In the span of five years, Microsoft promised its most advanced operating system ever and then yanked key features to meet deadlines that were missed anyway.

Yet Vista – due for launch January 30 – manages to largely overcome its long, tortured prelude. It includes improvements that take security, reliability and usability to new heights on the PC.Vista is by far the most robust and visually appealing version of Windows yet; although similar enough to its predecessor, Windows XP, to make the switch easy.That’s not to suggest Vista’s perfect. In more than a month of testing on multiple PCs, I’ve run into a number of rough patches. Then again, I was able to run my systems longer between restarts, experienced fewer crashes and generally found it more informative than its predecessor.

But, is it good?
Overall, yes, it is a worthy upgrade. Users, however, will probably want to wait until the kinks are worked out.
Be forewarned: The hardware requirements for the best features are high.Though a low-end version, Home Basic Edition, is offered, it lacks the high-end graphics and multimedia functions.Most consumers will likely want the Home Premium Edition that includes the visuals and entertainment tools and requires a heftier PC with at least a 1GHz processor and 1GB of memory.The visuals, for obvious reasons, are the most noticeable improvement, though the software doesn’t hesitate to downgrade the experience if your PC is too weak. Programs appear in semi-see-through frames that pop open and close with an animated swoosh. The flourishes aren’t just eye candy. They also help get the job done, particularly if you’re a multitasker.In previous Windows versions, minimised programs were something like a mystery: You knew they were there but it wasn’t easy to find anything. In Vista, live mini-previews of each window pop open when the cursor is moved along the task bar.
Switching between programs using the Alt-Tab key combination is easier, as the live previews appear there, too. A new combination – Tab-Windows keys – flips through all your programs like a 3-D stack of playing cards.The start menu has also been renovated. It now sports a search box that returns results instantly as you type.In fact, the improved search is fully integrated throughout Vista. Windows that display the contents of hard drive folders, for instance, all have a search box that can filter whatever is inside.Search results also can be saved into folders that get populated by future files that meet the original search criteria.By default, the right side of the screen is filled with small programs known as gadgets, displaying headlines, weather, microprocessor loads, memory utilisation – whatever. These default gadgets look great but aren’t terribly useful. The Really Simple Syndication gadget, which pulls headlines from news sites and blogs, only displays four items at a time.Hundreds of additional gadgets are available from Microsoft’s Web site. Some maintain the slick Vista visuals. Others don’t seem to try.

Behind the scenes
Vista also includes considerable security improvements, including a firewall that blocks network traffic in both directions and an anti-spyware program. You still need to get your own anti-virus software. The operating system also has tools for monitoring and controlling your kids’ computer and Internet usage.
There are finer controls to adjust for power consumption and excellent notification and monitoring tools to figure out how the system is operating and what has gone wrong.

As for Multimedia, Vista’s capabilities include a photo management program with basic picture-editing capabilities and an improved upon XP’s moviemaking software, which also supports DVD burning. The premium editions also include Windows Media Center – a shell that makes playing music and video easy, even with a remote control. The program, previously part of a special version of XP, adds some of Vista’s visual pizazz to a package that bundles a digital video recorder for capturing live standard and high-definition TV.

How long does it take to give a PC running Windows XP this facelift? Surprisingly little, at least on a high-end PC with 2GB of memory: My installation took about an hour. After the software checked for updates, prompted me for a serial number and asked me to agree to the Windows user license, the installer ran without any need for input – an improvement over previous Windows versions. Problems arose when the PC came back to life. The beautiful visuals and inviting “Welcome Center” were covered up by error and warning messages detailing a number of incompatibilities. There was no sound. A program that I use to synch data with a flash-memory drive wouldn’t work. The Internet-phone software Skype couldn’t find audio input or output. And I was told the control centre for my ATI Radeon X1600 Pro graphics card “might” have an issue. There was no warning from Microsoft’s compatibility program that I ran before upgrading. Most of the problems were fixed by visiting each vendor’s Web site and downloading updated software, although I still couldn’t use my Hewlett-Packard LaserJet 1020 printer.

In conclusion
All said and done, the success of Vista won’t ride on how well old programs and peripherals will work but on the new capabilities that are enabled. For laptops, it may hinge on auxiliary displays that notify users of new e-mail when the machine is closed. For gaming rigs, it may be how well the games tap into Vista’s graphics capabilities. That’s because given all its bells and whistles, Vista is still just an operating system – a blank canvas, albeit one with a very pretty and elaborate frame.


15 Reasons to Switch

Windows Vista is almost here. To anyone who has been sitting on the fence over whether to upgrade to Microsoft's new operating system, I'll say it loud and clear: It's time to make the jump. There are plenty of reasons to leave Windows XP and install Vista, and below are my top 15 favorites.

It's the Interface, Stupid

  • Perhaps the best thing about Windows Vista is the most obvious: its new interface. With transparent animated windows that swoosh into place, subtle and elegant colors, a new Start menu, and plenty of other changes, this is the most beautiful version of Windows you've seen. If you've ever had Mac envy, this is the Windows you want--it's the most Mac-like interface yet.

