Windows Vista (codenamed Longhorn) is an operating system by
Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business
desktops, laptops, tablet PCs and media center PCs. Development was
completed on 8 November 2006, and over the following three months,
it was released in stages to computer hardware and software
manufacturers, business customers and retail channels. On 30 January
2007, it was released worldwide and was made available for purchase
and download from the Windows Marketplace. The release of Windows
Vista came more than five years after the introduction of its
predecessor, Windows XP, the longest time span between successive
Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. It was
succeeded by Windows 7, which was released to manufacturing on 22 July
2009 and released worldwide for retail on 22 October 2009.
New features of
Windows Vista include an updated graphical user
interface and visual style dubbed Aero, a new search component called
Windows Search, redesigned networking, audio, print and display
sub-systems, and new multimedia tools such as Windows DVD Maker. Vista
aimed to increase the level of communication between machines on a
home network, using peer-to-peer technology to simplify sharing files
and media between computers and devices.
Windows Vista included
version 3.0 of the .NET Framework, allowing software developers to
write applications without traditional Windows APIs.
Microsoft's primary stated objective with
Windows Vista was to improve
the state of security in the Windows operating system. One common
Windows XP and its predecessors was their commonly
exploited security vulnerabilities and overall susceptibility to
malware, viruses and buffer overflows. In light of this, Microsoft
Bill Gates announced in early 2002 a company-wide
Trustworthy Computing initiative", which aimed to incorporate
security into every aspect of software development at the company.
Microsoft stated that it prioritized improving the security of Windows
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003 above finishing Windows Vista, thus
delaying its completion.
While these new features and security improvements have garnered
positive reviews, Vista has also been the target of much criticism and
Criticism of Windows Vista has targeted its high
system requirements, its more restrictive licensing terms, the
inclusion of a number of, then, new DRM technologies aimed at
restricting the copying of protected digital media, lack of
compatibility with some pre-Vista hardware and software, longer boot
time, and the number of authorization prompts for User Account
Control. As a result of these and other issues,
Windows Vista had seen
initial adoption and satisfaction rates lower than Windows XP.
However, with an estimated 330 million Internet users as of January
2009, it had been announced that Vista usage had surpassed Microsoft's
pre-launch two-year-out expectations of achieving 200 million
users. At the release of
Windows 7 (October 2009), Windows
Vista (with approximately 400 million Internet users) was the second
most widely used operating system on the Internet with an
approximately 19% market share, the most widely used being Windows XP
with an approximately 63% market share. In May 2010, Windows
Vista's market share had an estimated range from 15% to 26%.
On 22 October 2010,
Microsoft ceased sales of retail copies of Windows
Vista, and the OEM sales for Vista ceased a year later. In January
2018, Vista's market share was 0.61%.
Microsoft stopped providing extended support for
Windows Vista on 11
1.1 As Longhorn
1.2 Development reset
1.3 As Windows Vista
2 New or changed features
2.4 System management
3 Removed features
5 Visual styles
6 Hardware requirements
6.1 Physical memory limits
6.2 Processor limits
7.1 Service Pack 1
7.2 Service Pack 2
7.3 Platform Update
8 Marketing campaign
8.1 The Mojave Experiment
10.1 Hardware requirements
10.5 User Account Control
11 Downgrade rights
12 See also
Main article: Development of Windows Vista
Microsoft began work on Windows Vista, known at the time by its
codename Longhorn, in May 2001, five months before the release of
Windows XP. It was originally expected to ship sometime late in 2003
as a minor step between
Windows XP and Blackcomb, which was planned to
be the company's next major operating system release. Gradually,
"Longhorn" assimilated many of the important new features and
technologies slated for Blackcomb, resulting in the release date being
pushed back several times in 3 years. In some builds of Longhorn,
their license agreement said "For the
Microsoft product codenamed
"Whistler"". Many of Microsoft's developers were also re-tasked to
build updates to
Windows XP and
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003 to strengthen
security. Faced with ongoing delays and concerns about feature creep,
Microsoft announced on 27 August 2004, that it had revised its plans.
For this reason, Longhorn was reset to start work on componentizing
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 codebase, and over time
re-incorporating the features that would be intended for an actual
operating system release. However, some previously announced features
WinFS were dropped or postponed, and a new software
development methodology called the
Security Development Lifecycle was
incorporated in an effort to address concerns with the security of the
Windows codebase, which is programmed in C,
C++ and assembly. Longhorn
became known as Vista in 2005.
The early development stages of Longhorn were generally characterized
by incremental improvements and updates to Windows XP. During this
Microsoft was fairly quiet about what was being worked on, as
their marketing and public relations focus was more strongly focused
on Windows XP, and
Windows Server 2003, which was released in April
2003. Occasional builds of Longhorn were leaked onto popular file
sharing networks such as IRC, BitTorrent, eDonkey and various
newsgroups, and so most of what is known about builds prior to the
first sanctioned development release of Longhorn in May 2003, is
derived from these builds.
After several months of relatively little news or activity from
Microsoft with Longhorn,
Microsoft released Build 4008, which had made
an appearance on the Internet around 28 February 2003. It was also
privately handed out to a select group of software developers. As an
evolutionary release over build 3683, it contained a number of small
improvements, including a modified blue "Plex" theme and a new,
simplified Windows Image-based installer that operates in graphical
mode from the outset, and completed an install of the operating system
in approximately one third the time of
Windows XP on the same
hardware. An optional "new taskbar" was introduced that was thinner
than the previous build and displayed the time differently.
The most notable visual and functional difference, however, came with
Windows Explorer. The incorporation of the Plex theme made blue the
dominant color of the entire application. The Windows XP-style task
pane was almost completely replaced with a large horizontal pane that
appeared under the toolbars. A new search interface allowed for
filtering of results, searching of Windows help, and natural-language
queries that would be used to integrate with WinFS. The animated
search characters were also removed. The "view modes" were also
replaced with a single slider that would resize the icons in
real-time, in list, thumbnail, or details mode, depending on where the
File metadata was also made more visible and more easily
editable, with more active encouragement to fill out missing pieces of
information. Also of note was the conversion of
Windows Explorer to
being a .NET application.
Most builds of Longhorn and Vista were identified by a label that was
always displayed in the bottom-right corner of the desktop. A typical
build label would look like "Longhorn Build 3663.Lab06_N.020728-1728".
Higher build numbers did not automatically mean that the latest
features from every development team at
Microsoft was included.
Typically, a team working on a certain feature or subsystem would
generate their own working builds which developers would test with,
and when the code was deemed stable, all the changes would be
incorporated back into the main development tree at once. At
Microsoft, a number of "Build labs" exist where the compilation of the
entirety of Windows can be performed by a team. The name of the lab in
which any given build originated is shown as part of the build label,
and the date and time of the build follows that. Some builds (such as
Beta 1 and Beta 2) only display the build label in the version
information dialog (Winver). The icons used in these builds are from
Windows Hardware Engineering Conference (WinHEC) in May 2003,
Microsoft gave their first public demonstrations of the new Desktop
Window Manager and Aero. The demonstrations were done on a revised
build 4015 which was never released. A number of sessions for
developers and hardware engineers at the conference focused on these
new features, as well as the Next-Generation Secure Computing Base
(previously known as "Palladium"), which at the time was Microsoft's
proposed solution for creating a secure computing environment whereby
any given component of the system could be deemed "trusted". Also at
Microsoft reiterated their roadmap for delivering
Longhorn, pointing to an "early 2005" release date.
