Windows Vista was released to manufacturing in November 2006, and to general availability on January 30, 2007. This operating system was the first to be shipped in DVD-ROMs. Installation of Windows Vista requires a 1 GHz processor, 1 GB of memory, DirectX 9.0, 15 GB of hard disk space, and a DVD-ROM drive.

There were at least four editions -- Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, and Ultimate. Windows Vista Home Basic was priced at $200 ($100 for the upgrade), Home Premium costed $240 ($160 for the upgrade), Business costed $300 ($200 for the upgrade), and Ultimate was priced at $400 ($260 for the upgrade).

Development of Windows Vista

Development of a new operating system codenamed "Longhorn" (later known as Windows Vista) began in 2002.

Build 3683: Longhorn XP Professional (October 20, 2002)

This was the first build ever leaked to the Internet. Even though it was Windows Version 6.0 according to the Command Prompt, this build still used the Windows XP startup sound, and it also had the old Windows XP logo as well. It even had lots of features usually only seen on Windows XP, such as Windows Media Player 8. This build, however, has a slightly different version number of Internet Explorer: Version 6.05.

Build 4051: Longhorn Professional (October 20, 2003)

Exactly one year after Build 3683, this build was leaked to the Internet. It added new features such as a pop-up blocker, add-on manager, Download Manager, and still used the version number of 6.05 for Internet Explorer.

Build 5112: Beta 1 (July 27, 2005)

This was the first build to use the name "Windows Vista". It was also the first downloadable beta version from the official website, and had the first beta of Internet Explorer 7.

Build 5384: Beta 2 (June 6, 2006)

Introduced in May 2006, the second beta was available through the Windows Vista Customer Preview Program, and was the first in several languages.

Build 5600: Release Candidate 1 (September 1, 2006)

The first release candidate was the last to contain the beta startup sound.

Build 5744: Release Candidate 2 (October 6, 2006)

The final startup sound debuted with Release Candidate 2.

The last official build number, 6000, was released to manufacturing on November 8, 2006.

New features

Windows Vista contains a lot of brand-new features not seen on Windows XP. They are:

  • New Windows shell
  • Windows Aero
  • Windows Search
  • Windows Sidebar
  • Internet Explorer 7 (also available for Windows XP Service Pack 2 and 3)
  • Windows Media Player 11 (also available for Windows XP Service Pack 2 and 3)
  • Windows Defender
  • Backup and Restore Center
  • Windows Mail
  • Windows Calendar
  • Windows Photo Gallery
  • Windows DVD Maker
  • Windows Media Center (originally bundled with Windows XP Media Center Edition)
  • Games Explorer
  • and more!

Unfortunately, there were also some removed features from Windows Vista.

Service packs

Service Pack 1

The first of two Service Packs was released on February 4, 2008 in English, French, Spanish, Japanese and German. All the other languages (Portuguese, Chinese, Korean, Thai, etc.) were available since April 14, 2008, just one week before Windows XP Service Pack 3. The size of this Service Pack is 434 MB.

Service Pack 2

The other Service Pack was released on April 28, 2009. Of course, Service Pack 1 is required in order to install Service Pack 2 of Windows Vista. The size of this Service Pack is 348 MB.