ARTICLES IN THE BOOK
Architecture of Windows NT
BitLocker Drive Encryption
Criticism of Windows Vista
Desktop Window Manager
Digital rights management
Extensible Application Markup Language
to Windows Vista
Graphical user interface
Kernel Transaction Manager
Microsoft software codenames
Microsoft Windows components
List of WPF applications
Microsoft Assistance Markup Language
Microsoft Expression Blend
Microsoft Virtual PC
Microsoft Visual Studio
Microsoft Windows Services for UNIX
Protected Video Path
Remote Desktop Protocol
Security and safety features of Windows Vista
User Account Control
WIM image format
Windows Anytime Upgrade
Windows Disk Defragmenter
Windows DVD Maker
Windows Fax and Scan
Fundamentals for Legacy PCs
Windows Hardware Engineering Conference
Windows Live Gallery
Windows Live Mail Desktop
Windows Media Center
Windows Media Player
Windows Meeting Space
Windows Movie Maker
Windows Photo Gallery
Rights Management Services
Windows Security Center
Windows Server Longhorn
Windows Server System
System Assessment Tool
Windows System Recovery
Vista editions and pricing
Media Center Edition
XML Paper Specification
Yahoo Widget Engine
A GUIDE TO WINDOWS VISTA
This article is from:
All text is available under the terms of the
GNU Free Documentation License:
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Windows Vista is the latest release of
Microsoft Windows, a line of graphical
operating systems used on
personal computers, including home and business desktops,
Tablet PCs, and
media centers. Prior to its announcement on
Windows Vista was known by its
Development was completed on
over the following three months it was released in stages to
computer hardware and software manufacturers, business
customers, and retail channels. On
it was released worldwide to the general public,
and was made available for purchase and downloading from
Microsoft's web site.
The release of Windows Vista comes more than five years after
the introduction of its predecessor,
Windows XP, making it the longest time span between two
releases of Windows versions.
Windows Vista contains
hundreds of new features; some of the most significant
include an updated
graphical user interface (GUI) and
visual style dubbed
Windows Aero, improved
searching features, new multimedia creation tools such as
Windows DVD Maker, and completely redesigned networking,
audio, print, and display sub-systems. Vista also aims to
increase the level of communication between machines on a home
peer-to-peer technology, making it easier to share files and
digital media between computers and devices. For developers,
Vista includes version 3.0 of the
.NET Framework out of the box. The .Net Framework makes it
significantly easier for developers to write high-quality
applications than with the traditional
Microsoft's primary stated objective with Vista, however, has
been to improve the state of security in the Windows operating
criticism of Windows XP and its predecessors has been their
security vulnerabilities and overall susceptibility to
buffer overflows. In light of this, Microsoft chairman
Bill Gates announced in early 2002 a company-wide 'Trustworthy
Computing initiative' which aims to incorporate security
work into every aspect of software development at the company.
Microsoft stated that it prioritized improving the security of
Windows XP and
Windows Server 2003 above finishing Windows Vista, thus
During the course of its development, Vista has been the
target of a number of negative assessments by various groups.
Criticism of Windows Vista has included protracted
development time, more restrictive licensing terms, the
inclusion of a number of new
Digital Rights Management technologies aimed at restricting
the copying of protected digital media, and the other new
features such as
User Account Control.
The Windows Vista Codename (Longhorn) logo
The logo for Windows Vista
Microsoft started work on their plans for Windows Vista
("Longhorn") in 2001,
prior to the release of Windows XP. It was originally expected
to ship sometime late in 2003 as a minor step between Windows XP
(codenamed "Whistler") and "Blackcomb" (now known as
Windows "Vienna"). Gradually, "Longhorn" assimilated many of
the important new features and technologies slated for
"Blackcomb," resulting in the release date being pushed back
several times. Many of Microsoft's developers were also
re-tasked with improving the security of Windows XP.
Faced with ongoing delays and concerns about
feature creep, Microsoft announced on
that it was making significant and favorable changes. The
original "Longhorn," based on the
Windows XP source code, was scrapped, and Vista development
started anew, building on the Windows Server 2003 codebase, and
re-incorporating only the features that would be intended for an
actual operating system release. Some previously announced
features, such as
Windows Sidebar, and
NGSCB, 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.
