Defining Microsoft Windows Vista

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Defining Microsoft Windows Vista

The intent of this paper is to provide a background of the Microsoft Windows Vista operating system development, including when it was developed, how the development process was management, what needs this specific operating systems was developed to respond to in the Information Technologies market. This paper will also analyze the correlation of Information Technologies and Microsoft's Windows Vista position.

Background of Windows Vista Development

Originally announced as Longhorn by Microsoft ( on July 22, 2005 to journalists and analysts it was released to public distribution use by hardware OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturers) and the general public on January 230, 2007. This is the longest period of time between operating systems releases in the history of Microsoft. There are many factors that contributed to the re-inventing of Longhorn to Microsoft Vista; chief among them was the rapid rise of security as critical unmet needs across all target markets for this operating system. Microsoft's chairman and CEO Bill Gates announced the Trustworthy Computing Initiative in early 2002 which was the direct result of the security shortcomings in Windows XP Professional, XP Home, and previous generation client and server operating systems.

The Longhorn development cycle had begun in May 2001 according to Peter Galli (, and was expected to fill the gap between Windows XP and the more robust operating system code named "Vienna" within Microsoft. In what was a tumultuous period of Microsoft's development, in 2003 Robert Allchin, Bill Gates and Steve Ballmer decided to stop development of the existing Longhorn operating system and revert to use the existing Windows Server 2003 code base as the foundation for Windows Vista. What forced these three Microsoft executives to scrap development of the existing development of Longhorn and begin over was the inclusion of a completely different software development methodology called the Security Development Lifecycle, reducing the number of security-related errors in coding by as much as 50% to 60% according to Michael Howard (ET.AL.) writing in MSDN Magazine. The re-write of an entire operating system in the new development methodology completed changed the development processes within Microsoft as well. It took literally a year for the pace of coding to approach the efficiency levels of Longhorn prior to the decision being made.

Microsoft Windows Vista Key Differentiators

While there are literally hundreds of new features in this operating system, too many in fact to list in a paper of this scope, it is useful to look at the key differentiators, or what makes this operating system highly unique that are its core technologies and those enhancements focused on security.

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