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Microsoft wraps up development of Windows Vista

Microsoft announced today that Windows Vista has been released to manufacturing. Vista will mark the first big shift in Microsoft consumer operating systems in over 5 years.

With Vista, Microsoft promises increased security with an improved firewall and Windows Defender and User Account Control. Other fresh additions include integrated desktop search, Internet Explorer 7.0, Windows Sidebar, Windows Sideshow, built-in system diagnostics, improved gaming support, fully integrated Speech Recognition as well as support for Windows SuperFetch, Windows ReadyBoost and Windows ReadyDrive.

Windows Vista will be available in four distinct retail versions:

  • Windows Vista Home Basic, $199/$99.95 (full/upgrade)
    Provides a basic platform for home users who want to keep tabs on email and Internet activity. Comes standard with Vista's new Search Explorer, Sidebar and Parental Controls.

  • Windows Vista Home Premium, $239/$159
    Builds on Home Basic by adding the Windows Aero interface, Windows Media Center functionality, Windows Tablet PC technology and integrated DVD burning.

  • Windows Vista Business, $299/$199
    Supports the Aero user interface, offers improved document managing and Windows Tablet PC functionality.

  • Windows Vista Ultimate, $399/$259
    Vista Ultimate combines the functionality of Vista Home Premium and Vista Business.

According to Neowin, the RTM version of Vista will be available for MSDN subscribers sometime after November 10, while businesses should begin receiving their copies on or shortly after November 30. Vista will be launched into the retail sector on January 30, 2007.

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By InsaneScientist on 11/8/2006 3:02:16 PM , Rating: 4
Actually, he is quite correct.

XP can be upgraded to Ultimate just the same as any other version of Vista.

Case in point: One of the things that the beta testers (like me) have been testing is the upgrade feature in the Vista installer. A few of the more experienced beta testers have gotten keys for multiple versions of Vista, but for the most part, since presumably Microsoft wants us to find the bugs in every feature, most beta testers have had access to only one of the versions: Windows Vista Ultimate.
Ant the upgrade process has been working fine through the development cycle for a while.... why would they now take it out?

Vista Ultimate has the same core as the rest of the versions of Vista... it's like the difference between XP Home, Pro, and MCE. All have the same core... it's the features that are different.
In the case of Vista, there are more versions, but how they did it remains the same... just the features outside the core of the operating system is changed... nothing internally, and the core is what makes the difference as far as upgrading is concerned...

If the core of the operating system was different, it would be far harder to put all three home versions of Vista (Home basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate) on a single DVD, with only the code you enter differentiating between verstions.
From what I understand, you could use a Vista Ultimate CD to install Home Basic, if you had a Home Basic key... or (somewhat more likely) you could install Ultimate from a Home Basic CD, if you had an Ultimate key.

They did it that way so that consumers could easily upgrade to a more advanced version of Vista if they wanted to... Need the MCE features but only have Home Basic? Go online and buy the upgrade key to Home Premium, enter it into Windows, insert your Vista Home Basic DVD so that it can copy the Home Premium files that it didn't copy before, and you're good to go.
Same with Ultimate.
Now why on earth (technologically) could you upgrade from XP to Vista Home (or Premium), and then upgrade to Ultimate, but not be able to go straight from XP to Ultimate?

Of course, even if the core was different, why would that even matter? When upgrading from Windows 2000, the XP installer just updated the system files, but when upgrading from a 9x OS (very different OS core), it pretty much threw out all the system files and started from scratch. Even if Vista Ultimate was different, why wouldn't M$ be able to do that again?

In short, there's no technological reason for them to have made it impossible to upgrade to Vista Ultimate... and they didn't.

Rest easy... you can upgrade to Ultimate just fine. ;)

"If they're going to pirate somebody, we want it to be us rather than somebody else." -- Microsoft Business Group President Jeff Raikes
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