By 2004, it had become obvious to the Windows team at
they were losing sight of what needed to be done to complete the next
version of Windows and ship it to customers. Internally, some
Microsoft employees were describing the Longhorn project as "another
Cairo" or "Cairo.NET", referring to the Cairo development project that
the company embarked on through the first half of the 1990s, which
never resulted in a shipping operating system (though nearly all the
technologies developed in that time did end up in
Windows 95 and
Microsoft was shocked in 2005 by Apple's release of
Mac OS X Tiger. It offered only a limited subset of features planned
for Longhorn, in particular fast file searching and integrated
graphics and sound processing, but appeared to have impressive
reliability and performance compared to contemporary Longhorn
builds. Most Longhorn builds had major
Explorer.exe system leaks
which prevented the OS from performing well, and added more confusion
to the development teams in later builds with more and more code being
developed which failed to reach stability.
In a 23 September 2005 front-page article on The Wall Street
Microsoft co-president Jim Allchin, who had overall
responsibility for the development and delivery of Windows, explained
how development of Longhorn had been "crashing into the ground" due in
large part to the haphazard methods by which features were introduced
and integrated into the core of the operating system, without a clear
focus on an end-product. Allchin went on to explain how in December
2003, he enlisted the help of two other senior executives, Brian
Valentine and Amitabh Srivastava, the former being experienced with
shipping software at Microsoft, most notably
Windows Server 2003,
and the latter having spent his career at
Microsoft researching and
developing methods of producing high-quality testing systems.
Srivastava employed a team of core architects to visually map out the
entirety of the Windows operating system, and to proactively work
towards a development process that would enforce high levels of code
quality, reduce interdependencies between components, and in general,
"not make things worse with Vista". Since
Microsoft decided that
Longhorn needed to be further componentized, work started on the
Omega-13 series builds where they would componentize existing Windows
Server 2003 source code, and over time add back functionality as
development progressed. Future Longhorn builds would start from
Windows Server 2003
Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1 and continue from there.
This change, announced internally to
Microsoft employees on 26 August
2004, began in earnest in September, though it would take several more
months before the new development process and build methodology would
be used by all of the development teams. A number of complaints came
from individual developers, and
Bill Gates himself, that the new
development process was going to be prohibitively difficult to work
As Windows Vista
By approximately November 2004, the company had considered several
names for the final release, ranging from simple to fanciful and
inventive. In the end,
Windows Vista as confirmed on
22 July 2005, believing it to be a "wonderful intersection of what the
product really does, what Windows stands for, and what resonates with
customers, and their needs." Group Project Manager Greg Sullivan told
Paul Thurrott "You want the PC to adapt to you and help you cut
through the clutter to focus on what's important to you. That's what
Windows Vista is all about: "bringing clarity to your world." (a
reference to the three marketing points of Vista—Clear, Connected,
Confident), so you can focus on what matters to you.". Microsoft
Jim Allchin also loved the name, saying that "Vista"
creates the right imagery for the new product capabilities and
inspires the imagination with all the possibilities of what can be
done with Windows—making people's passions come alive."
After Longhorn was named
Windows Vista in November 2004, an
unprecedented beta-test program was started, involving hundreds of
thousands of volunteers and companies. In September of that year,
Microsoft started releasing regular Community Technology Previews
(CTP) to beta testers from July 2005 to February 2006. The first of
these was distributed at the 2005
Microsoft Professional Developers
Conference, and was subsequently released to beta testers and
Microsoft Developer Network subscribers. The builds that followed
incorporated most of the planned features for the final product, as
well as a number of changes to the user interface, based largely on
feedback from beta testers.
Windows Vista was deemed feature-complete
with the release of the "February CTP," released on 22 February 2006,
and much of the remainder of the work between that build and the final
release of the product focused on stability, performance, application
and driver compatibility, and documentation. Beta 2, released in late
May, was the first build to be made available to the general public
through Microsoft's Customer Preview Program. It was downloaded by
over five million people. Two release candidates followed in September
and October, both of which were made available to a large number of
Intel Developer Forum
Intel Developer Forum on 9 March 2006,
Microsoft announced a
change in their plans to support EFI in Windows Vista. The
specification (which replaces EFI 1.10) was not completed until early
2006, and at the time of Microsoft's announcement, no firmware
manufacturers had completed a production implementation which could be
used for testing. As a result, the decision was made to postpone the
UEFI support to Windows; support for
UEFI on 64-bit
platforms was postponed until Vista Service Pack 1 and Windows Server
UEFI would not be supported, as
Microsoft does not
expect many such systems to be built as the market moves to 64-bit
Microsoft had originally hoped to have the consumer versions of
the operating system available worldwide in time for Christmas 2006,
it announced in March 2006 that the release date would be pushed back
to January 2007 in order to give the company—and the hardware and
software companies that
Microsoft depends on for providing device
drivers—additional time to prepare. Because a release to
manufacturing (RTM) build is the final version of code shipped to
retailers and other distributors, the purpose of a pre-RTM build is to
eliminate any last "show-stopper" bugs that may prevent the code from
responsibly being shipped to customers, as well as anything else that
consumers may find annoying. Thus, it is unlikely that any major new
features would be introduced; instead, work would focus on Vista's
"fit-and-finish". In just a few days, developers had managed to drop
Vista's bug count from over 2470 on 22 September to just over 1400 by
the time RC2 shipped in early October. However, they still had a way
to go before Vista was ready to RTM. Microsoft's internal processes
required Vista's bug count to drop to 500 or fewer before the product
could go into escrow for RTM. For most of the pre-RTM builds,
32-bit editions are only released.
On 14 June 2006, Windows developer Philip Su posted a blog entry which
decried the development process of Windows Vista, stating that "The
code is way too complicated, and that the pace of coding has been
tremendously slowed down by overbearing process." The same post
Windows Vista as having approximately 50 million lines
of code, with about 2,000 developers working on the product. During a
demonstration of the speech recognition feature new to Windows Vista
at Microsoft's Financial Analyst Meeting on 27 July 2006, the software
recognized the phrase "Dear mom" as "Dear aunt". After several failed
attempts to correct the error, the sentence eventually became "Dear
aunt, let's set so double the killer delete select all". A
developer with Vista's speech recognition team later explained that
there was a bug with the build of Vista that was causing the
microphone gain level to be set very high, resulting in the audio
being received by the speech recognition software being "incredibly
Windows Vista build 5824 (17 October 2006) was supposed to be the RTM
release, but a bug, which destroyed any system that was upgraded from
Windows XP, prevented this, damaging development and lowering the
chance that it would hit its January 2007 deadline.
