What's all this noise about a new vista? (Or it is vee-sta?) After several years of delays, Microsoft finally shipped its new operating system, Windows Vista, on January 30, 2007. (We're going to pronounce it vis-ta, because that's a perfectly good English noun, meaning sight or view, from the Italian verb vedere.)
As with Windows XP, Vista is designed for 32-bit and 64-bit Intel-platform computers, everything from handheld slate tablets to top-of-the-line workstations. It offers a redesigned interface, new programs, and security built-in from the ground up. Its most noticeable difference is its Aero Glass translucent user interface, which is designed to take advantage of fast 3D video cards in recent computers. It will generally run as well as Windows XP on similar hardware, except that you usually need a video card with dedicated video memory to get the full Aero Glass experience.
As with Windows XP, Vista comes in various editions; not just Home and Professional, but five different editions (eight if you include European and emerging markets), explained on Microsoft's Choose An Edition page. Upgrades are available, depending on the edition, for $99 - $259. But most users will get Windows Vista with a new computer in the next few years.
This article cannot begin to describe all the new features in Windows Vista. You can get Microsoft's view on Windows Vista Features, or find a comprehensive review from outside expert Paul Thurrott.
ITS has begun examining Windows Vista, but we don't expect to deploy it very soon on college-owned computers. In the world of Student Computing, we will not be installing or officially supporting Vista in the public labs during the 2006-07 academic year. However, as is our wont, the SCIC shall endeavor to provide what support we can for those students who choose to run Vista on their personal machines. Please bear with us during our learning curve - it's been a while since we had to relearn Windows.
–Kevin Chapman is Carleton’s student computing help desk coordinator. Sande Nissen is PC and Netware systems administrator at Carleton.