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The Aero desktop

From: Windows Vista Essential Training

Video: The Aero desktop

The single most visible thing when you first boot up Vista is the new look. It's Aero. It's cool. Actually, it is pretty cool. It's well thought out, put together, and has a lot of nifty features. Some of them are a little over the top I might think. But hey, a lot of them are really fun. Let's take a look at what they changed. There was a lot of thinking that went into what the windows look like. And the obvious stuff is stuff that you notice right away like this Aero look.

The Aero desktop

The single most visible thing when you first boot up Vista is the new look. It's Aero. It's cool. Actually, it is pretty cool. It's well thought out, put together, and has a lot of nifty features. Some of them are a little over the top I might think. But hey, a lot of them are really fun. Let's take a look at what they changed. There was a lot of thinking that went into what the windows look like. And the obvious stuff is stuff that you notice right away like this Aero look.

We talked about that a little bit how you can see through kind of a transparent pane of glass on some things as you move a window around. And that's pretty, but what you might not notice unless somebody pointed it out, is that the border for each one of these windows has been thickened quite a bit. Why? Because they did real usability studies, and it helps people identify the corners of the window. It makes it easier to click on for resizing and that sort of thing if its thicker. And so they thickened it.

Same thing with the new font. You can see there's this new system font. Sergo UI, I believe is how it's pronounced, although I'm not so good with pronunciations. UI for user interface. This typeface, this font was specifically designed to be easy to read on a computer screen. And in that sense, it is a great font to use. That said, on some screens, it looks really fuzzy.

It's unfortunate because it's a cool font. But if you have an older LCD screen, particularly, if you have a tablet PC and you rotate the screen, the font can be hard to read. Its designed to work well with clear type and sometimes with clear type on a rotated screen, it gets all messed up. IF you're having problems with that, just hang in there. In a few movies, we'll talk about customization of this look and you'll be able to change the font specifically as works for you. But don't change it right away.

Live with it for a little while, because you might find that you really like it and it's easier on the eyes. There are a couple other things which you might not notice unless you're paying close attention. I'm going to minimize this window here. And you can see how it animated down. I'm going to go back and maximize the window again, and it animated up. Those animations are part of the new look. As I roll my cursor around, you can see when I come over the minimize, or maximize, or close window, they kind of highlight so that you know where the cursor is.

Even the little Back button comes up and kind of highlights in a glowing look. It makes it easier to see what's going on. Obviously there a lot of changes to how the structure of this window, but even just the look of it is what we're really looking at now. One of the issues with clarity on the screen -- and I forgot to mention this, so let me say it before I move on -- is if you fire up Vista, and it all looks fuzzy, don't despair right away. There are two ways to hook up modern monitors, and a lot of people go with what they know on the back of their computer.

And they hook up their monitor with something called VGA, which is the older kind of cable, and it's an analog system. And a lot of the modern digital monitors, the LCD screens, are running with a VGA cable and they don't look very good. What's the difference? Well, I just happened to find this image online -- and credit where credit is due. It's not mine. There's the URL or who's ever using this. But it just showing a VGA adapter and what they call DVI adapter here.

And DVI is digital video. So on the back of your computer -- this happens to be a converter that they're showing. So it's got the holes side of the VGA adapter. There's also a pin side that looks like the opposite of this. This is the pin side of DVI and there's a holes side that looks like it. You can really tell the other side because it's got this slot in it for matching up. If your monitor has the ability to do PGA and DVI, and your computer has the ability, use DVI.

It'll look so much better. There's a crispness and a lot of these Aero effects will work much better if you hook it up that way. So asking you to branch out here. You know, not a tech geek at heart. Go with a different cable. You may need to even buy a new cable for the monitor. But a lot of the nice LCD screens have this DVI option and most new computers have a video card in it that have both plugs. And again, they might be holes on both sides, but nonetheless, you can tell the difference.

