Microsoft just announced the
Beta 1 of Windows Vista (formerly known as Windows "Longhorn") for 3rd August 2005 (or maybe earlier? Who knows... ;-)) which was officially introduced last Friday by Microsoft (when I was on the way to Paris and therefore I wasn't able to cover it).
Windows Vista enables a new level of confidence in your PC and in your ability to get the most out of it. It introduces clear ways to organize and use information the way you want to use it. It seamlessly connects you to information, people, and devices that help you get the most out of life:
UPDATE: Windows Vista Beta 1 is an important milestone on Microsoft's
path to releasing the final version of Windows Vista. Beta 1 will provide
developers, IT professionals and Windows enthusiasts with an opportunity to test
the operating system's infrastructure and provide Microsoft with valuable
feedback. Beta 1 is being delivered to more than 10,000 Beta testers via the
Windows Vista Technical Beta Program and thousands more people will receive Beta
1 through the MSDN developer program and Microsoft TechNet.
Improvements for Computing With More Confidence
Windows Vista Beta 1 focuses on greatly improving the Windows' fundamentals -
security, deployment, manageability and performance - so developers, IT
professionals and end users can have more confidence in their PCs. Enhancements
have been made in the following areas:
- Security. Windows Vista will deliver many new or improved security
features that provide a usable, consistent and manageable experience in
corporate, mobile and roaming environments, as well as in the home. Some
examples of new security features in Windows Vista Beta 1 include these:
- User Account Protection features enable administrators to deploy PCs
set up to give end users only the privileges they need to perform their
tasks. This bridges the gap between user and administrative privileges
by running applications with limited permissions.
- Windows Service Hardening monitors critical Windows services for
abnormal activity in the file system, registry and network that could be
used to allow malware to persist on a machine or propagate to other
- Anti-malware features detect and remove worms, viruses and other
types of malicious software from the computer during an upgrade.
- Advanced data protection technologies reduce the risk that data on
laptops or on other computers will be viewed by unauthorized users, even
if the computer is lost or stolen. Windows Vista supports full-volume
encryption to help prevent disk access to files by other operating
systems. It also stores encryption keys in a Trusted Platform Model (TPM)
v1.2 chip. The entire system partition is encrypted in both the
hibernation file and the user data.
- Microsoft Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista Beta 1 includes many
features to help protect against malicious Web sites and malware. To
help protect against phishing and spoofing attacks, Internet Explorer
also does the following:
- Highlights the address bar when users visit a secure sockets
layer-protected site and lets users easily check the validity of a
site's security certificate
- Allows users to clear all cached data with a single click
- Network Access Protection. Viruses and worms can attack a
protected internal network through mobile computers that do not have
the latest updates, security configuration settings or virus
signatures downloaded. Mobile users may connect to unprotected
networks at hotels, airports or coffee shops, where their computers
can become infected by malware or a virus. Windows Vista has Network
Access Protection to help prevent security-compromised computers
from connecting to a user's internal network until security criteria
- Firewall. Windows Vista provides outgoing as well as incoming
filtering, which can be centrally managed via Group Policy. This
lets administrators control which applications are allowed to
communicate or are blocked from communicating on the network.
Controlling network access is one of the most important ways to
mitigate security risks.
- Deployment. Windows Vista will help make desktop deployment
dramatically faster and easier. Deployment features included in
Windows Vista Beta 1 include the following:
- The Windows Imaging (WIM) format provides a single file that
contains one or more complete Windows Vista installation images.
To conserve space, Windows Vista compresses the file and stores
only a single copy of files that more than one image share. As a
result, Windows Vista images help eliminate redundancy, decrease
file size, and reduce installation or migration time.
Image-based setup also is less error-prone than a scripted
- Windows Pre-installation Environment (PE) enables
administrators to configure Windows offline as well as diagnose
and troubleshoot hardware problems before launching the setup
- The Application Compatibility Toolkit (ACT) helps
administrators quickly identify, analyze and resolve any issues
with non-standard applications being migrated to Windows Vista.
- Manageability. Windows Vista will help reduce total cost of
ownership (TCO) of PCs through simplified management, increased
automation of tasks and improved diagnostics. Improvements in
Windows Vista Beta 1 include these:
- Better diagnostics implementation, including
auto-diagnosis and auto-correction of common error
conditions, fixes for known crashes and "hangs," and new
technology to minimize reboots when installing software, are
- An improved Task Scheduler schedules tasks to launch
when a specific event occurs, such as when disk space
- Web Services for Management (WS-Management) makes it
easier to run scripts remotely and to perform other
management tasks. Communication can be both encrypted and
authenticated, helping limit security risks.
- Microsoft Management Console 3.0 (MMC 3.0) provides a
common framework for management tools, making them easier to
find and use. MMC 3.0 supports richer, more functional
graphical user interfaces for management and allows
administrators to run multiple tasks in parallel, keeping
administrative tools responsive even after launching a
complex or slow management task.
- Performance. Windows Vista will help improve PC
performance in key areas, including starting up, waking up
and responding to user actions. Performance features
included in Windows Vista Beta 1 include the following:
- Quick startup. Login scripts and startup
applications and services process in the background
while users perform their desired tasks.
- Sleep state. The new Sleep state in Windows Vista
combines the speed of Standby mode with data protection
features and low-power consumption of Hibernate. The
Sleep state also allows users to change or remove a
battery with little risk to open applications and data,
since memory is safely written to the hard disk. Startup
from the Sleep state requires just seconds, meaning
fewer shutdowns and restarts are necessary, which helps
improve power management.
