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Teching It Easy: Windows Vista –


Quick Start Guide and FAQs
for getting up and running with Windows Vista.

By Andre Paul Da Costa

What is Windows Vista?
Windows Vista is the latest version of Microsoft’s Windows client operating system. Vista was
in development for the past four to five years, it features vast improvements to the desktop
including a graphically rich user interface called Windows AERO, Instant Search capabilities,
enhanced Security, Multimedia, 64-bit computing, improved deployment and tighter
integration with the Web through new features such as Sidebar Gadgets and Really Simple
Syndication (RSS). Included in Vista are new under the hood features such as Windows
Presentation and Communication Foundations and a new version of the .NET Framework for
creating powerful, connected and more secure applications.

Revised October 1st, 2007.

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Please note, its not gospel and because of the variety of configurations out there some of the
recommendations might not be applicable to your system.
Should I upgrade to Windows Vista or do a clean install?
Upgrading to Windows Vista 32-bit requires that you replace your existing installation of
Windows XP 32-bit by doing what is known as an “in place upgrade”. The installation process
replaces Windows XP files and retains your existing applications, personal files and settings. Of
course, this requires careful thought and planning.
1. Checking to make sure that all your installed applications and existing hardware devices are
2. Acquire any necessary updates that you might need to apply before upgrading to ensure your
existing applications and hardware devices function after installing Windows Vista.
3. Ensuring that there is enough Disk space to store temporary files and the operating system in
addition to your applications and files.
4. Enough memory to efficiently run the operating system and your applications.
5. Acceptable processor speed.
Choosing the right platform is also important; there are no upgrade paths from Windows XP
Professional x64 to Vista x86 or x64 or Windows XP x86 to Vista x64. You cannot launch Vista
x64 setup in Windows XP x86, if you do so, you will receive an "invalid Win32" error, you have
to boot off the DVD. A clean install which involves formatting the drive, getting the right drivers
and reinstall your applications, is always the best route, which guarantees a glitch less
experience which in some cases can occur from upgrading.
For more information: (

How do I install Windows Vista?
You have two choices, you can either upgrade from Windows XP by launching setup from
within Windows (only Vista x86 supports upgrades from Windows XP x86) and choose the
upgrade option during the installation wizard; (Vista requires that you have a minimum 13 GB’s
of free disk space before upgrading). You can also start a new installation by booting from the
DVD drive, (make sure the boot drive in your BIOS is set to the optical drive).
Note: If you want to upgrade Windows XP 32-bit make sure you launch setup from within
Windows XP SP2; upgrades are not supported by booting from the DVD. Upgrades are not
supported for Windows XP Professional x64 Edition at all; Vista x64 requires a clean installation.
How do I do a clean install with the Windows Vista Upgrade media?
1. Boot with the Windows Vista Upgrade DVD.
2. Click “Install Now”.
3. Do not enter a Product Key when prompted.
4. When prompted, select the Vista product edition that you do have.

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5. Install Vista normally.
6. Once the install is complete, restart the DVD-based Setup from within Windows Vista.
Perform an in-place upgrade.
7. Enter your Product Key when prompted.
Get Religion: Backup, Backup, Backup!
As Murphy Law states, if it can go wrong, it will. Upgrading is a very complex process and there
are often cases of failed upgrades from older versions of Windows. Causes can include, power
outage during installation, hardware or application conflict. This is why you should “always back
up”, its better to be inconvenienced than having to start all over from scratch.
Who is Windows Vista for?
Windows Vista targets a melting pot of users, from emerging markets, enterprise customers to
life style computer users. Some of the features include improved Search, Wireless/Networking
and Authentication, Collaboration, Enhanced Security, Multimedia, Gaming, Parental Controls,
improved Group Policy Editor, improved Speech and Hand-writing Recognition, File
Management, 64-Bit Computing and support for the latest hardware on the market. Vista is an
enticing value proposition to those who want a great out of box experience, so they can take
advantage of devices such as camcorders, digital cameras, hi-definition television’s, XBOX’s and
PDA’s. Basically, Windows Vista is for everybody, whether you are an existing Windows user or
migrating from another platform.
Q: What is the latest publicly available build of Windows Vista?
A: The build number of the RTM version of Windows Vista is: 6.0.6000.16386

What are the system requirements for running Windows Vista?
Windows Vista – Recommended system requirements:
 1 GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor
 1 GB of system memory
 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
 Support for Directx 9 graphics with:
- WDDM Drive
- 128 MB of graphics memory (minimum)
- Pixel Shader 2.0 in hardware
- 32 bits per pixel
 DVD-ROM drive
 Audio output
 Internet access (fees may apply)

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Additional requirements to use certain features:
 TV Tuner card required for TV functionality (compatible remote control optional)
 Windows Tablet and Touch Technology requires a Tablet PC or a touch screen
 Windows Bitlocker Drive Encryption requires a USB Flash Drive and a system with a
TPM 1.2 chip
Actual requirements and product functionality may vary based on your system configuration.
Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor can help you determine which features and edition of
Windows Vista will run on your computer visit
For complete Windows Vista requirements, visit
Minimum supported requirements:
Certain product features are not available with minimum supported requirements.
 800 MHz processor and 512 MB of system memory
 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space
 Support for Super VGA graphics
 CD ROM drive
Learn more at the following link:
Most important of all, back up any important data you might have on that computer you plan
on upgrading/installing Vista.
Where on the Windows Vista packaging is the product key located?
After pulling out the plastic slot, look at the back of the shell casing, there you will see the
product key on the yellow sticker.
I lost my product key and I would like to reinstall Windows Vista.
Your Windows product key is usually available on your Certificate of Authenticity sticker located
on the chassis your machine if your system came preloaded with Vista, usually at the bottom of
a laptop. If your key has some how become lost or stolen, try RJL’s software Windows Product
Key Viewer for product key recovery, supports both Windows Vista x86 and x64:
My Product Key does not work, why?
Make sure the key has been typed in properly, no spaces or hyphens between letters. You could
try quitting setup and re-launch it again then try entering the key and see if it is accepted. Make
sure you are using the right key for the Edition of Vista you are installing. If the problem persist,
it’s best you call Microsoft about the problem.