After "Longhorn" was named Windows Vista, an unprecedented
beta-test program was started, which involved hundreds of
thousands of volunteers and companies. In September 2005,
Microsoft started releasing regular
Community Technology Previews (CTP) to beta testers. The
first of these was distributed among 2005 Microsoft
Professional Developers Conference attendees, and was
subsequently released to Microsoft 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,"
and much of the remainder of 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 users.
While Microsoft had originally hoped to have the operating
system available worldwide in time for Christmas 2006, it was
announced in March 2006 that the release date would be pushed
back to January 2007, so as to give the company – and the
hardware and software companies which Microsoft depends on for
device drivers – additional time to prepare. Microsoft also
argued that some manufacturers selling PCs via retail said they
would not be able to have Vista machines on sale in time for
Christmas, whereas direct PC suppliers such as Dell would be
able to ship Vista almost immediately; a delay was therefore
necessary to create a "level playing field".
Through much of 2006, analysts and bloggers had speculated
that Windows Vista would be delayed further, owing to anti-trust
concerns raised by the European Commission and South Korea, and
due to a perceived lack of progress with the beta releases.
However, with the
announcement of the completion of Windows Vista, Microsoft's
most lengthy operating system development project came to an
New or improved features
The Windows Vista welcome center shows Vista's focus
on an improved graphical interface.
The appearance of
Windows Explorer has changed significantly from
Windows XP and Windows 2000.
Windows Aero: The new hardware-based graphical user
interface, named Windows Aero – an acronym (possibly
backronym) for Authentic, Energetic, Reflective, and
Open. The new interface is intended to be cleaner and
more aesthetically pleasing than those of previous Windows,
including new transparencies, live thumbnails, live icons,
Windows Shell: The new Windows shell is
significantly different from Windows XP, offering a new
range of organization, navigation, and search capabilities.
Windows Explorer's task panel has been removed,
integrating the relevant task options into the toolbar. A
"Favorite links" panel has been added, enabling one-click
access to common directories. The address bar has been
replaced with a
breadcrumb navigation system. The preview panel allows
you to see thumbnails of all sorts of files and view the
contents of documents, similar to the way you can preview
email messages in Outlook, without opening the files. The
Start menu has changed as well; it no longer uses
ever-expanding boxes when navigating through Programs. Even
the word "Start" itself has been removed in favor of a blue
Windows Orb (also called "Pearl").
- Windows Search (also known as Instant Search
search as you type): significantly faster and more
thorough search capabilities. Search boxes have been added
to the Start menu, Windows Explorer, and several of the
applications included with Vista. By default, Instant Search
indexes only a small number of folders such as the start
menu, the names of files opened, the Documents folder, and
the user's e-mail. Advanced options allow the user to choose
what file type, how it should be indexed, the properties
alone, or the properties and the file contents. This also
doubles as the run command seen in previous versions of
windows (simply type in any command such as dxdiag or cmd
and it will execute that command), making accessing your
computer significantly faster.
Windows Sidebar: A transparent panel anchored to the
side of the screen where 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 other parts of
the Desktop, if desired.
Windows Internet Explorer 7: New user interface,
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 consent.
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
(or "search as you type"), a completely new and highly
graphical interface for the media library, photo display and
organization, and the ability to share music libraries over
a network with other Vista machines,
Xbox 360 integration, and support for other
Media Center Extenders.
- 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 each time, minimizing the disk
usage. It also features CompletePC Backup (available only to
Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise versions) which backs up
an entire computer as an image onto a hard disk or DVD.
CompletePC Backup can automatically recreate a machine setup
onto new hardware or hard disk in case of any hardware
Windows Mail: A replacement for Outlook Express that
includes a new mail store that improves stability, and
enables real-time search. It has the Phishing Filter like
IE7 and a
Junk mail filtering which is enhanced through regular
updates via Windows Update.
Windows Update with
Windows Ultimate Extras
Windows Calendar is a new calendar and task
Windows Photo Gallery, a photo and movie library
management application. WPG can import from digital cameras,
tag and rate individual items, adjust colors and exposure,
create and display slideshows (with pan and fade effects),
and burn slideshows to DVD.
