Features of Windows Vista - Part 2

New and Upgraded Vista Applications

Windows Mail
Windows Mail replaces Outlook Express, the email client in previous Windows versions. It has the Phishing Filter like IE7 and a Bayesian junk mail filtering, which is updated monthly via Windows Update. Also, e-mail messages are now stored as individual files rather than in a binary database to reduce frequent corruption and make messages searchable in real-time. Backing up and restoring account setup information, configuration and mail store is now made easier. It does however omit some features of Outlook Express , such as a "Block sender" for Usenet access. Windows Mail is itself being replaced with Windows Live Mail.

Windows Contacts
A new unified contact and personal information management application, replaces Windows Address Book (WAB). It is based on a new XML based file format where each contact appears as an individual .contact file, and features extensibility APIs for integration with other applications. It can store custom information related to contacts, including display pictures. The legacy *.wab format and the open standard *.vcf (vCard) and *.csv (Comma separated values) file formats are also supported.

Windows Calendar
The new calendar application that is included in Windows Vista. It supports the popular iCalendar format as well as sharing, subscribing and publishing of calendars on WebDAV-enabled web servers and network shares.

Windows Fax and Scan
Windows Fax and Scan is an integrated faxing and scanning application. With this users can send and receive faxes, fax or email scanned documents and forward faxes as email attachments from the computer. It replaces (or enhances) the 'Fax Services' component which was available as an optional component in Windows XP. It is available by default in the Ultimate edition and is also available in the Business and Enterprise editions. By connecting a scanner and a fax-capable modem to the computer, users can preview documents before scanning them and can choose to directly fax or email the scanned documents. The user interface resembles that of 'Windows Mail' with preview pane, tree views etc.

Windows Meeting Space
Windows Meeting Space, the replacement for NetMeeting, is a peer-to-peer (p2p) collaboration application. Users can share applications (or their entire desktop) with other users on the local network, or over the Internet. Windows Meeting Space allows sharing of the desktop with other co-workers, distribution and collaborative editing of documents, and passing notes to other participants. Windows Meeting Space automatically finds other users using People Near Me, a technology that uses WS-Discovery to see other users on a local network.

Paint has new features such as a crop function and the undo limit has been raised from 3 to 10.

WordPad now supports the Text Services Framework, using which Windows Speech Recognition is implemented. Therefore, it is possible to dictate text in WordPad, and similar other applications which support RichEdit.

Sound Recorder
Sound Recorder has been rewritten and now supports recording clips of any length and saving them as WMA. However, saving to WAV format is not supported except in the N editions of Windows Vista.

Snipping Tool
Snipping Tool, first introduced in Experience Pack for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition 2005, is a screen-capture tool that allows for taking screen shots (called snips) of windows, rectangular areas, or free-form areas. Snips can then be annotated, saved (as an image file or HTML page), or e-mailed.

Magnifier Accessibility Tool
The Magnifier accessibility tool uses WPF, which in turn uses vector images to render the content. As a result, the rendered magnified image is sharp and not pixelated.However, this applies only to WPF applications. Non-WPF applications are still magnified the traditional way. Microsoft has also released a Magnification API to allow assistive technology applications to use the Magnifier engine.

Windows Photo Gallery
Windows Photo Gallery, a photo and video library management application. It can import from digital cameras, tag and rate individual pictures including custom metadata. It also allows basic editing of images, such as adjusting color and exposure, resizing, cropping, red-eye reduction and printing. Slideshows, with pan, fade and other effects, can also be created, and burnt to DVD. It allows custom metadata to be added to images and videos, and enables searching by the attributes. It also supports RAW images natively and can open and organize any image format for which image codecs are installed in the Windows Imaging Component. Images and videos may be viewed in the Windows Photo Gallery Viewer with options to zoom, pan and losslessly rotate images, pause or play videos, and bring up the Info pane to view and edit metadata about a photo or video. ICC V4 color profiles embedded in images are also supported. The Photo Print Wizard has been improved to offer a lot of customizability.

Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker supports smooth Direct3D-based effects and transitions, editing and outputting HD video, importing recorded DVR-MS format videos, as well as burning the output movie on a CD. In Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate editions, it can output video to Windows DVD Maker for creating DVD-Video discs. New effects and transitions have been added. All Windows Vista Movie Maker versions require pixel shader hardware support.
Windows DVD Maker, a DVD creation application. Applications can also pass an XML file to DVD maker for authoring and burning.

Minesweeper, Solitaire, Hearts, FreeCell and Spider Solitaire have been updated and rewritten to take advantage of Windows Vista's new graphics capabilities. Also included are new games, namely, Purble Place, Chess Titans and Mahjong Titans. InkBall, a game previously available only with Windows XP Tablet PC Edition, has been included and can also be played using a mouse. Pinball has been dropped. As of the consumer launch of 30th January 2007, users of the Ultimate edition of Windows Vista can also download Texas Hold 'Em Poker as an Ultimate Extra.

Windows Internet Explorer 7
Windows Vista includes the latest version of Internet Explorer, which adds support for tabbed browsing, Atom, RSS, internationalized domain names, a search box, a phishing filter, an anti-spoofing URL engine, fine-grained control over ActiveX add-ons, thumbnails of all open tabs in a single window (called Quick Tabs), page zoom, and tab groups. Tab groups make it possible to open a folder of Favorites in tabs with a single click. Importing bookmarks and cookies from other web browsers is also supported. Additionally, there is now proper support for PNG images with transparency as well as improvements and fixes to CSS and HTML rendering. The Windows RSS Platform offers native RSS support, with developer APIs.

On Windows Vista, Internet Explorer operates in a special "Protected Mode", which runs the browser in a security sandbox that has no access to the rest of the operating system or file system, except the Temporary Internet Files folder. This feature aims to mitigate problems whereby newly-discovered flaws in the browser (or in ActiveX controls hosted inside it) allowed hackers to subversively install software on the user's computer (typically spyware).

Windows Media Player 11
Windows Media Player 11, which is also available on Windows XP, features a fully revamped interface. Windows Media Player 11 in Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate Editions natively supports playback of HD DVD. Specifically, Windows Vista supports the MMC-5 commands, the driver commands for the AACS content protection scheme, as well as the UDF file system. Windows Vista Home Premium and Ultimate Editions also natively include the VC-1 and the MPEG-2 video decoders, as well as the Dolby Digital (AC-3) 5.1 audio decoder. H.264 video and other multichannel surround sound audio standards still require third party decoders.[16][17] Blu-ray Disc playback also requires third-party components to be installed. The Media Library is now presented without the category trees which were prominent in the earlier versions. Rather, on selecting the category in the left pane, the contents appear on the right, in a graphical manner with thumbnails—a stark departure from textual presentation of information. Search has been upgraded to be much faster.

Other features of Windows Media Player 11 include

Stacking allows graphical viewing of how many albums exist in a specific category of music. The pile appears larger as the category contains more albums.

Media Sharing
Media Sharing - which allows one to share their Media library and make it accessible to other PCs running Windows Vista, Xbox 360, or networked Media Receivers.

Word Wheel
Searches and displays results as characters are being entered, without waiting for Enter key to be hit. Results are refined based on further characters that are typed.
CD Burning - CD burning now shows a graphical bar showing how much space will be used on the disc.

The new music store from Microsoft and MTV networks is integrated with the player. As of October 28, 2007, the URGE service was discontinued when it merged with Rhapsody; the link in WMP11 remains but is no longer functional. In order to use Rhapsody, a separate download is required.

Global Status
Global status shows a broad overview of what the player is doing. The information presented include status information regarding buffering, ripping, burning and synchronization.
RSS feed support through the integrated feed store that comes with Internet Explorer 7.

Windows Media Player 11 for Windows Vista is a super set of features of what is in the version for previous Windows versions.

Written Under :: Labels: , , , , |