Less than a week after the official release of Windows 7, Microsoft has been quietly releasing updates for Vista, perhaps trying to affect its legacy post mortem. After all, to all but those saddled with Vista, Windows 7 was the end of a dark time, not soon to be revisited.

It may be that Microsoft believes it owes the Vista faithful something, for their perseverance, and tolerance over the past years. It does, but it might best be served by giving them the same $30 upgrades to their Vista copies that students get. It certainly is a change from Windows Me, a release where many things were not changed or fixed – we were quietly told that Windows XP was the fix. It was of course, but not a direct one.

To me, this states that a much higher investment was in Vista, in time, money, and in mindshare. Microsoft doesn’t want Vista to go down as a total loser, so it will continue to improve it, through its useful life. I read today that Vista will have extended support available through 2017 – not the thirteen year lifespan of Windows XP, but certainly longer than any other OS from Microsoft.

While I was reading today, along with the tidbits about life of the release and the small fixes, I also was reading that several things from Windows 7 will be released for Windows Vista, apparently as much as Microsoft feels is practically possible. One of those things is DirectX 11, so as not to disappoint the gamer crowd. Bright Side of News tells us –

If you own Windows Vista and still don’t feel like upgrading to Windows 7, Microsoft released a way to get your hands on DirectX 11 ASAP.

The giant from Redmond released “Platform Update for Windows Server 2008 and the Platform Update for Windows Vista.” By downloading “Update for Windows Vista (KB971512),” you’re downloading an update containing “The Windows Graphics, Imaging, and XPS Library contain the latest advancements in modern graphics technologies for gaming, multimedia, imaging and printing applications. It includes updates to DirectX, DirectCompute, and XPS Library. After you install this item, you may have to restart your computer.”

Naturally, you have to restart the computer – at least that was the case on our test system. The update does not specify that you are installing DirectX 11 API, but it is very easy to read through the lines – DirectCompute is available only inside DirectX 11 API, while post-install you will see dxdiag.exe detecting installed DirectX as version 11. If you’re developing DirectX 11 software, don’t forget to reinstall the August 2009 update of DirectX SDK, as it is required for normal operation.

Now, if only AMD demos would require DirectX 11 API instead of requiring the Windows 7 operating system, and DirectX 11 experience could be complete… then again, you can always install BattleForge or wait until December 1st, when DiRT 2 hits the PC platform.

I guess we can say that Microsoft has a heart after all – it could have left Vista users completely in the cold, but instead it is trying to bring some love, and updates, to the loyal. Though it will not change the minds of many, Vista might not go down in history as Windows Me II after this.

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