Windows DVD Maker, a companion program to
Windows Movie Maker, which provides the ability to
create video DVDs based on a user's content. Users can
design a DVD with title, menu, video, soundtrack, pan and
zoom motion effects on pictures or slides,
Windows Meeting Space is the replacement for
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, limiting previous to "join" mode only)
Windows Media Center, which was previously
exclusively bundled as a separate version of Windows XP,
Windows XP Media Center Edition, has been incorporated
into the Home Premium and Ultimate editions of Windows
- Games and
Games Explorer: Games included with Windows have
been modified to showcase Vista's graphics capabilities. New
Mahjong Titans and
Purble Place. A new Games Explorer special folder will
also hold shortcuts and information to all games on the
Shadow Copy automatically creates backup copies of
files and folders, with daily frequency. 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 be presented 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 Server 2003.
Windows Mobility Center is a new control panel that
centralizes the most relevant information related to mobile
computing (e.g. brightness, sound, battery level / power
scheme selection, wireless network, screen orientation,
presentation settings, etc.).
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 that 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 control
which websites, programs, and games each standard user can
use and install.
Windows SideShow: Enables the auxiliary displays on
newer laptops or on supported Windows Mobile devices. It is
meant to be used to display Device gadgets while the
computer is on or off.
Speech recognition is fully integrated into Vista.
It is an improved version of Microsoft Speech Recognition
currently working under Office 2003, with a redesigned
interface, a flexible set of commands, and a
command-and-control capability to activate the computer by
voice. Unlike the Office 2003 version, which works only in
Office and WordPad, it works for dictation system-wide. In
addition, it currently supports several languages: English
US and UK, Spanish, French, German, Chinese (Traditional and
Simplified), and Japanese.
fonts, including several designed especially for screen
reading, and new high-quality Chinese (Yahei, JhengHei),
Japanese (Meiryo) and Korean (Malgun) fonts. See
Windows Vista typefaces.
ClearType has also been enhanced and enabled by default.
- Problem Reports and Solutions, a new control
panel which allows users to see previously sent problems and
any solutions or additional information that is available.
- Improved audio controls allow the system-wide volume or
volume of individual audio devices and even individual
applications to be controlled separately. Introduced new
audio functionalities such as Room Correction, Bass
Management, Speaker Fill and Headphone virtualization.
- System Performance Assessment is a benchmark used
by Windows Vista to regulate the system for optimum
performance. Games can take advantage of this feature,
reading the data produced by this benchmark in order to
fine-tune the game details. The benchmark tests
Graphics acceleration (2D and 3D) and disk access.
Windows Ultimate Extras: The Ultimate Edition of
Windows Vista provides access to extra games and tools,
available through Windows Update. This replaces the
Microsoft Plus! software bundle that was sold alongside
prior versions of Windows.
- Built-in hard drive partition management: A
utility to modify hard disk drive partitions, including
shrinking, creating and formating new partitions.
Windows Vista is intended to be a technology-based release,
to provide a solid base to include technologies, many of which
will be related to how the system functions, and hence not
readily visible to the user. An example of this is the
restructuring of the architecture of the audio, print, display,
and networking subsystems; while the results of this work will
be visible to software developers, end-users will only see what
appear to be evolutionary changes in the user interface.
Vista includes technologies such as
ReadyDrive which employ fast
flash memory (located on
USB drives and
hybrid hard disk drives respectively) 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 use the Flash memory to cache
the data currently in use by the OS and/or other applications,
spinning down the disc platters till some fresh data is
required. Another new technology called
machine learning techniques to analyze usage patterns in
order to allow Windows Vista to make decisions about what
content should be present in system memory at any given time.
As part of the redesign of the networking architecture,
has been incorporated into the operating system, and a number of
performance improvements have been introduced, such as
TCP window scaling. Windows Vista includes a more
comprehensive support for Wireless Networks, compared to
previous versions of Windows.
