What's Longhorn?

A. Longhorn is the code name for the successor client desktop OS to Windows XP. The new OS will offer several improvements and additions, including

  • a new task-based interface, code-named Avalon
  • a new file system called Windows Future Storage (WinFS) that's based on Yukon, the next iteration of SQL Server technology
  • an updated GUI that makes full use of 3-D rendering; early alpha builds contain a Plex visual style that Microsoft will replace in later builds
  • a new sidebar element that can contain configurable elements such as a graphical clock or a photo slideshow
  • a new "breadcrumb" bar in Windows Explorer that replaces the address bar and offers shortcuts to various folders based on your current selected folder
  • improved security, including the hardware-based Palladium initiative (for information on Palladium, see the Microsoft Web site)
  • a new installation process that uses the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE); for more information on WinPE, see the previous FAQ titled "What's the Windows Preinstallation Environment (WinPE)?"
  • a new search tool with improved abilities and a simplified interface
  • integrated DVD recording abilities, including support for DVD+R/RW and DVD-R/RW
  • new API calls for tighter antivirus support

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