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| Are you ready for Windows Vista (2 comments )|
by: smoore (3) | Posted in cluster FiringSquad Editors Challenge Round 1 Prelim 1
Posted 76 months ago ( edited 76 months ago ) in category DEFAULT
Here is an article I wrote back in December for our IT newsletter. This was in response to a number of Vista questions from teachers in the school district that I work for.
Are you ready for Windows Vista?
Starting January 30th, you will be able to purchase Microsoft’s latest operating system, Windows Vista, either installed on a new computer or as an upgrade version. What does this mean to you? Vista does bring a lot of new features to the table, but is it worth the upgrade? I hope to answer some of these questions for you.
If you are considering an upgrade to Vista, the first thing to determine is whether your current computer is able to handle the upgrade. The computer you purchased three years ago with Windows XP may no longer meet the requirements of Vista. While Microsoft says you only need 512MB of RAM to run Vista, the experience is far from ideal. To get the most from Vista you really need 1GB of RAM, 2GB would be even better. Another point to keep in mind is that the Vista Home Premium version and above are only available on DVD, so without a DVD drive in your computer you are out of luck. A video card with 128MB of RAM is also a requirement for the new Aero Desktop. More on that feature later.
For those of you in the market for a new computer, the above recommendations also apply. Do not purchase a machine with less than 1GB of RAM otherwise you are really limiting your experience. If you purchase your computer before January 30th, make sure that it comes with a coupon for a free upgrade to Vista when available. The best way to make sure that your new computer is compatible with Vista is to check for the “Windows Vista Capable” or “Vista Premium Ready” sticker on the front of the machine.
To add to the confusion, Microsoft has created four different versions of Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate. Most of you will either be running Home Basic or Home Premium. Home Basic lacks one of the key new features of Vista, the Aero Desktop, along with some other very useful additions. Due to the lack of features, I personally would not purchase a machine with Home Basic. For most of you, Home Premium is the way to go, and if you want all that Vista offers you can always purchase Vista Ultimate.
One of the highly touted new features of Vista is the Aero Desktop which is only available with Home Premium and above. The Aero Desktop makes the experience of using your computer much more visually impressive. Transparent windows, animations while minimizing/maximizing windows and a 3D transition between open programs are just a few of the new features. Aero is the first thing you notice when you start using Vista.
Additionally, there are some multimedia features that are only available with Home Premium and Ultimate. One of those features is Media Center. This allows you to turn your computer into a DVR (digital video recorder), and stream video/audio to compatible devices such as an Xbox 360. If you enjoy making home movies, the Windows Movie and DVD Maker programs go a long way toward simplifying the process. Now you can impress your friends and family by handing them DVDs of your movies.
Security in all versions of Vista has been improved. Internet Explorer 7 comes installed by default and adds such features as tabbed browsing and a phishing filter. There are also UAC (user access control) windows that pop up when you are changing certain settings. These windows will warn you of the changes you are about to make and will ask for the administrator name and password if needed to implement the change.
One new feature that parents will find helpful is the game explorer. Windows Vista has a built in browser for all of the games on your computer and it provides the ratings for each game. You then set the acceptable rating level for the games that your child can play. No more Grand Theft Auto 3 for little Johnny! Time limits may also be established so your children cannot sit down and play for hours on end.
Here are some common questions and answers about Vista:
Q. Is it worth upgrading to Vista?
A. This is a hard question to answer. If you are one of those people who enjoys being on the cutting edge of technology, the upgrade probably makes sense. For everyone else, my suggestion would be to wait until Vista has been out longer. There are compatibility problems with some software and hardware that you should check out before doing an upgrade. It would be awful to do the upgrade and then find out the software you use everyday no longer works. If you are happy with how your computer is running right now, hold off on the update. Vista is new and there are going to be some growing pains. It is best to wait until it has been out and tested thoroughly before making the jump.
Q. Should I get Vista on a new computer?
A. By all means, get Vista on a new computer. It will save you from upgrading down the road when Microsoft stops supporting Windows XP. Chances are once Vista comes out, you will have a hard time finding a PC that comes with anything but Vista installed.
Q. What is the difference between Home Basic and Home Premium?
A. Home Basic lacks the following features of Home Premium:
• Aero Desktop
• Better support for laptops
• Media Center
• Windows Meeting Place
• Windows Movie Maker
• Windows DVD Maker
Q. What is Windows Vista Ultimate?
A. Windows Vista Ultimate combines all the features from Home Premium and Business versions. Ultimate also adds something called Windows Ultimate Extras which is software specific to this version.
Q. Where can I go for more information?
A. The best place for information is Microsoft’s Vista web page at www.microsoft.com/windowsvista. You can also check the websites of the software you use to make sure that it is compatible.
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