more than one program running on your PC, your OS will prioritise multiple tasks and manages your saved files. In short, the OS you choose effects the general day to day working of your PC without you even knowing it. It provides a foundation that determines how your computer functions.
Microsoft are O/S experts. A large proportion of UK PCs are run and organised by a Microsoft Windows edition. Vista has been one of the most long awaited of them all. More than five years after the release of its predecessor, Windows XP, it’s been the longest time span between major releases of Windows.