Development of Windows Vista
Development of Windows Vista came to an end when
that it had been finalized on 8 November 2006, and was concluded by
co-president of Windows development, Jim Allchin. The RTM's build
number had also jumped to 6000 to reflect Vista's internal version
number, NT 6.0. Jumping RTM build numbers is common practice among
consumer-oriented Windows versions, like
Windows 98 (build 1998),
Windows 98 SE (build 2222),
Windows Me (build 3000) or Windows XP
(build 2600), as compared to the business-oriented versions like
Windows 2000 (build 2195) or Server 2003 (build 3790). On 16 November
Microsoft made the final build available to
MSDN and Technet
Plus subscribers. A business-oriented Enterprise edition was made
available to volume license customers on 30 November. Windows
Vista was launched for general customer availability on 30 January
New or changed features
Main article: Features new to Windows Vista
Windows Vista introduced several features and functionality not
present in its predecessors.
Windows Aero: The new graphical user interface is named Windows Aero,
Jim Allchin stated is an acronym for Authentic, Energetic,
Reflective, and Open.
Microsoft intended the new interface to be
cleaner and more aesthetically pleasing than those of previous Windows
versions, featuring new transparencies, live thumbnails, live icons,
and animations, thus providing a new level of eye candy. Laptop users
report, however, that enabling Aero shortens battery life and
Windows shell: The new
Windows shell offers a new range of
organization, navigation, and search capabilities: Task panes in
Windows Explorer are removed, integrating the relevant task options
into the toolbar. A "Favorite links" pane has been added, enabling
one-click access to common directories. A search box appears in every
Explorer window. The address bar has been replaced with a breadcrumb
navigation bar. Icons of certain file types in
Windows Explorer are
"live" and can be scaled in size up to 256 × 256 pixels. The preview
pane allows users to see thumbnails of various files and view the
contents of documents. The details pane shows information such as file
size and type, and allows viewing and editing of embedded tags in
supported file formats. The
Start menu has changed as well;
incorporating an instant search box, and the All Programs list uses a
horizontal scroll bar instead of the cascading flyout menu seen in
Windows XP. The word "Start" itself has been removed in favor of a
blue orb that bears the Windows logo.
Windows Search: A new search component of Windows Vista, it features
instant search (also known as search as you type), which provides
instant search results, thus finding files more quickly than the
search features found in previous versions of Windows and can search
the contents of recognized file types. Users can search for
certain metadata such as name, extension, size, date or attributes.
Windows Sidebar: A transparent panel, anchored to the right side of
the screen, wherein a user can place Desktop Gadgets, which are small
applets designed for a specialized purpose (such as displaying the
weather or sports scores). Gadgets can also be placed on the
Internet Explorer 7: New user interface, tabbed browsing, RSS,
a search box, improved printing, Page Zoom, Quick Tabs (thumbnails
of all open tabs), Anti-
Phishing filter, a number of new security
protection features, Internationalized Domain Name support (IDN), and
improved web standards support. IE7 in
Windows Vista runs in isolation
from other applications in the operating system (protected mode);
exploits and malicious software are restricted from writing to any
location beyond Temporary Internet Files without explicit user
Windows Media Player 11, a major revamp of Microsoft's program for
playing and organizing music and video. New features in this version
include word wheeling (incremental search or "search as you type"), a
GUI for the media library, photo display and organization, the
ability to share music libraries over a network with other Windows
Xbox 360 integration, and support for other Media
Windows Defender: An antispyware program with several real-time
protection agents. It includes a software explorer feature, which
provides access to startup programs, and allows one to view currently
running software, network connected applications, and Winsock
providers (Winsock LSPs).
Backup and Restore Center: Includes a backup and restore application
that gives users the ability to schedule periodic backups of files on
their computer, as well as recovery from previous backups. Backups are
incremental, storing only the changes made each time, minimizing disk
usage. It also features Complete PC Backup (available only in the
Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise versions), which backs up an entire
computer as an image onto a hard disk or DVD. Complete PC Backup can
automatically recreate a machine setup onto new hardware or hard disk
in case of any hardware failures. Complete PC Restore can be initiated
Windows Vista or from the
Windows Vista installation CD in
the event that a PC is so corrupt that it cannot start normally from
the hard disk.
Windows Mail: A replacement for Outlook Express that includes a new
mail store that improves stability, and features integrated
instant search. It has the
Phishing Filter like
Internet Explorer 7
and Junk mail filtering that is enhanced through regular updates via
Windows Calendar is a new calendar and task application which
integrates with Windows Contacts and Windows Mail. It is compatible
with various calendar file types, such as the popular iCalendar.
Windows Photo Gallery, a photo and movie library management
application. It can import from digital cameras, tag and rate
individual items, adjust colors and exposure, create and display
slideshows (with pan and fade effects) through
Direct3D and burn
slideshows to a DVD.
Windows DVD Maker, a companion program to
Windows Movie Maker
Windows Movie Maker that
provides the ability to create video DVDs based on a user's content.
Users can design a DVD with title, menus, video, soundtrack, pan and
zoom motion effects on pictures or slides.
Windows Media Center, which was previously exclusively bundled in a
separate version of Windows XP, known as
Windows XP Media Center
Edition, has been incorporated into the Home Premium and Ultimate
editions of Windows Vista.
Games: Most of the standard computer games included in previous
versions of Windows have been redesigned to showcase Vista's new
graphical capabilities. New games available in
Windows Vista are Chess
Mahjong Titans (3D
Mahjong game), and Purble
Place (a small collection of games, oriented towards younger children,
including a matching game, a cake-creator game, and a dress-up puzzle
Purble Place is the only one of the new games available in the
Windows Vista Home Basic edition.
Games Explorer: A new special folder called "Games" exposes installed
video games and information about them. These metadata may be updated
from the Internet.
Windows Mobility Center
Windows Mobility Center is a control panel that centralizes the most
relevant information related to mobile computing (brightness, sound,
battery level / power scheme selection, wireless network, screen
orientation, presentation settings, etc.).
Windows Fax and Scan
Windows Fax and Scan Allows computers with fax modems to send and
receive fax documents, as well as scan documents. It is not available
in the Home versions of Windows Vista, but is available in the
Business, Enterprise and Ultimate editions.
Windows Meeting Space
Windows Meeting Space replaces NetMeeting. Users can share
applications (or their entire desktop) with other users on the local
network, or over the Internet using peer-to-peer technology (higher
versions than Starter and Home Basic can take advantage of hosting
capabilities, Starter and Home Basic editions are limited to "join"
Windows HotStart enables compatible computers to start applications
directly from operating system startup or resume by the press of a
button—this enables what
Microsoft has described as appliance-like
availability, which allows computers to function in a manner similar
to a consumer electronics device such as a DVD player; the feature
was also designed to provide the instant-on feature availability that
is traditionally associated with mobile devices. While Microsoft
has emphasized multimedia scenarios with Windows HotStart, a user
can configure this feature so that a button launches a preferred
Shadow Copy automatically creates daily backup copies of files and
folders. Users can also create "shadow copies" by setting a System
Protection Point using the System Protection tab in the System control
panel. The user can view multiple versions of a file throughout a
limited history and be allowed to restore, delete, or copy those
versions. This feature is available only in the Business, Enterprise,
and Ultimate editions of
Windows Vista and is inherited from Windows
Windows Update: Software and security updates have been
simplified, now operating solely via a control panel instead of as
a web application. Windows Mail's spam filter and Windows Defender's
definitions are updated automatically via Windows Update. Users who
choose the recommended setting for Automatic Updates will have the
latest drivers installed and available when they add a new device.
