Microsoft Longhorn

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 are plenty of new features to be found throughout this build.

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. Enable Aero glass This build contains some super sleek Aero glass resources in desksrv.dll for the theming service to use.

Exposing a spy

Most of you will probably be aware of some 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 DirectX powered view features all sorts of animation to spice up the browsing experience.

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 builds. The tricks may not always work on later builds.

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 use. avalon This will install the Longhorn Avalon runtime to your computer.

Hacking Avalon – 3: Compiling xaml

In this third part of the Hacking Avalon series we are taking a closer look at the process of making an Avalon application. To do this, we will be using a special tool only available in early Longhorn builds. This tool is called the Avalon Compiler or simply ac. This tool does what its name suggests; compile Avalon. What is that precisely? just a quick note before we begin; this post is completely based on the Avalon version included with 3683.

Hillel demoes Longhorn (Extended cut)

Here it is. 6 minutes of Hillel Cooperman introducing Longhorn to the public during Bill Gates' keynote on 27 October 2003 at PDC ‘03 in Los Angeles. Originally this demo was cut from the footage from Bill Gates’ keynote that was published online at Channel9. I found bits and bops of the footage scattered over the web and decided to put them together in one large video. I complemented some original footage with videos by Paul Thurrott.

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. The Device Manager will now open up.

Phodeo in detail

Multiple patents were filed by Microsoft for this sensational effect. One of the patents shows some detailed screens of what Phodeo is supposed to look like. These images closely resemble some concepts shown by Hillel Cooperman at PDC ‘03, but are, in fact, not the same. Where the user in Hillel’s demo was Jim, the user in this concept is called Steven. Also note that in the image below the window frame is visible, clearly identifying this as a mock-up created in Macromedia Director with the title “timeline demo”.

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 setup from the usa_4093_x86fre.pro_longhorn directory in the ISO. Until today (1st May 2014) the C0d3rz ISO was to be used if one would like to install 4093.


At Microsoft, it is 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 everyday use. Developers using the product can directly provide feedback and report bugs to teams working on certain features. This process is internally called self-hosting. Often times the process is also referred to as “eating your own dog food” or doogfooding: when the product is no good and tastes nothing better than dog food, developers will still need to eat it.

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 will discover how Longhorn emerged from the Server 2003 code base.