In the last issue of the
Longhorn Report newsletter
I told you that Microsoft has pumped Longhorn
full of new and improved data and file management features that are destined to
make everyday computing much easier. I also told you that Bill Gates alluded to
the fact that more than half of all the new features and improvements in the
new operating system are still secret.

Well, at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference 2005
event, which was held in Minneapolis the weekend of July 8-10, more information
about certain Longhorn enhancements was revealed. However, this news has to be
tempered with the fact that, in a bit of a smoke and mirrors move, Microsoft
announced these new performance enhancements while at the same time revealed
that the Aero Glass user interface and the new information visualization,
organization, and search features will not be included in the first Longhorn
beta. (Instead, these features won’t appear in the operating system until the
beta 2 release, which we won’t see until early 2006.)

The good news is that the performance enhancements will be
available for testing in beta 1, which, according to previous reports should be
about one-third feature complete. While Microsoft was a bit vague about the
actual technology behind these performance enhancements, they did reveal enough
to help to build anticipation for beta 1 release the new operating system.

That said, let’s take a look at some of the general statements
Microsoft made about the performance enhancements that we can expect to see in
Longhorn beta 1. We’ll talk more about the actual technology behind these
performance enhancements in upcoming issues after beta 1 has been released.

  • A computer running Longhorn will boot
    up 50 percent faster than it currently boots running Windows XP
    . Can you
    remember the sense of awe that you felt the first time you booted up
    Windows XP after years of booting up Windows 98?
  • Longhorn will be able to resume from
    Standby mode in 2 seconds
    . This enhancement is sure to be welcomed by
    anyone who has had a brilliant idea and rushed back to their PC to quickly
    jot down some notes only to find the system in standby mode and then having
    to endure an excruciatingly long wait before the system is usable again.
  • Longhorn will launch applications 15
    percent faster than Windows XP
    . This enhancement will definitely
    improve users’ efficiency. (I’ll speculate that this enhancement is most
    likely the result of improvements made in the Prefetcher
    memory management component introduced in Windows XP.)
  • Longhorn will require 50 percent fewer
    reboots when applying patches to the operating system
    . This will make
    the process of keeping your operating system current much more palatable
    in that you won’t have to stop working in order to apply the newest
    security patch and then have to wait for the system to restart before you
    can get back to work.
  • You’ll be able to install Longhorn on
    a new system in 15 minutes
    . This one sounds almost too good to be true…
  • You’ll be able to migrate an existing
    system to Longhorn 75 percent faster than you can migrate an existing
    system to Windows XP
    . This one’s easier to imagine after seeing how
    efficient Windows XP’s migration tools–File and Settings Transfer Wizard
    and the User State Migration Tool–are.

Again, it’s important to keep in mind that you have to take
this information with a grain of salt at this point, considering the fact that
we’re only just arriving at the beta 1 stage and the operating system is still
in a state of flux. Furthermore, while Longhorn’s purported release time frame is
late 2006, Microsoft’s Developer & Platform Evangelism Group corporate vice
president, Sanjay Parthasarathy, was quoted as saying
“Keep your fingers crossed for us” when asked about the release.

Other interesting Longhorn stuff

I recently encountered a Web site called Only4Gurus that contains a lot of
information about Microsoft products. In the Windows Longhorn area, I
discovered a series of concept videos that show how Microsoft envisions
Longhorn’s new technologies being applied in various industries to create a new
class of connected applications. These videos are narrated by Carter Maslan from Microsoft’s Platform Strategy and Partner Group.

Keep in mind that all of these videos are from 2004 and are
a bit dated as far as recent Longhorn developments go. However, I found them
very interesting and thought you would too.

As always, if you have ideas or information to share about
Longhorn’s new performance features or want to comment on any of the Longhorn
concept videos, please take a moment to drop by the Discussion area and let us

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