Flip Over Windows Flip 3D

  • Switching between open windows using Alt-Tab in previous versions of Windows was always a shot in the dark, as you never quite knew to which window you'd switch, or even which ones were open. That has all changed in Windows Vista. Press Alt-Tab, and Windows Flip 3D springs into action, displaying thumbnails of all your open windows in a gorgeous, 3D stack. You can then flip through them until you find the one you want.

Live Thumbnails

  • Do you run a lot of programs and visit a lot of Web sites simultaneously? If so, you'll appreciate Live Thumbnails. Hover your mouse over any window on the Taskbar, and a thumbnail of the window pops up, with the program and document name, or the Web site name, just above it. The thumbnails are truly "live," so if a video is playing in a window, you'll see the video playing in the thumbnail too.

Boost Performance With ReadyBoost

  • Windows Vista includes a quick way to enhance system performance: ReadyBoost. It preloads files and programs you often use into RAM so that they're there when you want them, and you don't have to wait for them to load from the hard disk. You can buy an inexpensive USB flash drive and use up to 4GB of cheap RAM to boost your system performance.

Cool Performance Tools

  • If you're the kind of person who tends to peek under the hood and tinker, you'll find a lot to like in Windows Vista, which contains plenty of applets and utilities. Probably the best of them all is the Reliability and Performance Monitor. It keeps tabs on every aspect of your PC in exquisite detail, including the CPU, hard disk, network usage, and RAM use, and it includes plenty of charts, reports, and logs for your inner geek. The Reliability Monitor module is particularly noteworthy, as it charts the reliability of your PC over time and shows you every single problem or failure in a calendar format.

Better Security

  • At every level of Windows Vista, you'll find improved security. The firewall is now two-way, including inbound as well as outbound protection. Windows Defender offers spyware protection, and Internet Explorer has an antiphishing filter to protect against Web scams. A slew of security holes have been plugged in Internet Explorer, and the browser now operates in what's called Protected Mode, which guards system files against external attacks. There's plenty more under the hood as well, including Windows Service Hardening, which protects vital files and settings. (Note: BitLocker's automatic drive encryption and other advanced Vista security options are available only in the Business and Ultimate versions.)

Find Anything Fast With Search

  • Can't remember where you put an important file? It's no longer a problem. Windows Vista integrates a new search technology throughout the operating system--on the Start menu, within Windows Explorer, and just about everywhere else you look. It uses indexing and is lightning fast, and it literally searches as you type. A powerful advanced search tool lets you narrow your search by date, file size, author, tags, and location. It also accepts Boolean searching. You can even save your searches for future reference.

Nifty Software Gadgets

  • If you're a software gadget fan, you'll love Vista. It includes a variety of software gadgets that live on the desktop and do little tasks such as delivering stock quotes, showing weather forecasts, displaying RSS feeds, monitoring the state of your computer, checking your e-mail inbox, and more. Vista ships with a gaggle of them, but you can find dozens more online-and they're all free.

Better Wireless Networking

  • Anyone who uses a wireless network at home, at work, or on the road will appreciate the way Windows Vista handles wireless networking. You can more easily find new wireless networks, and save them and manage them as permanent connections. Wireless security has also been improved: When you connect at a public hotspot, security precautions (such as the shutting off of file sharing) automatically lock into place.

Map Your Network

  • Want to see every single computer and device connected to your network--and get instant information about each, such as their IP addresses? The Network Map does that for you. It also lets you make instant connections to any device; double-click a PC, for example, and you'll connect to its shared folders.

Better Graphics With Windows Photo Gallery

  • Finally, with Windows Photo Gallery Microsoft has shipped a graphics utility that's worth using. It's a kind of jack-of-all-trades--you can view graphics and create slide shows, for example. But it also includes a surprisingly good set of simple-to-use image editing tools, including one for eliminating red-eye and another that cleans up photos with a single click.

Become a Director With Windows Movie Maker

  • Windows Vista comes with a new version of the much-maligned moviemaking tool Windows Movie Maker, and it's a big surprise--you'll actually want to use it. Importing video and music, creating transitions between scenes, and syncing music with video are easy. When you're done, you can burn your creation to DVD with Windows DVD Maker.

Better Notebook Support

  • In previous versions of Windows, the mobile-computing features seemed bolted on after the fact. That's not true with Windows Vista, as the Windows Mobility Center puts all the tools you need in one place.
    You can turn your wireless adapter on or off, change your battery settings, and connect to an external display from a single location. And the new Presentation Settings feature is a big leap forward for anyone who often gives presentations with a notebook. You can customize settings--such as the resolution, mute, background, and so on-and then save them. Afterward you can switch from normal mode to presentation mode in a snap.

File Sharing and Syncing

  • With Windows XP it was possible to share files among PCs on your network--possible but often impossibly hard, it seemed. That changes with Windows Vista. The Network and Sharing Center lets you turn on and configure file sharing with single clicks. And the Synch Center lets you automatically synchronize files and folders among separate PCs. You won't have to do anything to keep them in sync; Windows Vista will do it for you.

Protect Your Kids With Parental Controls

  • Worried that your children may be exposed to inappropriate content online? Want to make sure they're not playing violent games? Parental Controls put you in the driver seat. Not only can you determine the kinds of sites they visit and games they play, but you can also enforce rules about when they'll be able to use the computer at all.