And that's how it works. Now there's some, just basic enhancements. One of the ways to cycle between programs is with Alt+Tab. So I'm going to hold down my Alt key and hit Tab here. And now I can cycle between the different windows that I have running. And here's Outlook. And I'll switch over to Outlook. And I can cycle -- if I want, I can go over to Jeff Van West. Now, just as any easy way to move around, this works for Vista or it works for any of the Windows desktops.

Alt+Tab and then let go. Alt+Tab and back. It's just cycling between the last two programs you used. A really handy way to move things around. If you do Alt+Tab and you hold down the Alt key -- I'm holding it down with my thumb and I usually Tab with my fingers -- I can now go to all the different images. But what's new in Vista, is I have these live previews of each one of the items right here. And if I want, as I cycle around through them, I can really see what's going on.

Oh, I wanted to check out that graphic and there we go. A couple of Buzz Lightyears for you. I can still switch using the taskbar as well, but there's something new in Vista there, too. As I come to the the taskbar, and I roll over, I'm now getting a preview of all the items so I can see what's going on, on the taskbar. If I have a stack, a group of programs, it's going to show one of the items in the stack. If I click, I can see what the other ones are and I can roll over and I'll get a preview of any one of those items as well.

So if I want to go to my Home folder here, Jeff Van West, I can click on that. Just to show you that that's actually live, let me go to my Pictures folder here. And I'm just going to pick some pictures. I'm going to right-click on these pictures. We'll do a Send to. This is discussed later in movies. Send to is compressing. Well, I guess that wasn't very many folders there. Compressed really fast.

Let's pick something really big. How about this one? We'll do a Send to/Compressed folder, and now it's compressing. There we go. If I go down here, here's the live preview of that item. You can see this isn't just a static image. It is showing what's really happening in that window. And so I could be working -- maybe over here in Outlook -- go back to that window, and I can see how much time there is left.

So if I had something downloading that was very large, without even going back to it, I can just roll my cursor down to the taskbar, and I'd get an image of what was going on in that folder. There's even another way to look at programs with the new Aero look. And that's what they flip 3-D. Ready for this? I'm going to hold down the Windows key and the Tab key. And now I'm still holding down the Windows key with my thumb, and now I'll hit Tab.

And I can cycle through all of my running Windows. But the cool thing is I can all of my Windows and I can see where things are. I could even -- I'm holding down the Windows key. I could click on any one of the windows there and jump right to it. So I could cycle through with Tab. Maybe I want to go to that Word document. So I was holding down Windows+Tab. Now I'm going to let go of the Windows key, and there I am. I can see Airborne Radar 101. If I do Control+Windows+ Tab, now my hands are off the keyboard.

There are all my programs running. Tab will cycle me through all the Windows I have up and running including, by the way, and this is something new, and it's true in Alt+Tab too, the Desktop. I'm tabbing through all the Windows. I used Control+ Windows key+Tab to get here. If I want to actually go to one of these windows, I'd have to hit the Enter key on the keyboard. I'm going to do that Control+Windows+Tab again. Now, if I hit Shift+ Tab, I'll cycle backwards through the windows.

So it allows me to kind of move forward and back, see the different programs that I want. I want those Buzz Lightyear guys. If I was holding down the Windows key, I could just let go right now. If I press the Control key plus Windows and then Tab, I'd have to hit Enter, or I can always click with a mouse. And there I end up on that window. By the way, that Shift works with -- we'll go back to our Alt+Tab. This is Alt+Tab cycling through. This is Alt+Shift+Tab.

I'm cycling backwards. And if you want to be really geeky, here's Alt+Escape. What does that do? Alt+Escape takes the current window and sends it to the back of the stack. So there are all sorts of fun keys to zip around there. By the way, when you are in that, what they call flip 3-D -- Windows key+Tab. And now I can -- holding down Windows, I can tab through. These are also all live windows. So if I wanted to, if there was a file download happening or something happening here, I would see it changing in real time.

