Shell and User Interface

There are hundreds of changes that was made in the recently released Windows Vista, which are Shell and User interface (Windows Aero, Windows Explorer, Windows Flips and Flip 3D, Windows Sidebar, Search), Windows Internet 7, Media Player 11, Windows Media Center, Internet Information Service 7 (IIS), Security and Safety, Management and Administration, Graphics, Mobile Computing etc. each of these features will be considered one after the other.

The premium version of Windows Vista has a redesigned user interface and visual style, which is named Windows Aero (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective and Open). Windows Aero with a new default font Segoe UI, is intended to be more appealingly pleasing than previous Windows version. In addition to the Windows Aero visual style is the Windows Vista Basic theme which is meant for lower-end computers that are not able to use the Desktop Windows Manager. Though the Windows Aero is not available in Home Basic and Starter editions of Windows Vista, the Desktop Windows Manager is included.

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The Windows Explorer also comes in a different look with seven different views available, (List, Details, Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large icons) and other easy-to-use submenus like Classic Menus, Search pane, Preview pane (used to preview the contents of a document, including viewing pictures in a size larger than the thumbnails shown in the folder listing, and sampling contents of a media file, without opening any additional program), a Reading pane and a Navigation pane (contains a list of most common folders) for quick navigation), Document properties pane (up at the bottom of an Explorer window).

Icons in Vista are made graphically more realistic meaning document icons show the actual document contents and several media types (video, audio, photos) are distinguished by icon placed beneath the document’s Window. There are also upgrades and new applications that were made on the previous applications of Windows XP. Windows mail replaces Outlook Express (the email client of Windows XP and its predecessors), Paint was upgrades to version 10, which now has the ability to ‘crop’, WordPad (it now supports a Speech Recognition tool implemented), the sound recorder can now record to any length and supports saving option WMA.

Windows Contacts replaces the Windows Address Book, Windows calendar (a new calendar application), Windows Fax Scan is an integrated faxing and scanning application, Windows Meeting Space is a replacement for NetMeeting (it is a peer-to-peer application on a local network). Also a Windows Photo Gallery that can import from devices like digital camera and does basic editing like red-eye, cropping etc. Its default Windows Internet Explorer is the version 7, which has tab, Phishing, Atom, RSS etc features added to it and Windows media Player 11. CRITICISMS OF VISTA

Since the release of Vista, there has been a number of negative criticisms leveled against the Operating System i. e. Vista. They include amongst other: Minimum Hardware Requirements (512MB RAM, 20GB Hard Disk, 800MHz-1GHz Processor): Though Microsoft claimed nearly all PC’s in the market today are capable of running Windows Vista but the actual facts is that to run the full features especially the Aero interface require high System configuration Security: In the area of security, there have been different speculations about what will become of Vista’s security level.

McAfee claimed that Vista will not be as secured as previous versions of Windows while Symantec, a security vendor, said because of the large amount of new and untested code in Vista, especially in the new implementation of the network stack, could cause instability and new security flaws. But Natalie Lambert, an analyst of Forrester Research said and I quote: “There is no doubt that Vista will be Microsoft’s most secure operating system. However, most secure is not equivalent to secure”.

When Vista was first released, the operation of file transferring and deleting is extremely slow, the criticism that follows led to the released of an update that contains SP1 to rectify this. It has been reported that the use of Vista on laptop drains battery power more than XP especially when running on Aero visual style. In addition there are other criticisms like software incompatibility, like games etc, more restrictive licensing terms, the inclusion of a number of new Digital Right Management Technology, non availability of the User Account Control, lack of device derivers for some hardwares and many others.

Frankly speaking, except one has met more than the minimum requirements for Vista and need to take advantage of some of the added features in Windows Vista, there is no need upgrading to Vista, instead updating Windows XP by installing SP2 or SP3, which is the recent will suffice. Else the user must be ready for frequent freezing of the PC, as this has been the usual complains of most laptop users.


Microsoft Windows Vista: The Features: User Experience. Microsoft –