Windows Vista Beta 1

Windows Vista Beta 1

Summary: Take a look inside the forthcoming operating system from Microsoft. Although it's not due for release until late 2006, a few features are worth checking out.

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Windows Vista Take a look inside the forthcoming operating system from Microsoft. Although it's not due for release until late 2006, a few features are worth checking out.

Microsoft has released Windows Vista Beta 1 to a select group of testers. While many of the cosmetic touches (such as the finalised colour scheme and the ability to search files by metadata) won't be available until at least Beta 2 (expected later this year) or until early 2006, we'd like to give you an inside look at the new operating system. Unless you're a software developer, we don't recommend installing this beta. But if you do plan to load it, keep in mind that you'll need a powerful computer to run the Vista code. Read our preview of this Beta 1 release.

Better views
Boasting an enhanced graphics engine, Avalon, Vista renders complex images with more detail than before, producing photo-quality wallpaper for your desktop.

Start me up
The familiar Start menu, very similar to that found in Windows XP, returns in Vista. Apart from a new overall look and feel, Vista's real changes are inside the operating system: 64-bit addressable memory, searchable file metadata and improved graphics capabilities.

New accounting principles
Like XP, Vista allows multiple users of a single system to have individual accounts. Users can create or change their own passwords and decide whether to share files with others.

Enhancing security
An important security change within Vista will be a shift away from the Adminstrator as default. Every user will need to create an account, and those needing Administrator access will need to log in separately. Currently, the default user is Administrator, and this has allowed criminal hackers to attempt to take remote control of Windows XP machines.

A handier toolbox
The new control panel groups familiar tools for easier access. Vista uses a Web-like directory structure, with the main category in bold, and the individual tools listed below. Note how much more detail about each task is available in this updated view.

Familiar desktop environment
If you long for familiar screens, such as those of Windows XP, they're still there within Vista. Here's the 'classic' Control Panel.

Enhanced My Computer screen
The improved graphics capabilities shine in the My Computer screen, with brightly coloured graphs and graphics to illustrate the current state of your system.

New Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Vista
Although Microsoft bowed to market pressure and is releasing a version of Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP SP2, IE 7 for Vista remains one of the key selling points for this new operating system.

Enhanced My Pictures screen
Vista's new graphics engine, Avalon, allows detailed thumbnail views of all media files, eliminating the need to guess.

Sort your music
New search capabilities built into Vista make it easy to group and index your music files.

Search within files
Embedded within Vista is an integrated desktop search. You're not limited to just filename and file type; Vista will allow you to search for a variety of criteria, such as the bit depth and camera model information supplied by your digital camera.

Change your mind at any time
Windows Vista makes it easy to associate keywords, authors and ratings on the fly to almost any file. Every time you open a new file, save it to disk or even drag and drop it into a new folder, you have the opportunity to change the metadata. Metadata is important to Windows search, allowing you to find and access files that might otherwise become lost on your hard drive.

New paradigm for files
Although Windows Vista won't include the much-touted Windows File Structure (WinFS), it will still allow you to think outside the box. With Windows Vista, you'll be able to organise files into virtual stacks -- based on author, keywords or ratings -- without physically moving the files on your hard drive. For those of us who still remember DOS, this will take some getting used to, but for those who embrace this new concept, the possibilities become endless.

See what you delete
Thumbnail images aren't limited to graphics. Here, files marked for deletion are clearly visible, reducing the chance you'll make a mistake and delete the wrong file.

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Topics: Windows, Microsoft, Operating Systems

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27 comments
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  • Innovative and new?

    More eye candy. It only appears as though it's a dressed up XP. I've had linux desktops that had more functionality than that for several years now.
    anonymous
  • meh

    Microsoft finally enters the 21st century.
    anonymous
  • Interface looks so bright... so Maclike!

    Is it just me or is Windows becoming like a Mac? Except I worry that with all this tight integration between Microsoft and their WMP and MSN, where will it leave the many iPod users out there? I thought MS was becoming more integrated with other companies as seen in their Xbox 360 and MSN Messenger's support for iTunes Now Playing... I don't really want to be forced to use MSN Search nor do I want to be forced to use that new IE- Come to think of it, I can't think of any real reason why I'd want to upgrade Windows XP. Am I alone in this thought?
    anonymous
  • Hardly worth the wait

    If these are the most outstanding new features we can expect from Windows Vista, then I can hardly see the point of purchasing it. A few good freeware packages on top of XP-SP2 look like they could do the same job.

