Windows Vista has been in development for roughly 5 years and I have been personally involved as a beta tester for the last 12+ months. I have seen the good and the bad of Windows Vista-agonized over driver incompatibility, praised security and enhancements to the user interface (ui). Now that I have been working with Windows Vista , I wanted to share with you my findings some of the things I love about the new operating system.
Let's begin with how Windows Vista is branding its new editions. They have created 6 different versions of Windows Vista to handle the needs of consumers, small businesses, and large enterprises. The versions are packaged as follows: Windows Vista Home Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Ultimate, Windows Vista Business, Windows Vista Enterprise, and Windows Vista Starter. For consumers, you have the choice of Home Basic, Home Premium and Ultimate which has all the bells and whistles. Businesses can take advantage of Vista Business or Enterprise which handle the business side of Vista such as encryption and virtualization.
I have been working with the Windows Vista Ultimate edition and for starters, the installation of Windows Vista is aesthetically beautiful to the eye and simplistic by nature. The installation went very smoothly and in less than 30 minutes I had my new operating system singing. I loaded Windows Vista on my laptop and my laptop supported Aero Glass which is the eye candy of Windows Vista. All I can say is amazing. Every time I work on my laptop, I find myself smiling at how beautiful the interface is.
Once I got past the interface, and starting digging around I found that configuring a wireless connection was a snap and that the security that came with Windows Vista was top notch. I was able to create a standard account and elevate my privileges to administrator when the need arises. For example, when I run as a standard user, any time I have to install software, I am asked for the administrator password. Any time I have to get into the admin tools or control panel or any area that requires administrative rights, I am prompted for the admin password. Windows Vista was built similar to Linux in that you do not have to run your computer as a root user. Kudos to Microsoft for finally getting this right.
Also included in Windows Vista is a newly redesigned Internet Explorer 7. I love the new user interface that includes tabbed browsing, quick tabs, Instant search bar, page zoom, support for RSS, phishing filter, and a protected mode. Everyone loves the tabbed browsing but I really enjoy the security of the IE protected mode. In protected mode, you are safe from hackers. It is impossible for Internet Explorer in Windows Vista to modify user and system files without your input. It basically prevents hackers from taking over your browser and executing code through administrative rights.
A feature of Windows Vista that I love is Windows ReadyBoost. This technology allows me to place a USB key in my computer and improve performance without adding additional memory to my computer. Once you put the USB key in you are prompted to view the files on your USB key or speed up your system. My laptop already had 2 GB or RAM. I had a 2 GB USB Flash key and my system is screaming speed.
The newly improved Start menu has been working great for me. In the past you had a huge Start menu with tons of programs on it. With Windows Vista, you simply click Start and type the name of the program in the search bar and it finds it within seconds. For example, you could type work and it brings up Microsoft Word. You know longer have to navigate through the tree to find the program you want. This is a real time saver.
I am also enjoying Windows Flip 3D, Windows Flip, Live Taskbar Thumbnails, and the Windows Sidebar. If your computer supports Windows Aero Glass, you will be tickled by Windows Flip 3D. It allows you to flip through your open window in 3D. It is fantastic. The only drawback is that you need Aero Glass support to take advantage of this feature. Windows Flip is the ALT + Tab combination but it also gives you a graphical presentation as well. Live Taskbar Thumbnails is also a welcomed enhancement to Windows Vista. By simply running your cursor over the taskbar, you get a graphical presentation of each open document. Windows Sidebar is a sidebar that runs on your desktop that allows you to add gadgets. It is identical to dashboard widgets in Apple's OS X Tiger. On my desktop, I have a calendar, notepad, stocks, headlines and weather gadgets running. I can also go online and download more gadgets that are helpful to me. This is a feature I am really enjoying.
On the backend, all profiles are no longer stored in documents and settings. You now have a users directory and each profile is stored within this directory. Microsoft has also done away with My....There is no longer My Documents, My Pictures, etc. It has been replaced simply with Contacts, Documents, Desktops, Downloads, Music Pictures, etc.
These are just some of the features I have come to love about Windows Vista. It has so much more to offer. I believe other people might see value in other areas of Vista such as Windows Mail, Windows DVD Maker, Windows Games, Windows Media Player, Windows Photo. These are areas I have yet to explore but as each day goes by that I use Windows Vista, I find myself unlocking more of its mysteries.