Top 10 Reasons to Upgrade to Windows Vista

Windows Vista is the next generation operating system produced by Microsoft and scheduled for release in January 30, 2007. An interesting fact here is that it has been five years since the release of its predecessor, Windows XP, making it the longest time span between major releases of Windows. The main goal that developers wanted to achieve with this product was to create an environment that adapts to the user, instead of the opposite. With Windows Vista, Microsoft has introduced a new level of desktop experience by making the system more secure, reliable and easier to manage.

Windows Vista contains hundreds of new features. Some of the most significant ones are the updated graphical user interface and visual style named Windows Aero, the improved searching features, new multimedia creation tools such as Windows DVD Maker, and completely redesigned networking technology, as well as audio, print, and display sub-systems.

This article puts the focus on the top ten reasons for upgrading to Window Vista, mostly the new features that you can't find in the XP.

1. Higher Level of Safety and Security

There are a number of reasons making the switch, but according to Microsoft's Windows chief Jim Allchin the main reasons is Safety and Security. In fact, the priority of the Redmond based company was to have a system that is more secure and that was the most important aspect in terms of developing the system and thus the Vista has been engineered to be the most secure version of Windows ever.

With this product, you can enjoy a PC safe from malicious software, also known as mallware. The effects of mallware can range from small annoyances like the display of unwanted advertising when you view websites, to significant problems that can result in decreased PC performance, and even theft involving your personal information. To address the evolving nature of such threats, Microsoft's security efforts are built around complementary technologies that together provide you with layered, in-depth protection. In keeping with Microsoft's layered approach to security protection, Windows Vista includes new features that help prevent malware from being installed on your machine, help mitigate damage that malware can cause if it does infect your PC, and remove malware that has already been installed.

The anti-mallware features implemented in this OS are Windows Firewall, Windows Update, User Account Control, Internet Explorer 7 Protected Mode, Windows Defender(for protection from spyware and potentially unwanted software). You can combine them with other software like the Windows Malicious Software Removal Tool, Windows Live Safety Center, and Windows OneCare Live, or with antivirus applications available from one of Microsoft's partner companies.

Windows Vista includes advances that help protect users against phishing, a technique used by online scam artists to illegally obtain a user's valuable personal information, such as credit card numbers, passwords, and other account data. With the Phishing Filter, Internet Explorer 7 warns users about suspected phishing sites or redirects users to a warning page in the case of a known phishing site. Another new feature is the Security bar right next to the Address Bar of IE7, that helps you quickly find out which site is authentic and which isn't.

Another new technology worth mentioning is the "InfoCard". It organizes and manages your personal information so when you visit a website that supports "InfoCard", you will have the option of submitting an "InfoCard" instead of entering all your data all over again. They are more secure because the personal information in the "InfoCard" is encrypted and stored on your PC.

2. Improved Responsiveness

Every user is mad when a PC is being inconsistent. One day all your applications load up and run quickly and smoothly and on the other day the computer slows down and the applications take longer to launch. Well, that is not the case with Windows Vista. Windows Vista includes a number of innovative technologies that help ensure that you can launch applications quickly when you start your machine, and that these applications will continue to be responsive throughout the day. This because the new operating system uses memory more efficiently, improving performance by providing new scheduling mechanisms for time-critical work.
Part of those new technologies are the Windows SuperFetch, Low-Priority I/O, Automatic disk defragmentation.

The Windows SuperFetch is a new memory management technology that helps make the computer consistently more responsive to user applications. Unlike the old scheme, now when the system is idle (not being used by the user for some period of time) background applications take this opportunity to execute actions such as indexing, virus scans, or system management functions. Another feature of the SuperFetch scheme is that it increases the responsiveness by tracking which applications are used most often on a given machine and preloading these applications into memory.

The Low-priority I/O concept allows background processes to run with lower-priority access to the hard drive than user applications. This is a different approach from the XP where the applications had to compete to access the hard drive. In that way, a real multi-tasking is achieved and you can run several applications and you can run several applications at the same time without decreasing the overall system responsiveness.

3. Improved Performance

Windows Vista is designed to take the most out of the latest hardware to improve system performance. Technologies like Windows ReadyBoost increase performance without the need for you to add RAM. Windows Vista also takes advantage of Windows ReadyDrive technology to improve reliability, battery life, and performance. Also, state-of-the-art self-tuning and diagnostics make it much easier for users and IT administrators to manage performance effectively.

The ReadyBoost is a truly revolutionary approach that will easily improve the way a PC performs. Like we all know, the RAM memmory is the key to the smooth operation of a system. But the RAM is expensive and you have to install it if you have free RAM slots available on your Mother Board. With ReadyBoost you can connect a USB Flash chip with the latest of them having 4GB of space and Windows Vista will use it as RAM. The USB device serves as additional memory cache--memory that the computer can access much more quickly than it can access data on the hard drive.