PowerPoint 2003 Shortcut Keys

Keys for General Use
All shortcut keys are based on the U.S. keyboard layout. Keys on other layouts may not correspond exactly to the keys on a U.S. keyboard.
For keyboard shortcuts in which you press two or more keys together, the keys to press are separated by a plus sign, like this: SHIFT+F10.For shortcuts in which you press keys one after the other, the keys to press are separated by a comma, like this: ALT, F, X.

Working with Presentation Files
create a new presentation file : CTRL+N
open a presentation file : CTRL+O
close a presentation file : CTRL+W
save a presentation file : CTRL+S
quit PowerPoint : ALT+F4

Keys for Displaying and Using Windows
when more than one window is open, switch to the next window : CTRL+F6
switch to the previous window : CTRL+SHIFT+F6
minimize a window to an icon : CTRL+F9
maximize a selected window : CTRL+F10
restore the size of the active window after you've minimized or maximized it : CTRL+F5

Keys for Moving between Panes
move clockwise among panes of Normal View : F6
move counterclockwise among panes of Normal View : SHIFT+F6
switch between Slides and Outline tabs of the Outline and Slides pane in Normal View : CTRL+SHIFT+TAB

Keys for Sending a Presentation in an E-Mail
To send the current presentation as the body of an e-mail message, press ALT+F, D, C.
Use the following keys when the e-mail header is active. To activate the e-mail header, press SHIFT+TAB as many times as necessary. (If text within a text box is selected, you must first press F2 to select the text box before pressing SHIFT+TAB.)

select the next box in the e-mail header or the body of the message when the last box in the e-mail header is active : TAB
select the previous field or button in the e-mail header : SHIFT+TAB
open the Address Book : CTRL+SHIFT+B
check the names on the To, Cc, and Bcc lines against the Address Book : ALT+K
send the current presentation : ALT+S

Keys for Showing and Hiding the Grid and Guides
show or hide the grid : SHIFT+F9
show or hide guides : ALT+F9
change grid or guide settings : CTRL+G

undo the last action : CTRL+Z
repeat the last action : CTRL+Y

Uninstall XP Powertoys in Windows Vista

Among the snags you'll encounter when upgrading an XP system to Vista is that you may be unable to remove some software written exclusively for Windows XP. The problem is that some installers (which are also the uninstallers) refuse to operate on Vista.
A notable example are Microsoft's own Powertoys; try to remove them after Vista has been installed, and you'll get nothing more than a message stating that the software only works on XP. Here's how to remove XP powertoys (and perhaps other software exhibiting the same problem) in Vista:

  • Open Windows Explorer and navigate to the C:\Windows\System32 folder.
  • Using the right mouse button, drag the file msiexec.exe to an empty spot on your desktop. (Don't use the left button, lest the file be moved instead of copied.)
  • From the menu that appears, select Copy Here.
  • Right-click the msiexec.exe file now on the desktop, select Properties, and choose the Compatibility tab.
  • Turn on the Run this program in compatibility mode for option, choose Windows XP (Service Pack 2) from the list, and click OK.
  • Next, go back to Windows Explorer, and navigate to the C:\Windows\Downloaded Installations folder. Here you'll find a handful of .msi installer files, each of which corresponds to a different installed program.
  • Pick one of the .msi files (with a name matching the powertoy to remove), open the Start menu, and type/paste the following line into the Run/Search box (all on one line):
  • and press Enter. Note the quotation marks around the path pointing to the . msi file and the spaces on either side of the /x parameter. Change C:\Windows if your Windows folder is located elsewhere.
  • When the uninstall is complete, you can delete the .msi file and then repeat step #7 with the next one until they're all gone.
  • When you're all done, delete the msiexec.exe from the desktop.


Edit File Types in Windows Vista

"File Type" associations are the links between your documents and the applications that create them. For instance, when you double-click a Microsoft Word Document on your desktop, Windows knows to start Word and instruct it to open the document because of the Microsoft Word Document file type. Likewise, when you click a website link in an email message, Windows knows which browser to open (e.g., Firefox, Internet Explorer) because of the HTTP Protocol file type.
The Folder Options window in Windows Vista is missing the File Types tab found in earlier versions of Windows. So how do you edit file type associations in Windows Vista?

There are three ways:

Method 1 (on the fly) :

  • Right-click a file of the type you want to change, and select Properties.
  • In the General tab, click the Change button.
  • Choose a program from the list, or click Browse to select an .EXE file on your hard disk.

Method 2 (view a list of file types) :

  • Open Control Panel.
  • In Control Panel Home, click Programs, and then click Make a file type always open in a specific program.
    Or, in the Classic View, open Default Programs and then click Associate a file type or protocol with a program.
  • Highlight a file type in the list and click Change Program.

Unfortunately, neither method in Vista allows you to choose anything but the default programs, such as the programs listed in your files' context menus. If you want complete control over your file types, use this tool:

Method 3 (File Type Doctor) :

  • Download and install Creative Element Power Tools.
  • Open the Creative Element Power Tools Control Panel.
  • Turn on the Edit file type associations option, and click Accept.
  • Right-click a file of the type you want to change, and select Edit File Type to show this window:
  • Click Help if you need more information


Useful Run Commands

Following are the most easiest and accurate RUN COMMANDS. It does save the time and increase work efficiency. Please use it more frequently...

