What Are the Functions of Microsoft Windows Vista?

By Andrew Meer

Clear History From Windows Picture & Fax Viewer
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After the continued success of Microsoft's Windows XP operating system for more than five years, Windows Vista was released in late 2006 and included many improved functions over its predecessor. While the high system requirements can deter you from smoothly running Windows Vista on your computer, the improved functions can give you a totally different experience from Windows XP. Most of these functions remove the need to install additional software on your computer.

Advanced Graphics

Windows Vista was the first operating system to fully support the Microsoft DirectX 10 functionality. Microsoft DirectX 10 allows newer video games to run with at a higher video quality. However, you must have a video card that supports DirectX 10 to take advantage of this functionality. Windows Vista will automatically run in DirectX 9 mode if the video card does not support DirectX 10.

Child Safety

Windows Vista has a new functionality called "Parental Controls" that was not present in Windows XP. This function allows you to control what type of games, websites and programs that your child has access to. You can also use this function to restrict the amount of time that your child can use the computer each day.


Microsoft released an edition of Windows XP called Windows XP Media Center Edition that was designed primarily for home entertainment purposes. Windows Vista retains that functionality in a program called Windows Media Center, which allows you to play movies, music and TV right from within the Windows Media Center user interface. It also features several other functions, such as the ability to view photos and play games.

File Backup

Windows Vista comes with the Backup and Restore Center, which you can use to back up any important files on your computer. This function also gives you the option of restoring any backed up files. The Backup and Restore Center offers your computer additional security by including the option to create system restore points as well as the ability to restore the operating system.

Photos Viewing and Editing

Windows Vista has two programs that you can use to view and edit photos. The Windows Picture and Fax Viewer has the capability of opening photos in a number of file formats, while the Windows Photo Gallery offers several options to edit and save photos. These programs come built-in with every edition of Windows Vista.