For graphics, Vista introduces a new
Windows Display Driver Model, as well as major revisions
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. WDDM's current version 1.0 is able
to offload rudimentary tasks to the GPU, install drivers without
requiring a system reboot and seamlessly recover from rare
driver errors due to illegal application behavior. The next
version is going to require an entirely new generation of GPUs,
are working on. Direct3D 10, developed in conjunction with major
display driver manufacturers, is a new architecture with more
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
At the core of the operating system, many improvements have
been made to the memory manager, process scheduler, heap
manager, and I/O scheduler. A
Kernel Transaction Manager has been implemented that gives
applications the ability to work with the file system and
atomic transaction operations.
A User Account Control consent dialog.
Microsoft stated that security was a primary design goal for
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, but new vulnerabilities have
already been found, some of which are still not fixed according
User Account Control is perhaps the most significant and
visible of these changes. User Account Control is a security
technology that makes it possible for users to use their
computer with fewer privileges by default. 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
requiring administrative rights is requested, the user will be
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. User Account
Control asks for credentials in a Secure Desktop mode, where the
entire screen is blacked out, temporarily disabled, and only the
authorization window is active and highlighted. The intent is to
stop a malicious program 'spoofing' the user interface,
attempting to capture admin credentials.
Screenshot of Windows Defender
Internet Explorer 7's new security and safety features
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 it runs in isolation from
other applications in the operating system, preventing it from
accessing or modifying anything besides the Temporary Internet
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
Another significant new feature is
BitLocker Drive Encryption, a data protection feature
included in the Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Vista that
encryption for the entire operating system
volume. Bitlocker can work in conjunction with a
Trusted Platform Module chip (version 1.2) that is on a
computer's motherboard, or with a USB key.
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 need to.
Obfuscation techniques such as
address space layout randomization and
Kernel Patch Protection are used to increase the amount of
effort required of
malware before successful infiltration of a system. Code
Integrity verifies that system binaries haven’t been
tampered with by malicious code.
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 which can grant or deny
communications to specific services.
While much of the focus of Vista's new capabilities has been
on the new user interface, security technologies, and
improvements to the core operating system, Microsoft is also
adding new deployment and maintenance features.
WIM image format (Windows IMage) is the cornerstone of
Microsoft's new deployment and packaging system. WIM files,
which contain an 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
ImageX is the Microsoft tool used to create and
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
Services for UNIX has been renamed "Subsystem for
UNIX-based Applications," and is included with the
Enterprise and Ultimate editions of Vista.
Network File System (NFS) client support is also
- Multi-lingual User Interface - Unlike previous version
of Windows which required language packs to be loaded to
provide local language support, Windows Vista Ultimate and
Enterprise editions supports 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. Version 3.0 includes four new major
Windows Presentation Foundation is a
user interface subsystem and framework based
vector graphics, which will make 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 Communication Foundation is a
service-oriented messaging subsystem which will enable
applications and systems to interoperate locally or remotely
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 which 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 website.
These technologies will also be 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-architected
audio, networking, print, and video interfaces, major changes to
the security infrastructure, improvements to the deployment and
installation of applications ("ClickOnce"
Windows Installer 4.0), new device driver development model
Transactional NTFS, mobile computing API advancements (power
Tablet PC Ink support,
SideShow) and major updates to (or complete replacements of)
many core subsystems such as
There are some issues for software developers using some of
the graphics APIs in Vista. Games or programs which are built on
Vista's version of
DirectX, 10, will not work on prior versions of Windows, as
DirectX 10 is not backwards-compatible with DirectX 9.
According to a Microsoft blog, there are three choices for
OpenGL implementation on Vista. An application can use the
default implementation, which translates 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, the kind already provided by
independent hardware vendors targeting Windows XP, will
Desktop Window Manager, noticeably degrading user experience
under Windows Aero. A Vista-compatible ICD takes advantage of a
new API, and will be fully compatible with the Desktop Window
At least two primary vendors,
NVIDIA, are expected to provide full Vista-compatible ICDs
in the near future.
hardware overlay is not supported, because it is considered
as an obsolete feature in Vista. ATI and NVIDIA strongly
recommend using compositing desktop/FBOs for same functionality.
Some notable Windows XP features and components have been
replaced or removed in Windows Vista, including
Windows Messenger, the network
Active Desktop, and the replacement of
Windows Meeting Space. Windows Vista also does not include
the Windows XP "Luna" visual theme, or most of the classic color
schemes which have been part of Windows since the Windows 3.x
era. The "Hardware profiles" startup feature has been removed as
well, along with support for older motherboard technologies like
EISA bus and
APM. IP over 1394 (TCP/IP over IEEE 1394) has been removed.
