Features of Windows Vista - Part 5

Color management

Windows Vista features Windows Color System (WCS), a platform for color management. Its goal is to obtain color consistency across various software and hardware, including cameras, monitors, printers and scanners. Different devices interpret the same colors differently, according to their software and hardware configurations. As a result, they must be properly calibrated to reproduce colors consistently across different devices. WCS aims to make this process of color calibration automatic and transparent, as an evolution of ICC Color Profiles.

Windows Color System is based on a completely new Color Infrastructure and Translation Engine (CITE). It is backed up by a new color processing pipeline that supports bit-depths more than 32 bits per pixel, multiple color channels (more than 3), alternative color spaces and high dynamic range coloring, using a technology named Kyuanos developed by Canon. The color processing pipeline allows device developers to add their own gamut mapping algorithm into the pipeline to customize the color response of the device. The new pipeline also uses floating point calculations to minimize round-off losses, which are inherent in integer processing. Once the color pipeline finishes processing the colors, the CITE engine applies a color transform according to a color profile, specific to a device to ensure the output color matches to what is expected.

WCS features explicit support for LCD as well as CRT monitors, projectors, printers, and other imaging devices and provides customized support for each. WCS uses color profiles according to the CIE Color Appearance Model recommendation (CIECAM02), defined using XML, to define how the color representation actually translates to a visible color. ICC V4 color profiles are also supported. Windows Photo Gallery and Photo Viewer, Windows Imaging Component, the HD Photo format, XPS print path and XPS documents all support color management.

Mobile computing

Some significant changes have been made to Windows Vista for mobile computing.

Power management

In Windows Vista, a Sleep power state replaces Standby mode and is active by default. When chosen, this new Sleep mode saves information from the computer's memory to the hibernation file on disk, but instead of turning off the computer, it simultaneously enters Standby mode. If power is lost during Sleep mode, the system resumes from the existing hibernate image on disk. On a laptop, after the specified amount of time, it shuts down (hibernates). Sleep mode, thus, offers the benefits of fast suspend and resume when in Standby mode and relatively faster resuming and reliability when resuming from hibernation instead of a complete reboot, in case of power loss.

Also, in earlier Windows versions, drivers sometimes prevented Windows from entering or reliably resuming from a power-saving state. This problem has been solved in Windows Vista. Applications can disable sleep idle timers when needed such as when burning discs or recording media. Away mode, which is not a power plan by itself but a feature, automatically turns off displays, video rendering and sound but keeps the computer working when the user is away from the computer. Optionally, it can also switch to sleep mode. Advanced power settings can be configured using the Control Panel. Power settings are also configurable through Group Policy.

The battery icon in the notification area has been improved to let the user more easily select a "Power plan". "Presentation Settings", through the Transient Multimon Manager (TMM), allow saving of display preferences when an external display such as a projector or external monitor is connected. The setting can be restored when the same device is re-connected later. Presentation settings are available only on mobile computers.

Beginning with Windows Vista Service Pack 1, the operating system can turn off periodic VSync interrupt counting of CPU when the screen is not being refreshed from new graphics or mouse activity. This can result in significant energy savings

Other mobility enhancements

Windows Mobility Center is a new control panel available only on mobile computers that centralizes relevant information and configuration. It is extensible so that hardware manufacturers can add further capabilities to control other features specific to their hardware.

Windows Mobile Device Center centralizes management of external mobile devices. It includes a basic RNDIS driver to make simple connections to mobile devices. For complete functionality including synchronization of tasks, calendar data, contacts, email etc. with Microsoft Office Outlook, a driver needs to be downloaded. Synchronization with Windows Mail, Windows Calendar or Windows Contacts is not supported. Whenever a Windows Mobile device is connected, the Mobile Device Center pane pops up giving options to manage media and other files on the device, as well as control their settings.

A new Windows Portable Devices API has been introduced to communicate with attached media and all portable devices such as mobile phones, portable media players, PDAs etc.

Sync Center is a centralized location which provides an organized summary view of any sync partnership users have created for synchronizing data and files, such as mobile devices, network syncing (offline files), portable media devices and so on. While the earlier promised ability to automatically synchronize files among computers using peer-to-peer technology is not included, a powertoy, SyncToy, is available that supports synchronizing local and network files.

Windows SideShow is a new technology that lets Windows Vista drive a small external display that is built into the outside of a mobile PC's lid. The display can be updated with a number of different kinds of information, such as contacts, maps, calendar, and email. This can then be consulted while the mobile PC is otherwise powered down.

All the features from Windows XP Tablet PC Edition have been included. New features include gestures and pen flicks. There is intrinsic support for handwriting and ink, via the Ink Analysis API. A new control, the InkCanvas is made available by the API to add ink support to applications. Ink support can not only recognize handwriting and formatting, but also hand-drawn shapes which are converted to vector-graphics, rendered as the shape that was intended to be drawn.

An update for Windows XP Tablet PC Edition containing Ink Analysis and StylusInput API support is also available. Support for touchscreens is also included.