  • Accessibility Controls : access.cpl
  • Accessibility Wizard : accwiz
  • Add Hardware Wizard : hdwwiz.cpl
  • Add/Remove Programs : appwiz.cpl
  • Administrative Tools : control admintools
  • Adobe Acrobat (if installed) : acrobat
  • Adobe Designer (if installed) : acrodist
  • Adobe Distiller (if installed) : acrodist
  • Adobe ImageReady (if installed) : imageready
  • Adobe Photoshop (if installed) : photoshop
  • Automatic Updates : wuaucpl.cpl
  • Bluetooth Transfer Wizard : fsquirt
  • Calculator : calc
  • Certificate Manager : certmgr.msc
  • Character Map : charmap
  • Check Disk Utility : chkdsk
  • Clipboard Viewer : clipbrd
  • Command Prompt : cmd
  • Component Services : dcomcnfg
  • Computer Management : compmgmt.msc
  • Control Panel : control
  • Date and Time Properties : timedate.cpl
  • DDE Shares : ddeshare
  • Device Manager : devmgmt.msc
  • Direct X Control Panel (If Installed)* : directx.cpl
  • Direct X Troubleshooter : dxdiag
  • Disk Cleanup Utility : cleanmgr
  • Disk Defragment : dfrg.msc
  • Disk Management : diskmgmt.msc
  • Disk Partition Manager : diskpart
  • Display Properties : control desktop
  • Display Properties : desk.cpl
  • Display Properties (w/Appearance Tab Preselected) : control color
  • Dr. Watson System Troubleshooting Utility : drwtsn32
  • Driver Verifier Utility : verifier
  • Event Viewer : eventvwr.msc
  • Files and Settings Transfer Tool : migwiz
  • File Signature Verification Tool : sigverif
  • Findfast : findfast.cpl
  • Firefox (if installed) : firefox
  • Folders Properties : control folders
  • Fonts : control fonts
  • Fonts Folder : fonts
  • Free Cell Card Game : freecell
  • Game Controllers : joy.cpl
  • Group Policy Editor (XP Prof) : gpedit.msc
  • Hearts Card Game : mshearts
  • Help and Support : helpctr
  • HyperTerminal : hypertrm
  • Iexpress Wizard : iexpress
  • Indexing Service : ciadv.msc
  • Internet Connection Wizard : icwconn1
  • Internet Explorer : iexplore
  • Internet Properties : inetcpl.cpl
  • Internet Setup Wizard : inetwiz
  • IP Configuration (Display Connection Configuration) : ipconfig /all
  • IP Configuration (Display DNS Cache Contents) : ipconfig /displaydns
  • IP Configuration (Delete DNS Cache Contents) : ipconfig /flushdns
  • IP Configuration (Release All Connections) : ipconfig /release
  • IP Configuration (Renew All Connections) : ipconfig /renew
  • IP Configuration (Refreshes DHCP & Re-Registers DNS) : ipconfig /registerdns
  • IP Configuration (Display DHCP Class ID) : ipconfig /showclassid
  • IP Configuration (Modifies DHCP Class ID) : ipconfig /setclassid
  • Java Control Panel (If Installed) : jpicpl32.cpl
  • Java Control Panel (If Installed) : javaws
  • Keyboard Properties : control keyboard
  • Local Security Settings : secpol.msc
  • Local Users and Groups : lusrmgr.msc
  • Logs You Out Of Windows : logoff
  • Malicious Software Removal Tool : mrt
  • Microsoft Access (if installed) : access.cpl
  • Microsoft Chat : winchat
  • Microsoft Excel (if installed) : excel
  • Microsoft Frontpage (if installed) : frontpg
  • Microsoft Movie Maker : moviemk
  • Microsoft Paint : mspaint
  • Microsoft Powerpoint (if installed) : powerpnt
  • Microsoft Word (if installed) : winword
  • Microsoft Syncronization Tool : mobsync
  • Minesweeper Game : winmine
  • Mouse Properties : control mouse
  • Mouse Properties : main.cpl
  • Nero (if installed) : nero
  • Netmeeting : conf
  • Network Connections : control netconnections
  • Network Connections : ncpa.cpl
  • Network Setup Wizard : netsetup.cpl
  • Notepad notepad Nview Desktop Manager (If Installed) : nvtuicpl.cpl
  • Object Packager : packager
  • ODBC Data Source Administrator : odbccp32.cpl
  • On Screen Keyboard : osk
  • Opens AC3 Filter (If Installed) : ac3filter.cpl
  • Outlook Express : msimn
  • Paint : pbrush
  • Password Properties : password.cpl
  • Performance Monitor : perfmon.msc
  • Performance Monitor : perfmon
  • Phone and Modem Options : telephon.cpl
  • Phone Dialer : dialer
  • Pinball Game : pinball
  • Power Configuration : powercfg.cpl
  • Printers and Faxes : control printers
  • Printers Folder : printers
  • Private Character Editor : eudcedit
  • Quicktime (If Installed) : QuickTime.cpl
  • Quicktime Player (if installed) : quicktimeplayer
  • Real Player (if installed) : realplay
  • Regional Settings : intl.cpl
  • Registry Editor : regedit
  • Registry Editor : regedit32
  • Remote Access Phonebook : rasphone
  • Remote Desktop mstsc / Removable Storage : ntmsmgr.msc
  • Removable Storage Operator Requests : ntmsoprq.msc
  • Resultant Set of Policy (XP Prof) : rsop.msc
  • Scanners and Cameras : sticpl.cpl
  • Scheduled Tasks : control schedtasks
  • Security Center : wscui.cpl
  • Services : services.msc
  • Shared Folders : fsmgmt.msc
  • Shuts Down Windows : shutdown
  • Sounds and Audio : mmsys.cpl
  • Spider Solitare Card Game : spider
  • SQL Client Configuration : cliconfg
  • System Configuration Editor : sysedit
  • System Configuration Utility : msconfig
  • System File Checker Utility (Scan Immediately) : sfc /scannow
  • System File Checker Utility (Scan Once At Next Boot) : sfc /scanonce
  • System File Checker Utility (Scan On Every Boot) : sfc /scanboot
  • System File Checker Utility (Return to Default Setting) : sfc /revert
  • System File Checker Utility (Purge File Cache) : sfc /purgecache
  • System File Checker Utility (Set Cache Size to size x) : sfc /cachesize=x
  • System Information : msinfo32
  • System Properties : sysdm.cpl
  • Task Manager : taskmgr
  • TCP Tester : tcptest
  • Telnet Client : telnet
  • Tweak UI (if installed) : tweakui
  • User Account Management : nusrmgr.cpl
  • Utility Manager : utilman
  • Windows Address Book : wab
  • Windows Address Book Import Utility : wabmig
  • Windows Backup Utility (if installed) : ntbackup
  • Windows Explorer : explorer
  • Windows Firewall : firewall.cpl
  • Windows Magnifier : magnify
  • Windows Management Infrastructure : wmimgmt.msc
  • Windows Media Player : wmplayer
  • Windows Messenger : msmsgs
  • Windows Picture Import Wizard (need camera connected) : wiaacmgr
  • Windows System Security Tool : syskey
  • Windows Update Launches : wupdmgr
  • Windows Version (to show which version of windows) : winver
  • Windows XP Tour Wizard : tourstart
  • Wordpad : write