They're being generated in real time. Does that take a lot of processing power? Does it takes a lot of video power? You bet it does. The cool thing is here though, usually when you are moving between programs, you're not worried about how much processor power you have because you're not doing anything. And so you don't really notice the drag from this too much. In practice, how important is this being able to do flip 3-D to see things versus Alt+Tab just kind of scooting around at the window previews or using the taskbar? Frankly, I use probably Alt+Tab, this version, more than anything else and the taskbar second.

And flip 3-D, well, it looks really cool, but I doubt actually use it all that often. The same effects, by the way, can be had over here. Show Desktop as a button. We showed this before. Minimize everything. But switch between windows, if you click on that, basically that's the same as Control+ Windows+Tab. It gives you the flip 3-D to scroll through things and then you could pick a particular item and go there. I'm going to Tab -- I'll do it forward so you can watch the cool effects.

I'm going to go over to my laptop for a second. Here we are on my laptop. And if I bring my cursor over any of the items on my laptop, well, hey, where's the cool effect? Where did it go? It's not there. If I open up a regular window on my laptop, say my Home directory here, Jeff Van West, this one's got a couple extra things in it which we mentioned to you on Upgrades. In this case, I still have the Vista look, the thick bars.

I've got the fonts and everything, but I don't have these previews. If I'd try to do a Windows+Tab, nothing happens. And that's because this computer's running Vista in the basic mode. It doesn't have the processing power, the video power, really, to run the full-on Aero look. I still get a lot of the cool effects, and if I do Alt+Tab now -- here we are. This looks like the old fashioned Alt+ Tab.

I can cruise around through the different items, but there's no live preview happening here. It's just the different items as I go through them. And here I can go to Vista Adobe PDF file. I'll minimize all of those. How do you know if your computer has enough power to run the Aero look or the not Aero look? Well, you can go to Start menu. I'm going to go to Computer and just right-click and do Properties.

Here is my system information and here is what they call the Windows Experience Index. I'm going to go ahead and click on Windows Experience Index and what this is telling me -- this is my laptop now. It's showing all of the items on my laptop and how powerful they are in terms of Vista. And it's coming up with a score, but you can see it says, "Determined by the lowest subscore," is what my score is.

And where are my lowest? Gaming graphics and Graphics. For 3-D business and gaming graphics performance, I'm getting a 1 on a scale of one to five because, hey, it's an old laptop. It just doesn't have a very good card Here's the performance for Windows Aero, 1.9. I have to have at least a 3 in order to be able to really use Aero. Now, my laptop actually isn't doing all that bad. It's got a really screaming hard drive in it for an old laptop. 4.1 on a scale of one to five, and it's doing pretty well on Processor and Memory, too.

It's in the mid-2's to almost 3.0. Well, that's because it's got better than a gigabyte of RAM in it. Let's go back to our main computer and see what's happening there. We'll do a Show Desktop. I'll do it with the button here, same as Windows D. And I'll show you another way to get to the same information. We'll go to -- instead of right-click on Computer, we'll go down to Control panels. And normally you're in this view, which is the Control panel home. If you take a look at System and maintenance -- there it is -- and you go to System, here is the computer that we're during most of the recording on.

It's got a Windows Experience of 4.2 on a scale of one to five. And what does that really boil down to? It's got a screaming amount of memory. It's off this chart. Aero, 4.7, almost 5.0. Calculation 4.7, almost 5.0. Its lowest score was for Business and gaming graphics performance, and it's still doing really well. So it has the option for the Aero Desktop. Now, if you have that older computer, you don't have the option for Aero.