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Can I uninstall Windows Vista and return back to Windows XP?
No, if you need to use XP, you will have to reinstall it. If you are uncertain about upgrading to
Windows Vista, it’s always best to do a dual boot installation by installing Vista on a logical
partition or another hard disk.
Does Vista support installation on external/USB based hard disk?
NOTE: For persons with SATA/RAID configurations, please ensure you have appropriate drivers
for either x86 or x64 platform to load when requested during setup. Also remove any
unnecessary external devices that might cause problems detecting during setup, this includes
external drives and USB based devices.
Can I do a clean upgrade by booting from the Upgrade version of Windows Vista?
See: How do I do a clean installation with the Windows Vista Upgrade media? Regardless
what many may think, Vista’s install process is actually a clean installation whether you choose
to upgrade or not, which only retains your applications and settings, no residue from the prior
installed operating system is carried over during the upgrade. You might encounter issues with
application and device driver compatibility, but would be just the same if you did a regular
clean install and tried to install those applications and devices on Vista.
Can I install/dual boot Windows Vista on an Intel Mac?
Yes you can, to do so you need to use Apples Boot Camp software which has to be installed on
OS X which is then used to create an NTFS or FAT32 partition (still in BETA, Boot Camp will be
finalized with the release of Apples next version of Mac OS X, 10.5 codenamed Leopard).
More information here:
Note: A group of MVP’s have discovered that dual booting XP and Windows Vista can cause
harmful effects to your XP installation because of the “volsnap.sys” file which handles System
Restore Points. Every time you restore your system to an earlier point in Vista, this can destroy
data on the XP partition. It is recommended you hide the Windows XP partition first before
doing the restore, more information:

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Can I install Windows Vista in a Virtual environment and which software do you recommend?
I recommend using VM Ware Workstation 5.5 or later, Virtual PC 2007 or Virtual Server 2005
R2. The more RAM you assign to the Virtual Machine, the better the experience, I recommend a
minimum of 512 MB’s or more for faster install times and the best experience.
You can download the VM Ware trial here:
Virtual Server 2005 R2:
Virtual PC 2007:
How long does Windows Vista take to install?
Installation time can vary depending on the amount of memory (RAM) you have in your system
and the processor speed. I have experienced install times of 39 to 40 mins (clean) for both Vista
x86 and x64 respectively. Most hardware purchased within the last 2 years should install
Windows within 20 to 30 mins.
To learn more, check out the Windows Vista Team Blogs Windows Imaging Installation and
Performance results here
What happens during setup?
Windows copies files to the disk, expands them, and restarts a couple times, install features,
installs updates and Completes setup. During the install routine there can be signs of delay but
usually it’s just a minor delay and setup will continue just fine. If setup does become non-
responsive, you can do a cold boot, start the machine again and boot Vista setup into safe
mode to see if Vista will finish setup.
Tip: (If setup becomes non-responsive or does not complete), do a Cold Boot (reset the
machine) > Start the computer, when the Windows Boot Manager is displayed, select Windows
Setup press F8 on your keyboard and setup should continue.
Note: Windows Vista x64 requires that you have an Intel EM64T or AMD64 capable processor.
CPU-Z is a great utility you can use to find out if your processor is 64-bit capable:
What if setup still fails?
If you are upgrading/clean install, as noted, disable any external or USB based devices you
might have attached to the computer. Also, disable any Security software before launching
setup and ensure that you meet the minimum system requirements for Windows Vista.
Turn Off Serial Key Devices: Windows Vista does not support Serial Key devices. If you are
upgrading and you currently use Serial Keys with an alternative input device, you must turn off
Serial Keys and install another input option before the upgrade. To turn off Serial Keys in
Windows XP, open Accessibility Options in Control Panel. For more information, go to the
Microsoft Accessibility website (
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Check out ActiveWin’s Upgrade from Windows XP to Vista visual tutorial here.
What happens after Windows Vista is installed?
After setup completes, you are then taken to the Out of Box Experience page (OOBE). The first
page configures your Local and keyboard, User account information, after which you can select
a profile picture, wallpaper (if you please) and your network location. Windows Vista then
checks your computers performance and you are ready to start using Windows. One of the nice
things about the Out of Box Experience is after entering all that information, you don’t need to
restart Vista, and you are immediately taken to the Welcome screen right so you can start using
the OS right away.
How do I activate Windows Vista?
Click Start > right click Computer > click "Properties" > scroll down > under Windows
Activation click the link "x day(s) until automatic activation. Activate Windows now"?
You have a 30 day grace period to activate the software, if you refuse to activate during
the 30 day grace period, the software will go into Reduced Functionality Mode and require that
you activate the software before continued use.
Windows Vista refuses to activate:
This could be a result of a time out session on the Server, you are not connected to the
Internet, or you are working in offline mode. If you still experience problems activating, I
recommend you try again later, you have a grace period of 30 days, so immediate
activation of the software is not mandatory or necessary, just make sure it is done within the
grace period or the software will go into reduced functional mode and require activation before
continued use. Alternatively you can choose to activate by telephone by choosing the
Automated phone system option on the Activation wizard.

