Vista might change the
way we search our networks"> Microsoft has shown a fairly compelling demonstration of the use of Virtual Folders and desktop searches as important new tools for Vista. But in my limited testing, I havent been able to make these work in the same, positive way. Instead, what I have on my Vista desktop right now is a confusing mess. Its frustrating to be playing with a new feature as important as meta data searching and persistent search folders and not have them working as Id like. I expect it to be fixed in Beta 2.It will be a while before I can decide whether Microsoft or Apple has the better implementation of these features. Microsofts desktop search capabilities seem much richer, at least potentially.My impression is that searching on Microsoft Vista will dramatically change how we find information across entire networks. But Ill reserve judgment until Beta 2, when there should be much more evidence, as well as in the final release next year. I mention the UI and search capabilities first because they are what most users will immediately notice about Windows Vista. I also mention them first because until now, most of the attention given the OS has dealt with security features. Vista will be an important measure for Microsoft. Click here to read more. Many of these security improvements are visible only "under the covers" if they are even visible at all. I cannot, for example, verify that Microsoft has added software to watch port usage to prevent malware from having legitimate pieces of software do bad things. But, I accept that its there (or will be before final release). Likewise, I dont "see" how Microsoft has reduced the "threat surface" in this OS, but when they explain it, I listen and nod approvingly. With Windows Vista, it appears Microsoft has implemented most of what a modern OS should have in the way of basic security features, That is, they have locked down the system to make it more difficult for malware to do damage. One thing I likeeven if its a bit troublesome to use in Beta 1is how Vista now limits permissions and asks for an admin password before it will do potentially damaging things, such as installing an application. Over time, Microsoft believes it will be possible for users to run with "only" user permissions, rather than the administrator privileges most find necessary today thanks to poorly-written applications. With Windows Vista, Microsoft is inching closer to a self-healing system. Vista will do more to report problems and download solutions. Progress in this area has been slow thus far, so I am not getting my hopes up. Having talked some about the "clear" and "confident" aspects of Windows Vista, I havent had time to do much with the "connected" features, perhaps because I didnt find Vista a happy client on my Small Business Server network. At this early moment, I like Microsoft Vista more than I expected I would. Even if Beta 1 doesnt actually do very much, its filled with many hints of a better operating system to come. If you dont have a copy of Beta 1, you arent missing too much. While every decent-sized IT department ought to be playing with Vista, that doesnt mean most admins or systems people should be. Users are best off just reading about Beta 1 and waiting anxiously for Beta 2. By then, Windows Vista could be a really great OS. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.