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Windows Ultimate Extras are optional features offered to users of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition. They are accessible with Windows Update. Ultimate Extras replace the market role of Microsoft Plus!, a product sold for prior consumer releases of Microsoft Windows.[1] Windows Vista Ultimate Edition's successor, Windows 7 Ultimate, does not include Windows Ultimate Extras.[2]

Contents

Released Windows Ultimate Extras

  • Windows DreamScene, a utility that allows videos to be used as desktop backgrounds. DreamScene supports .mpeg and .wmv video formats. During the last week of September 2007, Microsoft released the final version of DreamScene and announced availability of hundreds of animated backgrounds hosted at partner Stardock's Web site. Update packs of additional DreamScenes were released on April 22, 2008, and on September 24, 2008.[3]
  • BitLocker and EFS Enhancements, two tools (Windows BitLocker Drive Preparation Tool and Secure Online Key Backup) that facilitate the use of security features in Windows Vista.
  • Hold 'Em Poker Game, a version of Texas hold 'em.
  • Various MUI language packs, add-ons that allow Windows to type in another language.
  • Windows Sound Schemes, three extra sound packs (Ultimate Extras Glass, Pearl & Tinker-based sounds) that can be used instead of the Windows Default sound scheme released on April 22, 2008 and September 23, 2008.[3]
  • Microsoft Tinker, a 60 level puzzle game in which the player controls a robot through various mazes and obstacle courses.

Criticism

Initially Microsoft had been criticized for not delivering many useful Extras after the launch of the Vista operating system and its most expensive edition. Some people even questioned whether the Ultimate Extras team was still in existence given a decline in their blog activity.[4] However, on July 2, 2007, in a post on the Windows Ultimate blog they issued a statement that they would be providing 20 more language packs and final version of Windows DreamScene by the end of the summer 2007, as well as more Ultimate Extras "over the next couple years."

Microsoft released the final version of Windows DreamScene on September 25, 2007. Microsoft released two new Extras, including two new DreamScene backgrounds and two sound schemes, on April 22, 2008, almost 8 months after DreamScene's release.[3] Group Shot was initially announced to be a future Ultimate Extra, but it was eventually downloadable at a Microsoft Research site for some time.[5]

Since the release of new Ultimate Extras in April 2008, the uproar over Microsoft's lack of providing Extras has died down substantially. One editor called the Ultimate Extras 'useless addons'.[6]

In September 2008, Microsoft released a game via Ultimate Extras called Microsoft Tinker and an additional DreamScene Content Pack. One reviewer wrote an article about Tinker called the "Best Ultimate Extra so far (although the bar has been set pretty low)".[7]

References

External links

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