Ask The Pro: What new features are offered with Windows Vista and IE7?This month’s Pro is Kathy Gaster, Web Marketer at OnYourMark, LLC. Kathy explains the pros and cons of two major Microsoft product updates.
The latest Microsoft operating system, Windows Vista, will not be on those computers until January 2007. This delay will most likely impact new computer sales through the end of the year. For large license holders, the product is being rolled out November 30. Windows Vista offers a number of new features, including:
- Simplified installation and setup
- Increased security including a software firewall and data encryption
- Desktop “gadgets” like clocks and currency calculators
- High-end graphics featuring 3-D rendering
- Desktop search with the ability to search other computers on your network
- Increased parental controls
- Faster installation of Windows updates
Windows Vista does have negatives. Running Vista can be taxing on your computer’s resources, particularly laptop batteries. Older systems may not be able to display the flashy new graphics. The “User Account Protection” feature requires users, even an administrator, to answer a series of questions before installing software. While this warning system can be helpful if spyware is trying to install itself, it can be a nuisence for a user installing something legitimate.
The other major Microsoft release is Internet Explorer 7, which became available on November 1. The newest version offers added security along with a redesigned look. IE7 is for computers with XP operating systems with version 2 service pack installed. XP machines that have not installed the Service Pack 2 will need to complete that installation before they can update to IE7. This new release is designed to run best on the newest operating system, Vista.
IE7’s design has been streamlined; buttons on the task bars are smaller and rearranged, allowing more of a webpage to display. IE7 offers more security with its anti-phishing technology. This feature tells you if the web site you are visiting has malicious intent to collect information from your computer. Other features include a redesigned favorites center, an RSS feed reader and tabbed browsing. The tabbed browsing, available for years in Firefox, allows a user to open a new web page without opening a second browser window.
Search options are also increased. Instead of using the default MSN search engine, you can add other search engines to the browser’s search capabilities.
While this new look will take a little getting used to for most, my favorite is already the tabs and the new search engine selection capabilities. The smaller tool bar areas can be a bit busy at times with the anti-phising installed.
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