10 things you should know about Vista's Windows Meeting Space

Windows Meeting Space, Vista's replacement for NetMeeting, is a peer-to-peer application that enables as many as 10 users to conduct virtual meetings and share desktops, applications, files, and presentations. Here's an overview of what WMS has to offer.

This article is available as a PDF download. It's also part of the collection "100 things you should know about Windows Vista."

Windows Meeting Space is a new application built into Windows Vista that makes it easy for up to 10 collaborators to share their desktops, applications, files, and presentations, and to pass private notes to one another over the network. Here are some highlights of WMS features and functionality.

#1: Windows Meeting Space is just for Vista

Windows Meeting Space replaces Microsoft NetMeeting. It's available only to users of the Windows Vista operating system, since it's built on Vista's peer-to-peer networking technology and uses Vista features, such as WS-Discovery.

#2: Windows Meeting Space is easy to set up and use

The first time you open the program, it automatically performs tasks required for using WMS, such as configuring the firewall to allow Meeting Space communications and enabling People Near Me and file replication. If no network is detected, it will even create an ad hoc wireless network for WMS communications.

#3: Windows Meeting Space contains built-in security mechanisms

You can select to receive invitations only from trusted contacts (those who have provided digital certificates verifying their identities) and require participants to enter a password before being allowed to join a meeting. All Meeting Space communications are encrypted so that only authorized persons can see the shared desktops, applications, and files.

#4: You can make your meetings invisible

Windows Meeting Space lets you configure visibility options. If you make a meeting invisible, Vista users near you won't be able to see it in the list of available meetings and will have to be explicitly invited to join.

#5: Windows Meeting Space offers multiple options for joining meetings

There are three ways to join a meeting:

  • Through the list of available meetings displayed in the WMS interface
  • Via an e-mailed invitation
  • Via an invitation file that's been shared or transferred

#6: You can deliver a presentation during a meeting

To run a presentation during a meeting, you can either connect to a network projector or display a presentation on your desktop and share the desktop or the presentation application with other meeting participants.

#7: You can distribute handouts to meeting participants

To share handouts, just select the file(s) you want to distribute and they'll be copied to each meeting participant's computer. Any participant can edit the handouts, and changes will be propagated to other participants' copies without changing the original file.

#8: Windows Meeting Space requires IPv6

IPv6 is installed and enabled by default in Windows Vista. However, for meetings within the local subnet (People Near Me), you don't need to have a formal IPv6 infrastructure in place.

#9: You can share your desktop or an application with meeting participants

When you share your desktop, other meeting participants can see all of the items on it, similar to Remote Assistance. But unlike RA, they won't be able to control your desktop unless you explicitly give them control. You'll be notified in the Meeting Space interface that you're sharing your desktop, and you can see how your shared session looks on other computers. If you don't want other meeting participants to see your entire desktop, you can select a file or application to share instead.

#10: Admins have numerous ways to control the use of Windows Meeting Space

Administrators can use Group Policy to restrict or control the use of Windows Meeting Space. Options include disabling WMS entirely, disabling sharing of handouts, and enforcing password length and complexity requirements. You can also set rules for types of files that can be shared via the Attachment Manager or record WMS activities and information in a log file.