The dawn of Vista

special coverage After more than five years of work, Microsoft is finally getting the Windows update out the door.

CNET staff
13 min read

The dawn of Vista

It's taken more than five years, but now Microsoft has finally declared Vista done. The update to the ubiquitous Windows operating system is scheduled to be delivered to big businesses and to computer makers by the end of November, and consumers should start getting their hands on it in January. Expect to see a trickle, then a flood, of Vista-related software and hardware news as the industry adjusts to the changing landscape. Check back for the latest CNET coverage, including reviews, video and more.

Latest News

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Vista to give HD Photo format more exposure

Operating system's launch next week will put Microsoft's own photo format into consumers' hands. Could it be a nail in JPEG's coffin?
January 26, 2007

Vista Starter Edition set for developing countries

Designed to run on lower-end processors, this version of the OS offers extra tutorials for first-time computer users.
January 26, 2007

Gates to appear on 'The Daily Show' for Vista launch

blog Visit could be a particularly interesting: John Hodgman, a regular contributor, plays a "PC" on the Apple ads that poke fun at Windows.
January 25, 2007

Microsoft sales unharmed by Vista delays

Company reports quarterly earnings Thursday that top expectations and its own forecast.
January 25, 2007

South Koreans warned on Vista compatibility

Government officials warn consumers that Internet and e-commerce sites may lack full compatibility with the OS.
January 25, 2007

Microsoft to launch Vista with human billboard

Company will kick off its Windows Vista launch activities with a Cirque du Soleil-style performance in Manhattan.
January 24, 2007

Vista success hinges on developers

The OS offers a fair bit of eye candy, but the real benefits will surface when programmers take advantage of the technology under the hood.
January 24, 2007

Microsoft already planning Vista service pack

Before it's even fully out the door, Redmond is already laying the groundwork for Vista's first service pack release of bug fixes and other enhancements.
January 23, 2007

Retailers aim to get Vista boost

With just a week till the big consumer launch, electronics stores are marshaling the freebies, add-ons and NFL stars.
January 22, 2007

Microsoft tries to spread Vista far and wide

In what is being billed as a limited time offer, Microsoft will let those who buy a boxed version of Vista Ultimate Edition purchase discounted licenses for up to two more PCs in their house.
January 17, 2007

Security tools ready for Vista launch

Microsoft is promoting Windows Vista as the most secure version of its operating system yet--but it's still recommending outside help to shield against common cyberthreats.
January 17, 2007

Building Vista buzz with a puzzle

It started with a cryptic ad on an official Internet Explorer blog, and it quickly led curious puzzle players to what may be one of the most ambitious interactive sweepstakes in history.
January 12, 2007

Report: Vista's business sales stronger than expected

Market researcher NPD says commercial sales far ahead of Windows 2000 in first month and just behind that of Windows XP.
January 11, 2007

British agency tells schools to avoid Vista

Government's schools computer unit warns that deploying the new OS carries too much risk and that its benefits are unclear.
January 11, 2007

Symantec wants to lend a hand with Vista security

When the OS asks for a green light to lift barriers to a PC's inner workings, Symantec technology would make decisions for you.
January 10, 2007

NSA offers Vista installation tips

Spy agency provided input for a Microsoft document with tips on how to use the operating system securely in larger organizations.
January 9, 2007

'Double-booked' Gates to launch Vista in London

Did Outlook let him down? The unexpected U.K. launch just happens to coincide with Gates' trip to a government confab in Scotland.
January 8, 2007

Yahoo optimizes Messenger for Vista

Loaded with new features, Yahoo Messenger for Vista is set to be released in second quarter of the year.
January 7, 2007

Vista testers get unexpected holiday gift: No TV

A test version of Media Center stopped working on Dec. 31 as a result of a licensing problem, Microsoft says.
January 4, 2007

Microsoft shares draft of Vista security hooks

Interfaces are meant to help security software makers create products that work with kernel protection features in Windows Vista.
December 20, 2006

Microsoft makes Zune Vista-friendly

After a few weeks of not speaking to one another, Microsoft's new operating system and its Zune digital-music player are getting along fine.
December 20, 2006

