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A (Much) Closer Look At Windows Vista

If you're curious about how some of the advertised features in Windows Vista work under the hood--or you'd just like to see what kind of reading I do for fun on the job--have a look at the first installment of Ars Technica's three-part Vista review.

This lengthy piece goes into such details as:

* Why Mac OS X and Windows Vista can easily display live thumbnail previews of open windows, while XP can't;

* What Vista's graphics layer does to make new software more accessible to people with limited vision;

* How far Vista will go to stop unauthorized use of "protected" audio or video content.

The review isn't for everyone--if you're not sure whether to pronounce "API" as an abbreviation or an acronym, it may completely baffle you--but if my own Vista write-up left you wanting more detail, give it a look.

By Rob Pegoraro  |  March 23, 2007; 11:24 AM ET
Categories:  Recommended reading  
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I have an RSS feed set up for ars technica myself, and that article was very informative.

Posted by: aaronw | March 23, 2007 12:30 PM | Report abuse

Orrrrr, I'll just stick with the Mac... Vista without the cruddy parts!

Posted by: Gyffes | March 23, 2007 1:43 PM | Report abuse

It sort of glosses over PMP as "probably not beneficial to the user"

It also doesn't discuss whether or not Vista's new security system will let you "run as root".
i.e. I currently use my XP box as a limited user (this a very good idea is for security reasons and the way Linux/Unix operates). But I can't even check for updates let alone install them with out switching to the administrative user. But on my Linux box where I'm also a limited user I only have to supply the root (administrative) password to perform an administrative function. I'd heard rumors Vista would implement similar functionality, but everything I've read about Vista's new security system just discusses the annoying "allow or deny" pop-ups.

So can you run as an admin from a limited account or does Vista continue to expect every one to be an "Admin" and utilize the pop-ups to protect their system from attack?

Posted by: Norm | March 23, 2007 2:20 PM | Report abuse

Right-click any program you wish to run and one of the first actions is "Run as administrator". What could be simpler?

Posted by: Ken | March 23, 2007 4:49 PM | Report abuse

The ARS Technica article confirms what most are saying: Vista finally brings Microsoft into the 21st century while other leaders in media, hardware, and software are 5 years ahead. Microsoft's OS still trails Apple's Mac OSX in most any objective measure, while not breaking any new ground in the industry. After all the delays, Vista is a catchup, not a leap forward.

Posted by: not a fan | March 23, 2007 8:30 PM | Report abuse

I hope that Vista has better ability to run as a limited user, as does Norm. I have heard that they could have spent some of the effort that went into the Aero interface into the security aspects.

As far as limited user in Windows XP goes, lots of stuff just doesn't work so well that you have to learn to live with. You can't double click on the time/date on the System Tray to view a calendar. You can't change what icons you'd like associated with a particular extension.
You also can't run Windows Explorer as admin (it allows you to right-click and select "run as..." and enter admin password, but just sits there and doesn't launch an admin task or window), so you can't access files that are on protected admin folders without switching user.
You can't even disable your wireless network card.

Posted by: michael | March 23, 2007 8:46 PM | Report abuse

So where is the technical part of this review I am not supposed to understand ?Even an retarted retard can understand this retarted article

Posted by: Frederick M Raposa | March 24, 2007 1:54 PM | Report abuse

With Vista you can run as a standard user and elevate apps to have admin privileges with the admin password. If you run as the "admin" account everything is still run as a standard user; applications or actions that require admin privilege (such as installers) can flag themselves as needing this, which will bring up a protected request for elevation (no password). These "allow or deny" pops aren't just "popups". These dialogs are completely protected on the secure desktop (can't spoof) meaning if you don't consent then the app will not get admin privileges. Also apps with admin privilege are protected from other lower privilege apps through mandatory access control.

Posted by: Jhaks | March 24, 2007 2:19 PM | Report abuse

You shouldn't be allowed to even mention the word "Windows," let alone discuss any aspect of it. Where are the censors when we need them?

Posted by: Buzzy | March 25, 2007 1:24 PM | Report abuse

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