The first thing you notice with Windows Vista is the dramatic desktop background. Then, you notice the rest of the eye candy.
The real, meaningful changes to Windows Vista are behind the scenes. Windows Vista is designed to be much more secure than Windows XP. That will present its own level of user challenges, where tasks are harder to accomplish — and that was the source of many of the complaints during the early beta testing of Vista.
But, Microsoft has made a big change that will help secure Windows Vista.
Unlike Windows XP where “normal users” can not install programs and make many changes, Windows Vista is designed to enable most users to regularly use a “normal user” mode. That means that we won’t run in the more dangerous Administrator mode all the time.
Running Windows routinely while using an Administrator-type User ID is dangerous. This is because any programs that you run, including any viruses, adware or spyware with which you become infected, or any Active-X programs you download from web sites, will run with all the rights and privileges that your User ID has.
The reason we end up runing as an Administrator is that Windows blocks too many necessary functions from the other displayed option “Limited User.” (There are actually several other options available, but they’re not displayed in the usual Control Panel / Users display.) Of course, the logoff/logon process is so slow in Windows XP that switching users to make a change isn’t really an effective choice, either.
The Unix/Linux/BSD world has long recognized and addressed this problem by allowing quick, temporary switching into root/administrator mode.
Duplicating those security changes in Windows XP is not feasible.
Microsoft has selected an new look for Vista. Transparency of windows, gizmos and gadgets to put cute clocks and other tools on your desktop.
And, lots of new graphics…Windows Vista comes with many more dramatic images for the Windows Desktop.
The neat thing is that, once the earlier Vista styles showed up, other people have been creating similar images for Windows Desktops — and we can use them on Windows XP, too.
You can find some very dramatic visuals if you look for them, including many that are designed for wide-screen monitors.