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Frequently Asked Questions /Quick Guide
Windows Vista

Revision - 3.0

Windows Vista

Q: What is Windows Vista?

A: Windows Vista is the official name for the release of Windows that followed Windows XP and the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows client operating system. Vista was in development for the past four to five years, it features vast improvements to the desktop including a graphically rich interface called Windows AERO, Instant Search capabilities, enhanced Security, Multimedia, 64-bit computing, improved deployment and tighter integration with the Web through new features such as Sidebar Gadgets and Really Simple Syndication (RSS). Included in Vista are new under the hood features such as Windows Presentation and Communication Foundations and the .NET Framework 3 for creating powerful, connected and more secure applications.

Q: What is “Longhorn"?

A: “Longhorn" was the codename for the release of Microsoft Windows following Windows XP, which officially now is "Windows Vista". Microsoft often uses codenames to refer to unreleased products until a final commercial product name is determined. For comparison, Windows XP was codenamed “Whistler” during its development.

Q: How can I obtain Windows Vista?

A: Volume License customers can acquire Windows Vista through Software Assurance/Enterprise Agreements, while consumers can now get the software on new PCs and retail copies anywhere software and PC's are sold. 

Q: How much does Windows Vista cost?

A: Pricing ranges from $199 to $399 USD.
Learn more here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/editions/default.mspx

SKU

FULL VERSION (RETAIL)

UPGRADE (RETAIL

Starter Edition

N/A (OEM)

N/A (OEM)

Home Basic

$199.95

$99

Home Premium

$239.95

$159.95

Business

$299.95

$199.95

Enterprise

N/A (Software Assurance)

N/A (Software Assurance)

Ultimate

$399

$259.95

 

Q: When was the official name of Windows Vista released?

A: It was first released at the Microsoft Global Business Conference in Atlanta on July 21, 2005. ActiveWin was the first website to break the news to the web. Microsoft officially announced the name to the public on July 22, 2005.

Q: When was "Windows Vista” released?

A: Windows Vista was released to manufacturing (RTM) in November of 2006 to businesses. Vista was launched for consumer’s world wide simultaneously along with Office 2007 January 30th 2007 in New York City at the KODAK Theatre.

(Microsoft Announces 2006 Target Date for Broad Availability Of Windows Longhorn Client Operating System)

Q: Where is more information about the release?

A: An official video of the announcement is available.

Q: What is the official Microsoft Windows Vista website?


A:  http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/default.mspx


Q: I am a developer, not a consumer. What is the Windows Vista developer website?


A: http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/


Q: Can I see some screenshots of Windows Vista builds?

A: ActiveWin.com has posted a variety of screenshots of Windows Vista builds. You can view Build #5048 (WinHEC 2005), 4074 (WinHEC 2004), and PDC 2003 Early Longhorn Preview (set 2) screenshots. Also screenshots for builds 5219 (PDC 2005), 5231, 5270, 5308 (set 1), 5308 (set 2), 5342, 5728, 5744, Beta 1, Beta 1 Install, Desktop Backgrounds, and RTM

Q: What is the official logo?

A:

Q: What is the thinking behind the name Windows Vista?

A:
 
It enables a new level of confidence in your PC and in your ability to get the most out of it.
It introduces clear ways to organize and use information the way you want to use it.
It seamlessly connects you to information, people, and devices that help you get the most out of life.

Q: What is the strategy Microsoft is employing in creating Windows Vista?

A: In general, Microsoft wants the next operating system to be more reliable, secure and powerful. These links on Microsoft's website detail their vision about security and information management with Vista.

Q: What are Windows Vista's system requirements?

A: Windows Vista – Recommended system requirements:

·         1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
1 GB of system memory
40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space

·         Support for Directx 9 graphics with:
- WDDM Drive
- 128 MB of graphics memory
- Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
- 32 bits per pixel

DVD-ROM drive
Audio output
Internet access (fees may apply) 

Additional requirements to use certain features:

TV Tuner card required for TV functionality (compatible remote control optional
Windows Tablet and Touch Technology requires a Tablet PC or a touch screen
Windows Bitlocker Drive Encryption requires a USB Flash Drive and/or a system with a TPM 1.2 chip

Actual requirements and product functionality may vary based on your system configuration. Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor can help you determine which features and edition of Windows Vista will run on your computer visit http://www.windowsvista.com/upgradeadvisor. for complete Windows Vista requirements, visit http://www.windowsvista.com/requirements.

Minimum supported requirements

Certain product features are not available with minimum supported requirements.

800 MHz processor and 512 MB of system memory
20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
Support for Super VGA graphics
CD ROM drive

Q: What is the latest publicly available build of Windows Vista?

A:  The build number of the RTM version of Windows Vista is: 6.0.6000.16386

Q: Will Window Vista's advanced graphical user interface (GUI) bog down my computer? 

A: Windows Vista will rely much more on the computer’s Graphics Processing Unit (GPU) for graphical effects. By offloading this work to the GPU, a greater percentage of the CPU can be assigned to other important tasks. Windows Vista will scale to fit your system's graphical capabilities by offering a multi-tiered experience. Graphical effects and animations will also scale based upon your system's performance to ensure a glitch-free experience at all tiers. The tiers and their respective requirements are as follows:
Aero Glass experience (Also known as Tier 2): Delivers the full-featured Windows Vista user experience on the desktop, including support for 3D graphics and animation.

Requirements:
Windows Vista Display Driver Model-based driver required for Aero Glass experience
The Aero Glass experience will not run with earlier display drivers.
Minimum:  64 MB graphics memory (Required for Aero Glass experience)
Recommended: 128 MB or greater
Minimum: 32 bits per pixel (bpp) color
Support advanced 3D hardware acceleration with capabilities equal to DirectX 9
Required: AGP 8x or PCI Express 16-lane bus for Graphics Hardware

Aero experience (Also known as Tier 1): Delivers the minimum hardware acceleration and desktop composition for the Windows Vista user experience.

Requirements:

Minimum: Windows XP Driver Model-based driver

Recommended: Windows Vista Display Driver Model-based driver
Graphics hardware will only be used when the appropriate driver is present; otherwise, content will be rendered through software emulation.