Where is the Administrator account and how do I log into it?
By default, the Administrator account in Windows Vista does not require a password, its
blank. The Administrator is only accessible through Safe Mode also. You can enable the
Administrator account after installation if you did an upgrade from Windows XP. Click
Start > right click Computer > click Manage > expand Local Users and Groups > select Users >
right click the Administrator account > click Set Password. After which, you can try logging in.
Where is the Drop Down menu bar?
The Menu bar has been replaced by the command bar in the Windows Vista Explorer
Shell. You can access it by holding down the Alt key on your keyboard, if you want to turn
it on permanently, click Organize > Folder and Search Options > View (tab) > under
Advanced Settings check the “Always show menus” box > click OK.

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Where can I get a list of keyboard shortcut commands for Vista?
• Full list of keyboard shortcuts in Vista
• Internet Explorer 7 Quick Reference Sheet
• Windows Mail keyboard shortcuts
I do not like the new Windows Vista hierarchical Start menu; can I get back the cascading
No, but you can turn on Classic Start menu which will reveal the cascading menus, of course,
you will lose the Search box and two pane Start Panel first introduced in Windows XP.
How can I customize or hide the Favorites link pane in Vista's Explorer shell?
The Navigation Pane is devided into two sections: Favorite Links & Folders. The Favorite Links
contains links to commonly used folders and saved searches. You can add new links by dragging
folders and/or saved searches into the list. You can also drag folders from the Folders list to the
Favorite Links section.
This is a convenient way to quickly access folders and searches you use often. You can
reposition a link by dragging it to the position where you want it to be. To remove a link from
the list, right-click on the link and select Remove Link. Restore default links: right-click a blank
area and select Restore Default Favorite Links. Hide Favorite Links: drag the Folders list to the
top of the Navigation Pane
Some of my devices and applications are not working, what should I do?
If your internet connection is working in Windows Vista, I suggest you try obtaining the drivers
through Windows Update. Click Start > All Programs > Windows Update > Turn on Windows
Update. A list of available updates will then be downloaded, you will have the option to view
them, do so and check off the appropriate drivers or software patches you need and click
Install. You can also check the manufacturer’s website for patches, updated drivers or to simply
find out about Vista support for the particular product.
For software, if you are running Windows Vista x64, certain types of applications will not work;
these include Win16 applications and Win32 applications that use Win16 installers. You can
also try running the application in Compatibility mode to see if it will work (full 32-bit
application applications supported). Right click the programs executable > click Properties >
“Compatibility” tab > under “Compatibility Mode” check the Run this application in
compatibility mode for: box > click in the list box and choose a suitable version of Windows.
Certain applications might encounter problems with the new User Account Control security
component in Vista because the application was designed to run with Administrative privileges.
You can try a work around by, right clicking the applications executable and click “Run as
Administrator” on the context menu.

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I cannot get Windows Updates, I receive the following error message “Windows could not
search for new updates with an error of 80245003 or a similar error message”.
Rename the SoftwareDistribution folder. (Because of possible folder corruption or other
Click Start, Choose Run.
In the Run box, type services.msc.
Click OK.
Right-click the Automatic Updates service.
Click Stop.
Stopping the service will take a moment.
Rename the “SoftwareDistribution” folder:
a. Click Start, click Run, type %systemroot%, and then click OK.
b. Right-click the SoftwareDistribution folder, and then click Rename.
c. Type SoftwareDistribution.old, and then press ENTER to rename this folder.
Create a new folder called "SoftwareDistribution"
Click Start. Choose Run.
In the Run box, type services.msc.
Click OK.
Right-click the Automatic Updates service.
Click Start.
Starting the service will take a moment.
Rerun Windows Update.
Where do I turn on/off additional Windows Features and Settings?
Click Start > type “Programs and Features” hit Enter > under Tasks > click the Turn
Windows features on or off link.

Where is the Run Command on the Start Panel?
The Run command by default is not displayed on the Start Panel, you can use the Windows
key + R command to display it on screen, or click Start > type “Run” hit Enter or Click Start
> All Programs > Accessories > System Tools > Run. If you want it to appear on the Start
panel permanently > click Start > type “Taskbar and Start menu” > Start Menu (tab) >
Customize > Advanced (tab) > under Start menu items: > check the Run command box > click >
OK > OK.
The Windows Sidebar does not start automatically with Windows.
Click Start > type “Windows Sidebar Properties” > check “Start Windows Sidebar when
Windows Starts” > click OK.

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How do I add and remove Gadgets on the Windows Sidebar?
Click the plus sign at the top of the Sidebar, a Gallery will then appear with a collection of
installed Gadgets. Select a desired Gadget, right click it and click Add or select the Gadget
and drag onto the Sidebar frame and release. You can acquire more Gadgets by going to
I am unable to connect to Windows Vista using Remote Desktop on Windows XP.
Ensure that you enable the option to connect from any version of Remote Desktop. Click Start >
type System > select and click it > click the Remote Settings link under Tasks > under Remote
Desktop, select the Allow connections from computers running any version of Remote
Desktop (less secure) radio box > click OK.
I need Antivirus software, are there any out there for Windows Vista?
You are in luck, here are few recommended choices:
Computer Associates eTrust
NOD32 from ESET for Windows Vista x86 and x64
Licensed users of NOD32 may download their software. If you have not purchased NOD32 you
may purchase it, download a free 30-day trial, or contact an ESET representative for assistance.
A valid username and password is required in order to download the software.
Windows Vista 32 & 64 Bit -
Windows Vista 32 & 64 Bit (LAN Update Server) -
AVAST! 4.7.892 Home Edition for Vista x86 and x64
avast! 4 Home Edition is a full-featured antivirus package designed exclusively for home users
and non-commercial use. Both of these conditions should be met! Our company offers the
Home Edition free of charge, since, in our opinion, it is possible to avoid global virus spreading
by efficient prevention; however, many users are not able to or do not want to pay for antivirus
software. This page will show you the most important features of this program.
Registration required
AVG for Windows Vista

