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After five long years, Microsoft ships a new version of Windows ...

Windows Vista Upgrade Guide:

The Features that Matter

by Lynn Eriksen 

After a long, difficult journey Windows Vista is finally finding it's way to store shelves on January 30th, 2007. Is your computer ready, or even capable of an upgrade? What does Vista have that makes it so special? Where is Vista lacking? What is the future of Windows? We'll cover these issues in a four part series.

What makes Vista so Special?

That's a good question. There is not any one single feature that you can see that will make you say " I gotta have that!". But, and stay with me, there are so many new and improved features that you loathe going back to Windows XP. Here are the authors' favorite things he misses when having to return from Windows Vista to Windows XP.

  • Desktop Search - Search is everywhere in Windows Vista. Hit the Windows key, start typing in the name of a file or program, and the odds are that Vista will find it for you. And the results are displayed right in the start menu! One you try it, going back is painful. That's not the only place you'll find it either. Search is almost everywhere in Vista.
  • Improved Multi-taking - do you like to do more than one thing at once with you computer. Say for instance do you like to burn a CD, listen to music, search the web and download at the same time you using Excel or Word? If that's you Vista will endear itself to you right away. Windows XP doesn't even come close.
  • The AERO Interface - The AERO theme interface is not only pleasing to the eye but the technology that makes it possible allows for a smooth, high quality graphics experience. From task bar thumbnail previews to Flip3D (a feature that rotates your Windows on the desktop for easy selection) you will find going back to Windows XP like playing with a Fisher Price toy - as an adult.
  • Automatic Everything - Windows Vista automatically tunes your computer in the background when your not using it. All you need to add is virus scan.
  • Improved Control Panel - The Windows Vista control panel has a much improved interface and is totally searchable. Many control panels have been improved and made much easier to use.
  • Improved Mobile Tools - Windows Vista makes working on the road and/or on battery much easier. Power management is as easy as selecting 'High Performance', 'Balanced' or 'Power Saver'. And you don't have to open a control panel to do that either - you can select that right from a task bar icon. In addition the new Mobility Center makes it easier get at common tasks that notebook users have had to search around for in the past. Lastly, it's easy to put you computer in 'Sleep' mode which uses a minute amount of power but keeps your computer ready to work.
  • Much Improved Security - Windows Vista has much improved, although much tighter security. Though not perfect, it will be much harder for your computer to catch something it will regret. Even applications such as IE 7 which ships for Windows XP have special Vista security enhancement. No - it's not a panacea or Shangrila. But it's much better. We'll talk more about the downside of the new security push in the next article.
  • Attention to Detail - In most places where Windows XP is down right sloppy, or even bit messy, Windows Vista excels. The improvements to the Control Panel, Start Menu, Task Bar, Explorer, Networking tools all make for a better experience overall. THe built in applications such as Windows Mail, Calendar, Photo Gallery, Media Player and Media Center are easy to user and perform well.
  • Next Generation Software Ready- This is a feature that will become more obvious over time. Software developers will be able to create software that has more features, easier to user, and is much more attractive for Windows Vista. Expect to see software start to ship with exclusive Vista-only features that are way beyond their Windows XP and earlier counter parts.

To read about the Vista upgrade process see Part 1: Windows Vista: To Upgrade or Not ...

Coming Soon: Where Vista is Lacking.


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