The available programs and the types of files those programs can work with are at the heart of everything you can do with a computer. If programs aren’t installed and configured properly, you might have trouble working with various types of files and multimedia. You might find that the wrong programs are used to open files of particular types, that you waste time switching between programs, or that media files on removable media—such as audio, video, and pictures on CDs and DVDs—just aren’t handled in the ways you need them to be handled. Indeed, in earlier versions of Microsoft Windows, it isn’t always easy to manage installed programs, file associations, and AutoPlay options.
Windows Vista corrects many of these deficiencies by making it easier than ever before to manage programs, multimedia, and related settings. To do this, Windows Vista includes:
Software Explorer A component of Windows Defender, which lets you easily determine and manage startup programs, currently running programs, network-connected programs, and programs that use Winsock.
Programs A category in Control Panel that provides tasks for viewing installed programs, adding and removing programs, viewing installed updates, and more.
Default Programs A Control Panel page that lets you easily track and configure global default programs for the computer, personal default programs for yourself or another user, AutoPlay settings for multimedia, and file associations for programs. You can find Default Programs on the Programs page in Control Panel.
Most versions of Windows Vista also provide enhanced tools for managing your multimedia, including Windows Media Player for playing digital media such as music and videos;
Windows Movie Maker for creating movies using pictures, videos, and music; and Windows Photo Gallery for viewing, editing, organizing, and sharing pictures and videos.
This book was written using the Windows Vista Beta to provide an early introduction to the operating system. More so than any other area of Windows Vista, the security features discussed in this book are subject to change. Some of the features might not be included in the final product, and some of the features might be changed substantially.