4. Reliability

The improvements in terms of reliability allows users of Vista to work with greater confidence and productivity. With this new OS, you will be less often disrupted by crashes, hangs, and restarts. Windows Vista was engineered with reliability in mind. Hangs and crashes have been tracked since the earliest Windows Vista beta release, and reliability problems have been treated as bugs that need to be repaired.

We all know that with previous versions of Windows, a reboot was required each time you install a new application or uninstall an existing one. Well that's no longer the case here, because of the new technology. In the past, the reboots were due to the fact that when an installer needed to replace a file in use by a running process, a reboot was required to complete the installation. Now, the applications can install the new version of a file on the disk even if the old one is in use, through the use of side-by-side compliant dynamic link libraries (DLLs). The next time you start the application, the newer version of the file will be loaded.

5. Enhanced Accessibility

The Vista's built-in accessibility settings and applications make it easier for users to see, hear and use their PC. They are particularly helpful to people with visual difficulties, full or partial hearing loss, pain in their hands or arms, dexterity issues, or reasoning and cognitive issues.

You can interact with your computer by voice, without using the mouse or the keyboard, while preserving your level of productivity. With the speech recognition, you can dictate documents and emails in mainstream applications, use voice commands to manage applications and the operating system, and even fill out forms on the Web. It was built using the very latest speech technologies from Microsoft and provides an unparalleled recognition accuracy that improves with each use as it adapts to your speaking style and vocabulary.

Another new feature is the Windows Resource Protection that protects critical system settings, files, and folders from changes by any source except a trusted installer.

6. The New User Interface, better organization and ease of use

The interface of Windows Vista is remarkable, both visually exciting and intuitive to use. There are several new capabilities that really stand out here - users are able to see the content of each file (text, picture, movie) without having to open them, users can also find applications in a much quicker manner, navigate efficiently among open windows, and traverse wizards and dialog boxes with more confidence and certainty. The whole user experience is more stable as a whole and you won't see any dialog boxes being drawn in front of you, flicker free, no hesitation or latency.

With all these new features, it is interesting to know where exactly does Microsoft's product stand when compared to Mac OS X Tiger. Some say that there are lots of similarities between MAC OS X and Windows Vista. Like the Control Panel in Microsoft's product, which provides access to critical system settings, so too does the Macintosh's System Preferences applet. Apple also has a built-in glass interface and the minimized icons on the taskbar show a live preview. Only difference being that the MAC came one year earlier. But still, that does not mean that Microsoft's programmers are playing catch up here. The whole controversy about who copied from whom is pointless, since it's normal for companies to look at each others products, because this increases the product quality.

7. The Windows Aero Interface

Aero is the top of the line Vista interface, but is only supported by the latest hardware. Aero features windows that are truly translucent with a glass effect that allows you to more easily focus on the content of a window, while providing better context for the surrounding elements on your desktop. The taskbar here is also new, allowing you to see the contents of the windows that are currently open or minimized to the taskbar.

With Aero, the whole desktop performs in a smoother way. You won't see no redraw artifacts, latency, or "tearing" effects that sometimes appear on existing computers. This interface is also more reliable as it reduces graphics driver-related system crashes and blue screens.

On the downside, you really need an up-to-date PC configuration to enjoy it. The Video card must support Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) and have at least 256MB of memory. Also 1 GB of dual-channel configured system memory (RAM) is required.

8. Easier Search and Organization

The information is getting digital. We are living in a digital world so it is vital to be able to find information in the fastest possible way. Windows Vista helps you do that. It can find a file for you, using just about anything you can think of the file, the type of file, when it was created, or even what it contains.

The new tool that makes the trick is the Instant Search. This feature is available almost anywhere you are in Windows Vista and enables you to type a filename, a property, or even text contained within a file, and it returns pinpointed results. On top of that, it is conceptual, it sorts the results based on your current activity--whether it's searching Control Panel applets, looking for music files in Media Player, or looking for applications in the Start Menu.

9. Improvements in the Networking Technology

With Windows Vista networking is easier to set up, easier to use, and more secure and reliable. The Network Center is where you can check your connection status, see your network visually, or troubleshoot a connection problem. The whole information is summarized in what Microsoft has called Network Map so you can graphically see which connection is down and then use Network Diagnostics to help determine the cause of the problem and find possible solutions.

With Vista, you can connect to all types of networks, local wireless networks, corporate networks through a virtual private network (VPN) or a remote access service (RAS), or dial-up--all in one easy-to-find place.

10. Windows Movie Maker and Windows DVD Maker

Windows Vista versions of Movie and DVD Maker applications allow you to import, edit, and manage digital home videos and they also support the new HD format. The Movie Maker helps you create and manage video files and movies. Windows Movie Maker gives you maximum choice and control over the quality and size of your video files when you are encoding. It has a wide set of effects, titles and transitions that you can apply. Once you are done making the movie, you can use the Windows DVD Maker application that comes with Windows Vista to transfer your videos to a DVD format.

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