WinHlp32.exe, used to display 32-bit .hlp files (help pages),
is no longer included in Windows Vista as Microsoft considers it
though it is available as a separate download. Microsoft
prohibits software manufacturers from re-introducing the .hlp
help system with their products.
Telnet.exe is no longer installed by default, but is still
included as an installable feature.
Editions and pricing
Windows Vista Home Basic Upgrade Edition - Full
Windows Vista ships in six editions.
These editions are roughly divided into two target markets,
consumer and business, with editions varying to cater for
specific sub-markets. For consumers, there are four editions,
with three available for Western countries; Windows Vista
Starter is limited to
emerging markets. Windows Vista Home Basic is intended for
budget users with low needs. Windows Vista Home Premium covers
the majority of the consumer market. Windows Vista Ultimate
contains the complete feature-set and is aimed at enthusiasts.
For businesses, there are two versions. Windows Vista Business
covers organizations of all sizes, while Windows Vista
Enterprise is only available to customers participating in
Software Assurance program.
All editions except Windows Vista Starter support both
while Windows Vista Starter is only available for
32-bit architectures. In the
European Union, Home Basic N and Business N versions will
also be available. These versions come without Windows Media
Player, due to EU sanctions brought against Microsoft for
violating anti-trust laws. Similar sanctions exist in
USD pricing was announced for the four editions that are
available through retail channels.
New license and upgrade license
SKUs of each edition are available.
Microsoft states that the packaging for the retail editions
of Windows Vista is "designed to be user-friendly, and the new
packaging is a hard plastic container that will protect the
software inside for life-long use".
The case opens sideways to reveal the Windows Vista DVD
suspended in a clear plastic case. The Windows Vista DVD-ROM
disc itself uses a holographic design similar to the discs that
Microsoft has produced since
Windows Vista has four distinct visual styles.
Windows Flip 3D (Win+Tab keys)
Windows Flip (Alt+Tab keys)
Live Thumbnails (Win+T keys)
- Vista's premier visual style is built on a new desktop
composition engine called
Desktop Window Manager. Windows Aero introduces support
for 3D graphics (Windows Flip 3D),
translucency effects (Glass), live thumbnails, window
animations, and other visual effects, and is intended for
mainstream and high-end graphics cards. To enable these
features, the contents of every open window is stored in
video memory to facilitate
tearing-free movement of windows. As such, Windows Aero
has significantly higher hardware requirements than its
predecessors. 128 MB of graphics memory is the minimum
requirement, depending on resolution used.
Windows Aero (including Windows Flip 3D) is not included in
the Starter and Home Basic editions.
- Windows Vista Standard
- This mode 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
is the default mode for the Windows Vista Home Basic
Edition. The Starter (developing markets) edition does not
support this mode.
- Windows Vista Basic
- This mode has aspects that are similar to Windows XP's
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 (WDDM)
for display drivers, and has similar graphics card
requirements to Windows XP. For computers with graphics
cards that are not powerful enough to support Windows Aero,
this is the default graphics mode.
- Windows Classic
- An option for corporate deployments and upgrades,
Windows Classic has the look and feel of Windows 2000 and
Windows Server 2003, does not use the Desktop Window
Manager, and does not require a WDDM driver. As with prior
versions of Windows, this visual style supports "Color
schemes," which are a collection of color settings. Windows
Vista includes six classic color schemes, comprised of four
high-contrast color schemes and the default color schemes
Windows 98 and
Windows 2000. Technology author
Paul Thurrott noted Windows Vista's classic visual style
"hides much of the useful new functionality that's available
in other UI types," and that the "massive changes Microsoft
made to Windows Explorer" also affect Windows Classic.
