Vista – Brings Lots of Improvements
Inevitably people who read headlines such as, ‘Vista has great new Aero graphics, will be tempted to see for themselves. However, what happens when they test Aero is they think, ‘Hmm.. nice but not worth upgrading from XP just for a few flashy graphics’.
My message is different. Guy say’s Vista is worth upgrading because Microsoft has examined every part of XP, and where necessary, they have polished, improved or even created new components.
In this article, I want to concentrate on one just one tiny area, Networking. I want to explain in detail how Vista improves upon XP. My thesis is that in Vista, if you drill down, then what you get in real time is better than a mere list of features would lead you to believe.
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Even though XP has been out for over four years, if you happen to observe people configuring the Control Panel, you will see that 80% switch from the new mode to the Classic. My personal mission is to shake off ‘Luddite’ thinking, abandon the Classic View and practice with only the new Vista Control Panel. It’s been hard, but one bonus was that the ‘See Also’ in the left-hand panel often guided me to useful Control Panel items.
Network and Internet Section.
The Network and Internet Section is a good bellwether for appreciating what’s new in Vista. What you get is eight interfaces or icons, three are new, one improved and four just polished. I want to go beyond the feature headlines and delve into details.
These are the eight sub-items in this Network and Internet section of the Control Panel.
The benefit of the Network Center is that it displays at a glance how a machine is connected to both the local network and the internet. Moreover, the left panel displays a list of all the items that you may need, for example to Manage Connections or Configure Network.
As a so called expert, I find Troubleshooters in general and the network troubleshooter in particular, are useful, therefore they will be a godsend to ordinary users. What I particularly like about the new troubleshooters are that they are smart, yet not in your face like the irritating office paper clip wizard. The Vista troubleshooter sort of sidles up to you and says, ‘I can see something is not quite right, would you like me to help you solve it?’ If you want to prod one of the troubleshooters into action, just click on one of the many Diagnose buttons, which you see on Vista menus.
Three incidental network items.
Looking at the other icons under Network and Internet, Network Map is a subset of the Network Center, mine shows local and wide area connections. ‘People Near Me’ is new and is designed for applications such as Windows Network MeetingSpace, I did not investigate further. At the bottom is an icon called Wireless Support, inside are tabs for us to configure Infra Red, Image transfer from Cameras and hardware.
The Internet Section icon is just a shortcut leading to the new IE7 settings. These three icons, Windows Firewall, Offline Settings, Files and Print Sharing, are also much the same as XP.
Guy’s Trouble with the Run Command
It’s not all plain sailing adapting to the new Vista features. Being a pioneer, there was no-one to show me how to find my beloved ‘Run’ command. In Vista ‘Run’ was nowhere to be found on the Start or Programs menus. I wasted 5 minutes, reminding myself to click on, Start, Properties, Start Menu, Customize, then scroll down and check the ‘Run’ command box. See the run command in Windows 8
I realized that something must be wrong. Then it occurred to me that I had been a ‘Luddite’ – resistant to change; the new way is simply to type commands such as cmd in the new ‘Start Search’ box. In Vista, the ‘Start Search’ combines the old Run with the Search functions – there was no need to add the ‘Run’ command to the start menu. When I told ‘Mad’ Mike, he said, ‘Guy the old tricks are the best, why not be like me and just use the ‘Windows Key and R.
While I have only looked at one area of Vista, the Control Panel Network and Internet, I hope that you have a flavour of how Vista offers improvements over XP. It’s rather like the rough diamond XP being polished into a beautiful, clear gem – Vista.
See more Microsoft Vista articles