Parental controls: Allows administrators to monitor and restrict user
activity, as well as control which websites, programs and games each
Standard user can use and install. This feature is not included in the
Business or Enterprise editions of Vista.
Windows SideShow: Enables the auxiliary displays on newer laptops or
Windows Mobile devices. It is meant to be used to display
device gadgets while the computer is on or off.
Speech recognition is integrated into Vista. It features a
redesigned user interface and configurable command-and-control
commands. Unlike the Office 2003 version, which works only in Office
and WordPad, Speech Recognition in
Windows Vista works for any
accessible application. In addition, it currently supports several
languages: British and American English, Spanish, French, German,
Chinese (Traditional and Simplified) and Japanese.
New fonts, including several designed for screen reading, and improved
Chinese (Yahei, JhengHei), Japanese (Meiryo), and Korean (Malgun)
ClearType has also been enhanced and enabled by default.
Improved audio controls allow the system-wide volume or volume of
individual audio devices and even individual applications to be
controlled separately. New audio functionalities such as room
correction, bass management, speaker fill, and headphone
virtualization have also been incorporated.
Problem Reports and Solutions, a feature that allows users to check
for solutions to problems or view previously sent problems for any
solutions or additional information, if available.
Windows System Assessment Tool is a tool used to benchmark system
performance. Software such as games can retrieve this rating and
modify its own behavior at runtime to improve performance. The
benchmark tests CPU, RAM, 2-D and 3-D graphics acceleration, graphics
memory and hard disk space.
Windows Ultimate Extras: The Ultimate edition of Windows Vista
provides, via Windows Update, access to some additional features.
These are a collection of additional MUI language packs, Texas Hold
'Em (a Poker game) and
Microsoft Tinker (a strategy game where the
character is a robot), BitLocker and EFS enhancements that allow users
to back up their encryption key online in a Digital Locker, and
Windows Dreamscene, which enables the use of videos in MPEG and WMV
formats as the desktop background. On 21 April 2008, Microsoft
launched two more Ultimate Extras; three new Windows sound schemes,
and a content pack for Dreamscene. Various DreamScene Content Packs
have been released since the final version of DreamScene was released.
Reliability and Performance Monitor includes various tools for tuning
and monitoring system performance and resources activities of CPU,
disks, network, memory and other resources. It shows the operations on
files, the opened connections, etc.
Disk Management: The
Logical Disk Manager in
Windows Vista supports
shrinking and expanding volumes on-the-fly.
Windows Anytime Upgrade: is a program that allows a user to upgrade
their computer running Vista to a higher edition. For example, a
Windows Vista Home Basic can be upgraded to Home
Premium or better. Anytime Upgrade permits users to upgrade without
having their programs and data erased, and is cheaper than replacing
the existing installation of Windows. Anytime Upgrade is no longer
available for Vista.
Digital Locker Assistant: A program that facilitated access to
downloads and purchases from the
Windows Marketplace digital
distribution platform. Apps purchased from
Windows Marketplace are
Microsoft Account credentials, which are used to access a
user's digital locker that stores the app and its associated
information (e.g., licenses) off-site.
Main article: Technical features new to Windows Vista
Vista includes technologies such as ReadyBoost and ReadyDrive,
which employ fast flash memory (located on USB flash drives and hybrid
hard disk drives) to improve system performance by caching commonly
used programs and data. This manifests itself in improved battery life
on notebook computers as well, since a hybrid drive can be spun down
when not in use. Another new technology called SuperFetch utilizes
machine learning techniques to analyze usage patterns to allow Windows
Vista to make intelligent decisions about what content should be
present in system memory at any given time. It uses almost all the
RAM as disk cache. In conjunction with SuperFetch, an
Windows Disk Defragmenter
Windows Disk Defragmenter makes sure that those
applications are strategically positioned on the hard disk where they
can be loaded into memory very quickly with the least amount of
physical movement of the hard disk's read-write heads.
As part of the redesign of the networking architecture,
IPv6 has been
fully incorporated into the operating system and a number of
performance improvements have been introduced, such as TCP window
scaling. Earlier versions of Windows typically needed third-party
wireless networking software to work properly, but this is not the
case with Vista, which includes more comprehensive wireless networking
For graphics, Vista introduces a new Windows Display Driver Model
and a major revision to Direct3D. The new driver model facilitates the
new Desktop Window Manager, which provides the tearing-free desktop
and special effects that are the cornerstones of Windows Aero.
Direct3D 10, developed in conjunction with major graphics card
manufacturers, is a new architecture with more advanced shader
support, and allows the graphics processing unit to render more
complex scenes without assistance from the CPU. It features improved
load balancing between
CPU and GPU and also optimizes data transfer
between them. WDDM also provides video content playback that
rivals typical consumer electronics devices. It does this by making it
easy to connect to external monitors, providing for protected HD video
playback and increasing overall video playback quality. For the first
time in Windows, graphics processing unit (GPU) multitasking is
possible, enabling users to run more than one GPU-intensive
At the core of the operating system, many improvements have been made
to the memory manager, process scheduler and I/O scheduler. The Heap
Manager implements additional features such as integrity checking in
order to improve robustness and defend against buffer overflow
security exploits, although this comes at the price of breaking
backward compatibility with some legacy applications. A Kernel
Transaction Manager has been implemented that enables applications to
work with the file system and Registry using atomic transaction
Main article: Security and safety features new to Windows Vista
Improved security was a primary design goal for Vista. Microsoft's
Trustworthy Computing initiative, which aims to improve public trust
in its products, has had a direct effect on its development. This
effort has resulted in a number of new security and safety features
Evaluation Assurance Level rating of 4+.
User Account Control, or UAC is perhaps the most significant and
visible of these changes. UAC is a security technology that makes it
possible for users to use their computer with fewer privileges by
default, with a view to stopping malware from making unauthorized
changes to the system. This was often difficult in previous versions
of Windows, as the previous "limited" user accounts proved too
restrictive and incompatible with a large proportion of application
software, and even prevented some basic operations such as looking at
the calendar from the notification tray. In Windows Vista, when an
action is performed that requires administrative rights (such as
installing/uninstalling software or making system-wide configuration
changes), the user is first prompted for an administrator name and
password; in cases where the user is already an administrator, the
user is still prompted to confirm the pending privileged action.
Regular use of the computer such as running programs, printing, or
surfing the Internet does not trigger UAC prompts. User Account
Control asks for credentials in a Secure Desktop mode, in which the
entire screen is dimmed, and only the authorization window is active
and highlighted. The intent is to stop a malicious program misleading
the user by interfering with the authorization window, and to hint to
the user the importance of the prompt.
Symantec Corporation has proven the effectiveness of UAC.
