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The Future Of Windows

•  The Making Of Windows 1.0

•  20 Years Of Windows Releases

•  Windows Timeline

•  The Future Of Windows

•  Reader Poll: What's Your
   Favorite Version Of Windows?

With a brand-new iteration of Windows scheduled for next year, and two other intriguing product launches also promised, the future of Windows promises to be interesting. Here are some quick forecasts on what you can expect over the next few years.

Windows Vista
Formerly code-named Longhorn (which, rumor has it, was named after a bar at the Whistler Blackcomb ski resort in British Columbia, Canada), Windows Vista is currently scheduled for release in the second half of 2006. Since Windows XP is beginning to feel long in the tooth, this is a major release for Microsoft.

Key improvements in Windows Vista, Microsoft says, will include faster performance, a more powerful interface, more effective file searching, improved security, and more intuitive home networking. This release will also feature a new version of Internet Explorer. One feature that will be conspicuous in its absence is WinFS, a powerful new file storage system that Microsoft had to drop due to time constraints.

Windows Vista Beta 1

TechWeb's Scot Finnie has spent numerous hours with the most recent beta of Windows Vista, and reports that, thus far, the OS looks promising, with significantly faster boot times and improved search functionality, among other good signs. For a detailed hands-on view of the most recent Vista build, read our latest preview or other stories from our in-depth Vista coverage.

Vista In Depth

  • Review: Vista October CTP Pre-Beta 2
  • New Internet Explorer 7 Features
  • First Look: Windows Vista 'CTP' Beta
  • Windows Vista Beta 1: A Guided Tour

  • Vista: The Planning Starts Now
  • Microsoft Releases Vista Beta 1
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