Windows Ultimate Extra Secrets

Windows Ultimate Extra Secrets

Microsoft has confessed time and time again, everything we see now in Beta 2 and RC1 is what Windows Vista will be when it is released to manufacturing. This disappoints many Vista enthusiasts like myself who have been fantasizing about unique eye-candy features such as Desktop Aurora. Microsoft has invested a lot of time and effort into such features during the early betas, where did it go? Have they been canceled, or are they still coming?

Microsoft has one last trick up its sleeves, that is, Windows Ultimate Extras. Ever since Beta 2, Windows Ultimate Extras has been said to offer unique softwares, services and tips to owners of the most advanced and expensive version of Windows ever produced, costing more than $100 than the next best consumer version of Vista.

So what does Ultimate Extras mean?

  • Microsoft is obviously targeting the super-enthusiast with state-of-the-art hardware. For Microsoft, this is a great chance to deliver some resource-intensive applications without affecting the whole market.
  • No one at Microsoft dares to speak about Ultimate Extras. Many internal staff has told me exactly the same thing, “expect cool stuff coming”.
  • Ultimate Extras are delivered through the internet. The extras don’t have to be part of the Vista codebase by RTM.
  • Windows Ultimate is slated for release in January 2007. Giving Microsoft an extra 2 months after shipping Vista to manufacturers.

Ultimate Extras has all the right factors for Microsoft to develop features such as Desktop Aurora in secrecy and deliver it to consumers without affecting their release schedules. It’ll certainly be exciting to see exactly what is coming.

9 insightful thoughts

  1. “Ever since Beta 2, Windows Ultimate Extras has been said to offer……”
    so they’ve offered something in beta too? What?

  2. Zheng, you must take into account, Desktop Aurora was really a feature of Longhorn “Alpha”, not beta, so anything seen during the alphas was subject to change or scrapped.

    I personally see Ultimate Extras as a way of deliverying small OS enhancements thats were once desparate technologies, such as Tweak UI in addition to screensavers/wallpapers, stuff you would normally buy and find in Plus!

    Basically, its Plus! as a Service.

  3. Yes I know quite well that Desktop Aurora could have been scrapped along with many other eye-candy features, but recently I’ve had subtle indications here and there that suggests it will still make an apperance.

  4. Well, yes, the crappy Aurora screensaver, the “Windows is Checking your Computers Performance” OOBE sequence, the Aurora type wallpapers, but I think thats about it. Much of the cool eye candy we saw in alphas and during the Hillel Cooperman demos at PDC 2003 were simply kicked because it all came down to usability and productivity.

    How is a window floating like a curtain when dragged across the screen gonna help get work done faster? Animated wallpaper? That sounds more like hardware resources wasted and distraction, a better job could be accomplished by “Screensaver”. It just doesn’t sound relevant right now, I think this will be an opportunity for the Style XP Folks.

  5. How can Microsoft justify not making these addons available AT ALL to the poorer people? They could charge them a few ‘Microsoft Points’ because they don’t have Ultimate, but to say “No AU$700+? Then no extras!” is a little harsh…

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