Additional Features

By Peter Galli  |  Posted 2005-12-19 Print this article Print

Also in this latest build is the ability to use group policy to control storage devices like USB Flash drives, which gives administrators a centralized way to control and block the use of these devices with their machine, Boettcher said. Internet Explorer will also now have a feature that allows the detection, across international languages, of characters in the URL that are not in that specific language.
"These are really important features and we want a lot of testing and feedback around them," he said.
The December CTP, which shipped Monday and would also be available via MSDN later in the day, also brought changes to the Vista User Interface with this build, showing greater transparency and animation, with even more to come going forward. "You will see a lot of progress towards the Aero user interface, from transparent glass to across the media center interface as well as to the Media Player 11." Robert McLaws, president of Interscape Technologies, said he expects the Vista user interface changes in the December CTP to garner the most attention among testers. He also said the new Windows Defender anti-spyware functionality "is really slick" in the way that it applies multiple changes all at once. McLaws biggest question, going forward, however, is how Microsoft plans to incorporate tester feedback into future Vista builds. "As they [Microsoft] are freight-training toward feature-complete, what will happen when testers suggest new features? Will they do bug fixes only?" McLaws asked. This is the third Windows Vista CTP released so far, and the program is resulting in the Windows team getting better and more feedback than for any other Windows build. Microsoft is looking forward to getting more feedback on this CTP build as well as on the feature complete product, which will be ready by the end of this year and will be released early next year to testers as the next CTP build. But Boettcher declined to say what features were not yet included in the CTP build. On the performance and reliability front, this CTP build would bring the single on/off button for Vista, with the default mode being a sleep mode that would have a quick response time when turned back on. Also included in this latest build is Super Cache, an algorithm that speeds up individual uses of the machine by keeping those functions most used in a cache. Users will now also be able to use extended memory for this in Vista, such as with a USB Flash drive, "which will be a great way to leverage the performance of your PC," he said. eWEEK first reported on this new feature in September. Jim Allchin, Microsofts then group vice president of platforms, told eWEEK in an interview at the Professional Developers Conference in Los Angeles about a feature known as Windows SuperFetch, which enhanced the virtual memory system and optimized the system based on its user history. Click here to read more from the interview with Allchin. Vista will allow memory to be automatically added to the system when a device like a USB flash memory extension is inserted. The data will not be lost if the stick is removed, Allchin said, adding that users will get better performance if there is a USB 2.0 connection to the flash versus a USB 1.0, because performance drops if the port is slower. "SuperFetch lets us optimize memory so that even though we are adding more code to the system [through new features], the performance is actually better," he said at the time. CTP testers will also get to see BitLocker, a feature for full volume encryption, fully encrypted all information on the hard drive, including the operating system and uses a chip-set known as the Trusted Platform Module. "If a machine is locked it is rendered useless to whoever takes it," Boettcher said. Check out eWEEK.coms for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Peter Galli has been a financial/technology reporter for 12 years at leading publications in South Africa, the UK and the US. He has been Investment Editor of South Africa's Business Day Newspaper, the sister publication of the Financial Times of London.

He was also Group Financial Communications Manager for First National Bank, the second largest banking group in South Africa before moving on to become Executive News Editor of Business Report, the largest daily financial newspaper in South Africa, owned by the global Independent Newspapers group.

He was responsible for a national reporting team of 20 based in four bureaus. He also edited and contributed to its weekly technology page, and launched a financial and technology radio service supplying daily news bulletins to the national broadcaster, the South African Broadcasting Corporation, which were then distributed to some 50 radio stations across the country.

He was then transferred to San Francisco as Business Report's U.S. Correspondent to cover Silicon Valley, trade and finance between the US, Europe and emerging markets like South Africa. After serving that role for more than two years, he joined eWeek as a Senior Editor, covering software platforms in August 2000.

He has comprehensively covered Microsoft and its Windows and .Net platforms, as well as the many legal challenges it has faced. He has also focused on Sun Microsystems and its Solaris operating environment, Java and Unix offerings. He covers developments in the open source community, particularly around the Linux kernel and the effects it will have on the enterprise.

He has written extensively about new products for the Linux and Unix platforms, the development of open standards and critically looked at the potential Linux has to offer an alternative operating system and platform to Windows, .Net and Unix-based solutions like Solaris.

His interviews with senior industry executives include Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer, Linus Torvalds, the original developer of the Linux operating system, Sun CEO Scot McNealy, and Bill Zeitler, a senior vice president at IBM.

For numerous examples of his writing you can search under his name at the eWEEK Website at


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