First announced in 2003, Microsoft has been forced to delay the launch and even had to resort to pulling features to enable a 2006 release. The delays and modifications caused some to refer to the software by the derogatory term 'shorthorn'.
Microsoft shipped a first beta of the software earlier this year and a second beta is scheduled for release early next year.
The firm has left no opportunity unused in the past months to emphasise that the operating system is still on track for the second half of 2006. Last November the company proudly announced that it was ahead of schedule in finishing Vista's new features.
"We are accelerating development to get most features done by the end of December and all features integrated early next year," said Amitabh Srivastava, a corporate vice president with Microsoft's Windows unit.
Windows Vista will form the foundation for Microsoft's operating systems for the next decade, Bill Gates explained in May. The software is designed for 64-bit computer systems, although it will also run on older 32-bit versions.
The operating system offers a slew of new features and technologies that aim to make computers easier to use and maintain. Vista offers improved security and broad support for the RSS syndication technology, and makes it easier to connect peripheral devices ra nging from digital cameras to printers and large screen televisions.
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