Microsoft will release a new Windows Feature Pack for Storage which contains 3 technologies:
- Active Storage Platform: enables the Windows platform to restrict access to portable devices (such as a USB Flash Device) via a certificate or password authentication based on the IEEE 1667 standard specification.
- Image Mastering API update for Blu-Ray media: enables the Windows platform to do master style optical burning on Blu-Ray media.
- Smart Card Driver: provides support for new form factors, such as ICCD/CCID.
Windows Feature Pack for Storage will be available for the following operating systems: Windows Vista, Windows Vista SP1, Windows Server 2008, Windows XP SP2+, Windows Server 2003 SP1+. Smartcard on XP is only available in 32 bit.
The Windows Feature pack for Storage wont be the first Vista feature pack. Microsoft has released, in addition to the previously mentioned optical feature pack, the Windows Vista Feature Pack for Wireless and the Windows Media Center TV Pack.
Feature packs are a way for Microsoft to get new features to users without making them wait for the next major Windows release. Unlike Service Packs, which typically are more about bug fixes than new features, feature packs are, as the name suggests, the delivery vehicle for new, between-release, features.