Or, if you have the newer one, but you want to turn off some of those functions because you feel like they don't need them or maybe your computer is marginal, it's slowing you down, we'll look at that in the movies on tweaking the look a little bit later in this chapter.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Windows Vista Essential Training
Windows Vista Essential Training

77 video lessons · 19796 viewers

Jeff Van West
Author

 
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 27m 37s
    1. Welcome
      4m 42s
    2. Vista's top 10
      7m 1s
    3. Some Windows basics
      15m 54s
  2. 48m 56s
    1. Hardware assessment
      6m 49s
    2. Easy Transfer and the File Transfer wizard
      7m 14s
    3. Installing Windows Vista
      5m 50s
    4. Dealing with drivers
      14m 50s
    5. Running older software in Vista
      9m 59s
    6. Installing software in Vista
      4m 14s
  3. 2h 32m
    1. The Welcome Center
      5m 42s
    2. The Aero desktop
      15m 49s
    3. The new Start menu
      20m 32s
    4. The taskbar
      21m 26s
    5. Gadgets and Sidebar
      15m 55s
    6. The Recycle Bin
      8m 12s
    7. Tweaking visuals for speed and pleasure
      17m 48s
    8. Restoring old Windows items
      8m 15s
    9. Desktop power tips
      15m 59s
    10. Using voice recognition
      14m 38s
    11. Voice recognition options
      8m 26s
  4. 1h 32m
    1. Navigating folders in Vista
      15m 38s
    2. The user folder concept
      6m 25s
    3. Filtering, sorting, and grouping
      8m 14s
    4. Indexed searching
      14m 41s
    5. Setting folder preferences
      16m 7s
    6. Burning to CD/DVD
      13m 4s
    7. The Send To commands
      7m 44s
    8. Windows Explorer tips and tricks
      10m 28s
  5. 1h 41m
    1. The IE 7 tour
      16m 2s
    2. Favorites and History
      8m 45s
    3. RSS
      5m 16s
    4. IE security
      15m 12s
    5. Customizing IE 7
      13m 30s
    6. Windows Mail
      12m 21s
    7. Windows Contacts
      11m 9s
    8. Windows Calendar
      18m 50s
  6. 1h 5m
    1. Windows Media Player 11
      16m 43s
    2. Photo Gallery basics
      15m 28s
    3. Photo Gallery advanced
      12m 4s
    4. Movie Maker
      13m 5s
    5. The Snipping tool
      4m 23s
    6. Games
      3m 26s
  7. 30m 25s
    1. Control Panel home
      5m 39s
    2. System control
      7m 45s
    3. Volume controls
      4m 21s
    4. The new "Add and Remove Programs" feature
      3m 53s
    5. Default programs and AutoPlay
      8m 47s
  8. 28m 34s
    1. Mobility Center
      3m 13s
    2. Projection and Presentation modes
      4m 15s
    3. Power options
      10m 26s
    4. The Sync Center and offline files
      10m 40s
  9. 51m 39s
    1. Connecting to a network: The Network and Sharing Center
      10m 21s
    2. Wireless networking
      7m 37s
    3. Creating and finding shares
      11m 19s
    4. Networking troubleshooting
      11m 44s
    5. Remote Desktop
      3m 48s
    6. Windows Meeting Space
      6m 50s
  10. 1h 5m
    1. Security Center and Windows Firewall
      7m 1s
    2. Windows updates
      7m 37s
    3. Windows Defender
      8m 18s
    4. User access control: Standard vs. Admin accounts
      12m 2s
    5. More on accounts
      7m 0s
    6. Password management
      5m 0s
    7. Parental controls
      12m 27s
    8. File and hard drive encryption
      6m 7s
  11. 25m 42s
    1. Adding local printers
      6m 55s
    2. Adding network printers
      5m 36s
    3. Troubleshooting printers
      2m 40s
    4. Cool printing tips
      7m 31s
    5. XPS and PDFs in Vista
      3m 0s
  12. 39m 30s
    1. Using Help files
      3m 33s
    2. Backup files and drives
      9m 2s
    3. File and full disk restore
      8m 31s
    4. System restore points
      4m 34s
    5. Crashes and hangs
      10m 19s
    6. When Vista won't even boot
      3m 31s
  13. 37s
    1. Goodbye
      37s

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