Microsoft replaces Vista kernel in SP1

One of the “big” features discussed in early speculation of Windows Vista SP1 was the kernel upgrade which was supposed to bring the operating system into line with the Longhorn kernel used in Windows Server 2008. And yet with Vista SP1 going RTM there hasn’t been so much as a peep from Microsoft about the mooted kernel update. Has it happened?

Well the answer is yes it has and presumably the main reason for Microsoft’s silence on the subject is that as they’re keen to promote the improvements and enhancements to Vista rather than placing emphasis on a kernel upgrade which some people might see as a risk of newly-introduced instability.

The whole thing is still quite interesting. You can tell what build of Windows you’re running by a variety of means:

  • if you open a Command Window it will immediately tell you what version you have
  • or go Start –> Run –> winver
  • or check out the properties of C:WindowsSystem32NTOSKRNL
  • or open Regedit and navigate to HKLMSoftwareMicrosoftWindows NTCurrent Version.

All these methods will give you an idea of what version and build of Windows you’re running although the last two give more detailed information.

Build info – Vista SP1 RTM
Build info – Server 2008 RTM

The version and build information of Windows Vista SP1 and Windows Server 2008 (RTM) are exactly the same as each other. And yes Vista’s kernel has been replaced. Windows Vista pre-SP1 is Windows version 6.0 build 6000 (6.0.6000) whereas Windows Vista SP1 RTM is version 6.0 build 6001 (6.0.6001) – the same as Server 2008.

Don’t ask me how I know what’s in the RTM versions of Server 2008 and Vista SP1. (Zip it … I said don’t ask me.)

Interestingly if you do a winver on Server 2008 you’ll see that the version information is actually version 6.0 build 6001 Service Pack 1. No it’s not Server 2008 Service Pack 1 but rather Service Pack 1 of the original Longhorn code (Windows 6.0).

So if you look at it one way the Windows Vista “kernel upgrade” isn’t a fundamental update but rather an alignment of the two operating systems. In some ways both can be said to be running Windows Vista SP1 which is interesting in a seriously geeky sort of way.

Windows Server 2008 WINVER

Still makes you realise just how long SP1 code has been in the pipeline…

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