Piecing together Windows Vista

special coverage Aiming to re-create the excitement of Windows 95, Microsoft is trying to turn Vista into its next big win.

CNET staff
15 min read

CeBit 2006

More than five years in development, the next version of the ubiquitous Windows operating system is set to be broadly released in January.
Now that the final code has been released, please check out "The dawn of Vista" for our latest coverage.

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Latest News

Vista enters its final mile

CNET News.com goes behind the scenes at Redmond as Microsoft gets ready to declare the code for the Windows update finished.
November 8, 2006

Vista RTM marks the end of an era

blog ZDNet's Mary Jo Foley says that Vista's imminent debut is a milestone in many ways.
November 8, 2006

Microsoft readies Vista and Web-friendly tools

Company will hand out three developer toolsets, in hopes of spurring programmers to create applications for Windows Vista, Office 2007 and the Web.
November 6, 2006

Microsoft backtracks on Vista transfer limits

Amid outcry from tech enthusiasts, Microsoft says it will allow retail Windows buyers unlimited license transfers to a different PC.
November 2, 2006

Microsoft sets date for Office, Vista business launch

Windows Vista and Office 2007 will be available to businesses beginning Nov. 30, while mainstream launch remains set for January.
November 1, 2006

Microsoft Windows Media Player 11 ready to sing

A week after the company had initially hoped to debut the new jukebox player, it posts a free download of the program.
October 30, 2006

Acer: Vista is an excuse for Microsoft price increases

Vista is tailored to increase license revenues by introducing a basic edition no user will want, PC maker says.
October 27, 2006

Holiday PC buyers get Vista upgrade promise

Program lets people buy now, upgrade to Vista later, as Microsoft tries to persuade holdouts to spend during the peak shopping season.
October 24, 2006

Details trickle out about EC Vista probe

Top Microsoft exec says that regulators noted four aspects of the Windows update as raising potential anti-competition concerns.
October 24, 2006

Dell bullish about Vista adoption

Consumers and businesses will embrace the new operating system, accelerate transition at home and work, Dell exec says.
October 24, 2006

Vista aims to be snappier with photos

However, some of Redmond's ideas aren't clicking with digital photographers who want more control over their images.
October 24, 2006

Microsoft blocks 'Black Hat' Vista hack

The Windows update no longer allows a driver hack demonstrated at the Black Hat security confab. But the fix may spell trouble.
October 20, 2006

Gartner: Vista antitrust tweaks to take years

Analyst firm says changes to the 64-bit version of the OS update could also cause compatibility trouble in the interim.
October 20, 2006

Security rivals shut out of Microsoft meeting

An online meeting to discuss Windows Vista changes crashed shortly after it started, leaving Symantec and McAfee in the dark.
October 19, 2006

Vista Views: Microsoft's license changes

special feature Readers pitch on whether Microsoft is being too stringent in restricting Vista transfers to one PC.
October 18, 2006

Vista flexes its power

Large companies can save millions of dollars by using the new OS and letting their PCs go to sleep at night, Microsoft says.
October 16, 2006

Microsoft limits Vista transfers

Retail buyers of the OS will only be able to legally transfer the software once. After that, it's back to the store to buy a new copy.
October 16, 2006

Did Microsoft get lucky in Europe?

Some European Parliament members are grateful the Vista release apparently isn't blocked completely.
October 16, 2006

Security firms skeptical about Vista shift

Rivals reserve judgment on Microsoft's promise of changes to allay competitive concerns over security features.
October 13, 2006

Microsoft scrambles to ship Vista in Korea

Microsoft may have to stagger the release of different versions to respond to regulators' concerns.
October 13, 2006

Microsoft changes Vista over antitrust concerns

The company revises several features in Vista in response to concerns raised by antitrust officials.
October 13, 2006

Microsoft puts key security under Windows umbrella

Reorg reverberations continue as Trustworthy Computing, other efforts shift to Windows Core OS division.
October 12, 2006

Windows kernel protection expected to break soon

PatchGuard, a Microsoft technology to protect Windows, will be hacked sooner rather than later, an expert predicts.
October 12, 2006

