I’ve installed Windows Vista Beta 2 in a brand spanking new AMD x2 3800.
At first look, it’s pretty. I’m sure most people have seen screen shots by now. The glass effects are very nice looking. The window animations are slick. I like the default black taskbar (I could do without the windows logo “start” button). In all I give it a 9 on style. I looks a bit like a mac really.
There is a Mac-ish program/gadget/widget dock which lands on the right side of the screen. It has a analouge clock and some other do-dads. I find it less useful then the mac dock on the bottom of the screen (I use a windows version of it on my XP machines - which look a bit like a mac at the moment).
Things have been moved around and in some cases you really have to dig to figure out where they moved settings. For instance, there is no “my computer” to right click and go to “properties” to access hardware information. If there is a two click method to see system properties, I haven’t found it yet. I’m not sure why Microsoft does this. The damn setting has been in that location since Windows 95. Why move it?
Most things seem to take an extra click or two to get there. In most Windows you can right click the desktop to get to properties. Click that and you’re and display properties. On Vista you right click the desktop, click “personalize” and click display properties from there. An extra window and click to get there. Not a big deal but the change doesn’t make much sence.
Moving around and installing things is damn annoying. MS has gone a bit over the top on security over usability with their “do you trust this” popups- of which I shall explain now…
The mother board has a dual gigabit ethernet. One is a fairly common Marvel -I forget the other at the moment. Vista doesn’t know what either of these NIC’s are. I wondered if I could use the driver disk that came with the motherboard. I drop the disk in and Vista runs the “autorun” on the CD (one of Microsofts inventions if I recall). Up pops a window (called “user account control”) asking if I trust the software about to run. I say yes. It shows me a window which shows the app autorun wants to run. I click it. Again with the trust window. I say yes.
It seems like most things you attempt to run (or if you get into system properties) the trust window is opening left and right. Too add to the annoy factor, when the trust window pops up the rest of the screen dims quickly by about 50%. So far I haven’t figured out a way to shut it off.
At the end of it the NIC drivers on the disk don’t work for either card so unless I drop in a supported NIC I’ve no network/internet access on the Vista machine.
I found this a bit odd. Granted it is only a Beta version, but Vista is deeply tied to network/internet access. Every other window has a section to go on-line to look for something or another. In the games directory there is a link to go online to find more games. In the computer performance section there is a link to “search the internet for software designed for your computer’s rating”.
One would THINK a collection of default NIC drivers would trump all other drivers included in the beta release. Once on-line I could use the Windows driver website to find all the other stuff like video and modem, etc. But no. Of course not. That would make far too much sense.
Another thing I found odd is how it displays content in Vista windows. If the window is too narrow instead of wrapping the content textual it just cuts it off. There will be an icon and next to it the words “Computer Settin”. If you narrow the window even more it will say “computer s”. A bit more and some will attempt to wrap the letters but you end up with…
Co m p u t e r Se t t i n g s
Of course, those rules down always apply. Sometimes the right-most column of icons just doesn’t show up if the window is too narrow.
There are a few things worth noting which I haven’t read in reviews yet. They’ve updated their default games. Solitare, minesweep, and all the classics have been given a new look. They also include Chess, a kids game where you make cakes and stuff (cute for 3 year olds) and Inkball (which was included with XP Tablet).
Shutdown is a bit woggy. When you click “start” (are they still calling it that?) you’ll see a power icon. If you click it the computer drops straight into suspend mode. No warning. To shut the computer down you have to click a little arrow next to it and select shutdown from there. This is one case where I really want the pop up asking what I want to do.
Windows Media Player is funky. It wouldn’t let me unclick “report your music use to microsoft” and it choked and crashed on a standard 3 mb avi file.
I don’t think I’ll rush right out and get this when it’s released. I’m not too impressed. Granted this is beta and many things could change for the better, but I’m not seeing anything at this point that blows away XP. It’s slower on the same hardware, Areo glass isn’t that cool, and drivers might be hard to come by at first. Shrug.
The good news is most everything is running in VMware Workstation 5.5.1 so I can use Vista (sans glass effects) in a virtural machine in XP.