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Tuesday, October 18, 2005
Microsoft Unveils New Vista Features

The October Windows Vista Community Technology Preview (CTP) offers an early look at some of the features in the operating system's collaboration, desktop management and mobility features, as well as advancements to Internet Explorer 7.0.

The October CTP will be distributed to beta testers via the Windows Vista Technical Beta Program, as well as to subscribers of the MSDN and Microsoft TechNet. End users interested in testing pre-release versions of Windows Vista should continue to wait until the availability of Beta 2.

Desktop Management

Vista focuses on diagnosing and fixing problems with networks and individual PCs. Diagnostic capabilities in the October CTP include the following:

- Windows Memory Diagnostics can automatically detect and resolve problems caused by defective physical memory. If the diagnostics module identifies a memory problem, Windows Vista can avoid using the affected portion of physical memory, enabling the OS to start successfully and avoid application crashes.

- Windows Disk Diagnostics. Windows Vista can eliminate much of the impact of a disk failure by detecting disk problems proactively, before a failure occurs. Windows Vista guides users through the process of backing up their data so the drive can be replaced without data loss.

- Network diagnostics. Windows Vista will feature integrated network diagnostics that analyze connectivity and network access issues, and either resolve them automatically or provide solutions. Network diagnostics data is saved in the Windows Event Log to help support personnel resolve and track issues.

- Network Center, Computers and Devices. The October CTP includes Network Center, the hub for managing networking in Windows Vista, Computers and Devices, which replaces My Network Places and Network Neighborhood from Windows XP, and serves as the place to easily find and interact with computers and devices on the local network.

- Reliable power state transitions. The October CTP includes improvements that offer a significant increase in the reliability of transitions in and out of Sleep, Shut-Down and On power states. This is accomplished by reducing the opportunity for applications, services and drivers to veto or block these power state transitions.

Connected and Collaborative

The October CTP showcases a number of features designed to solve the complexities of connecting to and sharing information across multiple computers and users, including these:

- Windows Mobility Center. Mobility system settings are aggregated in a new location, under the Windows Mobility Center in the Control Panel. Settings include display brightness, power plans, volume, wireless status, synchronization status, presentation status, and display settings and orientation.

- Sharing. Through the sharing experience in the Windows Vista October CTP, users can now specify not only which folders they want to share with others, but also individual files. The system can even automatically generate an e-mail message with an embedded hyperlink for an easier way to connect to that shared content.

- Digital signatures for XML Paper Specification (XPS) format documents. With Windows Vista, users who have WinFX installed on their system will be able to convert any onscreen content into a secured, fixed-format XPS Document. In the October CTP, XPS Documents can be created using the Microsoft XPS Document Writer. Once created, XPS Documents can be viewed and digitally signed using the XPS Viewer application. Signed XPS Documents will display a graphic icon to indicate they?ve been digitally signed, and users can view the date for the signature and co-sign documents from within the digital signatures dialog box.

Internet Explorer for Windows Vista

Internet Explorer for Windows Vista in the October CTP includes many new features in the areas of security, including the following:

- Internet Explorer Phishing Filter. In Internet Explorer in Windows Vista, Microsoft offers a range of enhancements to better protect against malicious Web site operators and help prevent users from becoming victims of confusing URLs.

- Internet Explorer ActiveX Opt-in. This feature reduces the ?attack surface? of Internet Explorer and gives users more control over the security of their PC.

- Favorites Center. A newly designed panel makes it quick to access Favorites, History and Web feed subscriptions.

- Quick Tabs. After opening multiple tabs, users can view and manage them with an at-a-glance thumbnail view in a single window.

- Tab Groups. After users open a set of tabs, they will be able to save them all into a single group. Further, they will be able to open all pages within a group with a single click, saving them time in opening pages that they visit regularly. Users can even set a tab group to open automatically every time they launch Internet Explorer from the Start menu, to have just the pages they want open ready for them as soon as they open the browser.

- Page Zoom. Users can zoom in and out on individual Web pages, including text and graphics, to focus on the specific content they are interested in viewing and to make the content more accessible to those with vision disabilities.

- Advanced Printing. In addition to shrink-to-fit printing, included in Beta 1, Internet Explorer now includes a multipage print preview with live margins and a default option to only print selected text, ensuring that users can print exactly what they want.

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