Windows Vista

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Windows Vista

An earlier version of Windows for the desktop. Released in late 2006 for businesses and early 2007 for consumers, Vista came in six versions (see Windows Vista versions). Numerous features were added, including improved security (see NGSCB) and greater support for digital rights management, but Vista required more memory than XP, typically 2GB.

Although Vista added enhancements, it was fraught with bugs and considered by many to be the worst or second worst version of Windows ever released (Windows ME generally won the top prize). However, Windows 7 superseded Vista and was a dramatic improvement. See Windows ME and Windows 7.

New User Interface
Many Vista elements changed from XP including terminology, menus and dialog boxes. Vista's "Aero" interface took advantage of PCs with advanced 3D graphics, providing features such as translucent window borders (see Aero). Also changed was the file/folder hierarchy in Explorer (see Vista breadcrumbs).

Enhanced Search and File Management
Vista speeded up the indexed file searching over Windows XP and enabled results to be stored in a virtual folder that was updated automatically. The search also extended to syndication feeds, and developers could employ the search capability in their own programs.

Messaging, Workflow and User Identity
Vista included new systems for local messaging between applications and Web services, a workflow component for automating tasks and a user identity system for personal information and site logon. These functions were also available for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003. See .NET Framework.

New Document Interchange Format - XPS
Vista supported the XML Paper Specification (XPS) document format. Enabling digital signatures and digital rights to be applied to the documents, XPS also keeps the page layout intact from computer to computer, similar to Adobe's PDF format. See XML Paper Specification.

Downsized Before Released
One eagerly awaited feature was Windows Future Storage (see WinFS), a subsystem incorporating a relational database on top of the NTFS file system. Although highly touted, WinFS was never completed.

XP and Vista Explorer Windows
Explorer's terminology and hierarchy changed in Vista with many names made shorter as in this comparison to Windows XP. All the "My's" were dropped. My Computer, My Network Places and My Documents changed to "Computer," "Network" and "Documents." Shared Documents changed to "Public."
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