The above trick is taken from 156Useful run command. Thanks for this great finding!


Windows Vista FAQ?

When was Vista originally supposed to ship?
Initial scuttlebutt had it that Windows XP's successor would arrive in 2003, and would be a modest update to fill time between XP and "Blackcomb," which was supposed to be the big-deal XP replacement. Then Microsoft announced that the supposedly minor upgrade, code-named "Longhorn," would appear in late 2004. This was followed by slippage and more slippage, most famously in March 2006, when the company announced that Vista wouldn't appear in a consumer version--or preinstalled on new PCs--until early 2007.

When is it finally coming out?I hear dates ranging from November 30 to January 30.
Unlike previous Windows launches, Vista's debut has been divided into two extravaganzas, presumably in part because the upgrade will miss the holiday 2006 season due to scheduling delays.
On November 30, Microsoft unveils the corporate version of the new OS (and Office 2007), and companies with volume license agreements will theoretically be able to get Vista right then and install it on PCs they already own.
But the bigger Vista rollout can't happen until Microsoft duplicates millions of DVDs, puts them in boxes, and ships them to retailers--and until PC companies design, manufacture, and ship systems with Vista preinstalled. So for home users, small businesses, and anyone who wants to buy a new Vista PC, the date that matters is January 30. That's when Vista will officially be launched as a consumer product.

Why the name "Windows Vista"?
Back in July 2005, when the name was announced, Windows director of product development Brad Goldberg told News.com that the name was the result of eight months of research into words that convey a sense of clarity. It's supposed to refer to the upgrade's focus on information management, security, and easy connectivity. Plus, Moon Pie was already taken.

On the continuum of Windows upgrade importance from Windows 95 (a giant leap forward) to Windows Me (a step backward), where does Vista belong?
Somewhere in the middle: Call it a medium-size stride in the right direction. In terms of new features, it offers lots of small yet worthwhile improvements - but no breakthroughs. On the other hand, if the upgrade's new emphasis on security makes it less susceptible to viruses, spyware, and hacker attacks, that would be a strong argument in its favor.
Windows Vista offers better support than XP for today's powerful hardware, such as 64-bit CPUs and cutting-edge graphics cards, providing the structural basis for potent applications that could never have been written for Windows XP. As those applications begin to appear, Vista should grow into a more compelling upgrade than it is on day one.

How does Windows Vista stack up against the most recent Apple OS?
In our 2005 World Class Awards, we named Apple's OS X 10.4 ("Tiger") the third-best product of the year, while Windows XP wasn't mentioned at all. But Windows Vista at least narrows the gap between operating systems that hail from Redmond and Cupertino. In part this is because Vista adds so many features - from decent integrated search to Gadgets (aka Widgets) to fancy 3D effects - that Tiger already has.
With Leopard, the next generation of OS X, due out next spring, Mac owners will get some new features that may put Windows users farther back in their rear-view mirrors. For instance, judging from previews, Leopard's Time Machine continuous-backup utility may be superior to Vista's Backup, System Restore, and Previous Versions data-recovery features.

