Windows Vista is a 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 is scheduled for a
general availability on October 22, 2009.
Windows Vista contains
many changes and new features, including an updated graphical user interface and
visual style dubbed Windows Aero, a redesigned search function, multimedia tools
including Windows DVD Maker, and redesigned networking, audio, print, and
display sub-systems. Vista aims to increase the level of communication between
machines on a home network, using peer-to-peer technology to simplify sharing
files and digital media between computers and devices. Windows Vista includes
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 has been to improve
the state of security in the Windows operating system. One common criticism of
Windows XP and its predecessors is their commonly exploited security
vulnerabilities and overall susceptibility to malware, viruses and 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 delaying its
While these new features and security improvements have garnered positive
reviews, Vista has also been the target of much criticism and negative press.
Criticism of Windows Vista has targeted its high system requirements, its more
restrictive licensing terms, the inclusion of a number of new digital rights
management technologies aimed at restricting the copying of protected digital
media, lack of compatibility with some pre-Vista hardware and software, 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 has
been announced that Vista usage had surpassed Microsoft’s pre-launch
two-year-out expectations of achieving 200 million users. As of the end of August 2009, Windows Vista (with approximately
380 million internet users) is the second most widely used operating system on
the internet with an approx. 23% market share, the most widely used being
Windows XP with an approx. 69% market share.