Windows Vista is a member in the Microsoft Windows line of operating systems developed by Microsoft for use on personal computers, including home and business desktops, laptops, tablet PCs, and media center PCs. Prior to its announcement on July 22, 2005, Windows Vista was known by its codename "Longhorn." Development was completed on November 8, 2006; over the following three months it was released in stages to computer hardware and software manufacturers, business customers, and retail channels. On January 30, 2007, it was released worldwide, and was made available for purchase and download from Microsoft's website. The release of Windows Vista came more than five years after the introduction of its predecessor, Windows XP, the longest time span between successive releases of Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. It was succeeded by Windows 7 which was released to manufacturing on July 22, 2009, and for the general public on October 22, 2009.

Version Processor Memory Hard drive capacity Video card
Required Recommended Required Recommended Required Recommended Required Recommended
Windows Vista 800 MHz 1 GHz 512 MB of system memory 512 MB of system memory 20 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space 40 GB hard drive with at least 15 GB of available space 32 MB of graphics memory (but works in Super VGA) Support for DirectX 9 graphics and 32-128MB of graphics memory


There were four editions of Windows Vista released:

  • Home Basic: the least expensive and contained the minimal feature set.
  • Home Premium: when compared to basic, provides Windows Aero, tablet support, multiple monitors, a few games, and DVD/Movie creation functionality.
  • Business: when compared to basic, provides Windows Aero, tablet support, multiple monitors, backup functionality, fax and scan capabilities, and remote desktop access.
  • Ultimate: Contains features of both premium and business, as well as adding BitLocker Drive Encryption and a few extras for Windows Ultimate.

Development and History to Date

Windows Vista is designed to be the Successor to Windows XP, and will feature a number of Improvements to the Windows NT Platform.

Differences Compared to Windows XP

<Placeholder for when Windows Vista Ships>


Windows Vista Build List
Windows Vista Build List: 4029 | 4053 | 4074 | 5048 | 5112 | 5219


Longhorn has now shifted from the Windows XP codebase, to the Windows Server 2003 codebase, much like they did with Windows XP x64 Edition. The 4000-Series Builds have all been scrapped, and so did most of the features associated with them, like the Sidebar, which has only now made a recent re-appearence

They shifted to the Windows Server 2003 codebase, because the Windows XP codebase was far too unstable, borne out of the fact that later builds often crashed under their own weight. Also, it is Microsoft policy that whenever a project is reorganised, the Codebase is aligned to use the latest stable version, which was, in this case, Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1]], which in turn was borne out of the new features and functionality of Windows XP Service Pack 2.


Longhorn only comes in the Professional Edition so far, but it does come in either 32-Bit (x86) or 64-Bit (x64) varieties.

Setup Program

Still Very Basic. No MS-DOS Winnt.exe setup launcher is included now. Main setup program only allows you to choose the install partition, and the computer name (Doesn't let you create, or format unformatted partitions, nor does it let you load 3rd party drivers just yet). The Install takes ages. 15-25 Minutes? That's a Joke. More like 45-60 minutes on a typical Mid-range Pentium 4 Computer.

Setup Program in 5048 does not recognise Virtual Hard Drives (Like in Virtual PC or VMWare). Compare that 4074, which did.

Boot Screen

When you install Longhorn, it installs the Microsoft Boot Loader. It's a much more 'Interactive' version of the NT Boot Loader (NTLDR) (Although it does boot to that if you select 'Legacy Operating Systems'). If Longhorn is not set as Default in the NT Boot Loader, the Microsoft Boot Loader will not load.

Windows XP SP2 Bits

Already added are the bits we found in Windows XP Service Pack 2/Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. DEP makes an appearence, as does the Security Center, and Internet Explorer 6.0 SP2. DirectX 9.0c is also included, as is Beta 1 of the .NET Framework, Version 2.0.

The UI

The User Interface is much improved, the Sidebar is Gone, at last, and with it, one of the most proliferant memory leaks. nVIDIA's 75.90 Drivers work.

Aero Glass also makes an appearance (Although the Longhorn Desktop Manager is disabled). Users can activate it, however.


WinFS, the SQL-Based NTFS Extension, has now removed. Overall System Responsiveness is massively boosted from it's removal.

Bugs Encountered

Longhorn 5048 freezes when sound drivers attempt to install. Also, when used in Virtual PC and VMWare Workstation, the setup program cannot see Virtual Disks. What happened is that if the MBR is not already written, Windows Setup cannot see it.

Expected Minimum System Requirements

Desktop CPU Minimum Specs

Mobile CPU Minimum Specs

Minimum RAM

512MB of RAM or more, on all Desktop and Mobile platforms.

Storage Space Needed

No word, although expected to be in the realm of 3GB.

Optical Drive

Since Windows Longhorn will be featured only on DVD, a DVD Drive is a must.

Core Features

Windows Vista Feature List
Windows Vista Feature List: Avalon | Indigo | Aero | WinFX | WinFS | Palladium


Avalon is the Presentation layer of the GUI for Windows Longhorn, that incorporates the Aero User Interface. In a sense, this is designed to make Windows Longhorn Look and Feel 3D, like MacOS X.


Indigo is the communications subsystem for Windows Longhorn.


WinFX is the new Programming Model and Language, based off of .NET Managed Code.


WinFS stands for either Windows Future Storage, or Windows File System, but either way, it has been delayed until after Longhorn is released.

WinFS is designed to be a relational SQL Database that runs on top of NTFS, that provides a way for the contents of a file to be displayed before the file is even opened. It's based on the SQL Server 2005, Codename 'Yukon' Technology.


Aero is the name for the Windows Longhorn GUI, and Supports two main modes, Tier 1, and Tier 2, as well as a third Classic GUI for Legacy Users.

Tier 1

Tier 1, just called Aero, is for DirectX 9-Based Graphics Cards sporting 32MB of RAM, with a minimum resolution of 1024x768 needed. Tier 1 is based on the Low-Level API's in Longhorn's Avalon Subsystem

Tier 2

Tier 2, referred to as Aero Glass, is designed for High-end DirectX 9-Based Graphics Cards that sport 64MB of RAM or more (Although Microsoft will recommend 128MB or 256MB of RAM)

"Aero Glass will provide a beautiful experience with transition animations. Window frames will be a bit blurry and translucent, making text easier to read. Transparencies and animations will be hallmarks of the Aero Glass user experience, with more modern, high-quality visualizations than with Aero."

Legacy Classic

This is for low-end systems, and is comparable to the Windows 2000's GUI.

Other Features

Hot Patching

One Goal of Windows Vista is to restart less often due to code patching. The new Patching Model aims to lessen needed reboots by 70%. Drivers, for example, will not require a restart. However, core Kernel code will require a reboot, to replace needed files.

AntiVirus API's

Windows Vista is scheduled to include built-in API's for Antivirus Applications


Windows Defender (formerly Microsoft AntiSpyware) is expected to be included with Vista (Codename Longhorn).

Updated EFS

EFS, or Encrypting File System, is also due to be upgraded.

More Managed Caching System

Fast Search

Integrated DVD-Writing

As Windows XP Included Integrated CD Writing, Windows Vista will go one better, and will include full DVD Writing Support.

Probable Versions

32-Bit or 64-Bit?

It looks like that for all versions, apart for the Starter Edition, will be made available in both 32-Bit and 64-Bit Versions.

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