The Windows Club

Some interesting new features in Windows Vista, Windows 7 and later

Windows Vista introduced several new path-breaking features, most of which were carried forward in Windows 7/8/10 too. Let us have a look at some of them.

New features in Windows Vista/7/8/10

Let us have a look at them.

Improved File Renaming

In Windows, now, it’s even easier to rename multiple files or folders. If you want to rename multiple files, after renaming the first file, just tap the TAB button, and you’ll be moved on to the next in line file or folder. You can thus immediately rename the next file.

Moreover, Windows also has one more nice feature. Even if you have the ‘show file extension’ feature enabled, it does not highlight the file type extension while renaming. So you are safer, as while re-naming, you will not change or delete the extension by mistake.

3D Benchmarking

Consider it an Easter Egg, if you wish! Vista introduced an inbuilt 3D Benchmark, in the Windows System Assessment Tool. This tool benchmarks your Computer during installation. But if you wish to run this benchmark, anytime, you can do so from the command line by using winsat along with command line parameters.

winsat aurora 
winsat d3d -textshader -totalobj 15 
winsat d3d -objs C(20) -texshader -totalobj 50 
winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(10) -alushader -v -time 10 
winsat d3d -totalobj 20 -objs C(20) -totaltex 10 -texpobj C(1) -alushader -noalpha -v -time 10

Windows Symlinks

You can make Symlinks or Symbolic Links in Windows, using the command-line utility: mklink. The syntax is as follows:

MKLINK [[ /D] | [ /H] | [ /J]] Link Target

Where –

/D : creates a directory symbolic link or soft link

/H : creates a hard link to a file instead of a symbolic link

/J : creates a Directory Junction link

Target : Specifies the path that the new link refers to.

Now for example, if you want d:\Data to be made available form the folder D:\Maindata use:

C:\mklink /D D:\Maindata D:\Data

Now, if you now look in D:\Maindata , you will see whatever files that were there in the other directory. This as always been there in Linux, but this feature has now been made available in Vista too.

Ten New Executables

Most of the old XP executables remain, but here are 10 new executables introduced in Windows Vista.

Powercfg : Hibernate
Ctrl +Shift +Enter : Run as administrator
BcdEdit : To Edit Boot.ini
iCacls : Change Access Control Lists
Slmgr : Licence Manager
MSconfig : A newer Microsoft System Configuration Utility
vssadmin : Volume Shadow Copy Administration
MLink : Symbolic Link
DxConfig : Configure Direct X
Net user administrator activate:yes : Used when you want to activate the hidden ‘super’ administrator account

Search using naturally spoken language

A little know feature in Windows is the ability to make searches in natural language.

For instance, if you want to find find ‘files created last month’, simply open the Folder Options > Search Tab > Enable ‘natural language search’ ! Now search for ‘files created last month’ and get what you were looking for !

ReDirection Of Data to a Virtual Store

Under a normal/standard User Account, any application that tries to write to a protected system folder like C\Program Files or C\Windows, gets automatically redirected to a Virtual File Store, which is situated within the particular users profile.

In the same fashion, if an application attempts to write to areas/keys of the registry which have System wide ramifications, like the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive, it gets re-directed to Virtual Keys within the users section of the registry.

Applications that attempt to read from these protected file & registry locations look first in the virtual stores.

Such an action prevents malicious applications from writing to areas that could bring down the entire system.

Buffer Over-run Protection

Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) is another technology, new in Windows 7 & Vista, that defend against the buffer overrun exploits.

Each time you boot Windows, the system code is loaded into different locations of the memory.

This seemingly simple change thwarts a class of well-known attacks in which the exploit code attempts to call a system function from a known location.

CardSpace

CardSpace is the name for a new technology in .NET Framework 3.0 that simplifies and improves the safety of accessing resources and sharing personal information on the Internet. It helps developers build Web sites and software that are less susceptible to the most commonly deployed identity-related attacks such as phishing. Windows CardSpace helps alleviate the problems of traditional online security mechanisms by reducing reliance on user names and passwords and instead using a separate desktop and cryptographically strong claims-based authentication.

Windows CardSpace can be found in the Control Panel. It is a new technology so doesn’t integrate with many website yet. But expect to see many internet sites supporting CardSpace in the coming years.

WHOAMI utility

Windows has a command-line utility called as the whoami utility (Who Am I?). With this utility, you can find out the name of the account that’s currently logged on, its SID, the names of the security groups of which it’s a member, and its privileges. Learn more about WHOAMI at The Windows Club.

Digital Locker Assistant Tool

Buried in C:\Windows\DigitalLocker\digitalx.exe , is the new Digital Locker Assistant Tool, a Windows Download Utility. It can be accessed from the Control Panel > Programs > Get Programs Online > Manage Programs you buy online Or from LHS Task pane of the Add-Remove programs > View Purchased Software

This tool can canbe used to download/shop/manage with ease at Windows MarketPlace. Broken downloads are resumed at the point where they broke off. With the digital locker assistant you can download and install the software you purchased.

This desktop client also keeps your software & license keys online; so that the question of misplaced keys does not arise at all.

Snipping Tool

Situated in C\Windows\System32\ is Windows new ‘SnippingTool.exe’. Another useful in-built utility to capture screen-shots. its Shortcut can be found in the start menu>all programs >accessories.

It can takefull-screen, a particular window, any rectangle or free-form “snips” of your screen & open it in an editor. here u can highlight parts of the screenshot and draw on it with a free form pen of different colors, thickness and tip styles. It is pretty easy to configure it as u wish to.

Its appears to be a huge improvement over Windows XP’s built-in screenshot capability; but yet still lacks some useful options like image resizing or time capturing. Check out these Snipping Tool tips.