What are Windows Vista's system requirements?
That depends. To run Windows Vista Home Basic, the minimums are an 800-MHz or faster processor, 512MB of memory, graphics hardware capable of SVGA (800 by 600) resolution, a 20GB hard disk with at least 15GB of free space, and a CD-ROM drive (though you'll have to request a set of installation CDs from Microsoft if your system lacks a DVD drive). If you want Vista's Aero interface (and you do), you'll need a graphics card that can handle DirectX 9 graphics APIs with Pixel Shader 2.0 3D texturing, has a Windows Vista Display Driver Model (WDDM) driver and at least 128MB of graphics memory, and supports 32 bits per pixel.

Are there any tools to help me figure out whether my PC is up to the job?
Your first stop should be PC Pitstop's Vista Readiness test, which runs right in your browser (Internet Explorer required) and offers a brief comparison of your system's hardware to Vista's minimum and recommended system requirements. Microsoft's own Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor provides a more thorough assessment. After you download and install the program, it scans your system and prepares a report analyzing your system's basic hardware compatibility (CPU, memory, and disk space), and detailing whether your installed applications and drivers will work with Vista.

Can I upgrade my existing Windows installation to Windows Vista, or do I have to back up my data and reinstall from scratch?
Whether or not you perform an in-place upgrade (where Vista replaces your existing operating system, but leaves your current files and installed programs in place), you should back up your data first. You can always perform a clean installation (where you begin by wiping the hard-disk partition and its contents clean). This is often the best choice - first because it may be faster than upgrading (even if you include restoring data files and reinstalling applications), and second because it minimizes problems and conflicts stemming from old applications and drivers. In-place upgrades may be more convenient, but you can't upgrade every existing Windows version in-place. Our feature article "Everything You Need to Know About Windows Vista" includes a chart that lists which versions can be upgraded in place.

Can I back out of an installation?
If you upgrade over a previous version of Windows and the upgrade fails (as several of ours did), Windows Vista will restore your previous version of Windows automatically. Once Vista is installed, though, there is no easy way to return to your previous operating system.

Can I install Windows Vista on a system that doesn't have a DVD drive?
Yes, but you'll have to request replacement installation CDs from Microsoft. As we went to press, the company hadn't yet determined their price or the method by which customers could request the CDs.

What about product activation--any changes from the version that XP uses?
Microsoft's product activation--software that profiles your system's hardware and uploads a fingerprint-like profile to a database maintained by the company--is alive and well, and in Vista it isn't optional. Microsoft can change the stringency of its product activation system, but rest assured that the company will be checking to make sure that you don't install your copy of Windows Vista on more than one PC at a time.

What's next after Vista?
We don't know many details. The next major version of Windows, once dubbed "Blackcomb," is now known as "Vienna"; it's part of a series of Microsoft code names that refer to great cities of the world. As Wikipedia reports, rumors about this OS date to before the release of Windows XP, and include the possibility that it will introduce a completely new user interface with intriguing-sounding elements known as the GroupBar and the LayoutBar, as well as sandboxing technology designed to prevent rogue applications from having any impact on other programs.
When it will appear is anyone's guess, but Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer has said that the more-than-five-year gap between Windows XP and Vista will never be repeated. If that's the rule, Vienna should arrive sometime before early 2012.

Whatever happened to WinFS?
WinFS was supposed to replace Windows' underlying file system with a database designed to make searching and sorting data immeasurably easier. Microsoft had to abandon the project, though, because it was just too tough to implement. The company doesn't like talking about WinFS these days. In fact, it seems unlikely that Microsoft will try to put it into the next version of Windows.


Windows Vista Tip Sheet

Windows Vista Tip Sheet
Windows Vista is designed for businesses of all sizes and across all industries. Windows Vista will make a difference in any business setting. Windows Vista also helps PC users to be more effective in their work by offering improved connectivity with advanced integration across technologies, networks, and systems, as well as providing them with quick access to better organized information.

Tips & Tricks

Folder Navigation
1. Getting around your PC - Folders look visually different, but with more choices navigation is even easier. Using the Navigation pane you can visually see the folder hierarchy and quickly find your destination.
2. Address bar - The arrows on the Address Bar open a fly-out to specific folders on your PC or network.
3. Classic Menus – If need you can return to the classic views just hit the ALT key. However, stay with the Windows Vista default configuration for better productivity.

Running your Applications
1. Find them, and then run them – You might use the Start menu Search box to type an application’s name, and then press enter to run it, no need to go looking.
2. MS-DOS command prompts – Type ‘command’ in the Start menu Search box, press Enter and you can return to command land. You can also use the Start menu Search box in place of the Run dialog box.

