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Cracking the Vista code

Windows Vista will introduce a number of new technologies and features – and, as usual, Microsoft has coined terms (most of them trademarked) for each and every one. Here's a quick glossary…

This article appears in the August 06 issue of PC Advisor, available in all good newsagents now.

BitLocker drive-encryption technology designed to safeguard data from unauthorised users, primarily intended for systems that have been stolen or hacked.

Certified for Windows Vista the wording on a sticker indicating that a non-PC device can use features in Vista. A step up from 'Works with Windows Vista' (see below).

FlexGo a Microsoft-backed scheme to sell PCs in emerging economies on a pay-as-you-go basis. Individuals can take home a £320 PC (with usage-monitoring software on it) for as little as £135; after a certain time, the PC shuts down and they have to purchase more time. After paying a certain amount, the customer owns the PC.

Ocur (OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver) device that will leverage Vista’s HDTV (high-definition TV) features, including support for one-way CableCards, digital video recording and the ability to stream recorded programs to Media Center Extenders.

ReadyBoost an inexpensive alternative to buying extra RAM, ReadyBoost lets your PC use free memory on a USB flash drive. You need a drive with 256MB of free space that can read data at 2.5Mbps (megabits per second) and write at 1.5Mbps. To qualify for a Vista logo, the drive would need 500MB and read/write speeds of 5/3Mbps.

ReadyFetch technology that speeds up performance by optimising system memory based on how you use your PC.

SPR (System Performance Rating) a benchmark that assigns a numerical rating to your system and identifies components that are slowing it down.

Windows Connect Now technology designed to simplify setup of network and Wi-Fi devices. Based on the Wi-Fi Alliance's forthcoming Simple Config, Connect Now makes devices visible to a designated Registrar, which configures it over the air. When Vista ships, it won't support wireless configuration of the first Connect Now router in a home. Microsoft expects to release a software update to enable wireless setup for initial routers or access points.

Windows Rally technologies to simplify the setup, security and management of networked devices. These include Windows Connect Now, Plug and Play Extensions and the Link Layer Topology Discovery protocol.

Windows SideShow technology that affords access to data on Vista PCs – even when they're hibernating – from auxiliary displays on a range of devices. You could use a SideShow device to check an Outlook calendar or contact data. Third-party developers will be able to write SideShow-aware applications.

Windows Vista Capable wording on a sticker that indicates a PC will be able to run Vista, but without all of its bells and whistles. This is not quite as good as Windows Vista Premium Ready (see below).

Windows Vista Premium Ready a sticker with this phrase indicates that the PC can run Vista with its most resource-intensive options, including the Aero interface. Better than Windows Vista Capable.

Works with Windows Vista this phrase designates a peripheral or device that won't crash if you use it with Vista, but it won't particularly benefit from use with the OS (operating system). This is not as good as the Certified for Windows Vista sticker.

XPS (XML Paper Specification) an XML (extensible markup language)-based document format that's compatible with the XML file formats in Office 2007 and offers some of the benefits of Adobe’s PDF. An XPS document viewer is integrated into Internet Explorer 7.0 in Vista – and the OS can create XPS documents from other applications through the use of a virtual print driver.

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