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Windows Longhorn Full Version: A Lost Piece of Microsoft History

Windows Longhorn Full Version: A Lost Piece of Microsoft History

Windows Longhorn was the codename for a planned version of Windows that was supposed to be released after Windows XP and before Windows Vista. It was intended to be a major overhaul of the Windows operating system, with new features such as a redesigned user interface, improved security, enhanced multimedia capabilities, and a new file system called WinFS.

Windows Longhorn Full Version

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However, Windows Longhorn never saw the light of day as a full version. Due to various technical and managerial challenges, Microsoft had to abandon the project and start from scratch with a new codename: Windows Vista. Windows Longhorn was only released as a series of beta builds that were leaked or distributed to testers and developers.

In this article, we will explore the history of Windows Longhorn, its features, its problems, and its legacy. We will also show you how you can download and install Windows Longhorn full version on your computer, if you are curious to experience this lost piece of Microsoft history.

The History of Windows Longhorn

Windows Longhorn was first announced by Microsoft in July 2001, at the Professional Developers Conference (PDC). It was supposed to be the next major version of Windows after Windows XP, which was released in October 2001. Microsoft planned to release Windows Longhorn in 2003, but later pushed it back to 2004, then 2005, then 2006.

During its development, Windows Longhorn went through several changes in vision and direction. Initially, it was conceived as a minor update to Windows XP, with some enhancements and bug fixes. Later, it became a more ambitious project, with new features such as:

  • A new user interface called Aero, which used transparent glass effects and animations.

  • A new sidebar that displayed widgets and notifications on the desktop.

  • A new file system called WinFS, which was based on relational database technology and allowed users to search and organize their files more easily.

  • A new security framework called Next-Generation Secure Computing Base (NGSCB), which aimed to protect the system from malware and unauthorized access.

  • A new multimedia platform called Avalon, which enabled rich graphics and animations in applications.

  • A new communication platform called Indigo, which facilitated web services and peer-to-peer networking.

These features were collectively known as the "three pillars" of Windows Longhorn: presentation (Avalon), communication (Indigo), and storage (WinFS).

However, developing these features proved to be more difficult than expected. Microsoft faced several technical challenges, such as compatibility issues, performance problems, security vulnerabilities, and code bloat. Moreover, Microsoft also faced managerial challenges, such as lack of clear vision, poor coordination, unrealistic deadlines, and feature creep.

As a result, Windows Longhorn became a bloated and unstable operating system that failed to meet Microsoft's quality standards. In 2004, Microsoft decided to scrap most of the code base of Windows Longhorn and start over with a new codename: Windows Vista. Windows Vista was based on the code base of Windows Server 2003 SP1, which was more stable and reliable than Windows Longhorn. However, Windows Vista also had to sacrifice some of the features that were originally planned for Windows Longhorn, such as WinFS and NGSCB.

Windows Vista was finally released in January 2007, after more than five years of development. It received mixed reviews from critics and users alike. Some praised its improved security, user interface, and multimedia capabilities. Others criticized its high system requirements, compatibility issues, performance problems, and frequent user account control (UAC) prompts.

The Features of Windows Longhorn

Even though Windows Longhorn never became a full version of Windows, it still had some interesting features that were either implemented in later versions of Windows or abandoned altogether. Here are some of the features that were unique to Windows Longhorn:

  • A new user interface called Aero Glass (also known as DWM or Desktop Window Manager), which used transparent glass effects and animations for windows and menus. Aero Glass required a graphics card that supported DirectX 9 and Pixel Shader 2.0.

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