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 the exciting new features in Windows Vista/7/8/10.
New features in Windows 7/8/10
Windows Vista has introduced a lot of new features that are still present in Windows 10. While Windows 10 has drastically changed, but the core features like the Control Panel is still there, and come in handy to configure Windows.
- Improved File Renaming
- 3D Benchmarking
- Windows Symlinks
- Ten New Executables
- Search using naturally spoken language
- ReDirection Of Data to a Virtual Store
- Buffer Over-run Protection
- WHOAMI utility
- Digital Locker Assistant Tool
- Snipping Tool
Some of the features listed above might not be available in Windows 8, as it was a significant change from Windows 7.
1] 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 following 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 renaming, you will not change or delete the extension by mistake.
2] 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 want to run this benchmark, anytime, you can do so from the command line by using winsat along with command line parameters.
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
3] 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
/D: creates a symbolic directory 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. It has always been there in Linux, but this feature has now been made available in Vista too.
4] Ten New Executables
Most of the old XP executables remain, but here are ten 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
5] Search using naturally spoken language
A little know feature in Windows is the ability to do 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!
6] Redirection Of Data to a Virtual Store
Under a regular/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 user’s 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 redirected to Virtual Keys within the user’s 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.
7] Buffer Over-run Protection
Address Space Layout Randomization (ASLR) is another technology, new in Windows 7 & Vista that defends 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 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 of 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 it doesn’t integrate with many websites yet. But expect to see many internet sites supporting CardSpace in the coming years.
9] WHOAMI utility
Windows has a command-line utility called the whoami (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.
10] Digital Locker Assistant Tool
Buried in C:\Windows\DigitalLocker\digitalx.exe is the new Digital Locker Assistant Tool. It is 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 be 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.
11] Snipping Tool
Situated in C\Windows\System32\ is Windows new ‘SnippingTool.exe.’ Another useful in-built utility to capture screenshots. Its Shortcut can be found in the start menu>all programs >accessories.
It can take full-screen, a particular window, any rectangle, or free-form “snips” of your screen & open it in an editor. Here you 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 you wish to.
It appears to be a vast 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 Tooltips.