Windows Vista Standard

This oddball user experience is designed specifically for Vista Home Basic users and is an olive branch, of sorts, to those who have the hardware required to run Windows Aero but cannot do so because that user experience is not included in Home Basic.

Vista Standard is essentially a visual compromise between Vista Basic and Windows Aero. That is, it features the look and feel of Windows Aero, minus the translucency effects. Under the hood, however, it utilizes the less-sophisticated display technologies utilized by Windows Vista Basic. In addition to lacking Aero’s transparency feature, Windows Vista Standard also dispenses with many other Aero features, such as Flip 3D and live taskbar thumbnails.

If you are running Windows Vista Home Basic and would like to upgrade to Aero, you need to utilize Vista’s unique Windows Anytime Upgrade service—available to Vista Home Basic and Home Premium customers—to upgrade to Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Edition.

Source of information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

Windows Vista Basic

Windows Vista Basic is the entry-level desktop user experience in Windows Vista and the one you will see on Windows Vista Home Basic or in other editions if you don’t meet certain hardware requirements, which I’ll discuss shortly. From a technological perspective, Windows Vista Basic renders the Windows desktop in roughly the same way as does Windows XP, meaning it doesn’t take advantage of Vista’s new graphical prowess and enhanced stability. That said, Vista Basic still provides you with many of the unique features that make Vista special, such as integrated desktop search—available via a search box in the upper-right corner of every Explorer window—and Live Icons, which show live previews of the contents of document files.

Windows Vista Basic isn’t as attractive as Windows Aero, but there are actually some advantages to using it. For starters, it offers better performance than Aero, so it’s a good bet for lower-end computers. Notebook and Tablet PC users will notice that Vista Basic actually provides better battery life than Aero too, so if you’re on the road and not connected to a power source, Vista Basic is a thriftier choice if you’re trying to maximize runtime.

Conversely, Windows Vista Basic has a few major, if non-obvious, disadvantages. Because it uses XP-era display rendering techniques, Windows Vista Basic is not as stable and reliable as Aero and could thus lead to system crashes and even “blue screen of death” crashes because of poorly written display drivers. Aero display drivers are typically far more reliable, and the Aero display itself is inherently superior to that offered by Basic. Nor does Vista Basic enable you to use some unique Vista features, such as Flip 3D and taskbar thumbnails, that require Aero technologies.

Even if you are running Windows Aero, you may still run into the occasional issue that causes the display to fl ash and suddenly revert back to Windows Vista Basic. For example, some older applications aren’t compatible with Windows Aero; when you run such an application, the user experience will revert to Windows Vista Basic. When you close the offending application, Aero returns. In other cases, certain applications that use custom window rendering will actually display in a Windows Vista Basic style, even though all of the other windows in the system are utilizing Aero. These are the issues you have to deal with when Microsoft makes such a dramatic change to the Windows rendering engine, apparently. The good news is that these glitches are significantly less common with Windows Vista and Service Pack 1 (SP1). Most modern Windows applications work just fine with Aero.

Source of information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

Windows Classic

Like Windows XP, Windows Vista includes a user experience called Windows Classic that resembles the user interfaces that Microsoft shipped with Windows 95, 98, Me, and 2000. (It most closely resembles Windows 2000.) This interface is available on all Windows Vista product editions, including Starter Edition. Classic is included in Windows Vista primarily for businesses that don’t want to undergo the expense of retraining their employees to use the newer user experiences.

Even though Microsoft markets Windows Classic as being identical to the Windows 2000 look and feel, in fact there are numerous differences. Therefore, users will still require some training when moving from Windows 2000 to Windows Vista and Classic mode, or will need to reconfigure various Windows Classic features so the system more closely resembles Windows 2000. For example, the Start Menu and Explorer windows still retain the layouts that debuted with Windows Vista, and not the styles you might be used to in Windows 2000, although you can fix this somewhat. To use the old Start Menu, right-click the Start button and choose Properties. Then, select the option titled Classic Start Menu, and click OK. It’s a bit more complicated to use a Windows Explorer look and feel that is closer to that of Windows 2000. To do so, select Computer from the Start Menu and then press the Alt key to display the Classic menu (which is hidden by default in Windows Vista). Select Folder Options from the Tools menu to display the Folder Options dialog. Then select the option titled Use Windows classic folders and click OK. Your system should now look a lot more like Windows 2000.

