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The pivotal reasons of the development of Windows Vista were the aspects of providing significant amount of advancements keeping the system stability, system performance, software and hardware costs and technical support under special check. This problem was faced unanimously by the whole PC industry and it required considerable attention to overcome these. The necessary protection measures covered both software and hardware troubles that were causing problems for the users.
Benefits to Microsoft
What were the circumstances that led to the development of an Operating System (Windows Vista) that was soon to be succeeded by Windows 7? The answer to this question came in the form of the introduction of Windows Vista itself. Microsoft followed the saying, "Actions speak louder than words." The growing demand of the industry with respect to the safekeeping of confidential data and security of average PC's were the driving concerns of the masses and were successfully satisfied by Microsoft. Windows Vista emerged victorious in the battle of unlocking the hidden potential of unlocking the productivity of the mobile PC's. Microsoft gained immense competitive edge because Vista played an important part in polishing the productivity of its employees. Moreover Vista with its migration and rapid deployment strategies paved its way for the future, or so it seemed at that time. Last but certainly not the least was the reduction in the management and support costs that prevented the budget of Vista exceeding its projections.
Championing the change
The former co-president of Windows development Jim Allchin was responsible for championing the progress of Windows Vista. He was born in Michigan in 1951. This former executive of Microsoft was at the delivering end of some of the most noted Operating system developments that included Windows Server, Microsoft Windows and chief server products like SQL Server. His claim to fame achievement was the Microsoft's server business. His day of retirement was the very day Microsoft released Windows Vista officially to the consumers. He served an impressive period of 16 years with the company. Banyan VINES, a directory services technology owed its development to Jim Allchin who played a vital role in establishing the company's architectural technology. Allchin had the award of Technical Excellence under his belt which was awarded to him in 2001.
According to the estimation of "Business Week" which is credited as one of the most authentic business magazines, a total of 10,000 employees paved the roads for the development of Vista. The overall projected cost related to this project was 6 billion dollars. Bill Gates himself said that there was no need to feel defeated that Vista did not turn out to be a profitable venture in terms of financial aspects. He was adamant on the fact the failure of Vista to capture the imagination of its users was nothing but a well carved opportunity for them to learn from their mistakes and capitalize on the positive traits.
8th Nov, 2006 was the date of completion of the Windows Vista project. However Microsoft officially released it on January 30th, 2007. The new OS was made available for the purpose of downloading and purchasing from the website of Microsoft. The hype surrounding the release of this OS was pretty intense considering the fact that the predecessor of Vista, Windows XP was released around 5 years ago which is the longest period of time between consecutive releases of MS operating systems.
A collective number of new features were introduced in Windows Vista that amplified the curiosity of the users. The Graphical User Interface was upgraded to be more user friendly and easy to use. "Windows Search" along with print, audio, displays and redesigned networking sub-systems were trivial features of Vista. Vista utilized the concept of peer to peer technology and made sharing data between devices and computers extremely easy. Their claim was an increased level of co-ordination and communication between home networking machines. The .Net Framework of Windows Vista came up with a version 3.0 that specialized in writing applications without the use of the traditional APIs of Windows.
Development tools and techniques
Windows Vista came up with the following changes in its functionality that reflects its cumulative statistics:-
One does not need to enable the UAC as it is checked by default. A number of compatibility problems in connection with different applications might arise as a result of this.
There is no differentiation between a standard accounts and administrator accounts. Both of these parties can make use of the enhanced security feature.
There are default settings for displaying the credential prompts. A secure desktop has these consent prompts displayed in Windows Vista.
The background applications are signaled for elevation automatically on the taskbar. A request for elevation appears on the taskbar minimized and the continuous blinking would be a signal for the user as a request for elevation. The downloading of an installation file from a website is an example of background elevation.
Applications that require elevation and commence at the logon time of the user are blocked. If these applications are not blocked, both administrators and standard users would have to go through the trouble of responding to the dialog box of User Account Control. The system tray has an icon which is an indication by the operating system that the particular application is blocked. The user can run the blocked applications by right clicking them and move on.
The new installations have a disabled administrator account built in them by default. Windows Vista acquires the Approval Admin Mode when it figures out that there is only a single active administrator account during upgrading from Windows XP. The Safe mode does not provide the default administrator account the power to log on to the computer.
Windows Vista also provides the user with the feature of maintaining control of his desktop through remote scenarios. Default settings kick in and the user is automatically logged on as a standard user. A remote user with administrative potential is restricted on the wire as far as the remote administration is concerned. This helps to prevent malicious software from creating havoc.
Vista keeps up with its security by even not allowing administrative access to an Accounts Manager who is remotely connected to a Windows Vista computer by declining elevation potential.
Software Testing Process
Software testing is a tricky business considering the complexity of the software packages available today. A couple of things must be put under keen observation before deciding the testing process of the software: -
Proper documentation of testing on all necessary platforms is an incessant part of a puzzle. This requires testing to be conducted on Windows XP, Windows Vista, the Server Oss, and Windows 7. The testing part would also include 64 bit versions of all of the operating systems mentioned above.
