He anxiously awaits the new Vista

Vista is coming, Vista is coming, and the world waits breathlessly. Vista is Microsoft’s new operating system that has been five years in development and will replace Windows XP. It is due to be released to computer manufacturers in November and to home and other users in January 2007.

An operating system is a software program that a computer must use to make all the devices and programs in the computer work together. It is essential. Since Microsoft Windows is on over ninety percent of all computers used in the world, almost everyone waits anxiously for this new release.

What’s new in Vista and what does it mean to us home users? There are a number of new features in Vista that might be of interest. Microsoft says that it has emphasized security in the new operating system and in the included Internet Explorer browser version 7.0 and the Defender security suite that blocks spyware, popups and may have an antivirus program included. This would be welcome.

There is a new document search feature that will search the entire hard drive for Word and other documents. This might be nice since in the past we only could search by filename and not by content.

Microsoft also has designed a new user interface; how the screen and icons look. The feature is called Aero but may not be usable on all our machines without modification to our graphics system.

So the bottom line becomes what should we do about Vista? Should we run out and purchase an upgrade for our current Windows XP machines or should we purchase new machines that already have Vista installed? And there are a variety of “flavors” of Vista from which to choose. Good questions.

Microsoft wants to help us make this decision by making available a Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor, a software program that can be downloaded from Microsoft. Go to and enter “vista upgrade advisor” in the search box. This program scans the computer and indicates whether it is “Vista ready.” When I ran it on my computer, a rather recent Dell, it indicated that I might have some problems with existing programs and will have to visit the vendor’s website for their solutions. I might also need a new graphics card to run Aero. Before making any decision about Vista, be sure to run this program.

What am I going to do; probably wait like most everyone else? I am not in the market for a new machine, though I would like a new laptop. And any new release of any new program almost always runs into some problems. That’s why “patches” are made available. Microsoft, to its credit, extensively tests any new program before they release it to the public, but we all remember Service Pack 2 that supposedly fixed some 3000 bugs and wasn’t released until Windows XP was on the market for a few years.

Incidentally, at the same time that Vista is released, Microsoft will release Office 2007. They tell us this is a completely independent suite of programs and will run on existing Windows machines and not require Vista.

So I anxiously await Vista’s release and the thousands of articles that will critique its operation. Then I might upgrade but probably not until I have read at least a hundred or so reviews.

If you would like to hear more about the Vista, or other computer topics, visit “Coffee and Computers” at the Tustin Area Senior Center, 200 S. ‘C’ Street, any Friday morning starting at 9 a.m. Bring your questions or just come in and visit. And visit my blog at

In the mean time, keep the neurons happy, synapses snapping and enjoy computing.


Dr. Art Holub is a long time resident of Tustin and teaches computer and Internet courses at the Tustin Area Senior Center and the Tustin Adult School. Visit his web site at: This column is written to address the computer adventures and concerns of older adults. If you have comments, questions or suggestions for future columns, Email HIM at:

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