Vista, formerly code named Longhorn, is a Microsoft Windows desktop operating systems. Vista was released for businesses, the holders of most volume licenses, on November 30, 2006. Bill Gates hosted the worldwide launch of Windows Vista and Microsoft Office 2007 in Times Square on January 29, 2007. Vista ships in nine different versions that fall under the main categories of home edition and business edition.

The most noticeable change from user interface called Aero, which stands for "authentic, energetic, reflective and open." Other additions include a faster and customizable search engine and an XML-based specification for creating documents similar to Portable Document Format (PDF) files.

Microsoft has also identified several underlying technology improvements that distinguish Vista, including:

  • Enhancements to the basic structure of the operating system and the .NET framework.
  • A new audio system.
  • A simplified application deployment engine and application installer.
  • Increased support for digital rights management (DRM)
  • A messaging system that allows programs to interoperate similarly to Web services
  • Built-in IPv6 and peer-to-peer networking capabilities.
  • The multi-vendor security initiative previously known as Palladium.

Microsoft offered the beta 2 version of Vista for public download In early June 2006,. This release targeted experts and tech enthusiasts, rather than the general public. Microsoft hoped to get useful feedback from beta testers in preparation for broader release of the OS in 2007. According to Bill Gates, over 5 million users downloaded and tested Vista.

This was last updated in November 2008
Posted by: Margaret Rouse
View the next item in this Essential Guide: Windows 7 or view the full guide: Windows 7 guide: Before, during and after migration

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