Proper attention paid on testing procedures provides a solid basis for the QA process. Testing them separately is not just the idea. Instead all of these features should be combined because the consumers can use it whatever way they can.
The immensity of the project of Windows Vista required quite a huge team. Presence of an ample or adequate number of staff members signifies the importance of team work. Each and every employee should be provided with an opportunity to watch the proceedings of the testing of every module. Diverse opinions might help the team to come up with strong logics and reinforce the knowledge of the team.
Organized documentation of each and every finding can sort out a million problems. One can find a desired thread of data in a significantly lesser amount of time if the documentation is clean and organized.
Service Pack 1 of Windows Vista was released to a number of selected testers on the date of 24th Sep, 2007. These testers were appointed to find out the fluency of the new operating system. The removal of GPMC from the client computers was during the testing phase of this service pack. The "Search" menu option was also removed from the right bar of the Start menu. This service pack was tested until February 2008.
Service Pack 2 was the first software pack that was released for both Windows Vista and Windows Server (2008) simultaneously because they were coded in the same code. It was released in late 2008 and was tested till April 2009.
Need for Windows Vista
If there is one thing Microsoft should be given due credit for, it is its untiring ability to conquer one milestone after another. Their uncanny instinct of always looking for a way to better their operating systems is an undeniable quality that has made them a market leader beyond the shadow of a doubt. And Microsoft makes sure that it transfers this legacy into its employees, always has been and always will. The employees are greatly encouraged for their productive opinions and ideas in the Silicon Valley.
Criticism of Consumers
Vista's downfall can be attributed to the following features: -
The huge promises made by Microsoft backfired because Vista did not live up to the customer expectations. The hype created by these PR stunts was not easily forgettable. Moreover Windows Vista was pre-installed in all the new PC's by default. Vista was already under severe scrutiny of its consumers and critics and this action made the consumers feel like hostages.
According to a report of CNN Money, Microsoft Vista never did as good as it was expected in the projected sales. Sales of the Vista division fell 16% in the last quarter. This OS has not been able to satisfy its consumers and they are severely underwhelmed. The IT departments of all major corporations decided to stick with Windows XP.
In the view of many professional analysts, an opinion was formulated that Vista ran slowly on personal computers as compared to its predecessor Windows XP. Net Applications which is a research site suggested that Vista's operating systems had a global share of just 24% whereas Windows XP still dominated the market with a share of 62% And Apple covering the rest of the 9%. A recent announcement by Microsoft revealed that its quarterly revenue took a dive for the first time after 23 years.
Apple was successful in demonizing Vista through its "I'm a Mac" ads. These ads were spreading the perception that Vista was buggy, difficult to use and boring.
A survey in 2008 revealed that 70% of the 1.1 billion PCs used in the world have Windows XP as their operating system. Statistics reveal that 800 million computers are running XP which easily declares it the most commonly used OS ever built. Overcoming a record set by itself was quite a big task for Windows Vista and it could not prosper as expected.
Vista has an approximate amount of 50 million code lines. The latest release of XP however has 40 million. Such a huge amount of software bloat has slowed down Vista even though it is operational on the latest hardware and software. XP outperforms Vista at all times so why would someone prefer keeping an operating system that is slower than its predecessor.
Microsoft handled the art of merchandising but could not follow the art of marketing. Too many versions of the operating systems created confusion among the masses which required something plain and simple.
The code size was immensely huge towering up to a total of 50 million lines of code which is simply inadmissible.
WinFS which is deemed to be the core or central pillar of Vista is not available at all. Microsoft has failed to declare why this important component is still yet missing.
The advancements in the Graphical User Interface have led high resolution images which drain the battery out of portable devices hugely restricting the use of Windows Vista to the electrically attached devices.
Windows Vista has been facing a lot of reports of missing drivers in their operating systems which leads to faulty display.
People reverted back to Windows XP after using Windows Vista and not getting satisfied at all.
Some of the notable critics of Windows Vista are presented below:
Peter Gutmann released a paper which had the following concerns about Vista:-
The devices become more expensive because of the added encryption facilities. He also said that the systems become less reliable because of the added complexity. He also pointed out that service denial attacks might be motivated because of the degrading or disabling outputs of the protection mechanisms.
Steve Gibson who was the head of Gibson Corporation agreed with Peter Gutmann by saying that he was promoting a description that was factually quite accurate.
"BadVista" was a campaign by Free Software Foundation against Windows Vista in favor of the the plausible concerns mentioned by Peter Gutmann.
Reaction to criticism
Ed Bott who is the writer of the book titled "Windows Vista Inside Out" suppresses the claims of Peter Gutmann by saying that His work does not contain any experimental work with Windows Vista. He was also keen in pointing out that Gutmann's assumptions are mistaken and his implications are wildly speculated.
Another critic of Gutmann's claims was George Ou who was a technology writer. He states that Gutmann's sources are unreliable and his lack of usage of Windows Vista himself is pretty evident from his theories.
The concluding argument of this case study would undoubtedly be the fact that Windows Vista could not live up to the hype and expectations it had established for itself. The profits are well below the projected rates which displays the lack of capability to establish a position for itself in the market.