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Like all Windows before it, Windows Vista will introduce a number of new technologies and features--and, as usual, Microsoft has coined terms (most of them trademarked) for each and every one. Here's a quick glossary.

BitLocker: Drive-encryption technology designed to safeguard data from unauthorized users. The feature is primarily intended to protect systems that have been stolen or hacked.

Certified for Windows Vista: The wording on a sticker indicating that a peripheral or non-PC device can take advantage of features in Windows Vista, such as SideShow. This is a step up from Works With Windows Vista.

FlexGo: A Microsoft-backed program to sell PCs in emerging economies using the pay-as-you-go model that has proved successful for cell phones. Individuals in developing nations would be able to take home a $600 PC for as little as $250 to $300, but it would have usage-monitoring software on it, and after a certain amount of time, the PC would shut down until the owner purchased cards for additional system time. After the owner had made enough additional payments, they would own the system outright.

OCUR (OpenCable Unidirectional Receiver): Devices such as TV tuners that will leverage Windows Vista's HDTV features, including support for one-way CableCards, digital video recording, and the ability to stream recorded programs to Media Center Extenders throughout a home.

ReadyBoost: A cheap alternative to buying extra RAM, ReadyBoost lets your PC use free memory on a USB flash drive to augment RAM. You'd need, at a minimum, a drive with 256MB of free space that can read data at 2.5 megabits per second and write at 1.5 mbps; to qualify for a Windows Vista logo, the drive would need 500MB of space and have read/write speeds of 5 mbps/3 mbps, respectively.

SPR (System Performance Rating): This is basically a benchmark that assigns a numerical rating (on a scale of 1 to 5) to your system and identifies components that are slowing it down. It's accessible from the Vista Control Panel.

SuperFetch: Technology that's supposed to speed up system performance by optimizing system memory based on monitoring how you use your PC.

Windows Connect Now: Technology designed to simplify setup of network devices in general and Wi-Fi devices in particular. Based on the Wi-Fi Alliance's forthcoming Simple Config, Connect Now technology would make Wi-Fi devices that use it instantly visible to a designated Registrar (for most people, this would be a Windows Vista PC) that would configure it over the air after the user had verified ownership by typing in a PIN provided with the device. When Vista ships, it will not support wireless configuration of the first Connect Now router in a home; you'll still need to go through the ethernet hookup. Microsoft expects to release a software update that will enable wireless setup for initial routers or access points.

Windows Rally: A family of technologies designed to simplify setup, security, and management of networked devices. Rally technologies include Windows Connect Now for easy Wi-Fi setup; Plug and Play Extensions (PnP-x) for easy installation of networked-connected devices; and the Link Layer Topology Discovery protocol for easy discovery of networked devices.

Windows SideShow: Technology that affords access to data on Windows Vista PCs--even when they're hibernating--from auxiliary displays on a range of devices, such as a small LCD on the lid of a closed laptop or a Windows Mobile Smartphone. You could use a SideShow device to check an Outlook calendar or contact data, and third-party developers will be able to write SideShow-aware applications.

Windows Vista Capable: Wording on a sticker that indicates a PC will be able to run Windows Vista, but without all its bells and whistles. Not as good as Windows Vista Premium Ready.

Windows Vista Premium Ready: A sticker with this phrase indicates that the PC can run Windows Vista with its most resource-intensive options, including the Aero interface. Better than Windows Vista Capable.

Works With Windows Vista: This designates a peripheral or device that won't crash if you use it with Windows Vista, but doesn't particularly benefit from use with the operating system. Not as good as a Certified for Windows Vista sticker.

XPS (XML Paper Specification): A new XML-based document format that's compatible with the XML file formats in Office 2007 and offers some of the benefits of Adobe's PDF. An XPS document viewer is integrated into Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista, and the OS also can create XPS documents from other applications through the use of a virtual print driver.

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