Launching in 2006: Previously named: LongHorn
Windows Vista introduces a new level of confidence to the experience of using your computer. Beyond the design aesthetic of Windows Vista, the fundamentals of the operating system free you from worrying about security, reliability, and managing your computer. You are in control.
Security: Security is fundamental to the Windows Vista architecture. Windows Vista security features protect against the latest generation of threats, such as worms, viruses, and spyware. In the unlikely event of a successful attack, Windows Vista ensures that the effects are minimal. With Windows Vista, you can connect to whomever you want and do the things that you want to do, confident that Windows Vista is keeping your information and your computer safer.
Fast On and Off: A Windows Vista computer starts and shuts down as quickly and reliably as a television, typically within 2 to 3 seconds. Windows Vista processes login scripts and startup programs and services in the background so you can start working right away. You’ll also shut down and restart your computer less often by using the New Sleep state, a simple one-click on and off experience which not only reduces power consumption, but also delivers and protects user data.
User Account Protection: Windows Vista User Account Protection bridges the gap between user and administrative privileges by running programs with limited permissions. When you need to perform an administrative task, such as installing software or drivers, Windows Vista prompts you to confirm your intentions or to provide the proper administrator credentials.
Media Center: Enjoy all your favorite entertainment — including live and recorded TV, movies, music, and pictures — in one place through an easy-to-use Media Center menu system and remote control.
The Windows Vista visual experience improves clarity, productivity, and focus. For example, Windows Vista features Live Icons—each file icon shows you the actual content of that file, making it easier for you to locate the information that you want. Windows Vista also introduces a new way to organize your information, so that you can store, manage, find, and organize the data that you work with every day however you want to. You’ll make the most of your time—and have more time for new ideas, to solve problems, to be artistic, or just to relax and be entertained.
Virtual Folders: Windows Vista introduces Virtual Folders, which are saved searches that run instantly when you open a Virtual Folder, displaying up-to-date results instantly. As you add more files to your computer that match your search criteria, the files are automatically added to the Virtual Folder, regardless of where the files are physically located on the hard disk.
Desktop Search: Powerful, integrated search capabilities help you find just about anything on your computer quickly without having to search for it by browsing through folders. Instead, you can type a keyword or any part of a file name in a Quick Search box to instantly find the file that you are looking for. You can add or edit file properties or data associated with a file, like the author of a document, the artist of a song, or the event where a picture was taken. After you add or edit file properties, you can find and organize content that is stored on your computer more easily.
Visualization: With new live icons, you can see live previews of programs, documents, photos, and videos. You can clearly see the first page of a document or the details of an image to ensure that it is the file that you are looking for before you open it.
More information can be had from microsoft.com