HJ-ED-DHJHerald Journal Columns

November 20, 2006, Herald Journal

Microsoft ready to release “Vista”


Are you ready for a new Windows operating system for your personal computer?

You say that your existing Windows XP or even your Windows 2000 seems to run all right . . . so why should you upgrade it now?

I can understand that.

Microsoft has recently announced that its long-awaited new Windows operating system called Vista, which was originally code named Longhorn will be available to the general public on January 30, 2007.

I have found that with every new Microsoft Windows operating system software release, the clock starts ticking on how long they will continue to support their old operating software release.

When I checked the Microsoft Support Lifecycle website, I discovered they have already ended main-stream support for Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows Me, and Windows XP Service Pack 1 (SP1).

I have Windows XP with Service Pack 2 (SP2) installed on my notebook computer.

My computer is set to receive security and critical software update “patches” automatically. To do this on your computer go to the settings in the Windows Control Panel and turn on the Automatic Updates. When you are connected to the Internet, Windows will automatically find and install any high-priority software updates for your computer.

Those upgrades are available on the Microsoft website: http://update.microsoft.com/microsoftupdate.

Along with the new Vista operating system, Microsoft will be releasing the new Microsoft Office Outlook 2007. Some of the features include Instant Search that allows you to search for keywords, dates, or other criteria to locate items in your e-mail, calendar, contacts, or your to-do tasks.

To see what’s new visit: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/outlook.

Sven Hallauer, release manager and director of program management at Microsoft, said in a prepared press release: “With Windows Vista the usability of your system can get better every day as the operating system learns what you do and tailors itself to meet your needs. It does this using a new memory manager called “SuperFetch.”

I was interested when Hallauer went on to say “. . . the memory manager is proactive. SuperFetch discovers usage patterns and prepares commonly used data before the user needs it. For example, if a user logs in around 9 a.m. every morning and runs Microsoft Outlook (email program), SuperFetch learns this and proactively ensures that Microsoft Outlook is ready in memory a few minutes before 9 a.m.”

So, it appears that my new Vista operating system will also think ahead of time for me.

How thoughtful of Vista to manage my time like that.

Yes indeed.

What if I need to use a different program at 9 a.m. instead of Microsoft Outlook?

Will I suddenly hear the mysterious computerized voice of Hal from the movie 2001 say, “I’m sorry Mark, you must use Microsoft Outlook right now.”

The new Vista will also have features such as Internet Explorer Protected Mode, User Account Control and Windows Defender, which according to Microsoft, will help people better protect personal content and software on their computers.

The new Windows Vista Backup and Restore Center will replace the System Restore application that is on Microsoft Windows XP.

I was able to see some of the actual visual “snap-shots” of Vista and it has a sleek new graphical look. It’s almost a glass translucent, see-though effect for Vista’s menus and desktop. The visual presentation of the user interface is amazing.

The improved graphical look is due to the use of AERO, (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and Open) which is the new visual integration software theme for Vista.

The video and picture quality are also vastly improved by the use of the same enhanced graphical “horse power” that is normally found on the high-end video gaming systems.

One of the new features in Vista that I will be eager to try out is the Windows Speech Recognition which allows us interaction with our computer by just talking to it.

We will be using voice commands to dictate documents and e-mails, to start and switch between software programs, control the Vista operating system and even fill out forms on the Internet.

Vista is going to be worth the wait.

Go to this Microsoft link for more information on the new Windows operating system: http://www.microsoft.com/windowvista.