The main thing is the massive kernel overhaul, it’s actually adding some decent functionality and refining the architecture to become more like Linux!
While the kernel in Vista is still primarily the same one as in Windows 2000 and XP, there have been some significant changes to tighten up security. Fewer parts of the OS as a whole run in Kernel mode – most drivers run in User mode, for instance. Things that run in Kernel mode are prevented from installing without verified security certificates, and even then they require administrator-level user permission. In Vista, it should be much more difficult for unauthorized programs (like Viruses and Trojans) to affect the core of the OS and secretly harm your system
Yay, finally, an actual secure version of Windows? It’s about time right. But well what stops malware bundling itself with a pirated valid cerficate, there must be some offline procedure for people without full-time net connections.
We’ll have to see what this protection really offers, and how we can get around it :)
Also some heap performance improvements with controls to deal with heap fragmentation for large memory calls.
Some pretty advanced application ‘buffering’ too, not sure if I like this one (hopefully it can be turned off).
A key improvement to the root file system and memory management of Vista is a technology called SuperFetch. SuperFetch learns which applications and bits and pieces of the OS you use most and preloads them into memory, so you don’t have to wait for a bunch of hard drive paging before your apps or documents load. Microsoft has developed a pretty sophisticated prioritization scheme that can even differentiate which applications you are most likely to use at different times (on the weekend vs. during the week, or late at night vs. in the middle of the afternoon).
And well..networking? Does this finally mean THEY WROTE THEIR OWN TCP/IP STACK!?
Networking support has been extended throughout the lifetime of Windows 2000 and Windows XP, but it was getting harder and harder for Microsoft to keep improving the old code. So for Vista, they started over from ground zero and rewrote the networking stack from scratch. IPV6 was hacked onto Windows XP in a pretty basic way, but it is built directly into the Vista networking stack in a much more robust fashion.
Seems to have some fairly cool built in apps too and the new UI is very snazzy, perhaps a little too much eye-candy though, I don’t want to have to buy a Cray just to power the OS..
The browser will be running at a much reduced user level too (finally!) and it seems they are implementing proper user segregation by default (first time evar!).
I mean I never understood why they had ACL’s since WindowsNT but never setup or enforced segregation by default..like why can guest write to /windows/system and so on..
I’ll be looking out for it anyway, will you?