Microsoft doesn't want Santa to ignore Vista

Although they'll need to wait for the new Windows, holiday shoppers will find Vista-friendly hardware, software.
October 12, 2006

Windows Vista RC2

CNET review Does this Windows Vista Ultimate edition deserve the designation of final release candidate? We check it out.
October 12, 2006

Why Microsoft is wrong on Vista security

perspective McAfee Chief Scientist George Heron says a technological dispute could usher in a new age of insecurity.
October 9, 2006

Vista to take a cue from budget Windows

Microsoft will put a feature from XP Starter, aimed at emerging markets, in the upcoming update.
October 9, 2006

Vista Views: Putting PCs on hold over piracy

We asked our Vista Views panel this question: Is Microsoft going too far in locking people out of their PCs to counter use of pirated software?
October 6, 2006

Analysts split over Vista launch date

Goldman Sachs predicts Vista will ship on time, but Gartner paints a more cautious picture.
October 6, 2006

Is Windows still relevant?

perspective It's become fashionable to dismiss Windows as a relic, but let's not get too caught up in the fashion of the moment.
October 6, 2006

Microsoft to lock pirates out of Vista PCs

Antipiracy technology to shut people out of their PCs if the OS isn't activated within 30 days after installation.
October 4, 2006

Product Development

Another set of tweaks for Vista beta

blog Microsoft releases an interim build of the operating system that gives selected beta testers access to a more updated version.
September 22, 2006

Microsoft wants more Vista testers

It hopes to have about 5 million testers checking out latest version of Windows update, as it tries to stamp out bugs.
September 14, 2006

Microsoft sets Vista prices, expands testing

Company says more than 5 million people will test a near-final version of the oft-delayed operating system.
September 5, 2006

Near-final Windows Vista version issued

Microsoft's Jim Allchin announces Release Candidate 1 of Windows Vista with "a lot of improvements."
September 1, 2006

Vista availability: Make that 'late January'

blog People pining for Microsoft's Windows Vista should circle the date January 30, 2007 on their calendars.
August 29, 2006

Microsoft offers helping hand to Firefox

Mozilla welcomes Redmond's efforts to ensure interoperability between Firefox and the Vista operating system.
August 24, 2006

Microsoft moves closer to new browser release

Company hits "release candidate" stage for Internet Explorer 7, first major update offered in recent years.
August 24, 2006

Microsoft reaches out to Firefox developers

Invites open sourcers to participate in making sure that the browser will get along with Windows Vista.
August 22, 2006

Vista Views: Time to delay Vista again?

Readers respond to bloggers' call for Microsoft to postpone the release and put out another beta.
August 2, 2006

Microsoft reshuffles executives

Restructures its Platform and Services Division, with top Windows engineer taking new role once Vista is released.
August 1, 2006

Where on the horizon is Vista?

Analysts will be looking for answers from Microsoft, but a firm ship date may not be among the details they are given. July 27, 2006

Microsoft vows to play fair

Self-regulation for Vista and all future Windows versions will bolster competition and customer choice, it says. July 19, 2006

Vista beta gets slight tweaks

Microsoft releases an update to the Beta 2 version sent out to the public, but delivers it only to selected testers.July 17, 2006

Microsoft says Vista launch unaffected by EU fine

Software maker still committed to existing plan for wide general release by January, says company official.July 13, 2006

Gates: 20 percent chance for another Vista delay

blog Microsoft chairman raises the specter of another delay to the operating system update. July 11, 2006

Vista's PC-rating tool gets a revamp

Microsoft responds to complaints that the tool could do better at rating how well a PC harnesses the Windows update's new features. July 7, 2006

Microsoft says Vista beta testers better hurry

Cutoff for downloading current test version of next operating system is nearing, company blogger warns.June 29, 2006

Office, Vista changed in wake of Adobe threat

Microsoft is tweaking its updates to Office and Windows in part to head off a legal challenge over use of PDF technology.
Microsoft, Adobe squabble over PDFJune 2, 2006

Vista beta sucks up battery juice

Laptops with the Windows update drain batteries faster than with XP--a potential problem for PC makers. June 2, 2006