Thurrott offers the opinion that Windows Vista's classic
visual style is "horrible" and a "misbegotten excuse for a
According to Microsoft, computers capable of running Windows
Vista are classified as Vista Capable and Vista
A Vista Capable or equivalent PC needs to have at minimum
an 800 MHz processor, 512 MB
DirectX 9 class graphics card. A computer that meets these
requirements will be 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 will take advantage of
Vista's "high-end" features but will need at least a 1.0 GHz
processor, 1 GB
main memory, and an Aero-compatible graphics card with at least
128 MB graphics memory and supporting the new Windows Display
Driver Model. The company also offers Windows Vista Upgrade
from its website to determine the ability of a PC to run Vista
in its various guises. The utility runs on Windows XP (with
Service Pack 2) and Windows Vista.
Microsoft lists some Vista capable hardware on their website.
The "Windows Vista Premium Ready" laptops they specify have
Intel Core 2 Duo T5500 or above CPUs and 1 GB memory.
Windows Vista's "Basic" and "Classic" interfaces will work
with virtually any graphics hardware that supports Windows XP or
2000; accordingly, most discussion around Vista's graphics
requirements centers on those for the Windows Aero interface. As
of Windows Vista Beta 2, the NVIDIA GeForce FX 5200 and later,
Radeon 9500 and later, Intel's
GMA 950 integrated graphics, and a handful of VIA chipsets
and S3 Graphics discrete chips are supported.
XGI Technology Volari chips were DirectX 9 (including the
Volari V3XT which was available in PCI cards), with XGI's exit
from the graphics card business it appears none of its chips are
supported as of Vista Beta 2. A
PCI Express (PCIe) video card is not a requirement for
Windows Aero, but Microsoft recommends PCIe video over an
AGP device due to the interface's greater bandwidth.
There are some PCI cards available that are compatible with
Windows Vista as well.
Criticisms of Windows Vista include protracted development
time, 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 security technology. Reviewers have
also noted similarities between Vista's Aero interface and that
Aqua interface for the
Mac OS X operating system, particularly around the use of
transition effects. Moreover, some concerns have been raised
about many PCs meeting "Vista Premium Ready" hardware
requirements and Vista's pricing.
- Licensing and cost
- The introduction of additional
licensing restrictions has been criticized. 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 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; these are not
The cost of Windows Vista has also been a source of concern
and commentary. A majority of users in a poll said that the
prices of various Windows Vista editions posted on the
Microsoft Canada website in August 2006 make the product too
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."
- Digital Rights Management
- Another common criticism concerns the integration of new
Digital Rights Management into the operating system,
specifically the introduction of the
Protected Video Path. This architecture is designed such
that "premium content" from
Blu-ray discs may mandate that the connections between
PC components be encrypted. Devices such as graphic cards
must be approved by Microsoft. 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 all.
There is also a revocation mechanism that allows Microsoft
to disable drivers of compromised devices in end-user PCs
over the Internet.
Peter Gutmann, security researcher and author of the
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 and vulnerable to
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 after 2010;
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 future contents).
- User Account Control
- Concerns have been raised about the new
User Account Control security technology. While
Yankee Group analyst Andrew Jaquith believes that
critical security vulnerabilities may be "reduced by as much
as 80%," he also noted that "while the new security system
shows promise, it is far too chatty and annoying."
However, this statement was made over half a year before
Vista was actually released (even before
Beta 2 was released).
- Kernel Patch Protection
- The Kernel Patch Protection feature (also known as
"Patchguard") on 64-bit versions of Vista that locks down
kernel has been criticized by computer security company
McAfee who claim that since PatchGuard also prevents
third-party security companies from getting inside the OS,
they cannot activate crucial security measures in their
software to protect the OS from intruders.
Microsoft's argument is that this will keep miscreants out
of the OS and prevent the incidence of attacks, and it is
something for which customers have been asking. Security
Kaspersky Lab claims that it is not more difficult in
Vista for anti-virus software to work, and that it would not
make sense for Microsoft to stop working with security
companies because it would make their system more vulnerable
Sophos adds that Microsoft does not need to open
PatchGuard for third party developers, instead, they should
use the programming interfaces Microsoft supplies them.
Eset, the developer of NOD32 antivirus, claims that
there is no requirement to access the Windows Vista Kernel
and that their software is fully compatible with Microsoft's
PatchGuard and the Windows Vista Security Center. It also
claimed that similar obstacles were overcome in the 64-bit
edition of Windows XP Professional.
