Microsoft has been promising something similar for Windows since the early 1990s, the last promise being the WinFS format which was supposed to be part of Windows Vista. But it never arrived, and now looks like it never will. So, despite the handy search tool in Windows Vista, we will be hunting for files in directories all over our computers for the foreseeable future.
6. Let you work in true 3D
A much-vaunted feature of Windows Vista is its Aero interface, which harnesses the 3D acceleration power of your graphics card to render the GUI in Direct3D. But although there are some cool visuals on offer, it's hardly William Gibson's cyberspace. Apart from stacking windows in three dimensions as you switch between active programs, Vista is still resolutely not immersive. Using your PC is still a two-dimensional experience - until you fire up a game, that is.
7. Share music between systems like iTunes
If you have a network and a number of systems running iTunes, you will have been able to browse the music libraries on other people's computers for a number of years. Microsoft has tried to emulate this with Windows Media Connect. This is now built into Window Media Player 11, which comes as standard with Vista and is an upgrade for XP. Windows Media Connect is supposed to expose the media library on one PC to another, if allowed to do so by your security settings. But just try getting it to work.
8. Play MPEG-4 in Media Center Edition
Vista brought a built-in MPEG-2 decoder to Windows, at long last. Media Center Edition users no longer have to choose their own third-party codec to get a digital TV tuner working and play DVDs. But now more and more content is using MPEG-4 compression instead, so you still need a third-party decoder. Oh well.
9. Edit AVCHD
The Windows Movie Maker video editing application has been a handy part of Windows since the second service pack of XP. At that point, it supported the standard DV camcorder format. With Windows Vista, Windows Movie Maker has gone HD. Except that although the tape-based HDV format is supported, it's fast being supplanted by the AVCHD format in consumer HD camcorders.
Since Windows Vista doesn't have built-in MPEG-4 support (see above), it can't import or edit AVCHD. Fortunately, a couple of third-party alternatives can, including Ulead VideoStudio 11 Plus and Pinnacle Studio 11 Plus.
10. Support satellite tuners
If you want to watch free-to-air HD video, such as the BBC's HD service or the Channel 4 and ITV services due next year, a regular DVB-T tuner won't do the job just yet. Instead, you will need a satellite tuner. But unfortunately Windows Media Center Edition still doesn't support satellite tuners.
Some manufacturers, notably Hauppage, have gotten round this by supplying drivers which pretend to be DVB-T. But it still doesn't support MPEG-4 (see above), so you still won't be able to watch the HD channels which use this codec instead of MPEG-2, which is likely to be all of the UK ones.