Symantec used over 2,000 active malware samples, consisting of
backdoors, keyloggers, rootkits, mass mailers, trojan horses, spyware,
adware, and various other samples. Each was executed on a default
Windows Vista installation within a standard user account. UAC
effectively blocked over 50 percent of each threat, excluding
rootkits. 5 percent or less of the malware that evaded UAC survived a
Internet Explorer 7's new security and safety features include a
phishing filter, IDN with anti-spoofing capabilities, and integration
with system-wide parental controls. For added security, ActiveX
controls are disabled by default. Also,
Internet Explorer operates in
a protected mode, which operates with lower permissions than the user
and runs in isolation from other applications in the operating system,
preventing it from accessing or modifying anything besides the
Temporary Internet Files directory. Microsoft's anti-spyware
product, Windows Defender, has been incorporated into Windows,
providing protection against malware and other threats. Changes to
various system configuration settings (such as new auto-starting
applications) are blocked unless the user gives consent.
Whereas prior releases of Windows supported per-file encryption using
File System, the Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Vista
include BitLocker Drive Encryption, which can protect entire volumes,
notably the operating system volume. However, BitLocker requires
approximately a 1.5-gigabyte partition to be permanently not encrypted
and to contain system files in order for Windows to boot. In normal
circumstances, the only time this partition is accessed is when the
computer is booting, or when there is a Windows update that changes
files in this area, which is a legitimate reason to access this
section of the drive. The area can be a potential security issue,
because a hexadecimal editor (such as dskprobe.exe), or malicious
software running with administrator and/or kernel level privileges
would be able to write to this "Ghost Partition" and allow a piece of
malicious software to compromise the system, or disable the
encryption. BitLocker can work in conjunction with a Trusted Platform
Module (TPM) cryptoprocessor (version 1.2) embedded in a computer's
motherboard, or with a USB key. However, as with other full disk
encryption technologies, BitLocker is vulnerable to a cold boot
attack, especially where TPM is used as a key protector without a boot
PIN being required too.
A variety of other privilege-restriction techniques are also built
into Vista. An example is the concept of "integrity levels" in user
processes, whereby a process with a lower integrity level cannot
interact with processes of a higher integrity level and cannot perform
DLL–injection to a processes of a higher integrity level. The
security restrictions of Windows services are more fine-grained, so
that services (especially those listening on the network) have no
ability to interact with parts of the operating system they do not
Obfuscation techniques such as address space layout
randomization are used to increase the amount of effort required of
malware before successful infiltration of a system. Code Integrity
verifies that system binaries have not been tampered with by malicious
As part of the redesign of the network stack,
Windows Firewall has
been upgraded, with new support for filtering both incoming and
outgoing traffic. Advanced packet filter rules can be created that can
grant or deny communications to specific services.
64-bit versions of Vista require that all device drivers be
digitally signed, so that the creator of the driver can be
Main article: Management features new to Windows Vista
While much of the focus of Vista's new capabilities highlighted the
new user-interface, security technologies, and improvements to the
core operating system,
Microsoft also adding new deployment and
Windows Imaging Format (WIM) provides the cornerstone of
Microsoft's new deployment and packaging system. WIM files, which
contain a HAL-independent image of Windows Vista, can be maintained
and patched without having to rebuild new images. Windows Images can
be delivered via
Systems Management Server or Business Desktop
Deployment technologies. Images can be customized and configured with
applications then deployed to corporate client personal computers
using little to no touch by a system administrator.
ImageX is the
Microsoft tool used to create and customize images.
Windows Deployment Services replaces
Remote Installation Services for
deploying Vista and prior versions of Windows.
Approximately 700 new
Group Policy settings have been added, covering
most aspects of the new features in the operating system, as well as
significantly expanding the configurability of wireless networks,
removable storage devices, and user desktop experience. Vista also
introduced an XML-based format (ADMX) to display registry-based policy
settings, making it easier to manage networks that span geographic
locations and different languages.
Services for UNIX, renamed as "Subsystem for UNIX-based Applications",
comes with the Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Vista. Network File
System (NFS) client support is also included.
Multilingual User Interface–Unlike previous versions of Windows
(which required the loading of language packs to provide
Windows Vista Ultimate and Enterprise
editions support the ability to dynamically change languages based on
the logged-on user's preference.
Wireless Projector support
Windows Vista includes a large number of new application programming
interfaces. Chief among them is the inclusion of version 3.0 of the
.NET Framework, which consists of a class library and Common Language
Runtime and OS/2 environment just like its NT predecessors. Version
3.0 includes four new major components:
Windows Presentation Foundation
Windows Presentation Foundation is a user interface subsystem and
framework based vector graphics, which makes use of 3D computer
graphics hardware and
Direct3D technologies. It provides the
foundation for building applications and blending together application
UI, documents, and media content. It is the successor to Windows
Windows Communication Foundation
Windows Communication Foundation is a service-oriented messaging
subsystem that enables applications and systems to interoperate
locally or remotely using Web services.
Windows Workflow Foundation
Windows Workflow Foundation provides task automation and integrated
transactions using workflows. It is the programming model, engine and
tools for building workflow-enabled applications on Windows.
Windows CardSpace is a component that securely stores digital
identities of a person, and provides a unified interface for choosing
the identity for a particular transaction, such as logging into a
These technologies are also available for
Windows XP and Windows
Server 2003 to facilitate their introduction to and usage by
developers and end users.
There are also significant new development APIs in the core of the
operating system, notably the completely re-designed audio,
networking, print, and video interfaces, major changes to the security
infrastructure, improvements to the deployment and installation of
applications ("ClickOnce" and
Windows Installer 4.0), new device
driver development model ("Windows Driver Foundation"), Transactional
NTFS, mobile computing API advancements (power management, Tablet PC
Ink support, SideShow) and major updates to (or complete replacements
of) many core subsystems such as
Winlogon and CAPI.
There are some issues for software developers using some of the
graphics APIs in Vista. Games or programs built solely on the Windows
Vista-exclusive version of DirectX, version 10, cannot work on prior
versions of Windows, as
DirectX 10 is not available for previous
Windows versions. Also, games that require the features of D3D9Ex, the
updated implementation of
DirectX 9 in
Windows Vista are also
incompatible with previous Windows versions. According to a
Microsoft blog, there are three choices for
OpenGL implementation on
Vista. An application can use the default implementation, which
OpenGL calls into the
Direct3D API and is frozen at OpenGL
version 1.4, or an application can use an Installable Client Driver
(ICD), which comes in two flavors: legacy and Vista-compatible. A
legacy ICD disables the Desktop Window Manager, a Vista-compatible ICD
takes advantage of a new API, and is fully compatible with the Desktop
Window Manager. At least two primary vendors, ATI and NVIDIA
provided full Vista-compatible ICDs. However, hardware overlay is
not supported, because it is considered as an obsolete feature in
Vista. ATI and
NVIDIA strongly recommend using compositing
desktop/Framebuffer Objects for same functionality.
Windows Vista is the first
Microsoft operating system:
DVD-ROM media for installation
that can be installed only on a partition formatted with the
that provides support for loading drivers for SCSI,
SATA and RAID
controllers from any source other than floppy disks prior to its
Main article: List of features removed in Windows Vista
Windows XP features and components have been replaced or
removed in Windows Vista, including several shell and Windows Explorer
features, multimedia features, networking related functionality,
Windows Messenger, NTBackup, the network
Windows Messenger service,
HyperTerminal, MSN Explorer, Active Desktop, and the replacement of
NetMeeting with Windows Meeting Space.
