Today, Bill Veghte (SVP in the Online Services and Windows BG) posts a letter discussing Windows XP, more info on Windows Vista, and the future leading to Windows 7.

imageUpon visiting the Windows page on Microsoft.com this afternoon, I was prompted to open the following letter from Bill Veghte, Senior Vice President of the Online Services & Windows Business Group.  

Bill's letter provides more information on the continued support and availability of Windows XP, with more facts on Windows Vista, and the future leading to Windows 7. Given the number of questions I get on both topics, I thought it would be good to post a couple of excerpts here and a few thoughts as well.  Bill says...

"Your experience and satisfaction are Microsoft's top priorities. I wanted to take this opportunity to share some thoughts about Windows and to answer some questions you may have about Windows XP and Windows Vista.

"There are three things I want to give you an update on:

  1. Our plans for Windows XP

  2. Our progress with Windows Vista

  3. Our view on Windows 7"

In talking about the future of Windows XP, Bill covers what exactly the "end of sales" date (June 30, 2008) for Windows XP means, calling out that (as I mentioned here previously  on the facts about the future of Windows XP)...

  • Yes, Windows XP will continue to be supported, given we recently released Service Pack 3, and "we will continue to provide security updates and other critical updates for Windows XP until April, 2014."
  • And yes, customers will be able to buy PCs with Windows XP after June 30. "We will stop selling Windows XP as a retail packaged product and stop licensing it directly to major PC manufacturers. But customers who still need Windows XP will be able to get it [via]...
    • "Downgrade rights" from Windows Vista Business or Windows Vista Ultimate to Windows XP Professional. 
    • a new, low-end personal computer available with Windows XP, [and via] System Builders [and] major OEMs have the option to "continue to purchase Windows XP through Authorized Distributors through January 31, 2009."

But chance are that you already knew that. ;)

What you may not have know of some of the details behind the progress with Windows Vista.

On security improvements...

"During 2007, Windows Vista had half the number of critical vulnerabilities as Windows XP Service Pack 2 did during the same time period. PCs running Windows Vista were 60 percent less likely to be infected by malware than those running Windows XP Service Pack 2. The phishing filter in Internet Explorer 7—which is included with Windows Vista—stops about 1 million phishing attempts every week."

On Compatibility

"Today Windows Vista supports about 77,000 components and devices, which is more than twice as many as we supported at launch... [and] 98 of the top 100 applications for Windows sold at retail in US in the last year...

"But what about gaming?"

Yes, what about gaming?

"We are happy to report we now have Application Compatibility Updates for more than 125 popular PC games to enable them to work on Windows Vista. These updates are installed automatically using Windows Update."

My kids can attest to this: their four-year old PC running Windows Vista Home Premium runs just about every game they have... including (as of Christmas 2007) Toontown. (If you want to see what runs and what has issues, run the Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor.) 

And of course: improvements with Service Pack 1

"For example, Windows Vista SP1 copies files up to 50 percent more quickly, improves the time it takes to decompress contents of a large folder by as much as 71 percent, and provides diagnostic system enhancements that make Windows Vista easier for IT organizations to support."

As I noted on my post Windows Vista RC1 brings improved performance..., the release candidate (RC) of SP1 performed quite well on old notebook PCs, with far less time to recover from Hibernate (20 seconds), and less than five seconds from Sleep.  Since moving all machines to Vista SP1, we've seen improvements on a couple of areas, particularly when I removed some of the additional software pre installed by the OEM -- that alone reduced my start up time dramatically on my main home PC. 

I found that a clean install on the kids' playroom PC cut boot time to what appears to be half of what it was on XP.  (Kids are an impatient bunch, and some of the harshest critics you'll encounter when it comes to computer performance issues.)  This level of improvement is noted in Bill's letter as well, calling out that "One major OEM we worked with reduced system boot times by almost half, and system resume time from 15 seconds to 2 seconds."

You can view the letter in the entirety at http://www.microsoft.com/windows/letter.html for more details.

For more information about Windows Vista, please visit this page on Windows Vista.  And for more on Windows XP availability and support, please visit this page on the future of Windows XP.

Tags: Windows, Windows 7, Microsoft, Windows Vista, Bill Veghte.