Minimum: 32 MB graphics memory
Minimum: 32 bits per pixel (bpp) color
Support hardware acceleration capabilities equal to DirectX 9

Classic experience (Also known as Tier 0): Equivalent to Windows 2000 capabilities, using software rendering.

Requirements:

VGA graphics

Check Graphics Hardware and Drivers for Windows Windows Vista for more detailed information.

Q: Who is Windows Vista For?

A: Windows Vista targets a melting pot of users, from emerging markets, enterprise customers to life style computer users. Some of the features include, improved Search, Wireless/Networking and Authentication, Collaboration, Enhanced Security, Multimedia, Gaming, Parental Controls, improved Group Policy Editor, improved Speech and Hand-writing Recognition, File Management, 64-Bit Computing and support for the latest hardware on the market. Vista is an enticing value proposition to those who want a great out of box experience, so they can take advantage of devices such as camcorders, digital cameras, hi-definition television’s, XBOX’s and PDA’s. Basically, Windows Vista is for everybody, whether you are an existing Windows user or migrating from another platform.

Q: What new experiences does Windows Vista offer for users?

A: For end-users, the most readily visible feature of Windows Vista is the  new accelerated graphical user interface (GUI). End-users experience a rich mixture of 2D/3D vector graphics, resilient free audio, video, and animation seamlessly intermixed to create applications and scenarios previously only seen in movies or Microsoft Research projects. In addition to the GUI enhancements, the new Windows File System (WinFS -- available as an update to Windows Vista following it's retail availability) enable fast, powerful searching and synchronization across multiple partitions, drives, or devices, and multiple file formats. Integrated spellchecking, enhanced speech synthesis and recognition, and other Natural User Interface (NUI) methods ease interaction between computer and user. The new sidebar allows the end-users to always keep their most important data at a glance. Enhanced real-time communications, application sharing, peer-to-peer, remote desktop, and a unified contacts store ease collaboration and remote administration scenarios. Utilization of .NET technologies in building Windows Vista provides end-users with greatly enhanced and integrated security beyond what exists today on any platform. 

Q: How many editions of Windows Vista are available? 

A: There are a total of 6 editions of Windows Vista available through different channels.

Starter Edition - Only on new computers in emerging markets such as Asia, Mexico, Africa and others

Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Basic is the entry level offering for consumers. Highlights include:

·        Significant advances in security and reliability

·        Parental Controls

·        Windows Vista Basic user interface (AERO without transparency)

·         Search and organize innovations

·         Improved networking

Home Basic is designed to be easy to setup, to help people use their PCs securely and reliably, to help people stay better connected, and like all of the editions of Windows Vista, to be compatible with the widest range of software, devices, and services people use and trust. For people who simply want to use their PC for tasks such as surfing the internet, corresponding with friends and family using e-mail or performing basic document creation and editing tasks, Home Basic delivers a safer, more reliable, and more effective computing environment.

Home Premium

Windows Vista Home Premium is the mainstream edition of Windows Vista for consumer desktop and mobile PCs. It includes all features available in Windows Vista Home Basic plus:

·        Windows Aero Glass user interface

·        Windows Media Center functionality

·        Additional digital media features such as authoring and burning DVDs

·        Windows Tablet PC capability

·        Additional mobility features such as PC-to-PC synchronization

Home Premium makes finding information, stating connected and interacting with your PC easier and more secure. Using, organizing and sharing photos, video, TV and music becomes a part of your everyday life. With Windows Vista Home Premium, balancing your check book, doing homework, watching a movie, listening to music or playing a game is a better and more enjoyable experience.

Business

Business is the primary edition of Vista for business desktop and mobile PCs. This offering crosses the small business, mid-sized business and enterprise segments. This edition includes all the features available in Windows Vista Home Basic (with the exception of a small number of entertainment features), plus:

·         Windows Aero Glass user interface

·         Windows Tablet PC capability

·         Additional mobility features such as PC-to-PC synchronization

·         Core business features such as Domain Join, Group Policy support and Encryption File system

·         Small business-specific features such as Fax and Scan, and Small Business Resources

For small businesses, Vista Business will help keep PCs running smoothly and securely, with less reliance on dedicated IT support. For larger organizations, Vista Business provides dramatic new infrastructure improvements, enabling IT staff to spend more time adding strategic value to the business. Vista Business also offers powerful new ways to organize, find and share information, while helping people stay better connected in the office and on the road.


Enterprise

Enterprise is the premium edition of Vista for business desktop and mobile PCs. This offering is only available to customers who have their PCs covered by a Microsoft Software Assurance agreement. In addition to including all of the features available in Vista Business, highlights of this edition include:

·         Windows BitLocker (TM) Drive Encryption

·         All worldwide interface languages

·         Virtual PC Express

·         Subsystem for UNIX Applications (SUA)

Vista Enterprise is designed for large enterprises and organizations with complex desktop infrastructures. It helps reduce the cost and complexity of deploying and managing PCs, improves reliability and security, and makes it easier to comply with information policies. Windows Vista Enterprise also increases information worker productivity and enables mobile users to stay better connected with customers, partners and their business in the office or on the road.

Ultimate Edition

Ultimate is the flagship edition of Windows Vista across consumer and small business desktop PCs and mobile PCs. The primary user of Windows Vista Ultimate is the individual, such a small business owner, who uses a single PC at both home and work. This edition includes all the features available in Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Enterprise.

Ultimate is the first operating system that combines the advanced infrastructure of a business-focused operating system, the productivity of a mobility-focused operating system, and the digital entertainment features of a consumer-focused operating system. For the person who wants their PC to be great for working at home, on the go and at the Office, Windows Vista Ultimate is the no-compromise operating system that provides it all.

Other “N” based editions of Vista are available in the European Union also. All editions except for Starter Edition will be available in both 32 and 64 bit versions. Only Vista Ultimate Edition retail package product contains both disk for 32 and 64 bit systems.

Order Alternate media:

Learn more here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/1033/ordermedia/default.mspx

Learn more here: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/versions/default.mspx

Q: Why did Windows Vista take so long to be released?