Windows Vista also does not
Windows XP "Luna" visual theme, or most of the classic
color schemes that have been part of Windows since the Windows 3.x
era. The "Hardware profiles" startup feature has also been removed,
along with support for older motherboard technologies like the EISA
bus, APM and
Game port support (though on the
32-bit version game port
support can be enabled by applying an older driver). IP over
FireWire (TCP/IP over IEEE 1394) has been removed as well. The
IPX/SPX protocol has also been removed, although it can be enabled by
a third-party plug-in.
Windows Vista editions
Windows Vista shipped in six different editions. These are
roughly divided into two target markets, consumer and business, with
editions varying to cater for specific sub-markets. For consumers,
there are three editions, with two available for economically more
Windows Vista Starter edition is aimed for low
powered computers with availability only in emerging markets. Windows
Vista Home Basic is intended for budget users.
Windows Vista Home
Premium covers the majority of the consumer market, and contains
applications for creating and using multimedia. The home editions
cannot join a
Windows Server domain. For businesses, there are three
editions as well.
Windows Vista Business is specifically designed for
small and medium-sized enterprises, while Windows Vista
Enterprise is only available to customers participating in
Microsoft's Software Assurance program.
Windows Vista Ultimate
contains the complete feature-set of both the Home and Business
(combination of both Home Premium and Enterprise) editions, as well as
a set of Windows Ultimate Extras, and is aimed at enthusiasts.
All editions except
Windows Vista Starter support both
64-bit (x64) processor architectures.
In the European Union, Home Basic N and Business N versions are also
available. These come without Windows Media Player, due to EU
sanctions brought against
Microsoft for violating anti-trust laws.
Similar sanctions exist in South Korea.
A comparison of the four visual styles included in Windows Vista
Windows Vista has four distinct visual styles.
Vista's default visual style, Windows Aero, is built on a new desktop
composition engine called Desktop Window Manager. Windows Aero
introduces support for translucency effects (Glass), live thumbnails,
window animations, and other visual effects (for example Windows Flip
3D), and is intended for mainstream and high-end video cards. To
enable these features, the contents of every open window are stored in
video memory to facilitate tearing-free movement of windows. As such,
Windows Aero has significantly higher hardware requirements than its
predecessors. The minimum requirement is for 128 MB of graphics
memory, depending on resolution used.
Windows Aero (including
Windows Flip 3D) is not included in the Starter and Home Basic
Windows Vista Standard
This style is a variation of
Windows Aero without the glass effects,
window animations, and other advanced graphical effects such as
Windows Flip 3D. Like Windows Aero, it uses the Desktop Window
Manager, and has generally the same video hardware requirements as
Windows Aero. This visual style is included with Home Basic edition
only as a "cheap" replacement of
Windows Aero style.
Windows Vista Basic
This style has aspects that are similar to Windows XP's "Luna" visual
style with the addition of subtle animations such as those found on
progress bars. It does not employ the Desktop Window Manager, as such,
it does not feature transparency or translucency, window animation,
Windows Flip 3D or any of the functions provided by the DWM. The Basic
mode does not require the new
Windows Display Driver Model
Windows Display Driver Model (WDDM) for
display drivers, and has similar video card requirements to Windows
XP. For computers with video cards that are not powerful enough to
support Windows Aero, this is the default graphics mode. Prior to
Service Pack 1, a machine that failed Windows Genuine Advantage
validation would also default to this visual style.
The Windows Standard (or Windows Classic) visual style is similar to
that of Windows 9x,
Windows 2000 and Microsoft's
Windows Server line
of operating systems. It does not use the Desktop Window Manager, and
does not require a WDDM driver. As with previous versions of Windows,
this visual style supports color schemes, which are collections of
Windows Vista includes six color schemes: four
high-contrast color schemes and the default color schemes from Windows
98 (titled "Windows Classic") and Windows 2000/
Windows Me (titled
Computers capable of running
Windows Vista are classified as Vista
Capable and Vista Premium Ready. A Vista Capable or equivalent PC
is capable of running all editions of
Windows Vista although some of
the special features and high-end graphics options may require
additional or more advanced hardware. A Vista Premium Ready PC can
take advantage of Vista's high-end features.
Windows Vista's Basic and Classic interfaces work with virtually any
graphics hardware that supports
Windows XP or 2000; accordingly, most
discussion around Vista's graphics requirements centers on those for
Windows Aero interface. As of
Windows Vista Beta 2, the NVIDIA
GeForce 6 series and later, the ATI
Radeon 9500 and later, Intel's GMA
950 and later integrated graphics, and a handful of
VIA chipsets and
S3 Graphics discrete chips are supported. Although originally
supported, the GeForce FX 5 series has been dropped from newer drivers
from NVIDIA. The last driver from
NVIDIA to support the GeForce FX
series on Vista was 96.85.
Microsoft offered a tool called
Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor to assist
Windows XP and Vista
users in determining what versions of Windows their machine is capable
of running. The required server connections for this utility are no
longer available. Although the installation media included in retail
packages is a
32-bit DVD, customers needing a
CD-ROM or customers who
wish for a
64-bit install media are able to acquire this media through
Windows Vista Alternate Media program. The Ultimate edition
64-bit media. The digitally downloaded
version of Ultimate includes only one version, either
64-bit, from Windows Marketplace.
Windows Vista system requirements
Component of PC
32 bits per pixel
DirectX 9.0 support
Shader 2.0 support
Total HDD capacity
Free HDD space
TV tuner card
TV tuner card (Premium, Ultimate)
Touchscreen (Premium, Business, Ultimate)
USB flash drive
USB flash drive (Ultimate)
Trusted Platform Module
Trusted Platform Module (Ultimate)
Physical memory limits
The maximum amount of
Windows Vista can support varies,
depending on both its edition and its processor architecture, as shown
in the table.
The maximum number of logical processors in a PC that Windows
Vista supports is: 32 for 32-bit; 64 for 64-bit.
The maximum number of physical processors in a PC that Windows Vista
supports is: 2 for Business, Enterprise, and Ultimate, and 1 for
Starter, Home Basic, and Home Premium.
Microsoft occasionally releases updates such as service packs for its
Windows operating systems to fix bugs, improve performance and add new
Service Pack 1
Windows Vista Service Pack 1 (SP1) was released on 4 February 2008,
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 to OEM partners, after a five-month beta
test period. The initial deployment of the service pack caused a
number of machines to continually reboot, rendering the machines
unusable. This temporarily caused
Microsoft to suspend automatic
deployment of the service pack until the problem was resolved. The
synchronized release date of the two operating systems reflected the
merging of the workstation and server kernels back into a single code
base for the first time since Windows 2000.
MSDN subscribers were able
to download SP1 on 15 February 2008. SP1 became available to current
Windows Vista users on
Windows Update and the Download Center on 18
March 2008. Initially, the service pack only supported
five languages – English, French, Spanish, German and Japanese.
Support for the remaining 31 languages was released on 14 April
A white paper, published by
Microsoft on 29 August 2007, outlined the
scope and intent of the service pack, identifying three major areas of
improvement: reliability and performance, administration experience,
and support for newer hardware and standards.
