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Operating System Features

Countdown to Windows Vista: The THG Rundown
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"Welcome Center" For Beginners

Although experienced Windows users may immediately close the Welcome Center, we believe that it is a good starting point for new users. Here's some of the functionality you will find within:

  • View Computer Details
    From here you can open the Device Manager, change Remote Settings, modify System Protection settings and change advanced system settings. All of this was (and still is) accessible via the system properties window, which you also find by selecting Properties after right-clicking on My Computer.
  • Connect to the Internet
    This menu item is only necessary if you aren't connected to a wired network with Internet access. The wizard allows you to configure a dial-up connection, a direct broadband connection via PPPoE (Point-to-Point over Ethernet for DSL or Cable Modems) or via an integrated wireless networking device. As long as Vista has the required drivers, setting up a wireless connection is simpler and more likely to be successful than in Windows XP. More on that later.
  • What's New in Windows Vista
    This item launches Windows help and explains all the new features.
  • Personalize Windows
    Here you can change window colors and visual appearance, backgrounds, screen savers, sounds, mouse pointers, Windows themes and display settings. You get into the same menu by right-clicking your desktop and selecting "Personalize".
  • Add a Printer
    I guess this item does not need much explanation. It is, however, important to note that built-in driver support is excellent: all of our network printers were located and installed with just a few clicks.
  • Windows Basics
    This opens Windows help and offers very basic explanations of how to operate Windows, how the desktop works, how to work with programs, Internet and email, and more.
  • Windows Vista Demos
    Don't want to read? Then watch the animated Vista demos here.
  • Control Panel
    This will open the Control Panel to let you make additional settings manually.

While Microsoft didn't change the way you access settings, the Welcome Center basically restructures things. It also allows you to go through all the items once, preferably right after installing Windows, so you don't forget to customize settings because you had to look for different control options. On a side note, we did not like the fact that the lower part of the Welcome Center contains advertising for Microsoft's software offerings.

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