The first feature is Windows System Assessment Tool (WinSat), this will basically be a benchmark tool. It will analyze the processor, memory, HDD, graphics card and other system components and calculate a total score. Users can compare this score to that of any other Longhorn system.
You will even be able to see individual and incredibly granular scores on each and every subsystem. Two types of benchmark will be available: one for general productivity applications and one for games. WinSat will also enable you to optimize your system for games to reach the best performance possible.
Game developers will be able to use WinSat to automatically turn off features to boost system performance. It can also be used to show users which component is slowing down performance in a particular game and suggest a hardware upgrade to correct performance issues;
And what if you buy or install a new piece of critical hardware, such as a faster drive, a better video card, faster memory, or anything else that effects system performance? You can run this tool again to automatically reconfigure your system to optimize it for the new hardware you have installed, once again getting the biggest bang for your buck. In addition, parts makers can build a WinSat trigger into the driver load, making this all happen automatically, so even novice users can gain benefits from the tool.Users will also be able to manually optimize their system by changing system parameters to reach the best score for how you work or play and see how big the individual and overall impact of those changes actually is.
The command line version of WinSat will be featured in Windows Longhorn Beta 1 and by Beta 3 which is planned for the first half of 2006 it should be complete.
The second feature hasn't even got a name yet so the reporter just called it Mod1. This tool will look for significant hardware changes during boot up. If it finds any it will restart the hardware configuration process.
This will be a huge advantage for more experienced users as it will enable them to change a motherboard without needing to reinstall Windows from scratch! It is said that this feature will be released after Beta One.
THG also claims that some additional surprise features will show up late in the Beta cycle, some of which appear designed to really torque off Steve Jobs..
More details at Tom's Hardware