Windows Ultimate extras to keep improving Vista OS

Microsoft's chairman Bill Gates announced this week that the company will extend the functionality of its highest end Vista version, 'Vista Ultimate', by rolling out downloadable Windows 'Extras', similar to Mac widgets, from the end of this month.

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By  Matthew Wade Published  January 11, 2007

Microsoft's chairman Bill Gates announced this week that the company will extend the functionality of its highest end Vista version, 'Vista Ultimate', by rolling out downloadable Windows 'Extras' - functionality-adding upgrades similar to Mac widgets - from the end of this month. Speaking during Gates' keynote address at CES in Las Vegas, the group product manager of Microsoft's Windows Client division, Justin Hutchinson, demonstrated three forthcoming Extras: * The first Windows Extra was a video application, called 'Dreamscene', which allows a user to set a favourite video as their Windows desktop (rather than merely a still image). In the case of notebook PCs, this video will be disabled when moving from AC to DC power in order to conserve valuable system resources. * The second app premiered was 'Group Shot', an innovative photo editing tool that allows the best parts of two almost-identical images to be combined in order to create the exact shot the user wanted. (For example, a user can combine two flawed, similar shots of friends to create one master shot that shows each subject's eyes open.) * Finally, Hutchinson demonstrated a new raft of 'Casual Games'. Aimed at general users rather than fully-blown hardcore gamers, these will include a 'Texas Hold 'em' version of the card game poker. When Windows caught up with Windows Extras staff at CES, it wasn't yet known whether the above-mentioned poker game would see the light of day in the Middle East. Staff did suggest however that, over time, Microsoft's aim was to offer Windows Ultimate Extras in local languages, with content applicable to each region. Extras will be offered to opwners of Vista Ultimate, for free, from January 30. In addition to Dreamscene and Hold 'Em Poker detailed above, this first batch is also set to include two tools that make it easier to use some of the security features in Windows Vista Ultimate: the Windows BitLocker Drive Preparation Tool configures a user's hard drive so that they can use the BitLocker Drive Encryption feature of Windows Vista, whilst Secure Online Key Backup is a utility that stores a backup copy of the BitLocker recovery password and Encrypting File System (EFS) recovery certificates in the user's digital locker, a secure Microsoft website. All Extras will take the form of optional downloads, accessible through the Windows Update service. Windows patches and fixes meanwhile will continue being offered through this service as normal. Find out more about Extras at Microsoft's official site here .

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