Ballmer: Vista on track for January shipment

Operating system will ship as scheduled, says CEO, despite complexity of system and doubts by analysts. May 25, 2006

Microsoft primes PC buyers for Premium Vista

Forget Vista Basic. Microsoft's marketing campaign will pitch hard for people to choose the higher-end Windows update. May 24, 2006

Microsoft to refine Vista's PC rating tool

Current version could be "misleading," is what hardware makers and others told Microsoft of the feature ultimately meant to help consumers when buying a PC. May 25, 2006

AMD: Vista only a tiny step to convergence

PCs are still far from making it big in the living room, despite advances in hardware and software aimed to bring PC technology into the living room. May 23, 2006

Microsoft unveils new betas for Office, Vista

With the test releases, Redmond wants to demonstrate that it's on track after missing several deadlines. May 23, 2006

Allchin: Still worried about Vista


Microsoft's Jim Allchin talks about the pressures of being "on super deadline" and about learning from mistakes. May 24, 2006

Common code base for Vista, Longhorn Server

Windows Vista and its server sibling are starting to go their separate ways. But come next year, the two will be reunited. May 23, 2006

Ballmer: Symantec suit won't delay Vista

Microsoft CEO says he anticipates the OS launch will unfold as planned, hedging by adding: "But that will go to the courts now." May 22, 2006

Keeping Microsoft in the frame

newsmaker Kevin Johnson has two huge tasks: Chase Google with Windows Live and get the operating system back on track.May 18, 2006

Microsoft: Set your systems for Vista

Spells out what's needed for PCs to run the Windows update and tells fans to get ready for the release. May 18, 2006

Ushering in a new era of angst at Microsoft

Perspective Strategist Jon Oltsik has every expectation that Vista will be a much better OS than XP, but asks a key question: Do users really need it? April 11, 2006

EU voices concerns over Microsoft's Vista

European antitrust regulators have voiced concerns regarding the possible bundling of Internet search and PDF-like capabilities in Vista.March 29, 2006

Gates scopes out the business landscape

newsmaker Chairman Bill Gates met with CNET News.com for an interview in the wake of Microsoft's decision to delay the widespread release of Vista.March 28, 2006

IDC cuts PC forecast on Vista delay

PC companies will feel a small amount of pain this year from the delay of Microsoft's Vista operating system, according to IDC. March 27, 2006

Office 2007 launch delayed to meet Vista

Following its push back of Windows Vista, Microsoft confims the Office 2007 release will move to next year as well. March 23, 2006

Sinofsky gets reins to Windows

As expected, Redmond names its Office chief to lead the Windows unit, days after announcing a delay to Vista. March 23, 2006

Is Vista's delay good for the industry?

newsmaker Microsoft's Brad Goldberg says the company made the right call. But will PC sales suffer? March 22, 2006

Vista debut gets delayed

Microsoft pushes back the release date, meaning PCs with the Windows update won't go on sale in time for the holidays. March 21, 2006

An inside look at Windows Vista

CNET's GameSpot takes an in-depth look at the new operating system from the perspective of a hard-core PC gamer. March 21, 2006

Readying the Vista marketing blitz

Microsoft is gearing up for a massive campaign to launch Windows Vista. March 7, 2006

Making Vista easily upgradeable

Microsoft is planning to make it very easy for Windows Vista owners to move to a pricier version of the operating system. March 6, 2006

Microsoft boxes up Vista

Although it is still working to finish the code for Windows Vista, Microsoft reaches a decision on which versions of the operating system to offer. February 26, 2006

Opening a window for new Vista test

Microsoft said it is releasing an updated test version of Windows Vista, the forthcoming update to Microsoft's flagship operating system. February 22, 2006

Vista testing schedule revamped

Microsoft tweaks its testing schedule for Windows Vista as it tries to get the operating system update out by the end of 2006. January 27, 2006

Microsoft looks beyond Vista, sees Vienna

Although Microsoft is hard at work trying to ship Windows Vista this year, the company is beginning to set its sights on the next horizon, Vienna. January 20, 2006


Vista's European battleground

As the slippery due date draws near for the Windows release, Microsoft and the EU are now at odds over security features.
September 17, 2006

