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Now that Windows Vista has released to manufacturing, you might think that there is no opportunity for the product to get better before you get to use it.  Pre-Internet and before Windows Update, that was generally the case.  But things are different today.  With Windows Update, as new device drivers are available or issues are found and corrected, the product will simply get better and better over time.

While we worked hard to get a comprehensive set of drivers on the DVD prior to release-to-manufacturing (RTM), the magic of Windows Update and Automatic Updates makes this “frozen in time” distribution problem basically a non-issue.  For Windows Vista we are excited to have over 19,500 device drivers on the Windows Vista DVD (in contrast to just 10,000 for Windows XP when it shipped).  The number of device drivers is really a small way of looking at it, since each driver can usually support numerous actual different device models.  Indeed, sometimes a single driver can support hundreds of different models, as often is the case with video drivers.  But, what is even more significant is that at the RTM for Windows Vista, we already had an additional 11,700 device drivers on Windows Update compared to just 2,000 for Windows XP when it RTM’d in 2001.  And while we will have significantly more drivers online by official availability, we will continue to add more drivers even after the launch.  Because of the improvements in Automatic Updates for Windows Vista, users that choose the recommended setting for Automatic Updates will have the latest drivers installed and available when they add a new device.

The other experience that Windows Update helps improve is with third-party applications.  Supporting existing applications on the new operating system is obviously key to driving satisfaction and adoption of the new product.  We have worked hard with independent software vendor (ISV) partners to make sure that these applications work well on Windows Vista.  Many of these ISVs have had a chance to either respond to our feedback or test their applications themselves and have worked with us to address any issues.  Now that we have finished Windows Vista, we expect even more application vendors to test their applications and give us feedback.  As we work with these ISV partners, we will develop application compatibility updates to make even more applications work great with Vista.  As each batch is ready, we will put the new compatibility updates on Windows Update.

Read the rest of Jim Allchin’s comments at windowsvistablog.com


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