- Similarity to Mac OS X
- Another criticism is a claim by some that Windows Vista
emulates specific features in
Mac OS X. Long-time Mac columnist and book author John
Rizzo noted in an
eWeek article that Vista incorporated features which
Mac OS X has had for some time such as fast searching, seen
Spotlight feature on the Mac,
Smart Folders functionality already available in the
Mac's Finder, and that the icons, terminology and visual
appearance mimic those of Mac OS X.
Others have come to a similar conclusion that Aero is an
In Vista's defense, Paul Thurrott argues that many of the
features that have Mac OS X counterparts or similarities
(such as Windows Search to Mac OS X's Spotlight) have been
in early alpha versions of Vista or demonstrated in
prototypes more than a year before Apple included the
Mac OS X v10.4.
Some Vista technologies, such as Windows Desktop Search,
were released as free add-ons to Windows XP before their
inclusion in shipping versions of Mac OS X.
- Hardware Requirements
- Some controversy and concerns have arisen over how the
increase in hardware specifications required to take
advantage of many of Vista's new features may have an impact
on both personal and business users.
While most PCs purchased after 2002 will be able to meet
Vista’s minimum “Windows Vista Capable” requirements, many
laptops and low-end to midrange desktops with integrated
graphics will not be able to meet “Windows Vista Premium
Ready” requirements and will therefore not be able to run
advanced features such as the Aero Glass interface.
History of Microsoft Windows
Microsoft Office 2007 — the current release of
Microsoft Office that shipped simultaneously with
Windows Server "Longhorn" — the successor to
Windows Server 2003 and based on the same codebase as
Windows "Vienna" — the next major release of the
Windows operating system planned for release during the
2009-2011 time period
Notes and references
Media Alert: Microsoft Unveils Official Name for
“Longhorn” and Sets Date for First Beta Targeted at
Developers and IT Professionals. Retrieved on
Microsoft Launches Windows Vista and the 2007 Office
System to Consumers. PressCentre. Microsoft
New Zealand (2007-01-30).
Windows Marketplace: Windows Vista Upgrade Editions: Get
Started. Windows Marketplace. Microsoft (January
2007). Retrieved on
Aaron Ricadela (February
Gates Says Security Is Job One For Vista.
InformationWeek News. Retrieved on
Mike Ricciuti (June
Microsoft: Longhorn beta unlikely this year. CNet
News. Retrieved on
Peter Galli (July
Pushing Forward - the next version of Windows.
eWeek. Retrieved on
Steve Lipner, Michael Howard (March, 2005).
The Trustworthy Computing Security Development Lifecycle.
Microsoft Developer Network. Retrieved on
Mail was demonstrated by the development team in
this Channel 9 video.
Selected Scenarios for Maintaining Data Integrity with
Windows Vista. Microsoft (2006). Retrieved on
TWAR05002_WinHEC05.ppt at download.microsoft.com.
blogs.technet.com. Retrieved on
Protected Mode IE has been described in detail at the
Internet Explorer team blog:
Protected Mode in Vista IE7 and
More details on Protected Mode IE in Windows Vista.
BitLocker Drive Encryption: Executive Overview.
What's New in Group Policy in Windows Vista and Windows
Server "Longhorn". TechNet. Microsoft.
.NET Framework 3.0 Technologies,
Logan Booker (September
DirectX 10: More harm than good for graphics?.
Maximum Power Computing Atomic. Retrieved on
Kam VedBrat (February
more comments.... MSDN Blogs. Retrieved on
Neil Trevett (2006).
OpenGL on Vista. Khronos Group. Retrieved on
OpenGL Now Natively Supported in Windows Vista.
Microsoft Removes WinHlp32.exe from Vista. Retrieved
Windows Vista does not include Telnet...or does it?
Microsoft Unveils Windows Vista Product Lineup.
Press release. Retrieved on
Industry Testing of Windows Vista Release Candidate 1
Press release. Retrieved on
Thurrott, Paul (October
Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows: Windows Vista and
Office 2007 Packaging Revealed. Windows Supersite.
Desktop And Presentation Impact On Hardware Design
(Powerpoint presentation). Microsoft. Retrieved on
Windows Vista Enterprise Hardware Planning Guidance.
