WindowsVistaUltimate_webVISTA RTM!! 

Well a word and an acronym to be exact.  The time has finally arrived!  We have reached our Release To Manufacturing goal for Windows Vista.  It has taken 2 years and 3 months to reach this final destination.  There has been 2 public Betas, 4 CTP's 2 RC's and many many EDW releases to ensure the highest quality in our history.  And we have done it in 5 languages simultaneously which is a first for Microsoft.

I myself have installed Vista probably over a hundred times through many different methods.  I've used the standard DVD method; I've upgraded; I've installed from scratch; used WDS to install over a network and installed on many different pieces of hardware including laptops at work and desktops at home.

Now that Vista is finished what does this all mean?  Well for me it's a relief in a way because I now don't have to search for the right build to run and rebuild my machines yet again.  But in a way I'm going to miss that because all of us Microsoft folks that have been testing this OS for the last year or so will probably start to suffer a bit of withdrawal symptoms.  It's exciting to be able to contribute to the development of a such a significant product and know you've been able to contribute to it in some small way.  When products are in BETA that's what we do at Microsoft.  It's called dogfooding and I've been doing this for a long time now.  Our company decided that it was extremely important that we ate our own products well ahead of there release to make sure they were ready for customers and we could run our business on them in a secure and reliable way.  This process which is run by Microsoft IT has helped shape many many products in the past and will continue to shape products going forward.  If you want to check how we do this then have a look at the Microsoft IT Showcase Website for all the details.

So now I think its time to reflect on some of the stats of Windows Vista!

  • This is the first time in Microsoft's history that we have supported a broad range of products SKU's to address different customer segments.  And the best this is they are supported using a single product image!  The WIM format truly rocks!
  • Windows Vista is a worldwide release.  For the first time we will release in 5 languages simultaneously!  How cool is that? 18 languages will be available at the general launch in January; with 32 languages being made available a 100 days after the availability of the US English version.
  • Windows Vista supports more hardware than ever. Hundreds of OEMs and thousands of systems builders will pre-install Windows Vista, which will have more than 50% more device drivers inbox at RTM than Windows XP had, plus thousands more will be on Windows Update before general availability.
  • Windows Vista is the most tested release of Windows ever released!  It's the first product to use the Software Development Lifecycle or SDL completely from beginning to end.  This helped us put much more stringent quality testing into every feature of the OS throughout the development cycle.
  • We’ve had millions of downloads of the pre-release versions, and there are already over 60,000 machines at Microsoft running Windows Vista—more than any prior Windows release at RTM.
  • This is the first time that customers will be able to deploy worldwide on diverse hardware all with a single IT-managed image. And it’s the first time that this image can be serviced offline.
  • With the huge improvements in deployment tools this is the first time OEM's will be able to drive their manufacturing process with inbox tools!  Because Vista is a SYSPREP image itself Vista installs Vista!
  • Windows Vista is the fastest installing version of Windows when installing on then current generation hardware. Install times of Windows Vista on normal desktop class hardware regularly clock in at between 15 and 20 minutes.

That it just a small taste of the some 2800 new features in the OS so keep going to the Windows Vista website for all the details.

So to wrap up this post talking about availability is the most important question on everyone's mind right now.  Well PC manufacturers will now get their hardware ready for the general release of Vista at the end of January 2007.  Customers on our Volume licensing programs can expect to see Vista towards the end of November 2006.

So its been a great ride and now its on to upgrade all my machines at home and work to the final version!  Should be fun!

Cheers, Jeffa