Finding Your Files
1. Simple Search – Use the Start menu Search box to type part of a file’s name and see a list of the matching files. Use a similar Search box at the top right of every folder window to search down through subfolders.
2. Advanced Search – From the Start menu, choose Search, type what you need to find and Windows Vista will show you all the files matching your criteria.
3. Advanced Search Filters – Use + to add filters using keywords, author, title or just about any of the information available in properties.
4. Saved Search – A few clicks of the mouse and you can save a search to revisit later.

Control Panel
1. Search the Control Panel – Consistent with the other tools and folders, the Control Panel provides a Search box to quickly find available tools.
2. Classic View – Return to your glory days with just a click and you will find the familiar Control Panel View, however the updated Windows Vista Control Panel is so much more useful you may never need that Classic View.
3. Offline Files – Away from the network? You can take files with you and make sure you have the information you need.
4. Sync Center – Make sure you have the latest version of those offline files with the Sync Center; you can even make sure the files are up-to-date automatically and on a schedule.
5. Mobility Center – Windows Vista does a better job of collecting resources that are appropriate for certain tasks; the mobility center is just one example. Here you will manage the resources appropriate for laptops, such as battery status, wireless network, external monitor, and presentation settings.

Internet Explorer 7
1. IE Appearance – IE allows you to zoom in or out on web-pages – use Ctrl+(+) and Ctrl+(-), You can even generate a print preview that scales the page to your paper size.
2. Classic Menus – To stick with tradition, the ALT key or the Tools menu provides easy access to those familiar classic menus of IE.
3. Web Search – Use the search engine you prefer through one familiar search box, and change search providers on the fly from a handy drop-down menu.
4. Tabbed Browsing – How often do you open a number of web pages with a similar theme? Well you can group these together under the same Internet Explorer window with tabbed browsing. A simple ctrl-click will open a link in your current window to a new tab.
5. Quick Tabs – Once you have the tab group, Quick Tabs allows you to view all your tabbed pages as thumbnails, allowing you to quickly pick the page you want.
6. Favorites (Groups) – Favorites are even easier, and you can even save those same tab groups you created for later use. Simply use the star to access saved pages or tab groups, or + to add the page or tab group to favorites.

Changes to Discover
1. Windows Shared View – Windows Shared View is easier to connect with others, share information and collaborate on projects.
2. Windows Defender – To ease the worry about viruses and other malicious software, Windows Defender increases the security level for your PC.
3. Windows Sidebar – You will see a new generation of applications, more accurately called gadgets. These gadgets can be used on the desktop or with the Windows Sidebar, a desktop location or corral to access them. Turn off and start up more quickly. When you click the power button on the Start menu, Windows saves your work and programs just as they are, and then puts the computer to sleep. When you use Sleep, your computer typically wakes up in one or two seconds.


Safari Shortcuts........

Web page shortcuts : -
Up/down arrow keys : Scroll page vertically by a small amount.
Left/right arrow keys : Scroll page horizontally by a small amount.
Option-arrow keys : Scroll page by a screenfull, minus a small overlap.
Cmd-up/down arrow key : Scroll to top-left or bottom-left corner of web page.
Spacebar : Scroll page down by a screenfull, minus a small overlap.
Delete key : Go back.
Shift-Delete key : Go forward.
Page Up key/Page Down key : Scroll page by a screenfull, minus a small overlap.
Home key : Scroll to top-left corner of web page.
Cmd-Home key : Go to the Home page.
End key : Scroll to bottom-left corner of web page.
Esc key : If location field selected, restore viewed URL.
Cmd-click or Cmd-Shift-click a link : Open link in new window or tab.
Option-click a link : Download file.
Shift-click the Add Bookmark button : Add bookmark directly to menu.
Cmd-return or Cmd-Shift-return in address field : Open page in new window or tab.
Cmd-return or Cmd-Shift-return in search field : Show search results in new window or tab .
Press and hold Back or Forward button : Pop up a menu showing up to 10 back/forward entries by page title.
Option-press and hold Back or Forward button : Pop up a menu showing up to 10 back/forward entries by page URL.

