## Friday, December 01, 2006

### Windows Vista

The counter above - try to drag it - resembles Vista's aero graphical user interface.

It's been five years since Microsoft released Windows XP. Right after 9/11/2001, I bought a computer with XP Home pre-installed, long before XP was released officially. It was rather clear that XP would be better than all previous operating systems and most of us would agree that the expectations were confirmed. It has served well for five years and the two Service Packs were the only major changes we received in five years.

Recall that Windows started as an application under MS-DOS: Windows 3.1 reproduced some concepts from the Apple systems within a more flexible framework. The next major step were Windows 95, the first intrinsically Windows-based operating system. Small updates of Windows 95 were called Windows 98 and Windows ME while Windows NT was a more stable version of the Windows product that never became popular with the consumers. Windows 2000 merged the accessibility of the Windows 95 group with the stable kernel of Windows NT. Finally, Windows XP brought a new design and many other things at the end of 2001.

The next edition of Microsoft's operating system used to be called Longhorn for some time but Windows Vista was chosen instead in 2005. Now it's out for businesses and the consumers will start to buy it at the end of January 2007. About 100 million copies of Vista will be sold in 2007. Microsoft will also sell about the same number of copies of Office 2007 and the new server software.

Bill Gates has famously said that 640 kB should be enough for everyone. Windows Vista expects 1,000,000 kB to run well but the hardware requirement are not astronomical and 60% of the new computers sold in 2007 will run Vista. Vista has many subeditions that are somewhat more complicated than the editions of XP. Vista comes with a brand new design including various new animations and glassy semi-transparent windows.

Some of the features that Windows Vista offers:
• Aero UI - the glassy frames of the windows
• Instant search - based on indices
• New Explorer
• Address Space Layout Randomizer - kills 99% of remote attacks by randomly moving the location of system files
• Security - improved Defender, Firewall, Security Center, Phishing Filter, Parental Control, Windows Update
• Windows ReadyDrive - a support for hybrid hard disks by Samsung and others
• Windows ReadyBoost - a mechanism that allows you to use your USB flash memory chip as a fast cache (faster than hard drives) which can speed up your computer considerably: see how the boot time came from 43 seconds to 14 seconds when a 512 MB SD card was added to the system
• Windows Experience Index - an automatic rating of your hardware
• Windows SuperFetch - a system that learns when you are likely to use a program so that it loads it to the memory before you click and everything is faster
• Disk Defragmentation - is automatic with Vista
• Sleep - StandBy and Hibernation merged and were generalized
• A lot of new software - e.g. many games are ready

See the best independent evaluation of Windows Vista and other Microsoft's products on Paul Thurrott's website called winsupersite.com. Everything looks nice and smart I hope to see it soon.