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Microsoft Windows Live OneCare 1.5 works on x86 versions of Windows Vista ONLY, the next
version Windows Live OneCare 2.0 (currently in BETA as of this writing) will support Windows
Vista x64.
McAfee VirusScan Enterprise-8.5i
Kaspersky Antivirus 6.0 Free Trial
Download here
Kaspersky Internet Security 6.0 Free Trial
Download here
Norton Antivirus 2007
Download here
Norton 360
Trend Micro PC Cillin Internet Security for Vista x86 and x64
Download here
If something goes wrong in Windows Vista, you can always try using a restore point to fix the
Click Start > right click Computer > click Properties > click Advanced System Settings
under Task > click System Protection > click System Restore and follow the instructions
for restoring your PC to an earlier point.
I don't get the new Windows Vista AERO Glass user interface, why?
Windows AERO Glass requires that you have a minimum of 128 MBs video RAM that is Direct X
9 compliant and supports the Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM). If your video card does
not meet these requirements, it’s the likely cause why you are not seeing it. For
onboard/integrated cards, you need to have 1 GB of dual channel memory installed with 512
MBs of RAM allocated to the system. The amount of Video RAM also determines the resolution
size your Display can use.

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My video card supports Windows AERO Glass but it’s not available and I cannot turn it on, are
there any workarounds?
Again, this might be result of your video card not being Direct X 9 compatible or the system
RAM is not enough to run it. Microsoft it seems has recently implemented a requirement for
systems with 512 MB or less with slower cards. For instance, one of my systems running Vista
has a 128 MB AGP video card with 512 MBs of RAM but I only get the AERO Basic experience.
Fortunately I am able to work around this to get the Glass effects but, I only get Glass in my
Standard Administrator account.
Click Start > All Programs > Accessories > right click the Run command > click
Ensure that you have the following registry value set to:
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM\Composition set to 1 (32-bit DWORD)
HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\DWM\CompositionPolicy set to 2 (32-bit DWORD)
2/ Restart DWM by opening a command prompt with administrative privileges
- Type 'net stop uxsms'
- Then 'net start uxsms'
If none of the above work, you might need to refresh your Windows Experience Index (WEI)
1. Click Start
2. In the search box, type Performance Information and Tools, hit enter
3. Click the Update my score link
4. Click Continue on the User Account Control dialog
How do I change the theme in Windows Vista to Windows Classic?
Right click your Desktop > click Personalize > click Theme > click in the Theme list box, select
Windows Classic.
Where are the Windows XP Luna (Blue, Olive and Silver) themes?
These have been removed; the only available themes are Windows Classic, Standard, Windows
Aero Basic, Aero Standard and Windows Aero.
Right click your Desktop > click Personalize > Windows Colors > “Open classic appearance
properties” to apply a theme.

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How can I edit and set the default operating system that starts up when I boot up my PC in an
easy way?
EasyBCD by NeoSmart Technologies would be your answer, it provides a graphical front end to
the BCDEdit Command line that makes it easy for you to define start-up settings and edit boot
entries on the new Windows Longhorn Server/Vista boot manager.

How can I know if my PC is Vista ready or needs upgrading?
The Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor is a diagnostics tool that checks your PC’s hardware,
software settings and gives you recommendations you might need to do before deploying Vista.
Is it recommended I use Windows Vista in a production environment?
You sure can, Microsoft has designated Vista as final and ready for PC consumption. Of course
not all persons or businesses will immediately install or upgrade to Vista. Some will take the
wait and see approach before biting the bullet. Some cases might either require more testing or
simply compatibility issues that will prevent them from upgrading right away.
When will Windows Vista be available in stores and on new PCs?
Windows Vista has been available to Volume License customers since November 2006 through
Software Assurance/Enterprise Agreements. Consumers can now acquire Windows Vista on
new PCs and retail copies anywhere software and PC's are sold.
How much will Windows Vista cost?
Pricing ranges from $199 to $399 USD, with various upgrade prices and discounts at $359 for
the Ultimate edition.
Learn more here:
I am running a pre-release test version of Windows Vista, can I upgrade to the final version?
You can upgrade your installation of Windows Vista Beta 2, RC1 or RC2 to the final,
commercially available version of Windows Vista. You will need to acquire the final version and
launch the installation from within Windows XP. Beta versions of Windows Vista are Time-
limited software and are not supported by Microsoft after they are finalized.
Windows Vista Beta 2, RC1 and RC2 are time-limited, pre-release software that will expire on
May 31st 2007 or June 1, 2007.