A: Actually, Windows Vista was developed and tested within a normal Windows Development time frame which is usually 15 to 18 months, Vista RTMed in November 2006. In comparison to Windows XP’s development cycle which started in August of 2000 and ended August 2001 that would total to XP (13) vs. Vista (17) months, not bad for what Vista is offering in comparison to XP.

Factors include Vista development being restarted from scratch, the previous code base on which Longhorn (Vista’s code name) was originally being developed on (XP) was scrapped and Server 2003 SP1 was used instead.

Q: What are the Windows Vista Public Newsgroups?
A:

Here is a list of available newsgroups for Windows Vista as of today:

microsoft.public.windows.vista.general
microsoft.public.windows.vista.music_pictures_video
microsoft.public.windows.vista.administration_account_passwords
microsoft.public.windows.vista.file_management
microsoft.public.windows.vista.hardware_devices
microsoft.public.windows.vista.installation_setup
microsoft.public.windows.vista.mail
microsoft.public.windows.vista.networking_sharing
microsoft.public.windows.vista.performance_maintenance
microsoft.public.windows.vista.print_fax_scan
microsoft.public.windows.vista.security
microsoft.publi.windows.64-bit.general

If you want to access the web based version of these newsgroups, click the following link:

http://windowshelp.microsoft.com/communities/newsgroups/en-us/default.mspx
http://msdn.microsoft.com/windowsvista/community/newsgroups/default.aspx

Head on over to the following page at Microsoft's website on how to configure your newsreader to read Microsoft's Public Newsgroups:
http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/expertzone/newsgroupsetup.mspx


Q: What is the .NET Framework 3.0?


A:
Windows Vista was developed from the ground up to address the barriers associated with creating these kinds of applications. System services and new APIs handle many of the hard problems associated with such applications, so that developers can focus on the particular problem that their software is addressing. The new range of APIs and services are embodied in the .NET Framework 3.0 (formerly WinFX). The .NET Framework 3.0 is a core component of the Windows Vista operating system, and is installed by default. This new set of managed interfaces represents an incremental release of the managed interfaces found in the .NET Framework 2.0, because there are no changes to the version of the .NET Framework 2.0 components with the .NET Framework 3.0. Instead there new technologies have been added: Windows Presentation Foundation (WPF), Windows Workflow Foundation (WF), Windows Communication Foundation (WCF), and Windows CardSpace. http://www.netfx3.com/

 

Q: What is AERO?

 

A: AERO (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, Open) is the user experience in Windows Vista, is a new design philosophy that delivers a compelling user experience from the moment users start interacting with the computer to the moment they leave. For developers, AERO provides a number of APIs that enable developers to extend their applications to integrate with this new design philosophy. Developers can manipulate the Desktop Window Manager, window chrome, and UI controls. Additionally, AERO is exposed through themes, layouts, and styling as well as through the native Avalon controls.


Q: What is the Windows Presentation Foundation?


A: With the Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly Avalon) Microsoft delivers an integrated platform for applications, documents, and graphics and media to the desktop ecosystem. The Windows Presentation Foundation provides new opportunities for developing exciting applications while reducing the complexity of building compelling user interfaces. It also offers creative, technical, and performance benefits, and simplifies designer-developer collaboration during prototyping and development. More information here

 

Q: What is the Windows Communication Foundation?

 

A: The Windows Communication Foundation (formerly Indigo) is a collection of next generation .NET technologies for building and running connected systems. The Windows Communication Foundation helps developers and organizations overcome the challenges of building connected applications, both within and beyond the enterprise. The Windows Communication Foundation takes Web services to the next level by providing developers with a highly productive framework for building secure, reliable, and interoperable applications. Some of the benefits of these technologies include: less complexity for developers, fewer components to be managed by IT professionals, reduced training for both, and significant cost savings for the organization. More information here

 

Q: What is Windows Sideshow?

A:
Windows SideShow is a new platform in Microsoft Windows Vista that developers can use to write gadgets that extend their applications to a range of display devices. Some of the display devices will be integrated into computers; others will appear on peripheral devices. "Windows Sidebar is a new feature of the Vista desktop that connects you with powerful yet easy to use "gadgets"-mini-applications that help you to be more productive in your daily life at work, at home, or on the go. For example your gadgets might include local weather, a photo slideshow, a dictionary, news headlines, even a convenient way to control Windows Media Player. Gadgets are organized in an easy-to-use panel-the Windows Sidebar-that discreetly docks on the side of your Windows desktop. Alternately, gadgets can "float" on the desktop wherever you like. Developers will be able to build an endless variety of gadgets, which you can use to customize your Windows Vista desktop however you want. In addition, gadgets can also be built for the new Windows Side Show platform which allows you to extend critical PC-based data to a range of connected devices including second displays in laptops or displays built into keyboards, remote controls, and even cell phones."

 

Examples of potential SideShow-compatible devices include:

  • A display embedded in a laptop lid. This type of display, which caches data for use offline, is great for checking calendar appointments and e-mail messages.

  • A display in a keyboard. Useful for reading messages when playing a game in full-screen mode, listening to music or watching a video, reading weather reports, and more.

  • A mobile phone. Useful for remotely controlling applications, such as moving to the next slide or reading speaker notes in Microsoft PowerPoint on your device from across a room.

Q: What is Windows Sideshow Gadget?

A: Microsoft uses the term "Gadget" to refer to two different, not necessarily compatible technologies. Sideshow gadgets are applications which can extend their reach to a range of display devices using Windows Sideshow technology. According to the Windows Sideshow blog, Sideshow gadgets are idea for the following applications:

  • Cached data. If an application contains data that users would benefit from seeing when their PCs are in standby or hibernate, a gadget is ideal in this case. Examples of gadgets include e-mail, contacts, and directions.

  • Notifications. Many users want to receive a notification from an application on a SideShow-compatible device. Examples include meeting reminders or notifications when online contacts sign in to Instant Messaging.

  • Remote application control. If an application has settings and functionality that users may want to control when they don't have access to their computer's primary display, such an application could be remotely controlled with a gadget for SideShow. Examples include controlling media playback and presentation settings.