Microsoft tries to stop Vista piracy monster

The software maker releases an update to the operating system designed to thwart a workaround dubbed "frankenbuild."
December 14, 2006

Playing it safe with Windows Vista

Microsoft wants to sell Web sites and businesses on security checks of customer PCs. That may not go over so well.
December 11, 2006

Microsoft-backed study sees Vista creating U.S. jobs

The new operating system could generate 100,000 new U.S. tech jobs, IDC found in a study commissioned by the software giant.
December 10, 2006

10 things to consider before taking the Vista plunge

Some businesses have plans to aggressively move to Vista. Others are taking a far more wait-and-see approach. Here are some things you need to consider before taking the plunge.
December 4, 2006

Microsoft reaches limit on Vista, Office giveaway

It sounded like a scam: visit this Web site, watch a few videos and get a free copy of Windows Vista or Office 2007.
December 1, 2006

Most security tools not quite ready for Vista

Microsoft's Windows update for businesses is out, but only one of the major security providers has protection available for it.
November 30, 2006

FAQ: Getting a handle on Windows Vista

As the update becomes available to businesses, find out why Windows' chief says Vista is a "big deal."
November 29, 2006

Symantec offers Vista security test drive

Company releases public beta versions of Norton Internet Security 2007 and Norton AntiVirus 2007 for Microsoft's upcoming Windows Vista.
November 28, 2006

Study: No Vista for majority of European businesses

More than half the European organizations surveyed by Forrester say they have no plans to upgrade to the new Windows.
November 14, 2006

How quickly will businesses adopt Vista?

While Microsoft predicts speedy adoption, most analysts agree that businesses will roll it out slowly.
November 13, 2006

Ozzie: Vista, Office must adapt to Web era

Microsoft Chief Software Architect Ray Ozzie says with Office 2007 and Vista done, company is at an "interesting juncture."
November 8, 2006

Microsoft offers Windows Vista security guide

blog The online guide provides instructions for companies planning to use Vista in a domain with Microsoft's Active Directory service.
November 9, 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 takes wraps off of Vista for business

New versions of Office, Exchange, too. But are businesses ready to buy?
November 30, 2006

DOJ: Vista satisfies antitrust deal

U.S. prosecutors say Microsoft appears to have addressed all of the concerns raised about the new Windows and Internet Explorer 7.
November 21, 2006

Windows Vista available to developers

Members of MSDN and TechNet can download the final code of the new OS. Plus, some testers of Vista will get free copies.
November 17, 2006

Microsoft: Vista is ready to roll

The company says that it has finished Vista development, paving the way for the operating system's debut.
November 8, 2006

Vista enters the final mile

exclusive Behind the scenes at Redmond as the software titan gets ready to declare the code for the Windows update finished.
November 8, 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

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

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 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

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

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

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: 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

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

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

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

Vista winds its way to market

The release of the Windows update to computer makers is just the start of a long process to get it on shelves and in PCs.
November 10, 2006

Is Vista security a selling point?

Hoping this release will solve all your security headaches? Think again, say the experts.
November 20, 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

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

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

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 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

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

Microsoft reshuffles executives

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

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

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

Office 2007 launch delayed to meet Vista

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

Windows Vista: Warmed-over XP

review If you're happy with XP SP2, CNET sees no compelling reason to upgrade. But it's stable enough if you're buying a new PC.
January 23, 2007

CNET's Vista Readiness Advisor

Service from CNET and System Requirements Lab looks at whether your PC's hardware and system software are robust enough to adequately run Vista.
December 15, 2006

Vista's new file system

review The operating system stands to challenge how we think about files and file storage, allowing people to tag, organize, and search content in new ways.
November 22, 2006

Windows Vista RTM

review Microsoft has released its new OS to hardware manufacturers. Everything's not perfect, but the glitches are expected to be under control for the January release.
November 8, 2006

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

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

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


Taking advantage of Vista
Developers are working on new ideas enabled by Vista. January 24, 2007

Signed by Bill
Amazon is selling copies of Windows Vista Ultimate Edition signed by Bill Gates. January 22, 2007