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How many editions of Windows Vista are available?
There are a total of 6 editions of Windows Vista available through different channels.
Starter Edition – Available only on new computers in emerging markets such as Asia, Mexico,
Africa and others

Home Basic
Windows Vista Home Basic is the entry level offering for consumers. Highlights include:
 Significant advances in security and reliability
 Parental Controls
 Windows Vista Basic user interface (AERO without transparency)
 Search and organize innovations
 Improved networking
Home Basic is designed to be easy to setup, to help people use their PCs securely and reliably, to
help people stay better connected, and like all of the editions of Windows Vista, to be
compatible with the widest range of software, devices, and services people use and trust. For
people who simply want to use their PC for tasks such as surfing the internet, corresponding
with friends and family using e-mail or performing basic document creation and editing tasks,
Home Basic delivers a safer, more reliable, and more effective computing environment.
Home Premium
Windows Vista Home Premium is the mainstream edition of Windows Vista for consumer
desktop and mobile PCs. It includes all features available in Windows Vista Home Basic plus:
 Windows Aero Glass user interface
 Windows Media Center functionality
 Additional digital media features such as authoring and burning DVDs
 Windows Tablet PC capability
 Additional mobility features such as PC-to-PC synchronization
Home Premium makes finding information, stating connected and interacting with your PC
easier and more secure. Using, organizing and sharing photos, video, TV and music becomes a
part of your everyday life. With Windows Vista Home Premium, balancing your check book,
doing homework, watching a movie, listening to music or playing a game is a better and more
enjoyable experience.
Business is the primary edition of Vista for business desktop and mobile PCs. This offering
crosses the small business, mid-sized business and enterprise segments. This edition includes all
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the features available in Windows Vista Home Basic (with the exception of a small number of
entertainment features), plus:
 Windows Aero Glass user interface
 Windows Tablet PC capability
 Additional mobility features such as PC-to-PC synchronization
 Core business features such as Domain Join, Group Policy support and Encryption File
 Small business-specific features such as Fax and Scan, and Small Business Resources
For small businesses, Vista Business will help keep PCs running smoothly and securely, with less
reliance on dedicated IT support. For larger organizations, Vista Business provides dramatic new
infrastructure improvements, enabling IT staff to spend more time adding strategic value to the
business. Vista Business also offers powerful new ways to organize, find and share information,
while helping people stay better connected in the office and on the road.
Enterprise is the premium edition of Vista for business desktop and mobile PCs. This offering is
only available to customers who have their PCs covered by a Microsoft Software Assurance
agreement. In addition to including all of the features available in Vista Business, highlights of
this edition include:
 Windows BitLocker (TM) Drive Encryption
 All worldwide interface languages
 Virtual PC Express
 Subsystem for UNIX Applications (SUA)
Vista Enterprise is designed for large enterprises and organizations with complex desktop
infrastructures. It helps reduce the cost and complexity of deploying and managing PCs,
improves reliability and security, and makes it easier to comply with information policies.
Windows Vista Enterprise also increases information worker productivity and enables mobile
users to stay better connected with customers, partners and their business in the office or on the
Ultimate Edition
Ultimate is the flagship edition of Windows Vista across consumer and small business desktop
PCs and mobile PCs. The primary user of Windows Vista Ultimate is the individual, such a small
business owner, who uses a single PC at both home and work. This edition includes all the
features available in Windows Vista Home Premium and Windows Vista Enterprise.
Ultimate is the first operating system that combines the advanced infrastructure of a business-
focused operating system, the productivity of a mobility-focused operating system, and the

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digital entertainment features of a consumer-focused operating system. For the person who
wants their PC to be great for working at home, on the go and at the Office, Windows Vista
Ultimate is the no-compromise operating system that provides it all.
Other “N” based editions of Vista are available in the European Union also. All editions except
for Starter Edition will be available in both 32 and 64 bit versions. Only Vista Ultimate Edition
retail package product contains both disk for 32 and 64 bit systems.
Order Alternate media:
Learn more here:
Learn more here:

What is the official Microsoft Windows Vista website?
I am a developer, not a consumer. What is the Windows Vista developer website?
When was the official name of Windows Vista released?
It was first released at the Microsoft Global Business Conference in Atlanta on July 21, 2005.
ActiveWin was the first website to break the news to the web. Microsoft officially announced
the name to the public on July 22, 2005.
What is the thinking behind the name Windows Vista?
 It enables a new level of confidence in your PC and in your ability to get the most out of
 It introduces clear ways to organize and use information the way you want to use it.
 It seamlessly connects you to information, people, and devices that help you get the
most out of life.
What is the strategy Microsoft is employing in creating Windows Vista?
In general, Microsoft wants the next operating system to be more reliable, secure and
powerful. These links on Microsoft's website detail their vision about security and information
management with Vista.
What is new in the .NET Framework 3.0?
.NET Framework 3 is a collection of new technologies which make up Microsoft's next-
generation of managed APIs. .NET Framework 3 consists of the following four main
components: the .NET Framework 2.0, the Microsoft Windows Communication Foundation
(formerly known as 'Indigo'), the Microsoft Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly known
as 'Avalon'), and the Microsoft Windows Workflow Foundation (formerly known as 'WinOE').

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What is AERO?
AERO (Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, Open) is the user experience in Windows Vista, is a
new design philosophy that delivers a compelling user experience from the moment users start
interacting with the computer to the moment they leave. For developers, AERO provides a
number of APIs that enable developers to extend their applications to integrate with this new
design philosophy. Developers can manipulate the Desktop Window Manager, window chrome,
and UI controls. Additionally, AERO is exposed through themes, layouts, and styling as well as
through the native Avalon controls.

