Windows Vista - An inside Look by CNET
This is one of the best in-depth overviews of what Microsoft's next generation Operating System will reflect. I'm definitely anxious to try this out in the futre and we're saving up for a new family PC, so that we have the right hardware to enjoy the new graphics and other capabilities that are coming in early 2007.
Windows Vista - An inside Look by CNET
Note - There are 4 pages for this in-depth article (use page links at bottom)
Windows Vista - Security & Networking Overview (page 3)
Some of the key summariries are quoted below, but the whole article is informative and worthwhile reading:
Windows Desktop Manager
The next version of Windows brings an end to 20 years of 2D desktop rendering. Windows Aero is actually just a theme, or skin type, used by the Desktop Windows Manager, a new graphical system built into Windows Presentation Foundation. While Windows Vista is Microsoft's DirectX 10 vehicle, the 3D Desktop Windows Manager requires only DirectX 9.0. The switch to 3D rendering means that Windows will now have a use for that fancy $400 graphics card on the desktop.
Aero is Microsoft's new default 3D desktop theme. Gone are the bright blues and smooth color gradients of Windows XP. The new transparent Aero theme features subdued colors and unobtrusive, rounded corners ready for the Web 2.0 era. Transparencies and soft fade effects give Aero a polished look. The borders of each window blur objects lying under them, leaving the window you are working on in focus while giving you a hint of what lies beneath. It's all very pretty.
Graphics card requirements
Windows Vista doesn't have official minimum system requirements yet, but Microsoft has recommended at least 512MB of memory, a "modern" Intel or AMD processor and a DirectX 9.0 graphics card for the current Windows Vista Beta 1. You'll need to have the right hardware to get the full Windows Vista experience.
Windows Vista was supposed to come with WinFS, a systemwide relational database designed to make file navigation more enjoyable than playing on your Xbox 360. Microsoft had to cut WinFS out of the release in order to meet the launch schedule, but it should be available as a download for both Windows Vista and Windows XP once it's released. A pervasive database lets users and programmers create deep relationships between files. Imagine instead of just finding a folder full of pictures, you could easily find pictures with only you in them, from specific dates, and even certain events--all at the same time. That's what WinFS is supposed to do.
Windows Vista will also let you save searches as a virtual folder. When you open the folder, it runs the search to populate the folder with items. By running the search in real-time, the virtual folder will be able to catch and display all the new files that meet the search criteria. Virtual folders don't recopy your files, so you can safely delete the virtual folder without losing any data. Microsoft's new metatag feature will help you better organize your files by allowing you to attach description "tags" to a file to make it easier to find and organize.
Microsoft has overhauled the Windows Start Menu to make it easier to find and access programs. The left side of the menu displays the most recently used programs, and the All Programs menu selection at the bottom now transforms the entire left menu area into a program-navigation menu, instead of opening an unwieldy navigation menu that expands rightward.
Security (see page 3 link above for a more indepth overview)
If you've used Windows XP in the last few years, you know security hasn't exactly been its strong suit. Numerous folks have shown that an unprotected PC with a fresh install of Windows XP can be compromised within minutes of being connected to the Internet. Microsoft has released a series of security updates and service pack releases over the years, but it has been tough keeping up when all the black hats are gunning for you. You can find a plethora of antivirus, antispyware, and malware companies shilling their wares to make up for the inadequacies of the PC operating system.
The new OS comes with an upgraded, built-in firewall, new user-access protocols, a more secure version of Internet Explorer, a new version of Windows Defender, and sports new features like parental controls, full-drive encryption, and device-driver blocking.
For Windows Vista, Microsoft tweaked the user accounts to offer extra privileges, while reserving critical privileges for special use on the administrator account. Users should now be able to run all programs and change minor settings without being logged in as the administrator. To enhance security further, even if you log in as an administrator, Vista will automatically prompt the user for the proper credentials before continuing with a program's request.
Windows Vista will come with a completely reworked networking stack. The next-generation TCP/IP stack will work with IPv4 and IPv6, and will also support auto-tuning and quality-of-service features. Wireless traffic will receive numerous boosts in technology to better accommodate for lost packets, bad signals, and large amounts of electromagnetic interference. All these features boil down to better, more-consistent transfer rates for your existing Internet connection.
Microsoft rebuilt its Direct3D API from scratch for Windows Vista, and Direct3D10 will serve as the base for all future Direct3D innovations throughout the life span of the Windows Vista operating system. Because the Direct3D10 foundation has to serve game developers through the next decade, Windows Vista will streamline and open up Direct3D with several forward-looking features that will help programmers create better games and get more performance out of PC hardware.