Gloves come off in Symantec, Microsoft dispute

Legal dispute over storage patent is about to get going in earnest, part of a wider skirmish over security software turf.
August 25, 2006

Patch Tuesday comes for Vista, too

Two of the security bulletins sent out this month affect the beta of the Windows update, according to a Microsoft blog.
August 17, 2006

Symantec picks away at Vista's core

In third report on Windows Vista security, Symantec lauds Microsoft's work, but finds some flaws. Redmond calls report old news.
August 9, 2006

Vista hacked at Black Hat

Researcher bypasses a security mechanism designed to prevent some driver software from running in the Windows update.
August 4, 2006

Vista Views: Symantec's bug hunt

Readers respond to Symantec's discovery of weaknesses in the Windows Vista beta software. July 20, 2006, 2006

Symantec continues Vista bug hunt

In second report on Windows Vista security, Symantec says XP successor is prone to privilege escalation attacks. July 24, 2006

Symantec sees an Achilles' heel in Vista

New networking technologies in Windows Vista will be less stable and secure than in XP, at least in the short term, Symantec researchers say. July 18, 2006

Playing hide-and-seek with hackers

Windows update beta aims to foil attacks by loading key system files in different locations each time the PC starts. June 1, 2006

Tool helps programs befriend Vista

Microsoft aims to help other software makers make sure their products don't stumble on new security features in Windows Vista. May 24, 2006

On the hunt for Vista bugs

With the next Windows version under intense scrutiny, Microsoft is out to make its cleanest sweep ever. May 30, 2006

Vista won't get a backdoor

Windows Vista won't have a backdoor that could be used by police forces to get into encrypted files, Microsoft has stressed. March 3, 2006

Gates: End to passwords in sight

With Windows Vista, Microsoft's chairman feels he finally has the right weapons to supplant the password as a means of verification. February 14, 2006

Allchin: Buy Vista for the security

If new features won't get you to upgrade to Vista, security enhancements should, Windows chief Jim Allchin urges. January 27, 2006

Windows Vista gets image flaw fix

A security update for preview releases of Windows Vista fixes the same image-rendering vulnerability found in earlier versions of the operating system. January 17, 2006

Watch out with metadata in Vista, analysts warn

Vista will improve search functionality on PCs by letting people tag files with metadata, but those tags could cause unwanted data disclosure, Gartner warns. December 22, 2005

New Tricks

All Vista versions to ship on single disc

Users will be able to upgrade between versions just by purchasing a new product key.
September 22, 2006

Allchin: Vista apps to be 'mind-bogglingly cool'

Windows chief Jim Allchin urges developers to get with the program and build Vista applications.
September 19, 2006

Microsoft reveals more about Live Drive

An exec provides some details about Microsoft's plans for a free online storage service, Live Drive.
August 24, 2006

Vista users to get Ultimate reward


Microsoft says those who buy the ultrahigh-end Ultimate edition will get special perks.
June 7, 2006

Microsoft releases public download of Vista

After months of limited testing, the software giant makes beta version of Windows publicly available for download.
CNET Download.com: Vista beta June 7, 2006

Vista gets out of PC sync

Microsoft drops feature in Windows update that would have let people synchronize data among many PCs. June 7, 2006

Vista revs up peer-to-peer engine

Windows update will let laptops share information with nearby machines without a Net connection. May 30, 2006

Microsoft shows off JPEG rival

New Windows Media Photo format promises images that offer better quality at half the size of JPEG files. May 24, 2006

XP and Vista to get new media player

Microsoft's Windows Media Player 11 is coming to Vista later and to Windows XP sooner. Is an iPod connection ahead? April 17, 2006

Vista sets up SideShow display all over

Microsoft's technology aims to put data in picture frames, keyboards, remote controls--any display linked to a PC running the Windows update. May 23, 2006

Vista won't show fancy side to pirates

To get Aero graphics, you'll need to have a higher-end version of Vista and a system that meets some pretty arcane requirements, according to unofficial draft guidelines. April 13, 2006

Vista graphics tools to reach Mac, phones

Microsoft to release Windows Presentation Foundation Everywhere for cross-platform development using Vista tools in the first half next year. March 21, 2006

Spyware-killing Vista could take out rivals

Updated OS has tougher tools than ever to fight sneaky programs. Some analysts think that spells trouble for anti-spyware makers. March 17, 2006

Will your PC keep pace with Vista?