What is the Windows Presentation Foundation?
With the Windows Presentation Foundation Microsoft delivers an integrated platform for
applications, documents, and graphics and media to the desktop ecosystem. The Windows
Presentation Foundation provides new opportunities for developing exciting applications while
reducing the complexity of building compelling user interfaces. It also offers creative, technical,
and performance benefits, and simplifies designer-developer collaboration during prototyping
and development. More information here
What is the Windows Communication Foundation?
The Windows Communication Foundation is a collection of next generation .NET technologies
for building and running connected systems. The Windows Communication Foundation helps
developers and organizations overcome the challenges of building connected applications, both
within and beyond the enterprise. The Windows Communication Foundation takes Web
services to the next level by providing developers with a highly productive framework for
building secure, reliable, and interoperable applications. Some of the benefits of these
technologies include: less complexity for developers, fewer components to be managed by IT
professionals, reduced training for both, and significant cost savings for the organization. More
information here

What is the XPS Print Path (formerly called the Metro print path)?
The XML Paper Specification (XPS) print path (formerly called the Metro print path) is the print
path in Microsoft Windows Vista. It provides support for both the new XML Paper Specification
Document Format and the Windows Presentation Foundation graphics engine. While the XPS
print path is a new technology designed for Windows Vista. More information here
Does Windows Vista offer any improvements in security over the current iteration of the
Windows operating system?
Yes. One major improvement Microsoft is making the Windows operating system with Vista is
the introduction of User Account Control (UAC, formerly called Least-privileged User Account or
LUA). This change in the Windows privilege model is to help prevent users from running
programs that attempt to perform operations that the user doesn't really intend or authorize.

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To that end, UAC enables users to run at low privilege most of the time, while being able to
easily run applications requiring more privilege as necessary.
Microsoft has also upgraded the Security Configuration Wizard to allow developers of third
party software greater flexibility in application development and deployment. Plus, Windows
Vista includes the Network Access Protection Framework, which enables system administrators
to define and enforce policies that require network clients to establish their trustworthiness
and compatibility with the network before being given a specified access.

My applications always seem to crash under Windows XP, does Windows Vista fix this
Microsoft has shipped a new set of application programming interfaces (APIs) with Windows
Vista to increase developers' ability to write reliable, error free applications, and, when
something goes wrong, to recover from those errors gracefully and without data-loss.
Specifically some of these and related technologies are called: Windows Vista Restart Manager,
I/O cancellation support in Windows Vista, Windows Feedback Platform.

What is Windows Sideshow?
Windows SideShow is a new platform in Microsoft Windows Vista that developers can use to
write gadgets that extend their applications to a range of display devices. Some of the display
devices will be integrated into computers; others will appear on peripheral devices.
Examples of potential SideShow-compatible devices include:
 A display embedded in a laptop lid. This type of display, which caches data for use
offline, is great for checking calendar appointments and e-mail messages.
 A display in a keyboard. Useful for reading messages when playing a game in full-screen
mode, listening to music or watching a video, reading weather reports, and more.
 A mobile phone. Useful for remotely controlling applications, such as moving to the next
slide or reading speaker notes in Microsoft PowerPoint on your device from across a
What is Windows Sideshow Gadget?
Microsoft uses the term "Gadget" to refer to two different, not necessarily compatible
technologies. Sideshow gadgets are applications which can extend their reach to a range of
display devices using Windows Sideshow technology. According to the Windows Sideshow blog,
Sideshow gadgets are idea for the following applications:
 Cached data. If an application contains data that users would benefit from seeing when
their PCs are in standby or hibernate, a gadget is ideal in this case. Examples of gadgets
include e-mail, contacts, and directions.

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 Notifications. Many users want to receive a notification from an application on a
SideShow-compatible device. Examples include meeting reminders or notifications
when online contacts sign in to Instant Messaging.
 Remote application control. If an application has settings and functionality that users
may want to control when they don't have access to their computer's primary display,
such an application could be remotely controlled with a gadget for SideShow. Examples
include controlling media playback and presentation settings.

What is a Windows Sidebar Gadget?
Microsoft uses the term "Gadget" to refer to two different, not necessarily compatible
technologies. Gadgets for Windows Sidebar will run on your desktop or dock into Windows
Sidebar, an upcoming feature in Windows Vista which allows users to run widget-like mini-
applications on a side-bar like addition to Windows. Desktop Gadgets can developed using
Windows Presentation Foundation, DHTML/Atlas, and even ActiveX controls. The beauty of
Desktop Gadgets is that they are visually and programmatically rich, scaling from vector-based
graphics and managed code to standard web techniques.

What is the Windows Sidebar?
Windows Sidebar is a new feature of the Vista desktop that connects you with powerful yet
easy to use "gadgets"-mini-applications that help you to be more productive in your daily life at
work, at home, or on the go. For example your gadgets might include local weather, a photo
slideshow, a dictionary, news headlines, even a convenient way to control Windows Media
Player. Gadgets are organized in an easy-to-use panel-the Windows Sidebar-that discreetly
docks on the side of your Windows desktop. Alternately, gadgets can "float" on the desktop
wherever you like. Developers will be able to build an endless variety of gadgets, which you can
use to customize your Windows Vista desktop however you want. In addition, gadgets can also
be built for the new Windows Side Show platform which allows you to extend critical PC-based
data to a range of connected devices including second displays in laptops or displays built into
keyboards, remote controls, and even cell phones. (from Microsoft)

What are Flip and Flip 3D?
Windows Vista provides two entirely new features to manage windows "Flip" and "Flip 3D". Flip
allows you to flip through open windows (by using Alt+Tab) providing a live thumbnail of each
window rather than just a generic icon and filename. Live thumbnails make it easier to quickly
identify the window you want, particularly when multiple windows of the same kind are open.
With Flip 3D,you can use the scroll wheel on your mouse to flip through open windows in a
stack, and quickly locate and select the one you want to work with. This feature is even handier
when you use it with the new Flip 3D key that manufacturers are adding to many keyboards.
(from Microsoft)

