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In Windows Vista Essential Training , instructor Jeff Van West offers comprehensive guidance through the often-daunting task of upgrading Windows system software. After discussing Vista's many new features and demonstrating the initial installation, Jeff explains how to run older software, customize settings and the desktop, and troubleshoot along the way. The tutorials also cover the ins and outs of taking Vista on the road for portable computing, from setting up security to working with all types of media and optimizing performance. Exercise files accompany the training.
And now, not in any particular order, what I consider the top 10 features of Windows Vista. After using for a while, what do I think are the most useful things, the best parts, the most worthwhile parts of Windows Vista? This may not be the same top 10 you might find out there on the web because I'm really trying to look at this from the user's perspective. Day in and day out what are you going to like about this operating system. Number one, above all, Search. There is a built-in Search function and it permeates the operating system, allowing you to quickly search for contact information inside files.
Here we have my name in file names, but there's a deep search function that allows me to actually look inside the files themselves, inside e-mails, inside PDF's. It goes on and on and on and on and on. This is a great feature. We will talk about it more in Chapter 4. Also in Chapter 4, a new file explorer, this is central to using Windows Vista. We have a much better folder structure that allows us to easily see inside any of the folders and collapse and expand in a more certain intuitive way than we had before.
A better system for Favorites, options across the top, but also a cool system for navigation, all of it clickable. We talk about Windows Explorer through all of Chapter 4 because there's quite a bit to see here. For any of these files there's also something new called Previous Versions. So cool feature number three Previous Versions, When we right-click on a file, we get an option for previous versions of the file. We can then go take a look at it.
The computer will search for pre- saved, automatically backed up, earlier versions of the file. We'll talk about that more as well. Speaking of backup, there's a whole new backup system built right into Windows, and for someone who does a lot of computer support for people, I find that backing up files is one of the things that everyone knows they should do that they easily overlook. Its not the best backup system in the world, but Vista gives you a backup system automatically, and it's integrated into the operating system.
It can be set up to run and you never have to think about it again until your whole computer goes south, and then, ahhh, all your work was backed up. Also in Vista, the gadgets. All right, they look a lot like Macintosh widgets, but still they are really cool and I don't just mean these default ones that show up like your RSS feeds or slideshow or the clock. I mean the really useful ones like the ones that show you your e-mail, events for the day, and tasks left to do. We'll have a whole movie on gadgets so you can see what's going on there.
Let's take a look at one of the other cool features. We'll have to roll over to my laptop here for a second. We're now looking at my laptop screen and we're looking at Windows Mobility Center. What they did was, they took all the features that most laptop users needed and they put them in one place, easily organized, easily clicked. We'll have a whole movie on using Mobility Center and some of these other features individually like power schemes or synchronization, presentation mode, wonderful new things.
My laptop's kind of old but you'd also see in Mobility Center control of your wireless to easily turn it on and off. If you've got one of the really new PC's that has something called Sideshow, you'd see a tile for that too. While we're talking about networking and things, as well in Windows Vista, there is a new wireless set up. And for the most part, it is a huge improvement, a lot more stable. It works better after going to sleep and waking up. It allows you to easily connect or disconnect to wireless networks.
It allows you to manage them more easily and its integrated into a whole new Networking and Sharing Center which gives you individual control and lets you see quite easily how far your networking is working, whether it's just to your local network, all the way out to the Internet, and so on. We'll take a close look at networking in our whole chapter on, well, networking. Windows Vista actually has a whole new way of dealing with photos.
Far better than what was in there before. Not only can we see our photos better in Windows Explorer, when we actually go and look at one, well, like this one, we get to a new application called Windows Photo Gallery which gives us all sorts of great options for working with photographs. We'll have at least two movies on Windows Photo Gallery as well. Hopping back over to the file structure again for a moment, Windows Vista, actually again, took a note from the Macintosh here, and has a much more orderly file structure for each of its users, much more logical.
And although my things are gone, remember My Documents, My Pictures, and so forth, all gone. We're now back to just Documents or Pictures. A lot more logical, and furthermore, everything on the computer is organized for the users into actual Users directory. So all of the users on the computer and all their information are in a particular Users folder. Much more straightforward, there's even a new Public section for sharing information between users, really handy.
In the number 10, well, that's new stuff under the hood, things you can't see right off the bat such as a new system called User Access control which is both, one of the best and one of the worst features of Windows Vista. Service Hardening, which is a feature that allows certain programs to be protected, if you will, against unwanted attacks. There's something called Address Space Randomization where the memory a particular program takes up gets moved around which makes it more difficult for it to be attacked by a virus, or used for nefarious purposes. Internet Explorer has been hardened up, so it runs in a protected mode.
There's a system called Ready Boost and Super Fetch, fun names. What they're really doing is giving us new ways to handle memory and have the computer adjust itself for better uses and more efficient use of its resources. And then finally, I just have to throw this one in here, because it's a personal favorite of mine. Hopefully we'll have a little bit of time to talk about the Tablet PC, because handwriting recognition has now been built into all versions of Windows Vista.
And if you have a walk-in tablet or one of these Tablet PC's, you can actually write right on the screen. It's hard to write. I'm actually doing this with a mouse here because I don't have my tablet right in front of me. All right. There we go. A really cool other feature, there are some things that had been in certain versions of Windows before. They're now available to everybody. So there's the top 10 for you.
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