A new release of the IntelliPoint software for Microsoft Mice as well as the new Vista-compatible software for the MS Fingerprint reader is available now from the MS Hardware site. These were two of the updated set of drivers I was expecting since repaving my laptop with Vista.

The Fingerprint reader software works pretty much as expected (i.e. correctly). It integrates very nicely with the Vista logon screen (much better than with WinXP, imho), giving you the option of using your fingerprints to log on to your windows account. The rest of the software (i.e. the logon manager) seems to be pretty simmilar to what was available in previous versions, but I never used it so I don't really care much about it.

To be honest, the whole fingerprint reader thing does not really add any security but it's a) convenient (particularly when you have only one hand free to unlock your computer), and b) fun to use. Besides, I got mine as a gift from someone in MS so I really can't complain much about it :-).

The Intellipoint software on the other hand, didn't seem to work as well. Sure, it installed and worked right away, and I was able to customize my mouse as desired. I currently use a Wireless Laser Mouse 6000, which, to be honest, I don't really like as much. It tends to be too sensitive to dust in your desk and I really hate the soft scrollwheel. I rather liked my old Wireless Optical Mouse which worked fantastic, but the right-button seems to have stopped working correctly last week, and it was driving me crazy. I also have a wireless notebook laser mouse 6000, which seems to have the same issues as the big brother, and so I don't like it very much. Maybe I'll get one of the new 8000 series mice and see if that's any better.

OK, but back to the software: The problem I have with the latest Intellipoint drivers is that my favourite feature in the it, the magnifying glass (it's fantastic, and beats something like Magnifixer hands down on a hi-res screen), still doesn't work right in Vista. By this I mean that if Aero Glass is enabled, then firing up the magnifier causes the screen to blink very ugly, turning glass off for a second and then enabling it back again. That's extremely bothersome to say the least, and a real killer for this feature in Vista. Curiously, Magnifixer, although a few years old, has no issues with glass at all. It's just more inconvenient to use.

The Intellipoint magnifier also feels extremely sluggish when glass is enabled, while it was extremely fast in XP, so that's another downside for it. I really do hope an updated Intellipoint version comes up soon that works correctly!

Tomas Restrepo

Software developer located in Colombia. Sr. PFE at Microsoft.