Windows Vista Help

Windows Vista's New Features

1. What is Windows Vista Aero interface?

Aero is the new user interface that use's the GPU (Graphics Processor Unit) and DirectX 9 features for a much improved interface and includes:

2. What is BitLocker?

Bitlocker is used to encrypt drive contents to prevent confidential data from being read from a thief if the PC or Laptop gets stolen. Ideally, it uses TPM (trusted platform module) 1.2 and as well as crypting programs and data and can encrypt hibernation and swap files as well. The drive can be locked unless and PIN number or USB driveis inserted with the correct keying information included on it.

3. What is Windows Sideshow?

Sideshow allows PCs or Laptops with small secondary LCD screens to display critical information even when the machine is off or on sleep mode. Information could include emails, calendar appointments, contact information and so on.

4. What is Virtual PC Express?

Virtual PC allows you to run upto 4 virtual PCS on your computer. So, you can run Windows XP, 2000, Me, 98 and so on, so that you can run legacy software that has not yet been updated for Windows Vists. Virtual PC is now free from Microsoft. Look here for more information. You need Vista Ultimate or Enterprise to use VPC Express or Virtual PC 2007.

5. What is SUA (Subsystem for Unix applications)?

SUA is a components that allows Windows Vista to run UNIX or Linux scripts and applications on Windows Vista Enterprise. It eases interoperability between Windows and Unix so allows porting of applications to the Windows platform.

6. What is UAC (User Account Control)?

User Account Control is an improvement over Windows XP. In XP, you had to be logged in as Administrator to install applications, drivers or make system changes. Also, some applications required admin priviledges to run properly and were unsuitable for the Limited or Power User levels. This precented a security problem as viruses, trojans and malware could install themselves if you used an admin account all the time. In Vista, you can log in with an account with lower priviledges for everyday tasks and will prompt you for temporary admin access when a specifc task or application requires it. This makes you PC more secure in day to day usage esp. when using the internet.
You can change the behaivour of UAC using Group Policy in the Local Policies, Security Options section or in the User Accounts control panel.

7. What is available in DirectX 10?

DirectX is Microsoft's API for graphics, sound and input systems for gaming and multimedia. DirectX 10 now moves a lot of the processing from the CPU to the GPU on the graphics card to improve performance of applications such as Shader Model 4.0, schedular, memory virtualisation system and defines a minimum standard of hardware capabilities for a graphics card to be DirectX 10 compatible.

Vista also comes with DirectX 9 Ex which allows Vista to run older games using the older DirectX 9 APIs and to allow Aero to run on older graphics cards.

8. Does Windows Vista come with Media Centre?

Yes, it comes with the following Editions of Vista: Home Premium and Ultimate. The Media Centre allows you to play music, TV programs and videos from one central program.
In those editions you can also create DVDs of your movies using DVD Maker and play High Definition videos using Windows Movie Maker.

9. What is ReadyBoost?

Ready Boost allows you to attach any fast Flash memory device to the PC and Windows will use that to cache files rather than the hard disk and it will improve responsiveness and performance. The flash device must be at least 256MB, support USB 2.0, have an access time of 1ms or less, read speeds of 2.5MB/sec and 1.7MB/sec writes.
You can find if a device is ReadyBoost compatible by opening the properties of the Drive in Explorer and look at the Ready Boost tab.

10. Is Vista boot menu different to previous Windows?

Yes, Vista has replaced the old XP boot files (ntldr, and boot.ini) with a new Boot Manager. It consists of a bootmgr and a boot folder. You can view or change the boot information using System properties, MSConfig and a new BCDEdit tool. Try the Dual Boot Pro tool if the ones in Vista are no good.

11. Does Vista have a new Email program?

Yes, Outlook Express has now been replaced with Windows Mail. When migrating, you should export your existing settings via Tools, Accounts, Export to an .iaf file. You can import your old Outlook Express .dbx files which contain your folders and mail via File, Import, Messages.... Mail does not use DBX files but uses a new system with folders which contain .eml files.

Your address book (wab file) contents are now stored as Contacts which are stored in your Contacts folder in your profile in c:\Users\<name>\Contacts folder. Those can be imported from your old .wab file via File, Import, Windows Contacts.

Also, for the first time your Mail program has a built in Calendar which can be access via Tools, Windows Calendar or from the Vista menu or running Wincal.exe.

12. Can you image a Vista computer?

Yes, you can use a new feature called ImageX which can create WIM files which contains your OS image. Unlike, XP it is a lot more hardware independant, so you do not have to create multiple images due to different HALs or disk types. You can get ImageX from the Windows Automated Installation kit from Microsoft Downloads page. If you have to deploy Vista to multiple PCs, you can use the new WDS (Windows Deployment Services) which replaces RIS.

Here are my results when I upgraded from Windows XP Pro to Windows Vista Home Premium: Windows Vista Install Blog. If you have any questions, please

13. What is Windows DVD Maker?

As its name implies, Windows Vista can now create DVD (Digital Verstile Discs) of videos and pictures which can be played on DVD Players or other computers. DVD Maker supports AVI, MPeg, WMV, WMA, ASF, and a host of picture formats which can be added to your collection ready to be burned to disc in a easy to use interface.

14. What is Windows Photo Gallery?

This program can add, display and organise your pictures for you, you can add new information in items called Tags, change Meta information, change the Time Stamp, rename, rotate them and so on for your viewing pleasure.

15. What is the Game Centre?

Whenever you install or add a new game to your PC, it is most likely added to the game centre. Instead of accessing your games through the mass of programs on your Start Menu, you can access games by clicking on Start and then Games where it will add a shortcut to the game for easier location and can be launched quickly if you want a quick game.