One area of particular note is performance. Areas of improvement
include file copy operations, hibernation, logging off on
network file share browsing,
Windows Explorer ZIP file
handling, and Windows Disk Defragmenter. The ability to
choose individual drives to defragment is being reintroduced as
Service Pack 1 introduced support for some new hardware and software
standards, notably the exFAT file system,
VPN connections, and the Secure Socket Tunneling
Booting a system using
Extensible Firmware Interface
Extensible Firmware Interface on x64 systems
was also introduced; this feature had originally been slated for
the initial release of Vista but was delayed due to a lack of
compatible hardware at the time. Booting from a GUID Partition
Table–based hard drive greater than 2.19 TB is supported (x64
Two areas have seen changes in SP1 that have come as the result of
concerns from software vendors. One of these is desktop search; users
will be able to change the default desktop search program to one
provided by a third party instead of the
Microsoft desktop search
program that comes with Windows Vista, and desktop search programs
will be able to seamlessly tie in their services into the operating
system. These changes come in part due to complaints from Google,
Google Desktop Search application was hindered by the presence
of Vista's built-in desktop search. In June 2007,
Google claimed that
the changes being introduced for SP1 "are a step in the right
direction, but they should be improved further to give consumers
greater access to alternate desktop search providers". The other
area of note is a set of new security APIs being introduced for the
benefit of antivirus software that currently relies on the unsupported
practice of patching the kernel (see Kernel Patch
An update to
DirectX 10, named
DirectX 10.1, marked mandatory
several features that were previously optional in
hardware. Graphics cards will be required to support DirectX
10.1. SP1 includes a kernel (6001.18000) that matches the version
Windows Server 2008.
Group Policy Management Console (GPMC) was replaced by the Group
Policy Object Editor. An updated downloadable version of the Group
Policy Management Console was released soon after the service pack.
SP1 enables support for hotpatching, a reboot-reduction servicing
technology designed to maximize uptime. It works by allowing Windows
components to be updated (or "patched") while they are still in use by
a running process. Hotpatch-enabled update packages are installed via
the same methods as traditional update packages, and will not trigger
a system reboot.
Service Pack 2
Service Pack 2 for
Windows Vista was released to manufacturing on 28
April 2009, and released to
Microsoft Download Center and Windows
Update on 26 May 2009. In addition to a number of security and
other fixes, a number of new features have been added. However, it did
Internet Explorer 8.
Windows Vista Service Pack
2 build number is 6002.18005.090410-1830.
Windows Search 4 (available for SP1 systems as a standalone update)
Feature Pack for Wireless adds support for Bluetooth 2.1
Windows Feature Pack for Storage enables the data recording onto
Windows Connect Now
Windows Connect Now (WCN) to simplify
Improved support for resuming with active
Improved support for e
The limit of 10 half open, outgoing TCP connections introduced in
Windows XP SP2 was removed
Enables the exFAT file system to support UTC timestamps, which allows
correct file synchronization across time zones
Support for ICCD/CCID smart cards
Support for VIA
Improved performance and responsiveness with the RSS feeds sidebar
Improves audio and video performance for streaming high-definition
Windows Media Center
Windows Media Center (WMC) in content protection for TV
Provides an improved power management policy that is approximately 10%
more efficient than the original with the default policies
Windows Vista and
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 share a single service pack
binary, reflecting the fact that their code bases were joined with the
release of Server 2008. Service Pack 2 is not a cumulative update
meaning that Service Pack 1 must be installed first.
Platform Update for
Windows Vista was released on 27 October 2009. It
includes major new components that shipped with Windows 7, as well as
updated runtime libraries. It requires Service Pack 2 of
Windows Vista or
Windows Server 2008
Windows Server 2008 and is listed on Windows Update
as a Recommended download.
The Platform Update allows application developers to target both
Windows Vista and Windows 7. It consists of the following components:
Windows Graphics runtime: Direct2D, DirectWrite,
Direct3D 11, DXGI
1.1, and WARP
Updates to Windows Imaging Component
Updates to XPS Print API, XPS Document API and XPS Rasterization
Windows Automation API (updates to MSAA and UI Automation)
Windows Portable Devices Platform (adds support for MTP over Bluetooth
and MTP Device Services)
Windows Ribbon API
Windows Animation Manager library
Some updates are available as separate releases for both Windows XP
and Windows Vista:
Windows Management Framework:
Windows PowerShell 2.0, Windows Remote
Management 2.0, BITS 4.0
Remote Desktop Connection
Remote Desktop Connection 7.0 (RDP7) client
Although extensive, the Platform Update does not bring Windows Vista
to the level of features and performance offered by Windows 7.
For example, even though
Direct3D 11 runtime will be able to run on
D3D9-class hardware and WDDM drivers using "feature levels" first
Desktop Window Manager
Desktop Window Manager has not been
updated to use
In July 2011,
Microsoft released Platform Update Supplement for
Windows Vista and
Windows Server 2008, which contains several bug
fixes and performance improvements.
The Mojave Experiment
Main article: The Mojave Experiment
In July 2008,
Microsoft introduced a web-based advertising campaign
called the "Mojave Experiment", that depicts a group of people who are
asked to evaluate the newest operating system from Microsoft, calling
it Windows 'Mojave'. Participants are first asked about Vista, if they
have used it, and their overall satisfaction with Vista on a scale of
1 to 10. They are then shown a demo of some of the new operating
system's features, and asked their opinion and satisfaction with it on
the same 1 to 10 scale. After respondents rate "Mojave", they are then
told that they were really shown a demo of Windows Vista. The object
was to test "A theory: If people could see
Windows Vista firsthand,
they would like it." According to Microsoft, the initial sample of
respondents rated Vista an average of 4.4 out of 10, and Mojave
received an average of 8.5, with no respondents rating Mojave lower
than they originally rated
Windows Vista before the demo.
The "experiment" has been criticized for deliberate selection of
positive statements and not addressing all aspects of Vista.
Amid the negative reviews and reception, there were also positive
reviews of Vista, most notably among PC gamers and the advantages
brought about with
DirectX 10, which allowed for better gaming
performance and more realistic graphics, as well as support for many
new capabilities brought about in new video cards and GPUs.
DirectX 9 games initially showed a drop in frame rate
compared to that experienced in Windows XP. In mid-2008, benchmarks
suggested that Vista SP1 was on par with (or better than) Windows XP
in terms of game performance. Peter Bright of
Ars Technica wrote
that, in spite of its delays and feature cuts,
Windows Vista is "a
huge evolution in the history of the NT platform [...] The fundamental
changes to the platform are of a scale not seen since the release of
NT." In a continuation of his previous assessment, Bright would
go on to state that "Vista is not simply XP with a new skin; core
parts of the OS have been radically overhauled, and virtually every
area has seen significant refinement. In terms of the magnitude and
extent of these changes, Vista represents probably the biggest leap
that the NT platform has ever seen. Never before have significant
subsystems been gutted and replaced in the way they are in
Windows Vista received the "Best of CES" award at the Consumer
Electronics Show in 2007.
In its first year of availability,
PC World rated it as the biggest
tech disappointment of 2007, and it was rated by
InfoWorld as No.
