Microsoft has made substantial enhancements to the kernel at the core of the Microsoft Windows Vista and Microsoft Windows Server codename "Longhorn" operating systems. Kernel improvements are significant because the kernel provides low-level operating system functions, including thread scheduling, interrupt and exception dispatching, multiprocessor synchronization, and a set of routines and basic objects that the rest of the operating system uses to implement higher-level constructs.

This paper provides an overview of some of the new features and changes in the kernel for Windows Vista and Windows Server "Longhorn," with references to more information. The latest update of this paper includes additional information about heap management, code signing, support for protected processes, dynamic link library loader enhancements, and thread pool enhancements.

The information in this paper is for system and peripheral designers, driver developers, firmware developers, and application developers who are creating products for this operating system.

Included in this white paper:

Memory and heap management

Management mechanisms

64-bit Windows

Security features

Other application support mechanisms

Support for hardware innovation

Power management

Plug and Play

The Hardware Abstraction Layer

http://www.microsoft.com/whdc/system/vista/kernel-en.mspx