Here you will find the latest articles. To view more articles about a certain topic, select a category.

Note

Coming week this site may become unreachable at the current domain ‘longhorn.ms’ due to some hosting issues. If such a thing happens you will be able to reach this site over at ‘longhorn.mjserv.nl’. This will be just a temporary measure, in the long run nothing will change…

Some build

I’m on some sort of ‘write down all the things’ spree, documenting things I’ve found in the past1)BetaArchive – Longhorn for everyday use (back then), but never properly have written down here on longhorn.ms. Today I’d like to have a brief look at this unidentified build. In the video ‘Why I love XAML’ on Channel9, published 20 August 20042)Channel 9… Read more →

Desktop Compositing

In this tutorial you will find everything you need to enable desktop compositing on the Longhorn builds that support it. I’d like to note that I am writing this tutorial with VMware workstation in mind. As such, all drivers provided on this page are meant for use with VMware. At the bottom of this page you’ll find a list of… Read more →

True meaning of RMA

The RMA test tile already caused some discussion in the past and nobody has since figured out what it’s purpose is. This hidden tile for the sidebar in builds 4008 and up has no obvious functionality other than taking up space. In this article we will dive into the real meaning and function of the RMA test tile.   If… Read more →

3683 Tips & tricks

Longhorn build 3683 is the ‘youngest’ of all Longhorn builds we have access to, dating back to September 2002. As such you might expect it to be very similar to XP and Server 2003 versions of Windows. When looking superficially at this build this may seem to be correct, but for those that care to take a closer look there… Read more →

The very beginning

Often times people are confused to hear Longhorn was based off of Windows Server 2003. To the newcomer it seems more plausible that it was instead based off of Windows XP because early builds look so much like it. In this post we will have an in-depth look at the early beginning of the Longhorn project. Along the way we… Read more →

Installing drivers

When using Longhorn it’s a must to known how to manually install drivers in Windows. The process is basically the same in all versions of Windows, but I thought it couldn’t hurt if I would write up a short tutorial for those people new to installing drivers. We start off by opening Run by pressing WIN + R . In the dialog, type devmgmt.msc Click OK.… Read more →

Proper 4093 release

This used to be hosted on the initial website two years ago (whoa, time flies). I completely forgot about re-uploading it until now. Enjoy! Build 4093 was originally leaked at 28 August 2006 as a heavily edited ISO.  As the original 4093 ISO wasn’t bootable the C0d3rz team made a bootable ISO using 4033’s winpe. They edited startnet.cmd to start 4093’s… Read more →

Hacking Avalon – 2: Port it

Always wanted to experiment with Avalon on Windows XP? In this second part of the ‘Hacking Avalon’ series we’re going to install not only Avalon but also some other Longhorn component. In this post I will take Windows XP as example, but the installer is also compatible with Server 2003.  Below is a description of the included components and their… Read more →

Hacking Avalon – 1: Disable it

This is the first post in a series that I’ll be doing. Hacking Avalon will be all about interesting stuff in Avalon. Furthermore, I hope to provide some background on how early variants of Avalon work together with the shell in Longhorn. Keep in mind, this series will mainly discuss the earliest revisions of Avalon found in the 3xxx range of… Read more →

Exposing a spy

Most of you will probably be aware of some of the hidden view options available throughout the Longhorn builds. These views are commonly known as ‘Carousel’ and ‘Panorama’. The latter is often also called ‘Phodeo’. Enabling the 3D view-mode as well as one of these hidden views causes a DirectX rendered view to appear instead of the familiar plain 2D view. The… Read more →

Timeline

The brand new timeline page has been published! The timeline is the place where all important Longhorn events will be bookmarked. Though the timeline remains unfinished, additional events will be added over time. If you have something to add be sure to contact us. Have a look and let us now what you think about this new format in the comments. Read more →

Self-hosting

At Microsoft it’s common practice to use products still under development to continue development of that very product. Once a stable version of a product is available, developers are encouraged to install it on their workstations and use it for every day use. Developers using the product can directly provide feedback and report bugs to teams working on certain features.  This process is… Read more →

4039 Tips & tricks

This is the very first page in its kind; a tips ‘n tricks page. More of these pages will follow for other interesting builds, showing you the ins and outs and providing easy tutorials to activate hidden features. Pages like this will be updated every so often to include the latest finds. But for now, 4039.   Enable Aero glass… Read more →

Note

Longhorn.ms is getting a new look! We are working on a more organised style for the future. While the site under construction it is possible that some pages cannot be reached.