TechNet. Microsoft (2006). Retrieved on
Thurrott, Paul (2006-11-15).
Windows Vista Review Part 5: Windows Vista Features:
User Interface Features. Paul Thurrott's
SuperSite for Windows. Retrieved on
Microsoft and PC Manufacturers Make It Easier for
Customers to Get Ready for Windows Vista.
PressPass. Microsoft (May
2006). Retrieved on
Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor. Retrieved on
Windows Marketplace: Introducing Windows XP PCs that are
ready for the future. Microsoft. Retrieved on
www.msbetas.org/?page=vistareadygpus. Retrieved on
64 MB RAM supports Aero with up to 1,310,720 total
pixels (e.g. 1280 × 1024) but is not Premium Ready
Fisher, Ken (January
Vista "upgrade" drops compliance checking, requires old
OS to install.
Ars Technica. Retrieved on
Thurrott, Paul (February
How to Clean Install Windows Vista with Upgrade Media.
Paul Thurrott. Retrieved on
Fried, Ina (October
Microsoft limits Vista transfers. CNET News.com.
Beer, Stan (August
Windows Vista too expensive says users. ITWire.com.
Microsoft starts Vista hard sell. Technology.
BBC News (30
2007). Retrieved on
Output Content Protection and Windows Vista. WHDC.
2005). Retrieved on
Gutmann, Peter (January
A Cost Analysis of Windows Vista Content Protection.
Smith, Paul (December
Windows Vista DRM nonsense. Retrieved on
Hollywood reportedly in agreement to delay forced
quality downgrades for Blu-ray, HD DVD.
Ars Technica. Retrieved on
Marsh, Dave (January
Windows Vista Content Protection - Twenty Questions (and
Answers). Windows Vista team blog. Microsoft.
Report: Vista to hit anti-spyware, firewall markets.
ZDNet News. CNet. Retrieved on
Microsoft Is Not Trying to Block Access Says Kaspersky.
eWeek. Retrieved on
- ^ Fulton III, Scott (October
Sophos: Microsoft Doesn't Need to Open Up PatchGuard.
BetaNews. Retrieved on
Rizzo, John (July
Apple's Tiger vs. Windows Vista: Who Comes Out Ahead?.
eWeek. Retrieved on
Windows Vista resembles OS X. MacNN (March
2006). Retrieved on
Thurrott, Paul (2002-11-13).
"Longhorn" Alpha Preview. Windows SuperSite.
^ Mitch Wagner (March
Microsoft Will Stumble On Windows Vista And Office 2007.
Informationweek.com. Retrieved on
- ^ Elizabeth Judge (May
Windows revamp 'too advanced for most PCs'. The
Times. Retrieved on
^ John G.
Spooner and Mary Jo Foley (August
Will Your PC Run Windows Vista?. eweek.com.
^ Luke Peters (July
How Vista will affect notebooks. Personal Computer
World. Retrieved on
Microsoft Windows Vista — Microsoft Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows Vista Upgrade Info — Windows Vista
Microsoft Windows Vista Product Guide — Contains
complete, feature-by-feature comparisons of the various
Windows Vista editions (current through the Beta 2 release)
Microsoft Windows Vista Hardware Design — Hardware
Design for Windows Vista — News for Driver Developers and
Microsoft Technet — Windows Vista: Resources for IT
MSDN — Windows Vista Developer Center on MSDN
The Windows Vista Blog — Official blog of the Windows
Reviews and screenshots
Windows Vista Screenshots Gallery — Collection of Vista
Screenshots from Different Builds
Paul Thurrott's SuperSite for Windows — Windows Vista
How secure is Window's new Vista?
Features of Windows Vista
Windows Vista 32-bit and 64-bit Performance Compared
Windows Vista Ultimate — CNET review
Windows XP vs. Vista: The Benchmark Rundown — Tom's
Hardware Guide review
Vista and entertainment: The good the bad and the future
CNET — Hollywood, Microsoft align on new Windows
Technology Review — Will Windows Upgrade Hand Power To
Vulnerability Report: Microsoft Windows Vista including
known unpatched vulnerabilities from
Vista vulnerabilities from
Windows Vista |
Proprietary software |
Windows NT |