The Platform Update for Windows Vista was released on October 27, 2009. It includes major new components that shipped with Windows 7, as well as updated runtime libraries. It requires Service Pack 2 of Windows Vista or Windows Server 2008 and is on Windows Update as a Recommended download.
The Platform Update allows application developers to target both Windows Vista and Windows 7. It will consist of the following components:
Windows Graphics runtime: Direct2D, DirectWrite, Direct3D 11, DXGI 1.1, and WARP;
Updates to Windows Imaging Component;
Updates to XPS Print API, XPS Document API and XPS Rasterization Service;
Windows Automation API (updates to MSAA and UI Automation); (will also be available on Windows XP)
Windows Portable Devices Platform; (adds support for MTP over Bluetooth and MTP Device Services)
Windows Ribbon API;
Animation Manager Library.
Some updates will also be available as separate releases for both Windows XP and Windows Vista:
Windows Management Framework: Windows PowerShell 2.0, Windows Remote Management 2.0, BITS 4.0
Remote Desktop Connection 7.0 (RDP7) client;
Although extensive, the Platform Update does not bring Windows Vista to the level of features and performance offered by Windows 7. For example, even though DXGI 1.1 update introduces support for hardware 2D acceleration featured by WDDM 1.1 video drivers, only Direct2D and DirectWrite will employ it and GDI/GDI+ will continue to rely on software rendering. Also, even though Direct3D 11 runtime will be able to run on D3D9-class hardware and WDDM drivers using "feature levels" first introduced in Direct3D 10.1, Desktop Windows Manager has not been updated to use either Direct3D 10.1 or WARP software rasterizer.