The successor to Microsoft’s Windows XP, Vista will offer new tools that allow you to see a file’s contents without opening it and help prevent malicious programs, such as viruses, from installing themselves on your PC.
It also comes with built-in parental controls and more sophisticated back-up software than XP.
Microsoft Windows spokesman Jim Allchin said that Vista will still face some security threats because attackers are growing more sophisticated. But he said a rigorous testing process and changes that make it harder for attacks to jump from one Vista-powered computer to the next should reduce problems.
Vista’s release – which has been plagued by delays – will be the first major upgrade in more than five years to the operating system that powers most of the world’s personal computers. The program boasts improved graphics and more effective tools for finding documents, pictures and other items on personal computers. It also offers a new internet browser.
For those using Windows XP, Microsoft is expected to continue ‘mainstream’ support for two years after Vista’s release – so you won’t need to upgrade just yet.
‘Extended’ support for Windows XP (which includes free security fixes, but means you’ll have to pay for general technical support), will continue for five years.
There will be five different versions of Vista and the prices haven’t yet been released. Computing Which? will be reporting on Vista in March 2007.