Windows Vista Starter highlights

Explore new features for searching, staying connected, networking, syncing devices, and managing files on your computer. Find things fast and focus on what matters to you.

Searching and organizing

Picture of the Search icon

In every folder in Windows, the Search box appears in the upper right corner. When you type in the Search box, Windows filters the view based on what you’re typing. Windows looks for words in the file name, tags that you’ve applied to the file, or other file properties. To find a file in a folder, type any part of a file name in the Search box to find what you're looking for. You can also use Search folders when you don’t know where a file is located or when you want to do an advanced search using more than just a single file name or property.


Picture of security shield icon

Features such as Windows Firewall and Windows Defender can help keep your computer more secure. Windows Security Center has links for checking your computer's firewall, antivirus software, and update status. User Account Control (UAC) can help prevent unauthorized changes to your computer by requiring permission before performing actions that could potentially affect your computer's operation or that change settings that affect other users.

Internet Explorer

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Web feeds, tabbed browsing, and always-available search are just a few of the new features available inInternet Explorer.

Web feeds provide frequently updated content published by a website that you can subscribe to for automatic delivery to your web browser. With a feed, you can get content such as breaking news or updates to a blog without having to go to the website. Tabbed browsing allows you to open multiple websites in a single browser window. You can open webpages or links on new tabs and then switch among them by clicking the tabs.

Sync Center

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Sync with other devices such as portable music players and Windows Mobile devices. With Sync Center, you can keep devices in sync, manage how your devices sync, start a manual sync, see the status of current sync activities, and check for conflicts.

Ease of Access Center

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The new Ease of Access Center replaces Accessibility Options in earlier versions of Windows. The Ease of Access Center comes with several improvements and new features, including centralized access to accessibility settings and a new questionnaire that you can use to get suggestions for accessibility features that you might find useful.

Parental Controls

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Parental Controls makes it easy for parents to designate which games their children are allowed to play. Parents can allow or restrict specific game titles, limit their children's play to games that are rated at or below a certain age level, or block games with certain types of content that they don't want their children to see or hear.


Picture of the Network folder icon

Use the Network and Sharing Center to set up a more secure wireless network, connect more securely to public networks in hotspots, and help monitor your network security. Access files and shared network devices, such as printers, more easily and use interactive diagnostics to identify and fix network problems.

  • Open Network and Sharing Center by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking Control Panel, clicking Network and Internet, and then clicking Network and Sharing Center.


Picture of the Pictures icon

The Pictures folder and Windows Photo Gallery make it easy to view, organize, edit, share, and print digital pictures. When you plug your digital camera into your computer you can automatically transfer your photos to the Pictures folder. From there, you can use Windows Photo Gallery to crop photos, remove red eye, and make color and exposure corrections.

  • Open Windows Photo Gallery by clicking the Start button Picture of the Start button, clicking All Programs, and then clicking Windows Photo Gallery.

  • Working with digital pictures