According to a report provided by the Windows Vista optical storage driver team, Microsoft's next operating system will not support first-generation DVD drives.
DVD drives started to appear in PCs in 1998. The first incarnation of the DVD specification stated that the operating system should enforce region coding. This meant that all drives produced before January 1st 2000 didn't feature hardware-enforced region coding.
Software-enforced region coding caused a number of problems
. With Windows Vista, Microsoft will be dropping support for DVD drives that don't feature hardware-enforced region coding in order to remove these reported problems.
This is almost definitely not going to affect anyone here, as all drives manufactured after January 1st 2000 did feature hardware-based region coding. The number of first generation drives left on the market is believed to be a fraction of 1% of the market.
We understand that these changes will not affect how data-only DVDs are read. Owners of first-gen DVD drives will still be able to install and use programs from region-free DVDs. In fact, the only thing that you're likely to notice if you still own a first-gen DVD drive is that encrypted or regionalised DVD movies will no longer play under Windows Vista.
I think this is actually a good move by Microsoft. I've had my fair share of problems where software-enforced region coding has got in the way of watching certain movies. What do you think of this move? Let us know in our region-free forums