Q: What are Flip and Flip 3D?

A: Windows Vista provides two entirely new features to manage windows codenamed "Flip" and "Flip 3D". Flip allows you to flip through open windows (by using Alt+Tab) providing a live thumbnail of each window rather than just a generic icon and filename. Live thumbnails make it easier to quickly identify the window you want, particularly when multiple windows of the same kind are open. With Flip 3D,you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse to flip through open windows in a stack, and quickly locate and select the one you want to work with. This feature is even handier when you use it with the new Flip 3D key that manufacturers are adding to many keyboards. (from Microsoft) Flip3D can be activated by clicking its icon located in the QuickLaunch area of Windows Vista's taskbar or by using Win+Tab. Flip and Flip3D can be made to stay onscreen until manually dismissed by alternatively pressing Ctrl+ their respective shortcuts.

Q: Are applications created for operating systems prior to “Windows Vista" be supported?

A: Yes. Windows Vista supports most legacy applications as well as applications built specifically to take advantage of Windows Vista's unique functionality. 

Q: What is the thinking behind the name Windows Vista?

A:It enables a new level of confidence in your PC and in your ability to get the most out of it.

It introduces clear ways to organize and use information the way you want to use it.

It seamlessly connects you to information, people, and devices that help you get the most out of life.

 
Q: What is the strategy Microsoft is employing in creating Windows Vista?


A: In general, Microsoft wants the next operating system to be more reliable, secure and powerful.

Q: Should I upgrade to Windows Vista or do a clean install?

A: Upgrading to Windows Vista 32-bit requires that you replace your existing installation of Windows XP 32-bit by doing what is known as an “in place upgrade”. The installation process replaces Windows XP files and retains your existing applications, personal files and settings. Of course, this requires careful thought and planning.

  1. Checking to make sure that all your installed applications and existing hardware devices are compatible.
  2. Acquire any necessary updates that you might need to apply before upgrading to ensure your existing applications and hardware devices function after installing Windows Vista.
  3. Ensuring that there is enough Disk space to store temporary files and the operating system in addition to your applications and files.
  4. Enough memory to efficiently run the operating system and your applications.
  5. Acceptable processor speed.

Choosing the right platform is also important; there are no upgrade paths from Windows XP Professional x64 to Vista x86 or x64 or Windows XP x86 to Vista x64. You cannot launch Vista x64 setup in Windows XP x86, if you do so, you will receive an "invalid Win32" error, you have to boot off the DVD. A clean install which involves formatting the drive, getting the right drivers and reinstall your applications, is always the best route, which guarantees a glitch less experience which in some cases can occur from upgrading.

For more information: (http://www.windowsvista.com/64bit)

Q: How do I install Windows Vista?

A: You have two choices, you can either upgrade from Windows XP by launching setup from within Windows (only Vista x86 supports upgrades from Windows XP x86) and choose the upgrade option during the installation wizard; (Vista requires that you have a minimum 13 GB’s of free disk space before upgrading). You can also start a new installation by booting from the DVD drive, (make sure the boot drive in your BIOS is set to the optical drive).

Note: If you want to upgrade Windows XP 32-bit make sure you launch setup from within Windows XP SP2; upgrades are not supported by booting from the DVD. Upgrades are not supported for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition at all; Vista x64 requires a clean installation.

Q: How do I do a clean install with the Windows Vista upgrade media?
A:

  1. Boot with the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD.

  2. Click “Install Now”.

  3.  Do not enter a Product Key when prompted.

  4. When prompted, select the Vista product edition that you do have.

  5.  Install Vista normally.

  6. Once the install is complete, restart the DVD-based Setup from within Windows Vista. Perform an in-place upgrade.

  7. Enter your Product Key when prompted.

Get Religion: Backup, Backup, Backup!
As Murphy Law states, if it can go wrong, it will. Upgrading is a very complex process and there are often cases of failed upgrades from older versions of Windows. Causes can include, power outage during installation, hardware or application conflict. This is why you should “always back up”, its better to be inconvenienced than having to start all over from scratch.

Q: Where on the packaging is the Windows Vista Product Key Located?

A: After pulling out the plastic slot, look at the back of the shell casing, there you will see the product key on the yellow sticker.

Q: I lost my product key. How do I find it?

A: Your Windows product key is usually available on your Certificate of Authenticity sticker located on the chassis your machine if your system came preloaded with Vista, usually at the bottom of a laptop. If your key has some how become lost or stolen, try RJL’s software Windows Product Key Viewer for product key recovery, supports both Windows Vista x86 and x64:

http://www.rjlsoftware.com/software/utility/winproductkey/download.shtml

Q:  My product key doesn't work. Why?

A: Make sure the key has been typed in properly, no spaces or hyphens between letters. You could try quitting setup and re-launch it again then try entering the key and see if it is accepted. Make sure you are using the right key for Edition of Vista you are installing. If the problem persist, it’s best you call Microsoft about the problem.   

Q: Can I uninstall Windows Vista and return back to Windows XP?

A: No, if you need to use XP, you will have to reinstall it. If you are uncertain about upgrading to Windows Vista, it’s always best to do a dual boot installation by installing Vista on a logical partition or another hard disk.

Q: Does Vista support installation on external/USB based hard disk?

A: No.

NOTE: For persons with SATA/RAID configurations, please ensure you have appropriate drivers for either x86 or x64 platform to load when requested during setup. Also remove any unnecessary external devices that might cause problems detecting during setup, this includes external drives and USB based devices.

Q: Can I do a clean upgrade by booting from the Upgrade version of Windows Vista?

A: See: How do I do a clean installation with the Windows Vista Upgrade media? Regardless what many may think, Vista’s install process is actually a clean installation whether you choose to upgrade or not, which only retains your applications and settings, no residue from the prior installed operating system is carried over during the upgrade. You might encounter issues with application and device driver compatibility, but would be just the same if you did a regular clean install and tried to install those applications and devices on Vista.

Q: Can I install/dual boot Windows Vista on an Intel Mac?

