I know you've been there: you're giving a presentation and, having previously left a Windows Messenger window open, up pops a messages from one of your buddies. You lose both your audience and your train of thought. Not a comfortable place to be, especially if your buddy happens to say something more appropriate for an audience of one (you) than your current one! The good news is that Windows Vista brings some new functionality to the table that helps prevent presentations from being interrupted by pop-up notifications and sounds.
Windows Vista’s presentations settings block 2 types of notifications: system notifications and Windows Live Messenger notifications.
Whether you’re in full-screen mode or not, notifications and sounds will be blocked. That means if you’re signed-in to Windows Messenger and you’re in presentation mode in Windows Vista, the audience will not see or hear anything that may pop up from Windows Messenger. Windows Live Messenger and Windows Vista work together to prevent interruptions, as Windows Live Messenger alone only blocks pop-ups and sounds in full-screen mode. With them both working together, you don't have to be in full-screen mode to avoid interrupted presentations.
Note that Outlook 2003/2007 and Office Communicator do not interact with Windows Vista's presentation settings -- these applications have their own settings that can be used to prevent interruptions. Some serious thought went into helping users prevent interruptions during presentations while using Windows Vista; hopefully you’ll find them useful.
Special thanks to Hiroshi Sakakibara, Windows Vista Product Manager, for his help in explaining Windows Vista's enhanced presentation settings.