Microsoft Longhorn

.NET framework

A significant part of Longhorn is written in managed .NET code. 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, you’ll first need to compile it to an assembly we can execute.

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.

64-bit Windows

If you ever bothered to take a look at one of the 64-bit Longhorn compiles, you may have noticed that most of these builds are extremely empty and lack, as one 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 we know today were not yet available. In 1994 Hewlett Packard partnered with Intel to create a new 64-bit architecture based on an earlier development called “EPIC”.

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 cannot delete winlogon.exe – it’s in use. You can, however, rename it – simply rename it to “winlogon.

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 people thought the demo was just a flash mock-up, but Hillel Cooperman was fast to debunk this.


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. What does this all mean? I’ll try my best to get clear what componentising really is. Bits and bobs Basically, componentising Windows means breaking all of Windows’ features into bits, called components. A feature can be something like WinFS, Internet Explorer, Terminal Services, TCP/IP etc.

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 between two values. A value is either high or low, 1 or 0.

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 files as well as a manifest. In some builds the filesize is noticeably bigger because it includes placeholder images.


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 throughout the code. This would have not been a big deal if Microsoft planned on releasing only one Windows version with one language option, but it might begin to form a problem when your wish is to change Windows editions (or even the product name) on the fly during the Windows development process and add languages when needed.

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 page, aacnamepage, you can add as many users as you like.


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.

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 information in this article may be accurate. Virtual teams Developing software can be hard.