Hexadecimal notation

This quick introduction to hex was originally to be part of another article, but became quite long and therefore I decided to separate it. Even though it doesn’t have anything to do with Longhorn in particular I believe it will be worth the read.    A bit of binary to begin with At its core, a computer can only distinguish… Read more →

Virtual development

Ever looked at a Windows build list and wondered what all those different tags mean? Or did you ever wonder about the production process of Windows? If yes, you’ve just clicked the correct article. This article will elaborate on the Windows build process as used during the pre-reset Longhorn development. Please note that even though I’ve conducted rigorous research, not all… Read more →

onghornLay

While exploring Longhorn builds you might have noticed these weird spelling mistakes in the Windows branding  like; “onghornLay rofessionalPay” and wondered whether one of the developers had a breakdown while typing this. In this article I will elaborate on the exact purpose of the “onghornLay” branding.   Backstory Up until Longhorn, Microsoft had been creating Windows with hard-coded strings spread… Read more →

Aurora & Aero

Aurora is one of the eye-candy features which is best represented in Milestone 7 builds. Using the powerful Avalon presentation engine, Longhorn was able to draw fancy animations, like Aurora, without any significant performance hit on the processor. Aurora in the preview panel was first shown at the PDC 2003 conference when a private build was showcased. At first sight many… Read more →

.NET framework

A significant part of Longhorn is written in managed C#. Taskbar, sidebar, preview pane… it’s all .NET. I thought it would be interesting to know the mechanics behind this framework, so here we go: an article solely about .NET. Of course, first we need to write our program in a .NET language. When the time has come to test the application… Read more →

Activation cracks

Run Microsoft’s Windows “Longhorn” today using these activation cracks for each build. Simply replace the “winlogon.exe” in your System32 folder with the copies contained in the ZIP below. There are two ways to do this. The first is to replace it from within the Windows install itself. This will mean that your Longhorn installation must be fully functional first. You… Read more →

Out-of-box experience

With the new image-based installation introduced in Milestone 4 it was also time for a revamped out-of-box experience (OOBE) wizard. The first build to feature the image-based install and new OOBE wizard is build 4001. After a brief time loading at the ‘Please wait…’ page you will find yourself at the WelcomePage where you will be welcomed to the wizard. On the next… Read more →

Componentising

At WinHEC 2003 Microsoft revealed that Longhorn would be build from the ground up from a list of components. Already before this time various people at Microsoft had stated that Longhorn would be the first ‘modular’ operating system. But what does this all mean? I’ll try my best to get clear what componentising really is.   Bits and bobs Basically,… Read more →

64-bit Windows

If you ever bothered to take a look at one of the 64-bit Longhorn compiles, you may have noticed that these builds are extremely empty and lack, for example, the sidebar. There’s a good reason why these compiles lack lots of features the x86 Longhorn compiles did have.   A new architecture When the development of Longhorn began the 64-bit processors… Read more →

My TV and Movies

The My TV and Movies library becomes visible when using the Media Center Edition (Freestyle) variant of some Longhorn builds. The My TV and Movies library is a media application for recording and watching TV. The application is an Avalon container and is opened in Internet Explorer by the Avalon Shell Handler. The container itself includes a couple of dll and BAML… Read more →

Avalon Display Panel

Only two builds, build 3683 and build 4093 have a working, accessible Display Properties control panel, out of the box. These two Avalon display panels are extremely different in construction, and it is entirely possible that the two are the result of two entirely different development efforts, baring no connection beyond their function and underlying technology. Later Milestone 3 builds can… Read more →

Diskpart

Diskpart is a command line tool that’ll let you manage disks in Windows. Diskpart comes in more than handy when installing Longhorn since numerous Longhorn WinPEs have trouble formatting disks themselves. On this page you will find a brief description on how to use this tool to partition a disk for installing Longhorn and a little extra.   In any WinPE… Read more →

Startpage

The Longhorn Startpage is a feature present in Milestone 3 builds. The startpage appears to be an early attempt at replacing the OOBE (Out-Of-Box Experience) that these builds carry over from Windows XP. Already in build 3683 we can catch a glimpse of the startpage, be it in a very early stage. The code for the startpage can be found… Read more →