- Superior memory management and improved input/output
(I/O) management makes Windows Vista more responsive
than previous versions of Windows, especially in the
most noticeable tasks, such as opening the Start menu or
right-clicking a file in Windows Explorer to display a
Clear and Connected
Many of the innovative end-user features and
user-interface (UI) changes for Windows Vista will not
be included until the release of Windows Vista Beta 2.
However, Windows Vista Beta 1 does include an early look
at the new UI design, and showcases some of the features
that will give users clear ways to organize and use
their information and seamlessly connect to people and
devices, including these:
- Searching and finding information. Windows Vista
will introduce a new organization concept called a
Virtual Folder, which is a saved search that is
automatically and instantly run when a user opens
the folder. In addition, every new Explorer in the
operating system, including Internet Explorer,
includes a new Quick Search box that enables
customers to quickly search through large amounts of
content being viewed or to initiate wider content
searches across the PC.
- Glass and new Window animation. The Windows
Vista desktop experience will deliver a new visual
identity - translucent glass with more animation.
Because it is visually intuitive, the glass helps
users focus on the task at hand, whether reading a
document, viewing a Web page or editing a photo.
- Redesigned Start menu with application search.
The Windows Vista redesigned Start menu will make it
faster and easier for users to find specific
applications and to browse through all programs.
- Sync Manager. Windows Vista will unify the
synchronization with the Sync Manager, a new
interface that enables users to initiate a manual
sync, stop an in-progress sync, see the status of
current sync activities and receive notifications to
resolve conflicts across all devices and data
sources with the click of a single button.
- Networked projection for mobile PCs. Windows
Vista will make it easier for users to connect a
mobile PC to a projector over a network to display a
presentation, or to share a presentation with nearby
PCs. The networked projection feature allows a
Windows Vista-based computer to detect nearby PCs or
projectors and establish a connection through a
network, regardless of whether the network is wired
or wireless, ad hoc or part of a corporate
Internet Explorer 7 for Windows Vista Beta 1
In addition to the security features mentioned
above, Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista Beta 1
includes new capabilities that make everyday tasks
easier, including support for tabbed browsing, a
toolbar search box that includes AOL search, Ask
Jeeves, Google, MSN Search and Yahoo! Search, as
well as shrink-to-fit printing of Web pages to
automatically resize the page to print properly.
Also, with new integrated support for emerging
technologies such as Web feeds (RSS), users of
Internet Explorer 7 in Windows Vista will get
personalized news, sports, shopping information and
blogs delivered directly to their PCs. Internet
Explorer 7 in Windows Vista Beta 2 will continue to
build on the security enhancements with support for
anti-phishing, which will help warn and protect
users against fraudulent Web sites and personal data
theft in the browser. It will also add a Protected
Mode to give Internet Explorer sufficient rights to
browse the Web, but not enough rights to modify user
settings or data. Many of these new browser features
will also be available to users of Windows XP
through Internet Explorer 7 for Windows XP Service
Pack 2. Internet Explorer 7 Beta 1 for Windows XP is
now available to IT administrators, developers and
enthusiasts for testing and evaluation through the
Technical Beta Program and MSDN.
Windows Server, Code-Named "Longhorn"
The first Beta of Windows Server, code-named
"Longhorn," also is now available to a limited
number of participants in the Technical Beta
Program, including hardware manufacturers, original
equipment manufacturers, independent hardware
vendors, system builders, independent software
vendors and developers. The next version of Windows
Server, code-named "Longhorn" is designed to provide
a secure and reliable server platform, helping
customers reduce IT complexity, increase end-user
productivity and deliver rich new applications. The
new server operating system is slated for final
release in 2007.
"Avalon" and "Indigo"
Windows Vista Beta 1 also includes the first Beta of
Windows Presentation Foundation (formerly known by
the code name "Avalon") and Windows Communication
Foundation (formerly known by the code name
"Indigo"), which are part of the WinFX programming
model. WinFX extends the Microsoft .NET Framework
with classes for building new user interface
experiences and advanced Web services. Together,
they enable developers to build connected systems
that take advantage of the processing power of the
smart client, incorporate cutting-edge media and
graphics, and communicate with other applications
with improved security and reliability.
Minimum system requirements will not be known until
summer 2006 at the earliest. However, these
guidelines provide useful estimates:
- 512 megabytes (MB) or more of RAM
- A dedicated graphics card with DirectX 9.0
- A modern, Intel Pentium- or AMD Athlon-based
I'm really looking forward the Beta launch because I (as all Microsoft MVPs) was invited to participate the
Beta as well and I've already reformatted my test-PC (which was running my Windows Media Center test-system before until I bought a real one) ;-) to make everything ready to install it as soon as it is released. :-D So far, I was running the Longhorn Technical Preview on a different PC but that one is/was far away from something you can seriously use, however, from the previous OS
Beta's I know that - even if it isn't the Release Code at all, the Microsoft
Betas are already good enough to use it productive (even if you shouldn't use it on a production device, therefore Vista will not make it to my Notebook until it was released).
Also I hope, a Media Center Edition version will makes it to Beta 1 too soon since - what I've heard so far - it promises some serious enhancements to MCE 2005 which is already an improvement to MCE 2004.
In addition I'm interested into this "Sync Manager". Vista's unified
synchronization manager. What I've heard so far, it should also support Windows
Mobile (bye bye seperate ActiveSync? )
As always, these kind of Betas (even if announced) are covered by our MVP NDAs and therefore I will not write about Vista B1 too much during the next weeks and months but I will try hard to report Microsoft as much bugs as possible to make it an even better Windows version for our PCs.
UPDATE: Yep, it's online from
Microsoft's msdn and hell, it's a 2.4 GB ISO
file download. 8O
Looks like all 10.000 Beta testers are
downloading it in parallel but not bad,
Microsoft is serving it at the moment with an
average download rate of approximately 100
Cheers ~ Arne