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The Vista of Choice

01 Aug 06

David Rayner, Microsoft New Zealand’s client product marketing manager for Windows Vista, talks to The Channel about Microsoft’s new operating system.

What’s new and different about Windows Vista?

Windows Vista is unlike any operating system we’ve used before. It’s a new high performance, next generation platform that is secure, reliable and able to integrate with a wide range of hardware and software. With Vista, security is enhanced, everyday tasks are a lot easier to perform and search functionality has increased tenfold, with advanced integrated desktop search capabilities allowing users to search for a wide range of documents and media files quickly.

Tell us more about this in-built search functionality?

One great search feature in Windows Vista is Instant Search, a new tool located in the Start Menu which can be used to search your entire computer and is accessible in any Window you are working in. Plus in Windows Vista you can also edit file properties to make it easier to find the item you are looking for next time. For example you could add the word ‘Christmas’ to a video or a group of photos taken during the festive season. To retrieve these photographs at a later date, simply type Christmas into Instant Search box. Vista also allows Search Folders to be created so that complex searches can be saved for future use.

We have heard that ‘gadgets’ are included in Windows Vista. What is a gadget?

Gadgets are a new feature in Windows Vista. They are effectively mini-applications that sit on your desktop. They are great fun and can be created to serve certain purposes. For example you can have a gadget that connects to web services to deliver weather information, news updates or even traffic maps. Other types of gadgets include games, calculators, notes and calendars. Gadgets live in the Windows Sidebar to the right of your screen however they are also able to be moved around your desktop. In New Zealand several developers are already building gadgets for use in Windows Vista.

What are the key businesses challenges and opportunities that Vista addresses?

There are many. When selling to business customers it’s important to find a solution to the challenges your client is facing as well as providing opportunities for future growth. Vista has been developed with this in mind. In today’s competitive workplace, businesses confront security, compliance and productivity challenges on a daily basis. Add to that the increasing demand for mobility tools that enable a mobile workforce to roam securely and you can see the many opportunities for partners to support their clients.

Infrastructure optimisation is another challenge that businesses face. Windows Vista allows IT professionals to reduce the time associated with maintaining infrastructure. Deployment is significantly faster and very simple to achieve due to the Windows Imaging format. Furthermore, the Application Compatibility Toolkit will help administrators identify and resolve issues with non-standard applications being migrated to Vista.

All businesses want a reduced total cost of ownership of their PCs. Windows Vista helps achieve this through increased automation of tasks, improved diagnostics and simplified management with Web services for Management and Microsoft Management Console 3.0.

What will home users like about Vista?

Everyone is likely to enjoy range of digital entertainment options and the enhanced security and performance of the operating system. Home entertainment enthusiasts will be happy to hear that Media Centre now comes as part of Windows Vista Home Premium, giving users the ability to access music, photographs and recorded shows throughout their home.

Windows Photo Gallery, that lets people edit, print, share and transfer photographs from the camera to the computer and the new Windows Calendar, are sure to both become favourites too. Windows Calendar is built into the operating system and can help families synchronise their lives with schedules, recurring appointments and personal task lists that are easily created. Each family member can have their own calendar and these can be shared so that families or friends can coordinate their schedules. Windows Mail is another useful application for consumers and also includes an Instant Search box that lets users search through their emails as well as a junk email filter and a phishing filter that can detect fraudulent links in emails from online scam artists.

Windows Movie Maker is sure to interest the kids and new tools allow users to now include photographs, narration and soundtracks to their personal movies. For the gaming enthusiasts, the new Game Folder makes it easier to play and manage games. This display folder can be located from the start menu for easy access. Finally, parents are sure to love the new Family Safety Settings which will help them keep their children safe.

In next month’s edition we’ll switch our focus to an in-depth look at the business issues addressed by innovative security and mobility features in Windows Vista as well looking at the family safety settings that parents are sure to love.

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