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Microsoft Windows Vista October Community Technology Preview Fact Sheet
October 2005

The October Windows Vista™ Community Technology Preview (CTP) is the second in a series of builds of Windows Vista being released to a large technical community. The October CTP offers an early look at some of the significant advances in the operating system’s collaboration, desktop management and mobility features, as well as advancements to Internet Explorer. The October CTP also lays the foundation for the new end-user experiences that will be part of the final version of Windows Vista.

The Windows Vista CTPs are designed to involve customers and partners in the early stages of Windows Vista development by facilitating timely and relevant feedback. This feedback will help Microsoft Corp. deliver the highest-quality product possible. The October CTP will be distributed to beta testers via the Windows Vista Technical Beta Program, as well as to subscribers of the Microsoft® Developer Network (MSDN®) and Microsoft TechNet — more than a half million users overall. Given the nature of the software development and the feedback process, many of the October CTP features are still works in progress and will evolve over the remainder of the development cycle.

As with Windows Vista Beta 1 and the September CTP, the October CTP is intended for the use of developers, IT professionals and the technical community. End users interested in testing pre-release versions of Windows Vista should continue to wait until the availability of Beta 2.

Desktop Management

Improving the effectiveness and efficiency of desktop management is one of the ways that an organization can lower its total cost of ownership while leveraging IT as a competitive business advantage. Today, IT departments are devoting significant effort around diagnosing and fixing problems with networks and individual PCs, costing them valuable time and financial resources. Windows Vista helps address this problem by enabling a new level of confidence in the overall system function, by dramatically reducing the time, complexity and cost of PC deployment, management, maintenance and security.

Built-in diagnostics. Windows Vista provides built-in diagnostics — collections of instrumentation, troubleshooting and resolution logic — that resolve problems affecting the performance and reliability of the PC. Users can be confident using Windows Vista, because it will detect potential problems and help resolve them — sometimes before the problem even occurs. IT professionals can control built-in diagnostics via group policy, and all diagnostics are integrated with the Windows eventing infrastructure, enabling IT pros to track what problems occur on machines in their organization. Diagnostic capabilities in the October CTP include the following:

Windows Memory Diagnostics. Failing memory can be among the most difficult issues to diagnose, because problems can be intermittent and often cause secondary systems. Windows® Memory Diagnostics can automatically detect and resolve problems caused by defective physical memory. If the diagnostics module identifies a memory problem, Windows Vista can avoid using the affected portion of physical memory, enabling the operating system to start successfully and avoid application crashes.

Windows Disk Diagnostics. Windows Vista can eliminate much of the impact of a disk failure by detecting disk problems proactively, before a failure occurs. Hard disks often show warning signs before failure, but earlier Windows operating systems could not take action on the warning signs. Windows Vista listens for evidence that a hard disk is beginning to fail and warns the user or the support center of the problem. Windows Vista guides users through the process of backing up their data so the drive can be replaced without data loss. This allows users to protect their data and replace the hard disk before a potential problem turns into an emergency.

Network diagnostics. Network connectivity issues can be among the most frustrating problems for end users and support professionals alike. End users cannot help themselves by searching for solutions online, and support professionals cannot remotely access the user’s machine to diagnose the problem. Windows Vista will feature integrated network diagnostics that analyze connectivity and network access issues, and either resolve them automatically or provide easy-to-understand solutions. Network diagnostics in Windows Vista troubleshoot all elements of the network stack, providing a thorough automatic diagnosis of connectivity issues. Network diagnostics data is saved in the Windows Event Log to help support personnel resolve and track issues.

Network Center, Computers and Devices. Windows Vista will enable a higher level of confidence in the networking abilities of the operating system and provide many new scenarios for interacting with computers and devices on the local network, such as using network media players or easily setting up networking routers and wireless access points. The October CTP includes Network Center, the hub for managing networking in Windows Vista, Computers and Devices, which replaces My Network Places and Network Neighborhood from Windows XP, and serves as the place to quickly, easily and reliably find and interact with computers and devices on the local network.

Reliable power state transitions. The October CTP includes improvements that offer a significant increase in the reliability of transitions in and out of Sleep, Shut-Down and On power states. Users can be more confident when they press the power button or simply close their laptop lids that Windows Vista will enter the desired power state and that applications and drivers will no longer delay Sleep or Shut-Down mode. This is accomplished by reducing the opportunity for applications, services and drivers to veto or block these power state transitions.