The next version of Windows will grade performance. You'll have to decide whether to buy a new hard drive. March 15, 2006

Sidebar on display in next Vista preview

As more computer users move to larger, wide-screen monitors, Microsoft is staking a claim to that added real estate. February 2, 2006

Key Vista developer technologies released

Microsoft gives developers access to a key piece of Windows Vista, months ahead of the operating system's release. January 18, 2006

Gates shows off Vista in CES keynote

After months of touting Vista's geekier side, Microsoft's chairman highlights features of the new version of Windows designed to appeal to the average consumer. January 4, 2006

Vista looks to get tablets on write track

The new operating system will let people give examples of their own handwriting in an effort to improve writing recognition. September 16, 2005

An answer to PC power woes

With Vista, Microsoft is changing shut-down options so that pressing the power button feels more like turning the machine off. August 25, 2005

Putting Vista in the fast lane

Microsoft hopes to tackle an age-old problem with the next version of Windows: How to keep PCs running like new. August 8, 2005

Microsoft gunning for Adobe's PDF format?

Metro lets people create fixed-format documents that can be viewed, printed and archived on many types of PCs. May 3, 2005


Windows Vista RC2

review CNET editors think the overall quality of this $399 Windows Vista Ultimate edition is not deserving of final release candidate status.
October 11, 2006

Windows Vista RC1

review Windows Vista RC1 should mark the final stretch for Microsoft's new operating system, but don't be surprised if Microsoft issues one more public release candidate before making Windows Vista final.
September 1, 2006

Five things you'll love--and hate--about Windows Vista

review CNET Editor Robert Vamosi helps home and small-business users make the decision whether to upgrade to Microsoft Windows Vista once it becomes available.
June 12, 2006

Windows Vista first take


Microsoft releases the first public beta of its new Windows Vista operating system. CNET editors check it out. May 23, 2006

Office 2007 first take


CNET editors look at the latest version, which reveals the ongoing renovations coming to Word, Excel, Outlook and PowerPoint. May 23, 2006

CNET editors' take on Vista

Microsoft's CTP release focuses on enterprise deployment, but there are some new features for the home user. February 22, 2006


Getting a handle on Windows Vista

Windows' chief offers details on why Vista is a "big deal." January 27, 2006

Windows chief fields readers' questions

The man in charge of Vista answers News.com readers' questions. January 27, 2006


Behind the scenes for Vista
News.com goes inside Redmond. November 8, 2006

Vista gets the shutter bug
The photo-importing wizard in Windows Vista has raised concerns. October 24, 2006

Security tweaks in Vista
Release Candidate 2 version lets people turn off feature. October 13, 2006

Security battle for the desktop
Windows Security Center will duel with rivals for your attention. September 19, 2006

Amazon's taking orders for Vista
The Home Edition upgrade gets listed.August 29, 2006

Apple takes shots at Vista
Microsoft gets unwanted attention at the WWDC.August 10, 2006

Vista's PC ratings revisited
The tool aims to judge how well a PC can handle Vista features.July 6, 2006

Vista Ultimate extras
The top-end edition comes with perks.June 7, 2006

Power plans in Vista
Managing the drain on your laptop battery.June 2, 2006

Vista's P2P sharing
MeetingSpace lets laptops share data with other PCs.May 30, 2006

Inside Windows Vista beta
A look at the first public test version.May 23, 2006

Checking for Vista-bility
Upgrade Advisor lets you know if your PC can run the update.May 18, 2006

Vista's got game
Taking advantage of 3D graphics and other features.March 21, 2006

Tackling spyware
Windows Defender is a built-in anti-spyware tool.March 17, 2006

Vista rates your PC
How the performance rating will look on your screen.March 15, 2006

Looking inside Vista
A peek at the Windows Vista Sidebar feature.February 2, 2006

CNET Reviews: Vista slide show
Get a look at Vista features and screenshots. January 5, 2006