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Code Named "Longhorn"
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Windows Vista: Here's the new stuff (photo gallery) TechRepublic-offsite Content
Vista 'bloated'? Not exactly...C| -offsite Content

Windows Next Version, Codenamed, "Longhorn and now named Vista" Won't Hit the Streets Till 2006
Microsoft is on track to release the first full test version of the next major Windows release by the end of June.
See the update below

The company on Friday, Aug 27, 2004, announced a new road map for Longhorn. The changes--removing some features, including the WinFS storage system, and altering others--are designed to let Microsoft have a test version of the software next year and a final release for desktops and notebooks by 2006. A server release is planned for 2007.

"In order to make this date (of 2006), we've had to simplify some things, to stagger it. One of the things we're staggering is the Windows storage work," Jim Allchin, Microsoft's vice president in charge of Windows development, said in an interview with CNET

Microsoft's top executives had characterized Longhorn as a major overhaul of the operating system and stressed that its release would not be determined by trying to hit a specific ship date. However, as the project threatened to push out into 2007 or beyond, analysts argued that the software maker needed to scale the project back to something more manageable.

The decision to scale back Longhorn was spurred by developers and computer makers who valued on-time delivery over advanced data-management features, Allchin said.

"My goal is to have Longhorn the highest-quality OS we've ever shipped," Allchin said. "At one level you could say, I've had enough, and so we're on a path to drive up the quality level."

Specifically, Allchin said that when the company was finalizing Windows XP Service Pack 2 and updates to Media Center and Tablet software, he turned his attention to Longhorn and realized that the project's ambitions and timetables were not in sync.

Whether Microsoft makes its latest deadline will likely be one of the dominant issues for the tech industry over the next two years. The operating system was originally expected in 2004, and many have predicted that further delays could dampen PC sales.

Chairman Bill Gates sought to reassure the tech community that all was well.

"This is the first time we've actually given a date for when we'll ship the Longhorn operating system," he said in an interview with "It's always risky in a software project, especially one where the compatibility requirements and the scope of the features of what we deliver in versions of Windows are incredibly broad, but we've made enough progress. We've got enough methodology in place that we decided that was the right thing to do."

Developers had mixed reactions to the revamped Longhorn plans, with some unhappy to see the Windows update split into pieces but others pleased with what they see as a more pragmatic approach.


Vista 'bloated'? Not exactly...
Ed Bott: I'm confident that Windows Vista will run very well on any new system with 1GB RAM installed and will perform acceptably on the current generation of computers with 512MB RAM. Is that an unacceptable burden?
Image Gallery: Here's the new stuff in Windows Vista

A look at the Windows System Performance Rating

After test-driving the Windows Vista February CTP (Community Technology Preview), build 5380, I can tell you that I'm really impressed with the breadth and quality of the new tools and overall fine-tuning that the developers have done since the December CTP. As soon as I installed the OS and booted it up for the first time, I discovered the Windows System Performance Rating, a feature designed to provide you with a quick analysis of how you can expect your system to perform based on its core hardware components.I'll talk about this feature in detail in this article.

Greg Shultz is a computer consultant specializing in Microsoft products and a freelance technical writer who regularly writes articles for TechProGuild. You can visit his Web site at

Photo Gallery: Windows Vista--Here's the new stuff
With the release of Build 5308 Windows Vista moved to "feature complete" status, which means no new features will be introduced into future builds leading up to the Vista launch at the end of 2006. Thus, we've put together this extensive 62-image gallery of the new features in Windows Vista, based on Build 5308.

Windows Vista's new security features
Although the new operating system won't be out until late 2006, I've been able to meet with Microsoft and review various builds of the new operating system. Microsoft's pushing three C's with Vista: confidence, clarity, and communications. It's the confidence part that concerns security; Microsoft doesn't have a great track record when it comes to OS security. Here's a look at the security features that are currently in Vista build 5219, features which may or may not be in the final release next year.