National Instruments opens Windows Vista - Embedded.com

National Instruments opens Windows Vista

Austin, Texas—In step with Microsoft 's forthcoming spin of its Windows operating system, test-and-measurement house National Instruments (NI) announces that its popular LabVIEW graphical design platform will be compatible. Indeed, all of NI's application software and device drivers will be compatible with Windows Vista.

To take advantage of Vista's visualization features, your PC must meet or exceed some system requirements. These include operating a 1-GHz 32-bit (x86) or 64-bit (x64) processor, and having at least 1-Gbyte of system memory.

You will also need a DirectX 9 -compatible graphics processor, with a WDDM (Windows Display Driver Model) driver, and a minimum of 128-Mbytes of video RAM. Your hard disk drive will also need 40-Gbytes of capacity, with 15-Gbytes of free space available.

The Collaboration

Collaborating with Microsoft, NI has been preparing for the release of Windows Vista so users can transition smoothly and have access to tools, resources, and the knowledge required to quickly adopt the operating system.

NI application software, including LabVIEW, LabWindows/CVI, Measurement Studio , and SignalExpress , as well as NI hardware drivers for PCI Express, PCI, PXI , and USB (Universal Serial Bus) devices, will be available for use with Windows Vista shortly after Microsoft releases the operating system.

The Security Focus

While Windows Vista contains many new features and changes, one aspect of Windows Vista that may affect you is an increased focus on PC security. Windows Vista will include a user-privilege model known as UAC (User Account Control). UAC is designed to prevent viruses and other unwanted software from gaining control of your PC.

Under UAC, all users will operate as non-administrators while performing common tasks. Only users with administrative privileges will be able to execute security-sensitive operations such as installing software or changing firewall settings.

If you're working with mission-critical systems, or controlling production lines and manufacturing test systems with LabVIEW, the LabVIEW Real-Time module, NI TestStand , and other application software will benefit from the added security of UAC. NI is updating its application software, such as LabVIEW, to work under UAC these limitations in Vista.

Search Functions

Microsoft has also revamped search functions in Vista. A new Windows Instant Search feature promises improved search capabilities over previous versions of Windows. To do that, Vista indexes files, including words or phrases inside files or documents, and provides search results dynamically as you type new search parameters. Overall, these search improvements may simplify the process of finding saved information or data stored on a PC.

Instant Search silently indexes every file on the computer using file metadata, file content, and file creation date, thereby creating an inventory for the entire hard drive. As you type search parameters into Instant Search, Vista dynamically displays matching results, whether these are applications, Internet favorites, documents, media, contacts, calendar events, or e-mail messages.

As you enter additional search parameters, results are filtered accordingly. If your initial search doesn't yield the files you are trying to find, Instant Search provides tools for designing more specific searches.

NI extends this search approach with its DIAdem DataFinder and its latest DIAdem DataFinder Server Edition . These tools are expected to help you not only locate saved files but also mine files for relevant data using parametric and trend searches. That should be a boon if you're performing validation tests.

New .NET Framework

Developers creating software for Windows have long been accustomed to programmatically interacting with the operating system through calls to the Win32 API (application programming interface). For example, some developers use Win32 DLL s (dynamic link libraries) to access functions that control the network settings for a PC, interact with the file system, or control window characteristics.

Windows Vista features a completely new set of .NET Framework -based APIs known as .NET Framework 3.0 . The .NET Framework 3.0 libraries are designed to control features not found in older versions of Windows, such as the new libraries for speech recognition and generation.

Because users have had the ability to integrate LabVIEW and other NI application software with .NET Framework-based code for many years, they can immediately incorporate these new Windows Vista features into their applications.

Choose Your Weapon

Another key aspect of the Windows Vista release is that users can choose either the 32-bit or 64-bit edition, depending on their PC's microprocessors. While 64-bit processors aren't necessarily faster than 32-bit counterparts, they can address twice as much memory in a single clock cycle.

By working with PCs that pack more than 4-Gbytes of RAM, the 64-bit version of Vista can support memory-intensive applications, such as vision acquisition and intense processing applications. You should be able to realize performance improvements not possible on 32-bit operating systems.

LabVIEW and other 32-bit application software packages function normally on the 64-bit version of Windows Vista because of a Microsoft abstraction layer; however, the 64-bit version does require 64-bit hardware drivers. No to worry; NI will make available 64-bit drivers for Windows-based devices shortly after the official Microsoft release of Windows Vista.

Updated application software will also be available to current members of the NI SSP (Standard Service Program), shortly after the release of Windows Vista.

For more info, contact Ernest Martinez, National Instruments, 11500 No. Mopac Expwy., Austin, Texas 78759-3504. Tel: (800) 258-7022, Fax: (512) 683-9300. E-mail: info@ni.com

National Instruments , 800-258-7022, www.ni.com/vista

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