Connected and Collaborative

New features in Windows Vista make it possible for users to more seamlessly connect to the information, people and devices that help them get the most out of their computing experience. With Windows Vista, connecting to a variety of devices and networks is faster, easier and more secure; synchronizing data is simple; and using a computer while on the go has never been easier. Currently, connecting to different kinds of networks is hard — and often requires customers to use unfamiliar wizards and interfaces — and diagnosing connectivity problems can be difficult. The October CTP showcases a number of features designed to solve the complexities of connecting to and sharing information across multiple computers and users, including these:

Windows Mobility Center. Top-level mobility system settings are aggregated in a new easy-to-find, easy-to-use location, under the Windows Mobility Center in the Control Panel. Settings include display brightness, power plans, volume, wireless status, synchronization status, presentation status, and display settings and orientation. Original equipment manufacturers can extend this interface with hardware settings unique to their designs.

Sharing. Windows Vista will include new capabilities that make it easy for users to share content with other users on the same PC or other users on the same network. Through the simplified sharing experience in the Windows Vista October CTP, users can now specify not only which folders they want to share with others, but also individual files. The system can even automatically generate an e-mail message with an embedded hyperlink for an easier way to connect to that shared content. And of course, the entire folder and file sharing experience is group-policy-enabled for maximum organizational control.

Digital signatures for XML Paper Specification (XPS) format documents. With Windows Vista, users who have WinFX™ installed on their system will be able to convert any onscreen content into a secured, fixed-format XPS Document. In the October CTP, XPS Documents can be created using the Microsoft XPS Document Writer. Once created, XPS Documents can be viewed and digitally signed using the XPS Viewer application. Signed XPS Documents will display a graphic icon to indicate they’ve been digitally signed, and users can view the date for the signature and co-sign documents from within the digital signatures dialog box. A digital signature enables users to be certain that the document was not modified since it was signed (for instance, tampered with while en route to the recipient) and also provides strong evidence about who signed the document. Further enhancements, such as Windows Rights Management in XPS Documents, are coming for Windows Vista Beta 2.

Internet Explorer for Windows Vista

Internet Explorer for Windows Vista in the October CTP includes many important new features — in the areas of security, end-user experience and the developer platform — that are designed to provide users with more confidence in their browsing experience, including the following:

Internet Explorer Phishing Filter. In Internet Explorer in Windows Vista, Microsoft offers a range of enhancements to better protect against malicious Web site operators and help prevent users from becoming victims of confusing URLs.

Internet Explorer ActiveX® Opt-in. This feature reduces the “attack surface” of Internet Explorer and gives users more control over the security of their PC.

Favorites Center. A newly designed panel makes it quick and easy to access Favorites, History and Web feed subscriptions.

Quick Tabs. After opening multiple tabs, users can view and manage them with an at-a-glance thumbnail view in a single window.

Tab Groups. After users open a set of tabs, they will be able to save them all into a single group. Further, they will be able to open all pages within a group with a single click, saving them time in opening pages that they visit regularly. Users can even set a tab group to open automatically every time they launch Internet Explorer from the Start menu, to have just the pages they want open ready for them as soon as they open the browser.

Page Zoom. Users can zoom in and out on individual Web pages, including text and graphics, to focus on the specific content they are interested in viewing and to make the content more accessible to those with vision disabilities.

Advanced Printing. In addition to shrink-to-fit printing, included in Beta 1, Internet Explorer now includes a multipage print preview with live margins and a default option to only print selected text, ensuring that users can print exactly what they want easier than ever before.

With the October CTP, a broad set of platform improvements also are delivered to ensure that Internet Explorer is more standards-compliant, as well as to make Web and application development on Internet Explorer even easier. These include further improvements to adhere to the cascading style sheets (CSS) 2.1 standard; a developer toolbar, which will provide Web developers with a rich tool set with object model and visual tools, helping them more easily take advantage of dynamic hypertext markup language (DHTML) and CSS in developing rich Web sites; and support for international domain names in Web addresses.

A Preview of Things to Come.

Many of the features included in the October CTP are still being developed and do not yet represent their final functionality or design. Some of the features in the October CTP that will undergo significant changes before the final version of Windows Vista ships include the new Migration Wizard, Power Management Center and settings, Windows AntiSpyware, Windows Calendar, and Windows Media® Player 11. While these features are evident in the October CTP, all are in the early stages of development and will continue to evolve throughout the development process. Microsoft plans to release more information about these features once they are further along in the development life cycle.

For more information on Windows Vista:

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