    Very disappointing Microsoft.
    anonymous
  • Same old same old

    Big whoopy do a new meta search, and a few new colors and icons. And we been waiting years for this? lol
    Seriously tho i dont see anything that makes it that exciting or worth the upgrade just the same old crap.
    anonymous
  • Windows Vista Beta 1

    Tend to agree. Not much new here. Linux, and my favorite, Tiger, still blow it away. How complex does an OS need to be? They just make a rod for their own back.
    anonymous
  • Hmm?

    Apple iPod is it's own fault for not working with Media Player. My Zen touch works with it.

    On the other hand. I like the new skin, but nothing else stands out on Vista.
    anonymous
  • it looks like KDE form mandrake 10.1 lol

    thay try do do something new by ripping ideas from others (fe. IE7 tab browsing)... lol
    all that "new" features u can have in KDE fe. by adding plugins and KDE Improvements and even more :-) ...

    my desktop looks far more better and is much more customable ... and its free !!!!

    look that
    http://www.kde-look.org/content/preview.php?preview=1&id=28476&file1=28476-1.jpg&file2=&file3=&name=Kde4+Mockup
    or
    http://www.kde-look.org/content/preview.php?preview=1&id=28369&file1=28369-1.png&file2=28369-2.png&file3=28369-3.png&name=Filebrowser+appearence
    or even
    http://www.kde-look.org/content/preview.php?preview=1&id=28725&file1=28725-1.png&file2=28725-2.png&file3=28725-3.png&name=KMetabar+%28Modified+Metabar+0.7%29

    so long windows vista:
    PS.
    Vista=V(irus's)+I(nfections)+S(pyware)+T(rojans)+A(dware)
    anonymous
  • *Yawn*

    So this is what all the buzz is about? A few more shiny bells and whistles? What I want to know is - will the system still slow to a crawl when I copy files to floppy?

    Thanks but no thanks. I'll stick with what I have.
    anonymous
  • What a palava

    I wont be upgrading, seriously whats the point. And i use Firefox so I couldnt care less about EI.
    anonymous
  • Vista acronym, LOL

    Ha ha, so true. :-)
    anonymous
  • Vista Name

    I like the "Longhorn" name better. Vista just doesnt quite appeal to me and maybe to others too.
    anonymous
  • More XPish than XP

    The folder design looks like a ripoff of Apple's OS X GUI to be honest. I think they've gone rather overboard with the candy rubbish and for existing users, it may even be less usable than XP. Perhaps it would appear more friendly to novice users, but from the point of view of an experienced Windows user, it's just more pointless rubbish that gets in the way of productivity.
    anonymous
  • The best wooden doors

    wood doors veneer, plywood, solid, molding doors.
    anonymous
  • Movin on...

    I dont even think I'm gonna stick with what I've got (XP)! Methinks it's time to switch to linux for my desktop as well as our servers...
    anonymous
  • Hasta la vista (out of memory)

    They must be joking. If they seriously think people will bye that. It requires 2 gig in memory just to have all the eye candy. That is only for the OS. Then add the software. Can't they code in redmond ?
    I bet an Vista look alike (windows manager) comes out quicker to Linux then it comes out to all naive Windows owners who still 'downgrades' to this. Why do i say downgrade. Well because you can't even copy your own legal bought CD/DVD's on it. All thanks to the music industry and DRM/Palladiaum and all that. If you want something simmilar to this whithout the cost. Go and download newest SUSE. Or get looking glass and get read freedom.
    anonymous
  • 1st out the gates

    Lets not forget MS was first out the gates with this interface and virtual folders. They previewed virtual folders 2 years before apple released it. Alpha versions of the Vista Os have been around for a while. All linux can do is play catch up with the MS UI and never get ahead. If it wasnt for MS pushing linux, linux would be half of what it is today. Dont mock windows/Ms entirely, they do some good.
    anonymous
  • 1st out the gates

    Lets not forget MS was first out the gates with this interface and virtual folders. They previewed virtual folders 2 years before apple released it. Alpha versions of the Vista Os have been around for a while. All linux can do is play catch up with the MS UI and never get ahead. If it wasnt for MS pushing linux, linux would be half of what it is today. Dont mock windows/Ms entirely, they do some good.
    anonymous
  • 1st out the gates

    Lets not forget MS was first out the gates with this interface and virtual folders. They previewed virtual folders 2 years before apple released it. Alpha versions of the Vista Os have been around for a while. All linux can do is play catch up with the MS UI and never get ahead. If it wasnt for MS pushing linux, linux would be half of what it is today. Dont mock windows/Ms entirely, they do some good.
    anonymous
  • Might want to wait...

    For the (more than likely public) Beta 2? It's well known that Beta 1 doesn't include all of the new features available in Vista, so writing it off now smacks of being a blind fanboy.

    Come on people - at least wait until the last "feature complete" version (when you actually have more information) before firing up the flamethrowers.
    anonymous