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20,000 Device Drivers Ready for Vista

For those who have been frequently frustrated in the past when new versions of Windows did not support their hardware, the times, they are a-changing.

Jim Allchin, co-president of Microsoft's Platforms and Services Division and head of Windows development, announced on the Vista Team Blog on Friday that the Windows Vista distribution DVD will ship with 19,500 device drivers onboard. That is nearly double the 10,000 available when Windows XP began shipping in 2001.

But wait, there's more, the chief Windows pitch man dutifully added.

"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," Allchin's posting said. "But, what is even more significant is that at the RTM [release to manufacturing] 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."

That will likely be good news for many users, who typically have to roll the dice over whether hardware vendors had gotten compatible drivers done in time or not.

Allchin, who joined Microsoft in 1990 from networking firm Banyan Systems, which he co-founded, plans to retire after Vista officially ships to consumers on Jan. 30, 2007.

About the Author

Stuart J. Johnston has covered technology, especially Microsoft, since February 1988 for InfoWorld, Computerworld, Information Week, and PC World, as well as for Enterprise Developer, XML & Web Services, and .NET magazines.

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