Vista, standard users and you
For those making the transition, if you've been happy running DAW/Synth workstation on Windows XP, a word you might hope to describe the transition may be "seamless." And while Vista has many visual enhancements that will be immediately obvious (particularly the "Aero" look, if you have graphics hardware to run it) the major change is in the safer user access model that Microsoft will now enforce... and this is something that will (hopefully) be invisible to most users.
"The Edge of No Control"
Most XP DAW users, and all XP Home users are running as administrators, which means that when they log in they have the highest level of control that Windows will afford to the person sitting at the keyboard. They can write into any folder, they can delete any folder that doesn't have open files, and they can change their settings at will. The problem of course is that any rogue software that can run with your level of access can do the same things. That's when total control becomes no control. Anyone will agree, life is too short to fighting virii and spyware on your computer.
"Please help us, Microsoft!"
The challenge for Microsoft in developing Vista was to live up to its goal of providing a seamless multiuser system. And what they needed to do to live up to that goal was to make sure standard user functions are done by standard users. Standard users (non-adminstrators) don't need to do things like reconfigure their system settings at any time when they are logged in, or install programs, or write files in protected areas like the Program Files folder or the Windows folder.
Well, in reality, us power users do need to do that sometimes, and you will still probably log in as an administrator to save yourself the trouble of logging in as someone else when you want to make a change. What Vista won't tell you (you stubborn power user,) is that you are not logging in an adminstrator, ever! By default all users are standard users. If you log in as an administrator and you want to make a change in a protected area of the file system, Vista will say "wait just a minute!" and prompt you to accept whatever potentially disasterous change you are trying to make. NOW when you click that OK button, you are asserting your right to make this change as the administrator.
"Was that a yawn?"
Hmm, it *is* getting late isn't it? As I wrote up top, all this shouldn't mean much to all of use who are currently running XP (hopefully with Project5!) We've always tried to make it easy to maintain the configuration of your Cakewalk DAW, which might mean you want to directly open a configuration file to make a change using notepad, or to just chuck the INI file and start again with default settings. Since we are trying to make it easy to find the configuration files, an obvious place to put it is in the same folder where Project5.exe lives... but this isn't going to fly in the new Vista user access model. Don't fret because we'll just put them in a user folder for easy access.
With this change we'll get what some Cakewalk customers have been asking for for a while... each user on a computer will have their own independently configurable options.