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Deploying the current iteration of Windows in an enterprise environment can be a hassle. Has
Microsoft provided any new technologies which may help with this problem?
Windows Vista reduces the complexity, time, and cost of desktop deployment. The following
are the two most significant improvements:
 Modularization. Windows Vista is built with inter-dependent modules, which makes it
easier to customize Windows Vista (to a certain degree) to your needs. Modularization
also simplifies adding device drivers, testing and installing updates, and adding
 Windows Imaging Format (WIM). WIM, a file-based imaging format, enables a single
image to be deployed to different types of computer hardware with different language
requirements. Maintaining WIM images is easy, because you can add and remove
drivers, updates, and Windows components offline, without ever booting the operating
system image.
Why did Windows Vista take so long to be released?
Actually, Windows Vista was developed and tested within a normal Windows Development
time frame which is usually 15 to 18 months, Vista RTMed in November 2006. In comparison to
Windows XP’s development cycle which started in August of 2000 and ended August 2001 that
would total to XP (13) vs. Vista (17) months, not bad for what Vista is offering in comparison to
Some factors include Vista development being restarted from scratch, the previous code base
on which Longhorn (Vista’s code name) was originally being developed on (XP) was scrapped
and Server 2003 SP1 was used instead.
When can we expect to see the first Service Pack for Windows Vista?
Microsoft is always striving to improve the quality of there products. Windows Update is one of
the great examples of this effort, since its implementation, Microsoft has continually improved
the service to deliver improved experience for Windows, software and hardware devices.
Windows Vista SP1 is currently in testing as of this writing. It is expected to be released
sometime in the first quarter of 2008.
To learn more about Windows Vista SP1, please check the following link:

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Join the newsgroups for support and discussion concerning Windows Vista.
Here is a list of available newsgroups for Windows Vista as of today:

If you want to access the web based version of these newsgroups, click the following link:
Head on over to the following page at Microsoft's website on how to configure your
newsreader to read Microsoft's Public Newsgroups:
Repartition a hard disk by using the Shrink feature
Note: Backup Operator or Administrator is the minimum membership required to complete the
actions below.
Caution: If the partition is a raw partition (that is, one without a file system) that contains data
(such as a database file), shrinking the partition may destroy the data! For detailed information,
open Disk Management, click Help on the menu bar, click Manage Basic Volumes, and then click
Shrink a Basic Volume.
Shrink an existing partition to create new unallocated space, from which you can create a new
 Open the Start Menu, right-click on Computer, click Manage, expand Storage & select
Disk Management.
 Right-click a partition, select Shrink Volume, Enter the amount of space to shrink in MB
& click Shrink.
 Right-click the new unallocated space, click New simple volume, click Next, Enter the
Simple volume size in MB, click Next, assign a drive letter, click Next, Enter the Volume
label, click Next, and then click Finish.

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Disable Hibernation & delete the Hibernation file (source)
Windows places a file on your hard drive that it uses when your computer goes into hibernation
mode. If you do not use hibernation mode, or your computer does not properly support it, you
may want to disable hibernation and clear the file off your hard drive to free up some space
(the file will use as much space as you have in physical memory, so if you have 1GB of RAM, it’s
going to use 1GB of your hard drive space).
Disable Hibernation:
1. Click Start, All Programs, and then right click on "Command Prompt".
2. From the context menu click on "Run as administrator".
3. If User Account Control prompts you to allow the action, click on Continue.
4. In the command prompt window, type "powercfg –h off" (without the quotes).
4. Close the Command Prompt window.
Delete the Hibernation File:
1. Click Start, All Programs, Accessories, System Tools, and then click "Disk Cleanup".
2. If prompted to choose a drive, select the drive in which Windows Vista is installed on to and
press OK.
3. Disk Cleanup will scan the hard drive and present you with a list of options.
4. Check "Hibernation File Cleaner", and then click OK.
5. When asked "Are you sure you want to permanently delete these files?" click on the Delete
Files button.
How do I make the icons in Windows Vista larger?
Click on your Desktop, press Ctrl + Scroll Up (this works in any folder).
You can make them larger then when you select Large Icons from the menu (Right Click -> View
-> Large Icons).
Make 64-bit Media Player 11 the Default in Windows Vista x64 (source)
Please note certain codecs might not work properly:
In Windows Vista x64, the 32-bit edition of Windows Media Player 11 (WMP 11) is set as
the default Windows Media Player. This is done to avoid and reduce any compatibility
issues or problems that may arise with codecs or other DirectShow related plug-ins or add-
ons that majority of them still built for 32-bit operating system. However, if you decide to use
the 64-bit version of WMP11 with your 64bit version of Windows Vista, especially now that
more and more codecs support 64-bit computing platform, and a x64 FFDShow codec which
can decode virtually any audio or video media files has been released, you can use a few easy
methods to launch 64 bit WMP11 or simply switch, change or swap the system default media
player to x64 Windows Media Player, and revert back to x86 version when you need to.
By default, the 32-bit WMP 11 x86 is located at path of %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows Media
Player, and 64-bit WMP11 x64 is located at folder of %ProgramFiles%\Windows Media Player.