If you work in the IT department of a business that is considering deploying Windows Vista, you can actually roll out a feature called Classic Mode via Group Policy (GP) that does, in fact, confi gure Windows Vista to look almost exactly like Windows 2000. Classic Mode essentially combines the Classic user experience with the secrets mentioned previously.

Source of information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

Understanding the Windows Vista User Experience

When the first PCs hit the streets over 20 years ago, users were saddled with an unfriendly, nonintuitive user interface based on the MS-DOS command line and its ubiquitous C:\prompt. Since then, computer user interfaces have come a long way, firs with the advent of the mouse-driven graphical user interface (GUI) on the Macintosh and later in Windows, and then with the proliferation of Internet connectivity in the late 1990s, which blurred the line between local and remote content and led to the currently emerging era of “cloud computing,” whereby PC-like user interfaces are available on the Web.

Microsoft has been at the forefront of the evolution of state-of-the-art computer GUIs for the masses over the years. Windows 95 introduced the notion of right-clicking on objects in the operating system to discover context-sensitive options; Windows 98 introduced a shell, Explorer, that was based on the same code found in the Internet Explorer Web browser; and Windows XP began a trend toward task-oriented user interfaces, with folder views that change depending on the content you are viewing or have selected.

In Windows Vista, the Windows user interface, or as Microsoft likes to call it, the Windows user experience, has evolved yet again. Assuming you are running a mainstream Vista product edition (Windows Vista Home Basic and Starter editions need not apply) and have the right kind of display hardware, you are presented with a translucent, glass-like interface that takes the Windows user interface metaphor to its logical conclusion. That’s right: In Windows Vista, windows actually appear to be made of glass, just like real windows. (Unfortunately, you can also break Windows as easily as the real thing, a fact driven home by the wide range of electronic attacks we’ve all experienced over the years.)

At a higher level, however, it may be comforting to understand that much in Windows
Vista has not changed since XP. That is, you still press a Start button (though it’s now officially called the Start Orb, I’ll continue to call it the Start button) to launch the Start
Menu, from where you can perform tasks such as launch applications; access the Control Panel, networking features, and other related functionality; and turn off the system. A taskbar still runs along the bottom of the Windows Vista desktop, containing buttons for each open window and application, and a tray notification area still sits in the lower-right corner of the screen, full of notification icons and the system clock. The desktop still contains icons and shortcuts.

Windows still appear to float above this desktop, and all of your familiar applications and documents will still work, especially now that Service Pack 1 is available.

What you see in Windows Vista depends largely on which version of Vista you’re using, the hardware in your system, and your own personal preferences. More confusing, perhaps, is that you likely won’t see options for all four of the user experiences Microsoft offers in Vista. However, the method you use for changing between these experiences is the same for all Vista product editions except for Starter Edition: You need to access the classic Appearance Settings dialog box, which will look familiar if you’re used to previous Windows versions. To access this dialog box, right-click the Desktop and choose Personalize. Then, click the Window Color and Appearance link in the Personalization appearance and sound effects control panel window that appears. Finally, click the link titled “Open classic appearance properties for more color options.” (Whew!)

This old-school dialog box enables you to switch between what Microsoft still calls, disconcertingly, color schemes. Windows Aero is the high-end user experience, and the one you’ll likely want (it’s not available in Vista Home Basic or Starter). Windows Vista Basic is the simplest version of the new user interface, and it is available to all Vista editions, including Starter. Windows Vista Standard (not to be confused with the Windows Standard color scheme) is available only in Windows Vista Home Basic, so many readers won’t see this option.

Windows Classic is available to all Vista editions, and all of the color schemes except for Windows Aero, Windows Vista Standard, and Windows Vista Basic actually utilize the Classic user experience.

Source of information : Wiley Windows Vista Secrets SP1 Edition

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