Vista's puzzling publicity push
Part alternate-reality game and part traditional sweepstakes, game is actually a marketing vehicle.January 12, 2007

Microsoft in the living room
Gates is using his CES keynote to showcase Vista-based products.January 7, 2007

Yahoo spruces up IM for Vista
Yahoo Messenger for Vista automatically creates items such as a contact list for subgroups.January 7, 2007

Vista's business debut
Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer launches the Windows update in New York. November 30, 2006

Inside Windows Vista
Screenshots of the OS update that has been sent to manufacturers. November 9, 2006

Behind the scenes for Vista
Photos from Redmond, where Microsoft is working hard to get the Windows update out of the door. 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

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

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

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


  • Allchin and his Windows legacy
    Jim Allchin's reputation will be forever linked to his stewardship over Windows' development. January 19, 2007
  • Tricked-out OQO runs Vista
    Device runs Vista also has a 1.5GHz processor, 1GB of RAM and costs just under $2,000. January 10, 2007
  • Sling's new features for Vista
    They include full remote control and moveable gadgets. January 9, 2007
  • Never-seen-before Vista features
    Flashy new features for the OS, including a moving desktop. January 8, 2007
  • First Look: Windows Vista RTM
    CNET's Robert Vamosi digs into the OS. November 8, 2006
  • First Look: Windows Vista RC2
    Vista still not ready for prime time. October 12, 2006
  • A secure Vista
    Windows' chief gives tour of antiphishing and parental-control tools. January 27, 2006
  • Does Vista mean business?
    A look at Vista's office functions, including publishing and information sharing. January 27, 2006
  • A view of Vista
    Windows' chief answers questions from News.com readers. January 27, 2006
  • Vista coming your way
    More answers from Allchin. January 27, 2006
  • Vista for developers
    A look at how Vista could be used as a basis for graphics and data presentation. January 26, 2006

Vista Views

News.com readers give their take on the latest events around the update.

Who'd give Windows Home Server a home?
Does the average person need a server inside their house? Would you buy a Windows Home Server?
January 9, 2007

Final version's cool features
The code is done and shipped to PC makers, and the reviews are in. Now CNET News.com readers tell us what they like about the Windows update.
November 10, 2006

Microsoft's license changes
Is Microsoft is being too stringent in restricting Vista transfers to one PC?
October 18, 2006

Putting PCs on hold over piracy
Is Microsoft going too far in locking people out of their PCs to counter use of pirated software?
October 6, 2006

Stalling the Net by default?
Should Microsoft change default IP settings, amid concerns that Vista's launch could overwhelm the Net?
September 8, 2006

What Vista can learn from Leopard
"Readers say what features from the Mac OS X update they'd like to see in the next version of Windows.
August 9, 2006

Time to delay Vista again?
Bloggers call for Microsoft to postpone the release and put out another beta.
August 2, 2006

Vista and the shadow of another delay
Readers respond to Bill Gates' comment regarding a 20 percent chance of another Vista delay
July 13, 2006


At CES, Gates tells what a geek wants
newsmaker The Vegas extravaganza has a lot to offer even the world's richest man.
January 8, 2007

Gates on Vista, Linux and more
newsmaker Microsoft's chairman reveals his favorite feature in Vista.
November 17, 2006

Windows Vista--finally
perspective For all the new features in the Microsoft operating system, there's no real hurry for most businesses to deploy Windows Vista.
November 30, 2006

Why Microsoft is wrong on Vista security
perspective McAfee's chief scientist George Heron on protective features.
October 9, 2006

Is Windows still relevant?
perspective CNET News.com's Charles Cooper on whether Windows is a relic.
October 6, 2006

Allchin: Still worried about Vista
newsmaker Microsoft's platform's and services co-president Jim Allchin talks about learning from mistakes. May 24, 2006

Keeping Microsoft in the frame
newsmaker Windows chief Kevin Johnson on getting the OS back on track.May 18, 2006


Editor: Karen Said
Design: Andrew Ballagh
Production: Jessica Kashiwabara