eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista

 
 
By eweek  |  Posted 2012-05-28
 
 
 

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista

Central to Vistas new facility for finding things is the systems overhauled indexing engine, which improves upon the indexing service of elder Windows versions by offering much greater speed, the capability to index more sorts of data and pervasi

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - View All Search Results

We found that, in Vista, the fastest way to find what we were seeking was to open the Start Menu and type into the search box at the lower left corner. As we typed, Vista returned results right in the Start Menu pane. From there we could select one

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - View All Search Results

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Saved Search Folders

We could also save our searches as virtual folders, which would update themselves as new results appeared in the index. For instance, Vista ships with a few premade search folders, such as Recently Changed, which returns recently mod

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Saved Search Folders

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Indexing Engine

For parsing different file types, Vistas indexing service depends on the same IFilters used by Microsofts other indexing engines, such as the one for its SharePoint Server and that for its Windows Desktop Search add-on for Windows XP.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Indexing Engine

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Indexing and Power Options

Another performance-related concern attached to the indexing service is its potential effect on battery life; reading from changed files on disk and writing to the index mean more activity and shorter battery life. From Vistas Power Options config

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Indexing and Power Options

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Overhauled Explorer

Windows Vista sports a heavily overhauled Explorer file manager that offers up several ways to view and organize files based on their metadata. We could assign bits of metadata, such as tags, stars or author names, through a new pane at the bottom

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Overhauled Explorer

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Organize with Metadata

We could opt to view these bits of metadata in columns alongside traditional attribute columns such as file type or date modified, and we could also view our files split into metadata-based groups or stacks.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Organize with Metadata

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Add Metadata from File Dialog

Until applications begin doing a better job creating metadata automatically for the files they create, users will have to spend time adding this information themselves. For certain Vista applications, the system offers a new file open and save dialog

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Add Metadata from File Dialog

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Where Did the Menu Bar Go?

We found that Explorers interface has changed enough to make it confusing to use, at least initially. The familiar Explorer menu bar—File, Edit, View, Tools, Help—is hidden by default in the new Explorer, and we found ourselves fumbling ar

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Where Did the Menu Bar Go?

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - New Address Bar

Explorer now features a new sort of address bar that makes it easier to navigate the nest of folders in which you find yourself, but only once youve gotten used to it. Expect to spend a bit of time adjusting to the new Explorer.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - New Address Bar

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Control Panel Search

In Vista, the number of control panel items has continued to grow larger, but Microsoft has paired its configuration tool categorization efforts with integrated search, which makes finding the tool you know exists a lot faster than scanning through a

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Control Panel Search

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Control Panel Helpfulness

Vistas control panel keeps track of recent configuration tasks youve undertaken and keeps a list of the last three in the lower left corner of the control panel.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Control Panel Helpfulness

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - More Control Panel Helpfulness

Helpful, as well, is the control panels knack for offering up links to configuration tools related to the one youre using. For instance, in the screen on which we could select a power management plan, a left-side panel listed links for requiring

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - More Control Panel Helpfulness

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Some Configuration Option Snags

There are a few places where the interface changes have, to our displeasure, created extra steps to perform some common operations. For instance, in XP we are accustomed to checking the IP address and other network adapter status information and to

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Some Configuration Option Snags

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - A Less Awkward Command Line

The state of the command line has improved considerably in Vista. Vistas directory naming conventions, for instance, are much improved from a command-line users perspective—gone is Documents and Settings and the My**QTE*

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - A Less Awkward Command Line

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Windows Mixer

Vista includes a new volume mixer tool that allowed us to control the volume of Windows system sounds and those of individual open applications independently, which comes in handy as the number of sound-producing applications on ones system conti

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Windows Mixer

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Mobility Center

Vista now includes a new control dialog, called the Mobility Center, which collects configuration options related to tablet or notebook PC use—such as battery, Wi-Fi radio and file synchronization controls—into a single location for ease

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Mobility Center

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Show Numbers

With a microphone attached to our machine, we could say Show numbers, and the application in the foreground would appear with numbers superimposed on all of the applications buttons and fields. We could then press a button or enter a

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Show Numbers

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Dictation Correction

While dictating to our Vista test machine, we could correct words and phrases that Vista had recognized incorrectly by choosing from a list of similar words or phrases that we might have meant.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Dictation Correction

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Previous Versions

Vista inherits from Windows Server 2003 a nifty feature known as Previous Versions—we could right-click on a file or folder, choose the Previous Versions tab, and check out a list of earlier versions of that file or folder, each coinciding with

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Previous Versions

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Sidebar

Another new feature on the Vista usability front is the systems Sidebar, which hosts mini-applications much like those that reside in Mac OS Xs Dashboard. There is probably opportunity here for some interesting, in-house-developed applets, but we

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Sidebar

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Event Viewer

After we launched Vistas overhauled Event Viewer, the tool scanned our systems logs and presented us with a summary of events that were grouped into Errors, Warnings, Informational Items, Audit Successes and Audit Failures, with counts of each ev

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Event Viewer

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Custom Event View

We could create custom views based both on individual system logs and on particular event sources from within different system logs. For instance, it took less than a minute for us to point and click our way through the creation of a custom view pr

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Custom Event View

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Reliability and Performance Monitor

Another Vista diagnostic addition that caught our eye is the systems new Reliability and Performance Monitor, which offers a summary view of the current load on a machines CPU, memory, disk and networking systems, as well as the option of drillin

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Reliability and Performance Monitor

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Performance Charts

We could also create customized performance charts drawing on a large number of network, disk, CPU and memory counter types reflecting either current load information or load data from saved logs. And we could include information both from our loca

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Performance Charts

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Reliability Monitor

Vista also now contains a Reliability Monitor tool that displays a graph over time of software we had installed and uninstalled, system restore points we had set, and all manner of error events that had occurred.

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Reliability Monitor

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - System Configuration

Also worthy of mention is the Vista tool called System Configuration, which does a great job of concentrating important system facilities and options into a very slim tool. From this application, we could opt to restart in a diagnosti

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - System Configuration

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Task Manager

We appreciate the changes Microsoft has made to Vistas Task Manager, which now sports a Services tab and offers up more information in its Processes tab, including the command-line item with which each process is associated and a brief description

eWEEK Labs Walk-Through: Microsoft Vista - Task Manager

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