Starting and Using Windows Vista
Reviewing and Activating Your Computer
In the Welcome Center, the View Computer Details task is selected by default.
Because you are just getting started with Windows Vista, you’ll probably want to
click Show More Details to access the System console and view additional informa-
tion about your computer. As Figure 1-3 shows, the System console provides links
for performing common tasks and a system overview in four basic areas:
Lists the operating system edition and service packs. To protect your computer
and optimize performance, you’ll want to ensure that your computer is running
the latest service pack. With Windows Vista, you can install service packs and
other product updates automatically as part of Windows Update. To learn more
about Windows Update, see Chapter 20.
Lists the processor, total memory, and performance rating of your computer.
Your computer’s performance rating was computed automatically during final-
ization of the installation. The Windows Experience Index is calculated based on
the processor speed, total memory, graphics processor, and hard disk transfer
rate. To learn more about updating your computer’s performance rating and
techniques for improving your computer’s performance, see Chapter 3.
Computer name, domain, and workgroup settings
List the computer name, description, domain, and workgroup details. All com-
puters are members of either a workgroup or a domain, and this membership
affects how you can configure the computer and the options available. To learn
more about making your computer a member of a workgroup or domain, see
Lists the computer’s product ID and activation status. If your computer is using
a retail version of Windows Vista, it must have a product key and you must acti-
vate the operating system using this product key. In Windows Vista, the prod-
uct key provided during installation is what determines the operating system
version and features that are installed. When you upgrade your Windows Vista
edition, you are essentially buying a new product key and telling Windows Vista
to unlock and install the additional features of this edition. See Chapter 22 for
details on upgrading Windows Vista editions.
Windows Vista performs activation and uses product keys differently than Windows
XP. By default, Windows Vista requires activation over the Internet. In the System
console, activate the operating system by clicking “Activate Windows now” under
“Windows activation” and then clicking “Activate Windows online now” in the
Windows Activation dialog box. Your computer then checks your Internet connec-
tion and attempts to activate the operating system. If this process fails, you’ll need to
resolve any issues that are preventing your computer from connecting to the Internet
and then click “Activate Windows online now” again.