A: Yes you can, to do so you need to use Apples Boot Camp software which has to be installed on OS X which is then used to create an NTFS or FAT32 partition (still in BETA, Boot Camp will be finalized with the release of Apples next version of Mac OS X, 10.5 codenamed Leopard).

More information here: http://www.apple.com/macosx/bootcamp/

Note: A group of MVP’s have discovered that dual booting XP and Windows Vista can cause harmful effects to your XP installation because of the “volsnap.sys” file which handles System Restore Points. Every time you restore your system to an earlier point in Vista, this can destroy data on the XP partition. It is recommended you hide the Windows XP partition first before doing the restore using Vista’s Disk Management MMC snap-in available in Computer Management (Administrative Tools):

Q: Can I install Windows Vista in a Virtual environment and which software do you recommend?

A: I recommend using VM Ware Workstation 5.5 or later, Virtual PC 2007 or Virtual Server 2005 R2. The more RAM you assign to the Virtual Machine, the better the experience, I recommend a minimum of 512 MB’s or more for faster install times and the best experience.

You can download the VM Ware trial here: http://www.vmware.com/download/ws/eval.html 
Virtual Server 2005 R2: http://www.microsoft.com/windowsserversystem/virtualserver/software/default.mspx

Q: How long does Windows Vista take to install?

A: Installation time can vary depending on the amount of memory (RAM) you have in your system and the processor speed. I have experienced install times of 39 to 40 mins (clean) for both Vista x86 and x64 respectively. Most hardware purchased within the last 2 years should install Windows within 20 to 30 mins.

To learn more, check out the Windows Vista Team Blogs Windows Imaging Installation and Performance results here

Q: What happens during setup?

A: Windows copies files to the disk, expands them, and restarts a couple times, install features, installs updates and Completes setup. During the install routine there can be signs of delay but usually it’s just a minor delay and setup will continue just fine. If setup does become non-responsive, you can do a cold boot, start the machine again and boot Vista setup into safe mode to see if Vista will finish setup.

Tip: (If setup becomes non-responsive or does not complete), do a Cold Boot (reset the machine) > Start the computer, when the Windows Boot Manager is displayed, select Windows Setup press F8 on your keyboard and setup should continue. 

Note: Windows Vista x64 requires that you have an Intel EM64T or AMD64 capable processor. CPU-Z is a great utility you can use to find out if your processor is 64-bit capable: http://www.cpuid.com/cpuz.php

Q: What if setup still fails?

A: If you are upgrading/clean install, as noted, disable any external or USB based devices you might have attached to the computer. Also, disable any Security software before launching setup and ensure that you meet the minimum system requirements for Windows Vista.

Turn Off Serial Key Devices: Windows Vista does not support Serial Key devices. If you are upgrading and you currently use Serial Keys with an alternative input device, you must turn off Serial Keys and install another input option before the upgrade. To turn off Serial Keys in Windows XP, open Accessibility Options in Control Panel. For more information, go to the Microsoft Accessibility website (http://www.microsoft.com/enable).

Check out ActiveWin’s Upgrade from Windows XP to Vista visual tutorial here.

Q: What happens after Windows Vista is installed?

A: After setup completes, you are then taken to the Out of Box Experience page (OOBE). The first page configures your Local and keyboard, User account information, after which you can select a profile picture, wallpaper (if you please) and your network location. Windows Vista then checks your computers performance and you are ready to start using Windows. One of the nice things about the Out of Box Experience is after entering all that information, you don’t need to restart Vista, and you are immediately taken to the Welcome screen right so you can start using the OS right away.

Q: How do I activate Windows Vista?

A: Click Start > right click Computer > click "Properties" > scroll down > under Windows Activation click the link "x day(s) until automatic activation. Activate Windows now"? You have a 30 day grace period to activate the software, if you refuse to activate during the 30 day grace period, the software will go into Reduced Functionality Mode and require that you activate the software before continued use.

Q: Windows Vista refuses to activate:

A: This could be a result of a time out session on the Server, you are not connected to the Internet, or you are working in offline mode. If you still experience problems activating, I recommend you try again later, you have a grace period of 30 days, so immediate activation of the software is not mandatory or necessary, just make sure it is done within the grace period or the software will go into reduced functional mode and require activation before continued use. Alternatively you can choose to activate by telephone by choosing the Automated phone system option on the Activation wizard.

Q: Where is the Administrator account and how do I log into it?

A: By default, the Administrator account in Windows Vista does not require a password, its blank. The Administrator is only accessible through Safe Mode also. You can enable the Administrator account after installation if you did an upgrade from Windows XP. Click Start > right click Computer > click Manage > expand Local Users and Groups > select Users > right click the Administrator account > click Set Password. After which, you can try logging in.

Q: where is the Drop Down menu bar?

A: The Menu bar has been replaced by the command bar in the Windows Vista Explorer Shell. You can access it by holding down the Alt key on your keyboard, if you want to turn it on permanently, click Organize > Folder and Search Options > View (tab) > under Advanced Settings check the “Always show menus” box > click OK.

Q: I do not like the new Windows Vista hierarchical Start menu; can I get back the cascading menus?

A:No, but you can turn on Classic Start menu which will reveal the cascading menus, of course, you will lose the Search box and two pane Start Panel first introduced in Windows XP.

Q: Some of my devices and applications are not working, what should I do?

A: If your internet connection is working in Windows Vista, I suggest you try obtaining the drivers through Windows Update. Click Start > All Programs > Windows Update > Turn on Windows Update. A list of available updates will then be downloaded, you will have the option to view them, do so and check off the appropriate drivers or software patches you need and click Install. You can also check the manufacturer’s website for patches, updated drivers or to simply find out about Vista support for the particular product.

For software, if you are running Windows Vista x64, certain types of applications will not work; these include Win16 applications and Win32 applications that use Win16 installers. You can also try running the application in Compatibility mode to see if it will work (full 32-bit application applications supported). Right click the programs executable > click Properties > “Compatibility” tab > under “Compatibility Mode” check the Run this application in compatibility mode for: box > click in the list box and choose a suitable version of Windows.

Certain applications might encounter problems with the new User Account Control security component in Vista because the application was designed to run with Administrative privileges. You can try a work around by, right clicking the applications executable and click “Run as Administrator” on the context menu.

