Windows Vista FAQs
These questions and answers are intended to inform users of Dolphin software about when and whether to upgrade to Windows Vista. Read more information about Windows Vista from the Microsoft website.
If you have further questions about Dolphin's support for Windows Vista not answered below, please be sure to speak to your Dolphin dealer or contact Dolphin direct.
How long can I continue to use my existing version of Windows?
If your current operating system meets all your needs and your system is stable then it may be more convenient not to upgrade immediately following the release of Vista.
Windows XP is available to buy for one year following the release of Vista and Microsoft are committed to providing updates and support for Windows XP beyond January 2008. Read details of the Windows life-cycle policy at Microsoft.com.
It is also worth noting that Microsoft Windows Desktop Search and Internet Explorer 7 which are included in Vista are also available as free downloads for Windows XP.
Microsoft no longer provide security fixes and support for some older versions of Windows prior to Windows XP. Check with your supplier to determine whether your version of Windows is still supported.
Eventually Microsoft will withdraw support for Windows XP. However, this is not likely to happen for at least 2 years following the release of Windows Vista.
Should I upgrade to Windows Vista now?
It is advisable to think carefully before being an early adopter of any new operating system. While upgrading may offer benefits, it may present initial difficulties such as compatibility issues with existing hardware and software. For example: it may stop some sound cards from working and this would be disastrous for someone who relies on a screen reader to use their computer. So Dolphin advises that you give this careful thought before getting Vista.
As new operating systems mature, most teething problems tend to be resolved. For this reason we have found that many users prefer to wait and see how others get on before taking the plunge. It is also worth noting that a Windows Vista service pack update is scheduled toward the end of 2007.
I am thinking about buying a new computer, will it have Windows Vista already installed?
Certainly some new computers will have Windows Vista pre-installed, however, at time of writing (Feb 2007) a many machines are still being supplied with Windows XP. You should check with your supplier.
What new accessibility features will people find in VISTA?
The change which screen reader and screen magnifier users will instantly notice is the Utility Manager now referred to in Vista as the Ease of Access Center, this is the place where all Vista's accessibility features can be found.
Read about Vista accessibility at Microsoft.com
Is the basic Microsoft screen reader Narrator still available in VISTA?
And if so has it been improved?
Yes. Narrator under Vista speaks using a new natural sounding SAPI 5 voice from Microsoft meaning Narrator is easier to understand. This SAPI 5 synthesizer will be available to third party screen access software such as Supernova Hal and LunarPlus from Dolphin.
The functionality of the basic Narrator screen reader is only designed for accomplishing the most basic of tasks. Most people who are blind will still require a full screen reader.
Is there more than one version of VISTA? If so how many and where can I find out the main differences between the various versions?
Most markets have four or five flavours of Windows Vista available to them. Which versions you can get will depend on where you are and in what context you will be using Windows Vista.
Will my choice of version affect what accessibility features are available and how well my screen access software performs?
No. Your choice of Vista edition should not impact the functionality of your screen access software from Dolphin. The core accessibility features found from the Ease of Access Center are the same in all versions of Vista.
How should I figure out if my PC is Vista compatible?
Generally speaking, the newer your PC the more likely it will be Vista ready. Most new systems bought in the 6 months before the consumer release of Windows Vista in January 2007 should be Vista ready.
Can a blind person fresh install and/or upgrade to Vista independently?
Most users will never need to install an operating system themselves.
For those that do they have a number of options available. In order for a blind person to complete this process independently the most accessible approach may be to prepare an unattended installation. This is only recommended for advanced users and network administrators.
The Windows Vista installer is not completely self-voicing. Also, the installer reboots the machine several times during the installation process meaning it is not possible for a Windows screen reader to be running throughout a typical Windows installation.
Will the Windows Vista log-on screen be accessible with Dolphin access software?
What is the secure desktop?
The secure desktop is a new name for the logon desktop or switch user desktop that you got to in XP by pressing Windows-L. It is also used to display various security dialog boxes. The secure desktop is part of the User Account Controls found in Windows Vista. UAC causes the secure desktop to appear when a user attempts to perform a task in Vista which would normally require administrator privileges. The secure desktop may appear when installing a printer driver, connecting to a secure wireless network or performing other common tasks. The purpose of the Secure Desktop is to protect your system against malware which may attempt to perform undesirable system wide changes without your knowledge or consent.
Dolphin's screen access software will enable users to access the secure desktop.
Someone told me there are lots of security questions which appear when using Vista? What are they and do these security questions have implications for people who are blind or have low vision?
These security questions appear with the secure desktop described above. All Windows users, not just those who are blind or have low vision, may find it takes a while to become accustomed to these alerts. It is possible to disable many of Vista's security warnings. However, disabling User Account Control options is done at your own risk.