Part 3 [Reliability & Deployment]: Why Windows Vista?

24 05 2006


Improvements to reliability and performance in Windows Vista offer something for everyone. Users will love the fast start-up time and even faster return from Sleep state. The IT department will face fewer support issues, and will experience easier diagnosis and repair when problems do occur. And the company as a whole will benefit from less downtime, fewer IT hassles, and greater productivity.

Improvements to reliability and performance in Windows Vista include the following:

• Fast Boot and Resume: Users can become productive faster with Windows Vista. Because Windows Vista processes login scripts, startup applications, and services in the background, users are able to get to work more quickly. The new Sleep state in Windows Vista combines the speed of Standby mode with the data protection and low power consumption of Hibernate, so startup from Sleep state requires just seconds.

• Improved Responsiveness: In many cases, Windows Vista is more responsive than Windows XP on the same hardware. New technology in Windows Vista can detect deteriorating performance and tune the performance automatically. Detailed performance counters help administrators isolate and fix complex performance problems more quickly and easily, saving money and helping users stay productive.

• Built-in Diagnostics: Hardware diagnostics can detect error conditions and either repair the problem automatically or guide the user through a recovery process. For example, Windows Vista detects potential disk failures and guides users through backup to minimize downtime and data loss.

• Fewer Hangs and Crashes: Windows Vista is more reliable than Windows XP, reducing both the frequency and impact of user disruptions. Windows Vista includes fixes for known crashes and hangs, and new technology that will prevent many common causes of hangs and crashes.

• Automatic Recovery: For occasional unpreventable failures, Windows Vista provides fast, easy solutions. For example, one of the most challenging troubleshooting problems is corrupted system files that prevent the operating system from starting. Windows Vista automatically diagnoses and recovers an unbootable system to a usable state with the help of the Startup Repair Tool (SRT) — a step-by-step, diagnostics-based troubleshooter that provides users with a guided recovery experience for no-boot situations.

Windows Resource Protection (WRP)
Windows Resource Protection provides additional protection from potentially dangerous system configuration changes; WRP protects:
System registry settings from accidental changes by the user or from changes by unauthorized software
System files and settings from changes initiated by any process other than the Windows trusted installer
Applications such as Microsoft Internet Explorer from potentially unreliable or malicious third-party Component Object Model (COM) extensions.

System Restore
System Restore was introduced in Windows XP to allow people to restore their computers to a previous state without losing personal data files (for example, Microsoft Office Word documents, graphics files, and e-mail messages). You don’t have to worry about taking system snapshots with System Restore—it automatically creates easily identifiable restore points, which you can use to revert your system to the way it was at a previous time. Restore points are created both at the time of significant system events (such as when you install applications or drivers) and periodically (each day). You can also create and name restore points at any time.

System Restore in Windows XP is based on a file filter that watches file changes for a certain set of file extensions, and copies files before they are overwritten. If you encounter a problem, you can roll back the system files and the registry to those from a previous date when the system was known to have worked properly.

In Windows Vista, System Restore allows recovery from a greater range of changes than in Windows XP. The file filter system for system restore used in previous versions of Windows is replaced with a new approach: Now, when a restore point is requested, a shadow copy of a file or folder is created. A shadow copy is essentially a previous version of the file or folder at a specific point. Windows Vista can request restore points automatically, or do so when you ask. When the system needs to be restored, files and settings are copied from the shadow copy to the live volume used by Windows Vista. This improves integration with other aspects of backup and recovery and makes System Restore even more usable.


A typical cause of high deployment complexity and costs is the number of images that you must manage. Adding new hardware, language packs, updates, and drivers usually requires creating a new disk image. Updating multiple images and testing each of them when a critical fix appears is costly and time-consuming. Therefore, one of Microsoft’s major goals in Windows Vista was to significantly reduce the number of images you must maintain and help you maintain those images more easily. To achieve this goal, Microsoft modularized Windows Vista to make customization and deployment easier, based the installation of Windows Vista on the file-based disk imaging format called Windows Imaging Format (WIM), and made significant other deployment enhancements to the core operating system.




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