Q: I cannot get Windows Updates, I receive the following error message “Windows could not search for new updates with an error of 80245003 or a similar error message”.

A: Rename the SoftwareDistribution folder. (Because of possible folder corruption or other errors.)
Click Start, Choose Run.
In the Run box, type services.msc.
Click OK.
Right-click the Automatic Updates service.
Click Stop.
Stopping the service will take a moment.

Rename the “SoftwareDistribution” folder:
a. Click Start, click Run, type %systemroot%, and then click OK.
b. Right-click the SoftwareDistribution folder, and then click Rename.
c. Type SoftwareDistribution.old, and then press ENTER to rename this folder.
Create a new folder called "SoftwareDistribution"
Click Start. Choose Run.
In the Run box, type services.msc.
Click OK.
Right-click the Automatic Updates service.
Click Start.
Starting the service will take a moment.
Rerun Windows Update.

Q: Where do I turn on/off additional Windows Features and Settings?

A: Click Start > type “Programs and Features” hit Enter > under Tasks > click the Turn Windows features on or off link.

Q: Where is the Run Command on the Start Panel?

A: The Run command by default is not displayed on the Start Panel, you can use the Windows key + R command to display it on screen, or click Start > type “Run” hit Enter or Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Run. If you want it to appear on the Start panel permanently > click Start > type “Taskbar and Start menu” > Start Menu (tab) > Customize > Advanced (tab) > under Start menu items: > check the Run command box > click > OK > OK.

Q: The Windows Sidebar does not start automatically with Windows.

A: Click Start > type “Windows Sidebar Properties” > check “Start Windows Sidebar when Windows Starts” > click OK.

Q: How do I add and remove Gadgets on the Windows Sidebar?

A: Click the plus sign at the top of the Sidebar, a Gallery will then appear with a collection of installed Gadgets. Select a desired Gadget, right click it and click Add or select the Gadget and drag onto the Sidebar frame and release. You can acquire more Gadgets by going to http://gadgets.microsoft.com

Q: I am unable to connect to Windows Vista using Remote Desktop on Windows XP.

A: Ensure that you enable the option to connect from any version of Remote Desktop. Click Start > type System > select and click it > click the Remote Settings link under Tasks > under Remote Desktop, select the Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote Desktop (less secure) radio box > click OK.

Q: I need Antivirus software, are there any out there for Windows Vista?

A: You are in luck, here are few recommended choices:

If something goes wrong in Windows Vista, you can always try using a restore point to fix the problem:

Click Start > right click Computer > click Properties > click Advanced System Settings under Task > click System Protection > click System Restore and follow the instructions for restoring your PC to an earlier point.

Q: I don't get the new Windows Vista AERO Glass user interface, why?

A: Windows AERO Glass requires that you have a minimum of 64 MBs video RAM that is Direct X 9 compliant and supports the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM). If your video card does not meet these requirements, it’s the likely cause why you are not seeing it. For onboard/integrated cards, you need to have 1 GB of dual channel memory installed with 512 MBs of RAM allocated to the system. The amount of Video RAM also determines the resolution size your Display can use.

Q: My video card supports Windows AERO Glass but it’s not available and I cannot turn it on, are there any workarounds?

A: Again, this might be result of your video card not being Direct X 9 compatible or the system RAM is not enough to run it. Microsoft it seems has recently implemented an artificial system requirement for systems with 512 MB or less with slower cards. For instance, one of my systems running Vista has a 128 MB AGP video card with 512 MBs of RAM but I only get the AERO Basic experience. Fortunately I am able to work around this to get the Glass effects but, I only get Glass in my Standard Administrator account.

Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > right click the Run command > click
type REGEDIT
Ensure that you have the following registry value set to:

HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM\Composition set to 1 (32-bit DWORD) HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM\CompositionPolicy set to 2 (32-bit DWORD)

2/ Restart DWM by opening a command prompt with administrative privileges

- Type 'net stop uxsms'
- Then 'net start uxsms'

If none of the above work, you might need to refresh your Windows Experience Index (WEI) rating.

1.      Click Start

2.      In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, hit enter

3.      Click the Update my score link

4.     Click Continue on the User Account Control dialog

Q: How do I change the theme in Windows Vista to Windows Classic?

A: Right click your Desktop > click Personalize > click Theme > click in the Theme list box, select Windows Classic.

Q: Where are the Windows XP Luna (Blue, Olive and Silver) themes?

A: These have been removed; the only available themes are Windows Classic, Standard, Windows Aero Basic and Windows Aero.

Right click your Desktop > click Personalize > Windows Colors > “Open classic appearance properties” to apply a theme.

Q: How can I edit and set the default operating system that starts up when I boot up my PC in an easy way?

A: EasyBCD by NeoSmart Technologies would be your answer, it provides a graphical front end to the BCDEdit Command line that makes it easy for you to define start-up settings and edit boot entries on the new Windows Longhorn Server/Vista boot manager. http://neosmart.net/dl.php?id=1

Q: How can I know if my PC is Vista ready or needs upgrading?

A: The Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor is a diagnostics tool that checks your PC’s hardware, software settings and gives you recommendations you might need to do before deploying Vista.

http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/getready/upgradeadvisor/default.mspx

Q: Is it recommended I use Windows Vista in a production environment?

A: You sure can, Microsoft has designated Vista as final and ready for PC consumption. Of course not all persons or businesses will immediately install or upgrade to Vista. Some will take the wait and see approach before biting the bullet. Some cases might either require more testing or simply compatibility issues that will prevent them from upgrading right away.

Q: I am running a pre-release test version of Windows Vista, can I upgrade to the final version?

A: You can upgrade your installation of Windows Vista Beta 2, RC1 or RC2 to the final, commercially available version of Windows Vista. You will need to acquire the final version and launch the installation from within Windows XP. Beta versions of Windows Vista are Time-limited software and are not supported by Microsoft after they are finalized.

Windows Vista Beta 2, RC1 and RC2 are time-limited, pre-release software that will expire on May 31st 2007 or June 1, 2007.

 

Q: What is the XPS Print Path (formerly called the Metro print path)?