Menu shortcuts : -
Cmd-A : Select All
Cmd-B : Show/Hide Favorites Bar
Cmd-C : Copy
Cmd-D : Add Bookmark…
Cmd-E : Use Selection for Find
Cmd-F : Find…
Cmd-G : Find Again
Cmd-H : Hide Safari
Cmd-J : Jump to Selection
Cmd-K : Block Pop-up Windows
Cmd-L : Open Location…
Cmd-M : Minimize
Cmd-N : New Window
Cmd-O : Open File…
Cmd-P : Print
Cmd-Q : Quit Safari
: Reload Page
Cmd-S : Save As
Cmd-T : New Tab
: Paste
Cmd-W : Close Window or Close Tab
Cmd-X : Cut
Cmd-Z : Undo
Cmd-Shift-A : AutoFill Form
Cmd-Shift-B : Send File To Bluetooth Device… or Bookmark this group of tabs
Cmd-Shift-D : Add Bookmark to Menu
Cmd-Shift-F : Full Screen
Cmd-Shift-G : Find Previous
Cmd-Shift-H : Go to the Home page
Cmd-Shift-K : Block Images and Plugins
Cmd-Shift-L : Search with Google
Cmd-Shift-M : Max Screen
Cmd-Shift-N : Add Bookmark Folder
Cmd-Shift-P : Page Setup…
Cmd-Shift-S : Start Sampling
Cmd-Shift-T : Stop Sampling
Cmd-Shift-U : Open URL in OmniWeb
Cmd-Shift-W : Close Window
Cmd-Shift-Y : Make new Sticky Note
Cmd-Shift-Z : Redo
Cmd-Option-A : Activity
Cmd-Option-B : Show All Bookmarks
Cmd-Option-E :Empty Cache
Cmd-Option-F : Google Search…
Cmd-Option-H : Hide Others
Cmd-Option-K : Mark Page for SnapBack
Cmd-Option-L : Downloads
Cmd-Option-M : Minimize All
Cmd-Option-P : SnapBack to Page
Cmd-Option-S : SnapBack to Search
Cmd-Option-V :
View Source
Cmd-Option-W or Cmd-Option-Shift-W : Close All Windows
Cmd-Ctrl-D : Add SafariStand Bookmark
Cmd-Ctrl-S : Save Browser Window…
Cmd-1 to Cmd-9 : First 9 bookmarks (not folders) in Bookmarks Toolbar
Cmd-? : Safari Help
Cmd-[ : Back
Cmd-] : Forward
Cmd-. : Stop
Cmd-, : Preferences…
Cmd-/ : Show/Hide Status Bar
: Show/Hide Address Bar
Cmd-\ : Show Page Load Test Window
Cmd-= : Define in OmniDictionary
Cmd-; : Check Spelling
: Spelling…
Cmd--(Cmd-minus) : Make Text Smaller
Cmd-+ : Make Text Bigger
Cmd-Shift-* : Get Result of AppleScript
Cmd-Shift-right-arrow : Select Next Tab
Cmd-Shift-left-arrow : Select Previous Tab
Cmd-Option-> :Send to
Cmd-Option-, : SafariStand Setting
F5 : SafariStand Bar


Apple Macintosh Keyboard Shortcuts

Be faster and more productive using Keyboard Shortcuts in Mac OS X
Shift+Apple+Q : Log out
Shift+Option Apple+Q : Log out immediately
Shift+Apple+Delete : Empty Trash
Apple+H : Hide Active Application Doesn't Work With Adobe Applications
Option+Apple+H : Hide All But The Active Application
Control+Eject : Shut Down, Sleep, or Restart Options
Apple+Control+Eject : Quit all applications and Restart
Apple+ . (period) : Stop a process
Apple+ , (comma) : Open Preferences for Active Application
Option+Apple+D : Show/Hide Dock
Control+Up Arrow : Move up one page
Control+Down Arrow : Move down one page
Option+Apple+Esc :Force Quit
Apple+N : New Finder window or New Blank Page in Some Applications
Shift+Apple+N : New Folder Must Be In Finder Window For It to Work
Apple+O : Open Another Existing Document
Apple+S : Save
Shift+Apple+S : Save as
Apple+P : Print
Apple+W : Close Window
Apple+Option+W : Close all Windows
Apple+I : t Info
Option+Apple+I : Show Attributes Inspector Limited use – varies by application.
Apple+D : Duplicate
Apple+Q : Close Application
Apple+L : Make Alias
Apple+R : Show Original
Apple+T : Add to Favorites Deprecated
Apple+Delete : Move Highlighted Items to Trash
Apple+E : Eject
Apple+F : Find
Apple+Z : Undo
Apple+X : Cut
Apple+C : Copy
Apple+V : Paste
Apple+A : Select All
Apple+ { : Align Left Only Works in Some Applications
Apple+ } : Align Right Only Works in Some Applications
Apple+ (pipe) : Align Center Only Works in Some Applications
Apple+ ; (semicolon) :Check Spelling Only Works in Some Applications
Shift+Apple+C : Show Colors palette in application Only Works in Some Applications
Apple+T : Show Font palette
Apple+1 : View as Icons
Apple+2 : View as List
Apple+3 : View as Columns
Option+Apple+T : Hide Toolbar
Apple+J : Show View Options
Apple+ [ : Back Must be in Finder Window
Apple+ ] : Forward Must be in Finder Window
Shift+Apple+A : Applications Must be in Finder Window
Shift+Apple+F : Favorites Must be in Finder Window
Shift+Apple+G : Goto Folder Must be in Finder Window
Apple+K : Connect to Server Must be in Finder Window
Apple+Tab : Switch to
Apple+N : New Window
Apple+T : New Tab If the Application supports Tabs
Apple+M : Minimize Window
Option+Apple+M : Minimize All Windows
Apple+ ? : Open Mac Help
Option+Apple+ * (asterisk) : Turn on Zoom
Option+Apple+ = : Zoom in
Option+Apple+ - : Zoom out
Control+Option+Apple+ * : Switch to White on Black
Option+Drag : Copy to new location
Option+Apple+Drag : Make alias in new location
Apple+Drag : Move to new location without copying
Apple+Shift+3 : Take a picture of the screen will leave a .png file on desktop
Apple+Shift+4 : Take a picture of the selection will leave a .png file on desktop
Apple+Shift+4, Control : Take a picture of the selection, place in clipboard
Apple+Shift+4, Spacebar : Take a picture of the sel.