For the past several years, Microsoft has been promising that Longhorn would deliver some substantial security, reliability and performance improvements.
But until the worldwide partner conference in Minneapolis in mid-July, company officials had not quantified the benefits that Longhorn—the version of the Windows client operating system, due in 2006—would deliver.
Amy Stephan, a senior product manager with the Windows client unit, outlined some of the various Longhorn “fundamentals,” including systems management and deployment features, which Microsoft is readying.
Stephan told conference attendees that Longhorn will:
- launch applications 15 percent faster than Windows XP does
- boot PCs 50 percent faster than they boot currently and will allow PCs to resume from standby in two seconds
- allow users to patch systems with 50 percent fewer reboots required
- reduce the number of system images required by 50 percent
- enable companies to migrate users 75 percent faster than they can with existing versions of Windows.
The technologies which will deliver these enhancements have yet to be unveiled in full. But much of that functionality should, at least in theory, be part of Longhorn Beta 1, which is expected to go out to testers by early August.
Microsoft said recently that it is planning to provide a refresh of the Beta 1 bits by mid-September at the Professional Developers Conference.
Beta 2 isnt slated until some time in the first half of 2006, however. Beta 2 will be the first wide-scale Longhorn beta release to feature the new Aero user interface.
The final Longhorn release is still due in the latter half of 2006, company officials reiterated at the partner conference.
Stephan said Microsofts goal is to allow administrators to install Longhorn on new systems in 15 minutes.
In addition, Microsoft is planning to provide a single, common scanning tool that will allow Longhorn users to check on their patch state. The Windows client team also is working on improving Longhorns patch discovery and reporting capabilities, and is planning on enabling patches to be applied directly to the aforementioned system images.
Longhorn will allow users to customize the help system with their own annotations; provide new “guided recovery” help for “unbootable” systems; and deliver improved, proactive diagnostics for things such as hard-drive failure, battery-life and other performance-related features, she said.