A: The XML Paper Specification (XPS) print path (formerly called the Metro print path) is the print path in Microsoft Windows Vista. It provides support for both the new XML Paper Specification Document Format and the Windows Presentation Foundation graphics engine. While the XPS print path is a new technology designed for Windows Vista, Microsoft is planning on providing XPS print path support for previous version of Windows also. More Information

 

Q: Does Windows Vista offer any improvements in security over the current iteration of the Windows operating system?


A: Yes. One major improvement Microsoft is making the Windows operating system with Vista is the introduction of User Account Control (UAC, formerly called Least-privileged User Account or LUA). This change in the Windows privilege model is to help prevent users from running programs that attempt to perform operations that the user doesn't really intend or authorize. To that end, UAC enables users to run at low privilege most of the time, while being able to easily run applications requiring more privilege as necessary.

 

Microsoft has also upgraded the Security Configuration Wizard to allow developers of third party software greater flexibility in application development and deployment. Plus, Windows Vista includes the Network Access Protection Framework, which enables system administrators to define and enforce policies that require network clients to establish their trustworthiness and compatibility with the network before being given a specified access.


Q: What technologies does Windows Vista provide to improve application reliability?


A: Microsoft has shipped a new set of application programming interfaces (APIs) with Windows Vista to increase developers' ability to write reliable, error free applications, and, when something goes wrong, to recover from those errors gracefully and without data-loss. Specifically some of these and related technologies are called: Windows Vista Restart Manager, I/O cancellation support in Windows Vista, Windows Feedback Platform.


Q: Deploying the current iteration of Windows in an enterprise environment can be a hassle. Has Microsoft provided any new technologies which may help with this problem?"
 

A: Windows Vista reduces the complexity, time, and cost of desktop deployment. The following are the two most significant improvements:

  • Modularization. Windows Vista is built with inter-dependent modules, which makes it easier to customize Windows Vista (to a certain degree) to your needs. Modularization also simplifies adding device drivers, testing and installing updates, and adding languages.
     

  • Windows Imaging Format (WIM). WIM, a file-based imaging format, enables a single image to be deployed to different types of computer hardware with different language requirements. Maintaining WIM images is easy, because you can add and remove drivers, updates, and Windows components offline, without ever booting the operating system image.

Q: I have 4 GBs of RAM in my system, and I’m running a 32-bit version of Windows Vista, but I don’t see 4 GB of RAM in the System Information Explorer, why?

A: The system memory that is reported in the System Information dialog box in Windows Vista is less than you expect if 4 GB of RAM is installed:

http://support.microsoft.com/kb/929605/en-us

Understanding Address Spaces and the 4GB Limit - [H]ard|Forum: http://www.hardforum.com/showthread.php?t=1035670

Q: In Explorer I cannot select more than one file or folder at a time, not using the mouse drag options, nor using the control or shift keys, how can I fix this?

A: According to Keith Miller [MVP] it’s an issue affecting some users, the only available work around is a script written by Keith that helps MOST people with the multi-select problem.

It will remove single-select from saved folder views & saved defaults.

Right-click the link below & select 'Save Target As..."

http://mysite.verizon.net/res18hr7/FixSingleSelect.zip

Then extract the contents of the .zip file & run the script.

Q: How do I access the “Send To” and “Start up” folders in Windows Vista?

A:
Send To – Open the Run Command (Win + R) type shell:sendto hit enter

Startup Open the Run Command (Win + R) type sheel:startup hit enter

"C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"

"C:\Users\<UserName>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start

Menu\Programs\Startup"

Registry keys are:

"HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run"

"HKLM\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce"

"HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Run"

"HKCU\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\RunOnce"

Q: What was different about the Windows Vista beta program?

A: The general Windows Vista beta is currently over. Microsoft is delivering a different type of beta program with Windows Vista.  The program is largely public (although a smaller group of technical testers are still being employed).  The program began in late October, 2003, when Microsoft released an alpha version of the OS to developers at its Professional Developers Conference (PDC) to gauge their reaction to the direction in which Microsoft is headed.  The more formal beta program, however, began in July of 2005 with the official release of Windows Vista Beta 1. Since then, Microsoft has begun a series of 'Community Technology Preview' (CTP) releases of Windows Vista. These releases are intended to involve developers, customers, and partners more tightly in the development process.

Q: What is WinFX?

A: WinFX is a collection of new technologies which make up Microsoft's next-generation of managed APIs. WinFX consists of the following four main components: the .NET Framework 2.0, the Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation (formerly known as 'Indigo'), the Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly known as 'Avalon'), and the Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation (formerly known as 'WinOE'). http://www.netfx3.com/  (WinFX is now the .NET Framework 3.0)

Q: Where can I find information concerning the windows Communication foundation and the windows presentation foundation for developers?

A: Microsoft provides a great deal of information on both of these technologies at the Windows Vista Developer Center.

Q: What new experiences does Windows Vista offer for developers?

A: A few features Windows Vista offers for developers include faster and simpler application development by giving Windows a unified object model and API set engineered from the ground up with managed code. Separation of application user interface from backed logic through the use of XML Application Markup Language (XAML) should allow for rapid prototyping, easier internationalization, and dynamic UI. WinFS will allow developers to extend the metadata properties of existing item types, as well as define their own types so that their custom formats can take advantage of WinFS (available as an update to Windows Vista following it's retail availability). Transactional NTFS brings full Atomic Consistent Isolated Durable (ACID) transactional support to NTFS. Though WinFX provides a secure, fully managed API that is the primary means of application development on Windows Vista, the Win32 subsystem sits alongside the primary API for legacy compatibility and unmanaged development. New driver models for audio and video devices provide glitch-free performance, and increased stability. ClickOnce significantly speeds application deployment. The Windows Communication Foundation unifies the IPv4 and IPv6 stacks, and eases Smart Client application development, collaboration scenarios, and interoperability via web services.

Q: Window Vista's graphical user interface (GUI) is nice, but will Microsoft improve the command line interface?