2 of Tech's all-time 25 flops. Microsoft's then much smaller
competitor Apple noted that, despite Vista's far greater sales, its
own did not seem to have suffered after its release, and would later
invest in advertising mocking Vista's unpopularity with users.
Computer manufactures such as Dell, Lenovo, and Hewlett-Packard
released their newest computers with
Windows Vista pre-installed;
however, after the negative reception of the operating system, they
also began selling their computers with
Windows XP CDs included
because of a drop in sales.
Gartner research report predicted that Vista business adoption in
2008 would overtake that of XP during the same time frame (21.3% vs.
16.9%) while IDC had indicated that the launch of Windows Server
2008 served as a catalyst for the stronger adoption rates.
As of January 2009,
Forrester Research had indicated that almost one
third of North American and European corporations had started
deploying Vista. At a May 2009 conference, a
President said "Adoption and deployment of
Windows Vista has been
slightly ahead of where we had been with XP" for big
Within its first month, 20 million copies of Vista were sold, double
the amount of
Windows XP sales within its first month in October 2001,
five years earlier. Shortly after however, due to Vista's
relatively low adoption rates and continued demand for Windows XP,
Microsoft decided to sell
Windows XP until 30 June 2008, instead of
the previously planned date of 31 January 2008. There were
reports of Vista users "downgrading" their operating systems, as well
as reports of businesses planning to skip Vista. A study
conducted by ChangeWave in March 2008 showed that the percentage of
corporate users who were "very satisfied" with Vista was dramatically
lower than other operating systems, with Vista at 8%, compared to the
40% who said they were "very satisfied" with Windows XP.
The internet-usage market share for
Windows Vista after two years of
availability, in January 2009, was 20.61%. This figure combined with
World Internet Users and Population Stats yielded a user base of
roughly 330 million, which exceeded Microsoft's two-year post
launch expectations by 130 million. The internet user base reached
before the release of its successor (Windows 7) was roughly 400
million according to the same statistical sources.
Main article: Criticism of Windows Vista
Windows Vista has received a number of negative assessments. Criticism
targets include protracted development time (5–6 years), more
restrictive licensing terms, the inclusion of a number of technologies
aimed at restricting the copying of protected digital media, and
the usability of the new
User Account Control
User Account Control security technology.
Moreover, some concerns have been raised about many PCs meeting "Vista
Premium Ready" hardware requirements and Vista's pricing.
While in 2005
Microsoft claimed "nearly all PCs on the market today
will run Windows Vista", the higher requirements of some of the
"premium" features, such as the Aero interface, affected many
upgraders. According to the UK newspaper
The Times in May 2006, the
full set of features "would be available to less than 5 percent of
Britain's PC market"; however, this prediction was made several months
before Vista was released. This continuing lack of clarity
eventually led to a class action against
Microsoft as people found
themselves with new computers that were unable to use the new software
to its full potential despite the assurance of "Vista Capable"
designations. The court case has made public internal Microsoft
communications that indicate that senior executives have also had
difficulty with this issue. For example, Mike Nash (Corporate Vice
President, Windows Product Management) commented, "I now have a $2,100
e-mail machine" because his laptop's lack of an appropriate graphics
chip so hobbled Vista.
Criticism of upgrade licenses pertaining to
Windows Vista Starter
through Home Premium was expressed by Ars Technica's Ken Fisher, who
noted that the new requirement of having a prior operating system
already installed was going to cause irritation for users who
reinstall Windows on a regular basis. It has been revealed that
an Upgrade copy of
Windows Vista can be installed clean without first
installing a previous version of Windows. On the first install,
Windows will refuse to activate. The user must then reinstall that
same copy of Vista. Vista will then activate on the reinstall, thus
allowing a user to install an Upgrade of
Windows Vista without owning
a previous operating system. As with Windows XP, separate rules
still apply to OEM versions of Vista installed on new PCs: Microsoft
asserts that these versions are not legally transferable (although
whether this conflicts with the right of first sale has yet to be
clearly decided legally).
Initially, the cost of
Windows Vista was also a source of concern and
commentary. A majority of users in a poll said that the prices of
Windows Vista editions
Windows Vista editions posted on the
Microsoft Canada website
in August 2006 make the product too expensive. A BBC News report
on the day of Vista's release suggested that, "there may be a backlash
from consumers over its pricing plans—with the cost of Vista
versions in the US roughly half the price of equivalent versions in
the UK." Since the release of Vista in 2006,
reduced the retail, and upgrade price point of Vista. Originally,
Vista Ultimate was priced at $399, and Home Premium Vista at $239.
These prices have since been reduced to $319 and $199
Windows Vista supports additional forms of DRM restrictions. One
aspect of this is the Protected Video Path, which is designed so that
"premium content" from
HD DVD or Blu-ray Discs may mandate that the
connections between PC components be encrypted. Depending on what the
content demands, the devices may not pass premium content over
non-encrypted outputs, or they must artificially degrade the quality
of the signal on such outputs or not display it at all. Drivers for
such hardware must be approved by Microsoft; a revocation mechanism is
also included, which allows
Microsoft to disable drivers of devices in
end-user PCs over the Internet. Peter Gutmann, security
researcher and author of the open source cryptlib library, claims that
these mechanisms violate fundamental rights of the user (such as fair
use), unnecessarily increase the cost of hardware, and make systems
less reliable (the "tilt bit" being a particular worry; if triggered,
the entire graphic subsystem performs a reset) and vulnerable to
denial-of-service attacks. However, despite several requests
for evidence supporting such claims Peter Gutmann has never supported
his claims with any researched evidence. Proponents have claimed that
Microsoft had no choice but to follow the demands of the movie
studios, and that the technology will not actually be enabled until
Microsoft also noted that content protection
mechanisms have existed in Windows as far back as Windows ME, and that
the new protections will not apply to any existing content (only
User Account Control
User Account Control
User Account Control (UAC) is an important part of Vista's
security infrastructure, as it blocks software from silently gaining
administrator privileges without the user's knowledge, it has been
widely criticized for generating too many prompts. This has led
many Vista UAC users to consider it troublesome, with some
consequently either turning the feature off or (for Windows Vista
Windows Vista Ultimate users) putting it in
auto-approval mode. Responding to this criticism, Microsoft
altered the implementation to reduce the number of prompts with
SP1. Though the changes have resulted in some improvement, it has
not alleviated the concerns completely.
Windows 8 licenses acquired through an OEM, a user may downgrade
to the equivalent edition of Windows Vista. Customers licensed for use
Windows 8 Enterprise are generally licensed for
Windows 8 Pro,
which may be downgraded to
Windows Vista Business. End users of
Windows 7 acquired through OEM or volume licensing may
downgrade to the equivalent edition of Windows Vista. Downgrade rights
are not offered for Starter, Home Basic or Home Premium editions of
Windows Vista and Windows XP
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Windows 8 and Windows 7
Microsoft Windows family
Windows 95 (Development)
Windows NT 3.1
Windows NT 3.5
Windows NT 3.51
Windows NT 4.0
HPC Server 2008
Server 2008 R2
Home Server 2011
Server 2012 R2
Windows Preinstallation Environment
Embedded CE 6.0
Embedded Compact 7
Pocket PC 2000
Pocket PC 2002
Windows 10 Mobile
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