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So the first method to use 64-bit Windows Media Player is by launching WMP from its x64
Press the Start button, type %Programfiles%\Windows Media Player\wmplayer.exe and press
Enter. Alternatively, you can create a shortcut with target and location set to the above, and
place the shortcut on the Desktop or in Quick Launch for easy access.
Second method: You need to perform 2 steps each to swap to 64-bit version or to undo the
change back to 32-bit version WMP. The unregmp2.exe command (first step) changes the
operating system shortcuts to point to WMP 64bit, while the second registry step changes the
file associations default program to WMP64-bit, which determines which program will be used
when you double click on a media file.
Open an Elevated Command Prompt, type unregmp2 /SwapTo:64 and press Enter.
Then, open the Registry Editor (regedit), then navigate to the the registry key
Paths\wmplayer.exe. Set the registry subkey Path to be %ProgramFiles(x86)%\Windows
Media Player, and the (Default) subkey to “%ProgramFiles%\Windows Media
Player\wmplayer.exe” (include quotes).
To undo the x64 change, open an Elevated Command Prompt, type unregmp2 /SwapTo:32 and
press Enter. Then, open the Registry Editor, and reset the value for registry subkey of Path and
(Default). With either one of two methods, you will have complete full x64 Windows Media
Player experience.
I have 4 GBs of RAM in my system, and I’m running a 32-bit version of Windows Vista, but I
don’t see 4 GB of RAM in the System Information Explorer, why?
The system memory that is reported in the System Information dialog box in Windows Vista is
less than you expect if 4 GB of RAM is installed:
Understanding Address Spaces and the 4GB Limit - [H]ard|Forum:
In Explorer I cannot select more than one file or folder at a time, not using the mouse drag
options, nor using the control or shift keys, how can I fix this?
According to Keith Miller *MVP+ it’s an issue affecting some users, the only available work
around is a script written by Keith that helps MOST people with the multi-select problem.
It will remove single-select from saved folder views & saved defaults.
Right-click the link below & select 'Save Target As..."
Then extract the contents of the .zip file & run the script.

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Windows Vista is not going to Sleep:!5B074284162A63E3!373.entry
Restore Deleted Recycle Bin:
1. Right click Desktop (or type Personalize from Start Menu Search box and hit Enter)
2. Click Personalize
3. Under 'Task' click Change Desktop Icons
4. Under Desktop, check "Recycle"
If it’s already checked, uncheck it and check it again, Apply and OK.
How do I install Windows DreamScene and the DreamScene Content Pack?!E8E5CC039D51E3DB!15724.entry
A look at the Windows DreamScene Content Pack Favorites
How do I create my own Windows DreamScene using video I have recorded?
DreamScene authoring tips from Microsoft's Ultimate Team:
How do I access the “Send To” and “Start up” folders in Windows Vista?
Send To – Open the Run Command (Win + R) type shell:sendto hit enter
Startup – Open the Run Command (Win + R) type sheel:startup hit enter
"C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"
Registry keys are:
The shell: command can be used to open a special folder directly from the Start, Search menu.
For example, the command shell:SendTo opens the SendTo folder
(%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\SendTo). To launch the Documents

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folder of your User Profile, you'd type shell:Personal. Below is a complete shell: commands
listing for Windows Vista. The entire listing is stored in the following registry key in Windows

Additional Shell commands:

Explorer System Misc.

shell:Common Documents shell:AppData shell:AddNewProgramsFolder

shell:CommonDownloads shell:AppUpdatesFolder shell:Administrative Tools

shell:CommonMusic shell:Cache shell:ChangeRemoveProgramsFolder

shell:CommonPictures shell:CD Burning shell:Common Administrative Tools

shell:CommonVideo shell:Common AppData shell:Common Start Menu

shell:Contacts shell:Common Desktop shell:Common Startup

shell:Desktop shell:Common Programs shell:Common Templates

shell:Downloads shell:ControlPanelFolder shell:ConflictFolder

shell:Favorites shell:Cookies shell:ConnectionsFolder

shell:Games shell:Default Gadgets shell:CredentialManager

shell:GameTasks shell:Fonts shell:CryptoKeys

shell:NetworkPlacesFolder shell:Gadgets shell:CSCFolder

shell:My Music shell:Local AppData shell:DpapiKeys

shell:PhotoAlbums shell:History shell:LocalizedResourcesDir

shell:My Video shell:InternetFolder shell:MAPIFolder

shell:My Pictures shell:ProgramFiles shell:OEM Links

shell:MyComputerFolder shell:SyncCenterFolder shell:Profile

shell:SampleMusic shell:PrintersFolder shell:Links

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shell:SavedGames shell:PrintHood shell:Original Images

shell:Playlists shell:NetHood shell:LocalAppDataLow

shell:Personal shell:ProgramFilesCommon shell:ResourceDir

shell:PublicGameTasks shell:ProgramFilesCommonX86 shell:UsersFilesFolder

shell:Quick Launch shell:ProgramFilesX86 shell:Templates

shell:Public shell:SendTo shell:TreePropertiesFolder

shell:Recent shell:Startup shell:SystemCertificates

shell:Start Menu shell:SearchHomeFolder shell:SyncResultsFolder

shell:RecycleBinFolder shell:SystemX86 shell:SyncSetupFolder

shell:SampleVideos shell:Windows

shell:SamplePictures shell:Searches

shell:SamplePlaylists shell:System


Popular Windows Vista Help and Support Sites
The Windows Experience Blog
Teching It Easy

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If there is anything you think would be a useful addition to this FAQ/Guide, don’t hesitate to
contact me so I can add it. I want this to be the best Vista FAQ/Guide for all of you. Thanks!
Andre Da Costa (ActiveWin Lead Review Editor)

© 2007

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