A: A more powerful Windows requires a more powerful command line interface. Microsoft delivers upon this requirement with the introduction of Windows PowerShell (codenamed "Monad" and formerly known as the Microsoft Shell [MSH] and the Windows Command Shell). Windows PowerShell combines the power of Windows scripting technologies such as those based on the Windows Scripting Host (WSH) with the simplicity of the Windows Command Prompt (CMD). In addition, the best parts of syntax-standardized Unix shells is combined with .NET objects and extensibility to create a powerful, system-wide automation solution that can be easily enhanced by independent software vendors (ISVs), administrators, and end-users. Unix users are pleasantly surprised by the inclusion of Unix aliases for PowerShell equivalent commands, and DOS/CMD aficionados find familiar territory by utilizing the included DOS/CMD aliases. Of course, users are also free to use the native commands and/or create their own aliases.  Windows PowerShell was the first out-of-band operating system component released for Windows Vista, and uses Vista's new Component Based Servicing (CBS) technology for installation and maintenance. Windows PowerShell is an integrated component of Windows Server "Longhorn" and Exchange Server 2007, and is also distributed for Windows XP and Windows Server 2003.

Q: Are some Vista technologies available for previous Windows platforms?

A: Yes. The NET Framework 3.0 (http://netfx3.com) and Windows PowerShell (http://www.microsoft.com/powershell) are available as updates to previous versions of Windows.

Q: What happened to "Blackcomb"?

A: The Blackcomb version of Windows was originally scheduled to be released directly after the "Whistler" – now Windows XP – version.  It was later announced that an interim version would be released, called Windows Vista.  Over time, Windows Vista also became a major release, taking on many of the features of Blackcomb. The current rumored name for the next version of Windows is simply "Seven".The Server team is planning for major releases every four years, with a major update two years later.  A Longhorn Server R2 is scheduled to be released two years after Longhorn Server is released, making the update scheduled for 2009 with Windows Seven Server scheduled for 2011

Q: Where is Microsoft in Windows Vista development?

A: Windows Vista has RTM'd and is now available to the general public. Service Pack 1 is now in development.

Q: I am a hardware manufacturer or a software developer. Where can I find out how to make "Made for Windows Vista" products?

A: You are referring to the Microsoft Windows Vista Logo Partner Program, which allows you to put the Vista logo on your products. Information can be found here.

Q: What about "Windows Vista Ready" PCs?

A: Well, that is the Windows Vista Ready PC program, which can be found here. PCs that meet or exceed the Windows Vista
Premium Ready logo requirements provide the best experience. For more
info, check http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/windowsvista/buyorupgrade/capable.msx


Experience the latest in innovative hardware for Windows Vista at the
Windows Marketplace
http://www.windowsmarketplace.com/content.aspx?ctId=392&tabid=3

Q: Where can I find the Windows Vista presentations and content (white papers,etc) given at WinHEC 2005? WINHEC 2006?

A: Presentations and Content

Q: Where can I see more visual information about Windows Vista? Are there videos?

A: Yes, http://www.seewindowsvista.com/

Q: What is the WCS (Windows Color System)?

A: The Windows Color System (WCS) is the client version of Microsoft Windows "Windows Vista," with a completely reengineered color processing infrastructure and developer platform, based on state-of-the-art color science. WCS is a solid first step toward the goal of transparent, consistent, and reliable color matching across different software applications, imaging devices, imaging media, and viewing conditions. WCS introduces an innovative, forward-looking, technically superior color management solution, which showcases only the first stage of a long-term sustained effort. More Information

Q: Will Windows Vista offer any improvements in security over the current iteration of the Windows operating system?

A: Yes. One major improvement Microsoft is making the Windows operating system with Vista is the introduction of User Account Control. This change in the Windows privilege model is to help prevent users from running programs that attempt to perform operations that the user doesn't really intend or authorize. To that end, UAC enables users to run at low privilege most of the time, while being able to easily run applications requiring more privilege as necessary.

Microsoft is also upgrading the Security Configuration Wizard to allow developers of third party software greater flexibility in application development and deployment. Plus, Windows Vista will include the Network Access Protection Framework, which enables system administrators to define and enforce policies that require network clients to establish their trustworthiness and compatibility with the network before being given a specified access.

Q: My applications always seem to crash under Windows XP, will Windows Vista fix this problem?

A: Microsoft will be shipping a new set of application programming interfaces (APIs) with Windows Vista to increase developers' ability to write reliable, error free applications, and, when something goes wrong, to recover from those errors gracefully and without data-loss. Specifically some of these and related technologies are called: Windows Vista Restart Manager, I/O cancellation support in Windows Vista, Windows Feedback Platform.

Q: Deploying the current iteration of Windows in an enterprise environment can be a hassle. Has Microsoft provided any new technologies which may help with this problem?

A: Windows Vista reduces the complexity, time, and cost of desktop deployment. The following are the two most significant improvements:

  • Modularization. Windows Vista is built with inter-dependent modules, which makes it easier to customize Windows Vista (to a certain degree) to your needs. Modularization also simplifies adding device drivers, testing and installing updates, and adding languages.
  • Windows Imaging Format (WIM). WIM, a file-based imaging format, enables a single image to be deployed to different types of computer hardware with different language requirements. Maintaining WIM images is easy, because you can add and remove drivers, updates, and Windows components offline, without ever booting the operating system image.

Q: With .NET Framework 3.0 available on Windows XP and Server 2003, what does Windows Vista have to offer beyond these downlevel platforms?

A: The primary components of .NET Framework 3.0 made available on Windows XP and Windows Server 2003 are the Windows Presentation Foundation API (Avalon) and the Windows Communication Foundation API (Indigo). The Windows Communication Foundation's downlevel availability is not a new issue as this was part of the original roadmap. Based on customer desire for wider platform compatibility, the Windows Presentation Foundation will now be available downlevel as well, however, the existence of this API on Windows XP and Server 2003 does not mean that the Aero user experience will also be available on these downlevel systems. The full Aero experience still requires driver model and other kernel-level enhancements only available in Windows Vista. Glitch-resilient audio/video/animation improvements, universal audio architecture, plug and play enhancements, transactional NTFS, and many other features and improvements remain Windows Vista-only.

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