X64bit.net will also be reviewing a different build each month, not all of them just the key ones that have played a crucial part in developing Vista. I have decided to pull these out of our library and revisit them.
If you have any questions regarding this new Operating System, please feel free to contact either someone on the staff team or a forum member, i am sure they will be glad to help you
Its important you realise that Alpha builds aren't the finished idea, but rather an opportunity for Microsoft to play around and try new things. As you move along through these builds you can tell by using them that they are taking shape and eventually you see a performance gain as things pickup.
The almost constantly changing Themes, Wallpapers and Logon Screens basically show that Vista will look different, and will be better for it!
Longhorn 3683 - 4029
These builds were possibly the most interesting, Build 3683 contained a new Avalon Display Properties, not necessarily better but more accessible and easy to use. The Windows Media Center was included, this wasn't really any different to how it was with XP, this was included i think as more of an indication that it would also get attention. The Desktop Sidebar is basically to complement the desktop and startmenu, we all need space and accessibility and here it is! At first the Desktop Sidebar was transparent, there were Ďtilesí that enabled the user to choose what they wanted on the Sidebar. A Clock tile, a Virtual Desktop tile, a Picture Slideshow and a Windows Media Player tile. Although these were mostly broken, they gave an insight into where Longhorn was actually going and some of the features from these early builds are appearing again now in Vista. Even a form of Virtual Folders was present!
In IE there is now a download manager, even though it doesn't work properly its a nice idea. i am forever wondering where i downloaded a file to and this feature will save hassle.
The Plex theme was one of the many themes that were added to Longhorn and then removed, it was similar to the XP Luna theme but with more blue, aside from that were the different Logon screens that Longhorn adopted. Itís not unusual to see the actual GUI change slightly or even complete new themes to appear later on.
The main problem with these builds was the horrible memory leak because of the sidebar but it doesn't spoil the fun
My favourite feature from this set is the Download manager, and i love tweaking these builds to make them faster!
Also please note there are NO transparency/Aero effects in these builds, Longhorn 4074 was the first build. In these early builds the effects are called DCE.
Longhorn 4053 - 4083
Immediately the first noticeable difference is the theme has changed again, instead of Plex we see Slate, a black theme which is accompanied with a Black Logon Screen. Longhorn is starting to look sleek and professional!
These builds mainly contained eye candy goodies, features that were destined to return later on, Flip3d and DWM in build 4074 and Aurora which is nice but basically pointless.
Performance improves in these builds but by far 4074 is the best one. After tweaking its almost usable as a main operating system.
The main problem we face with these builds is that XP drivers don't always work, with the earlier alpha's it was possible to run setups and other programs in XP compatibility mode and get away with it, now these builds tend to either work with your hardware or not at all well.
My favourite feature from here is still the sidebar, but also the flip3d in 4074 is cool. This near 3d interface should make Windows more accessible and easier to use.
Longhorn 5048 - 5219
For a long time people were wondering when driver support and speed would appear in the Betas, Longhorn 5048 came with a new look (again) but to everyones disappointment, a logon screen identical to Windows XP's.
Longhorn 5048 was fast and came with DWM that compared to Longhorn 4074's was very clean looking.
As the builds progressed after this toward 5219 the theme changed from a Silver color to Black, DWM improved constantly with zoom/fade effects appearing and even more of a performance boost. Everyone was pleased when a smart looking Logon Screen appeared too!
Despite the apparent performance gain, these builds use a lot of memory and lack the Desktop Sidebar.
My Favourite feature here would have to be the DWM, nothing more impressive than transparency, and as you progress through the build numbers it just gets better and better.
Also in 5219 the 'My Games' Feature returns to the startmenu, this was present but broken in very early builds, and was removed later on.
Internet Explorer 7.0 is looking very smart, and the tabs make browsing the internet easy and tidy. Although Microsoft took a leaf out of Firefox's book, maybe they can take their browser further. We will see.
Vista 5270 - Where we are now!
Since these builds were released, Vista has gained considerable performance, Aero looks cleaner, you can now change the color of the glass in DWM. Media Player 11 has arrived and again the theme has changed.
The 64bit version of Longhorn & Vista deserve a mention, as long as you have a 64bit machine, the performance boost again is considerable, it doesn't mean you have the completed version or anything, but it means you can enjoy it a bit more!
The server editions of Longhorn are similar to the workstation editions, but come with extra tools.
When installing 5270, although it sounds odd we recommend installing the Server edition.
After Longhorn 4083, the whole project was scrapped and restarted. Instead of being built on the XP platform, future builds were built off Server 2003.
WinFS - WinFS won't ship with vista, but when added it will enable fast, powerful and easy searching. According to Microsoft it won't even be a matter of seconds to find a needed picture, document or any other file for that matter.
DWM is basically the Transparency effects in Vista, these require a decent graphics card.
Some of the features destined to stay are so far
- Aero Interface
- Media Center
- New Display Properties
- New Logon Screen
- New Theme
- Desktop Sidebar
- 4083 - 64bit Edition
If you enjoyed reading this, you might enjoy reading an in depth review of Vista 5270 - Click Here