Windows Vista hits home

Microsoft has put Windows under the knife and the result, Vista, is looking taught and invigorated with six new versions – a couple for businesses, th

Microsoft has put Windows under the knife and the result, Vista, is looking taught and invigorated with six new versions – a couple for businesses, three for the home and one for ‘emerging’ markets – ready for action.

Unlike Windows XP, which has its various guises tuned to different types of hardware, Vista will be organised by what you want to do with your computer, bringing 64-bit, Media Center and Tablet PC functionality to the mainstream.

Here’s a brief overview of what you could be playing with in your own front room…

First up is the unglam Windows Vista Home Basic. More of an oatmeal scrub than a chemical face peel, this doesn’t really get our juices flowing, but might suit your gran.

Basically it does what it says on the tin; it keeps you surfing the net, sending emails and dabbling with documents – but that’s about it.

Windows Vista Premium, on the other hand, has had more than the average nip and tuck. It does all the boring basic stuff but comes with some souped up media handling for photos, music, movies (you can use Windows Media Center to record and watch hi-def telly), has tablet functionality and lets you hook up to an Xbox 360 gaming console.

More excitingly, for those ground down by the bland and outdated XP interface, Premium sports a new graphical interface called Aero.

Aero is a nifty little set up with stylish windows that look like transparent glass and, with Windows Flip and Flip 3D, makes navigating the desktop easy (above is a screen shot of Windows Vista in thumbnail view).

Finally, if you’re a bit of an entrepreneur, you could check out Vista Ultimate, which stuffs all the business and home features of the other packages into one.

All in all Vista seems to be a case of beautifying the system and making it easier to use – about time since Mac OS has looked prettier than XP for quite some time.

All new versions are available for either 32-bit or 64-bit systems. There isn’t a release date as yet, but we’re expecting something by the end of this year – we’ll keep you posted.

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