Vista OS released

Microsoft Corp. has released Windows Vista to computer makers, the company announced today. This next generation of the Microsoft Windows desktop operating system will serve as the successor to Microsoft Windows XP.

Over the past weeks, the company has been testing the final build of the OS, said Barry Goffe, director in the Windows client product management team.

This Release to Manufacturing is the first shipment of the completed Vista, in which DVDs of the OS are sent out to the Microsoft device makers and original equipment manufacturers. This will give companies the ability to finalize device drivers and computer configurations before the OS's planned general release on January 30.

Volume license customers should be able to download their versions of Vista on November 30, though they may have to wait a bit longer for Vista-specific drivers from third-party vendors, Goffe said.

Coming in about 4Gb, Windows Vista ships on a single DVD, in either a 32- or 64-bit configuration (users of Windows Vista Ultimate get both versions). With this release, Microsoft will start a harder push on the 64-bit version, Goffe said. In order to use the Windows Vista logo, device manufacturers must provide their drivers in both versions, he said. "We're really making sure that 32-bit and 64-bit are equally good choice[s] for a customer," he said.

Users of the most recent beta build of Vista shouldn't notice any major changes, with the exception of greater stability of the OS itself. New sounds, desktop backgrounds and icons have been added.

Vista features a redesigned user interface, enhanced security and networking capabilities, a set of customizable mini applications, speech recognition, and a host of other features and improvements.

Joab Jackson is chief technology editor of Washington Technology's sister publication, Government Computer News.

About the Author

Joab Jackson is the senior technology editor for Government Computer News.

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