My first thoughts on Windows Vista

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…



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.

Seven, where did you obtain it? I’d love to try it out. Even though it will probably wreck my Commodore 64. :stuck_out_tongue:

I just get ‘We’re unable to complete your request. The Passport Network is experiencing technical difficulties. Please try again later.’

You can try and download it from Microsoft (3.5 gig .iso file) but I’ve heard people aren’t having much luck at the moment due to the traffic.

In one of the Mac magazines I pick up irregularly, they tried running Vista on an Intel Mac with BootCamp without success. They’re attitude was, “Well, it is a beta, after all.” Still, the more I hear about Vista, the more likely I am to drop M$ products and go with Linux.

Moving thread from IMHO to MPSIMS.

Is it dual-bootable? Might be interesting to try it on a different partition just to see what all the fuss is about. I really don’t plan on fully adopting it until either I’ve had a significant amount of time to try it out myself to determine its stability, compability and usability, and/or I’ve read enough user reviews that give it a thumbs up that I’m convinced it’s worth switching to. I’ve been running XP since prior to its release (worked retail in software at the time and our MS-provided training left us with free XP copies) and it’s been quite stable. Unline previous versions of Windows I don’t really have a compelling reason like bloat and/or instability to upgrade this time, so unless it lives up to the majority of its hype I can’t see myself shelling out for it until it becomes an issue.

Thanks. I’m there now and it is downloading. I ran the programme to make sure my computer could cope and although it indicated that the computer was fine, it may be necessary to download drivers for my cable modem. It said to get them from the Microsoft Update site. Naturally they aren’t there.

Tuckerfan - I don’t know where you are in the Linux world, but Fedora 5 might be a good place to start. I use it for general desktop work. It can’t replace my XP machine because I have too many music apps I need to run.

I still don’t think Linux is ready for average computer use. If you have a geek-streak and don’t mind fiddling, perfect. I’d never put it on my moms computer though.

Vista will be shoved at the masses because all the new machines will come with it. The good news is all the new machines will run XP as well. For the next few years Dell, HP and Gateway will need to put out high end machines and I’m sure this new Vista number rating will be in play. Dell will be able to make its high Vista number rating a selling point.

“Our $1000 machine gets a Vista rating of 4 where HP’s $1000 machine only gets a 3.75. Clearly ours is better”

We might suffer from a annoying OS, but our hardware will get bigger and better for cheaper. We remove the annoying OS and put whatever we want in it.

Mindfield - Dual-boot? I’m sure you can do it. I just took an older 30gig hard drive I had and put Vista in that. I’d be hesitant to dual boot a beta Microsoft OS on the same drive you keep your working OS.

Cicero - I’ll give you a heads up on networking. My virtual install of Vista wouldn’t connect with my network. I spent a good 20 minutes scratching my head wondering why, if all elements seemed in place, it wouldn’t connect. I could ping DNS outside my firewall but all other traffic was gak’ed. When I disabled IPv6 on that NIC I connected right up.

You shouldn’t need cable modem drivers unless you’re running it USB. Just let your cable modem hand out a DHCP IP address and connect up through an ethernet cable. If you don’t have that ability, I wish you a deal of luck. heh heh.

Let me know how it goes.

I’m a bit nervous about this part:

Installation limitations
There are two installation scenarios for Windows Vista Beta 2 (and RC1):
You can do a clean installation. This process will overwrite any data that you have on your hard disk or on your installation partition. The overwritten data will be lost and unrecoverable.
You can upgrade an existing installation of Windows XP.

No other installation scenarios are supported. Upgrading to this beta from any other edition of Windows requires a clean installation, as described in option 1. In addition, once you install Windows Vista Beta 2 (or RC1) you cannot roll back to the previous operating system installation—you will either have to acquire and install the final released edition of Windows Vista or reinstall a previous edition of Windows. Before installing Windows Vista Beta 2 on any computer, please remember to back up all your files.

Does this mean that once installed, I can no longer revert to XP?

I’ve got a 100GB partition that’s basically doing nothing and is safely reformattable, so I could just use that. Perhaps if I get some time this week/next weekend I might futz around with it.

Yes. If you only have one drive, can’t repartition, and want to keep your running copy of XP, I wouldn’t click “install now”

And for everyone playing with this… if you find the “do you trust this” popup annoying, you can shut it off in control panel > user accounts > change security settings.

I rather favor Ubuntu. It’s got a lovely CD image you can download, boot off of, see if you like it. It’s very nicely behaving, too.

That said… Well, Vista is filling me with absolute lack of joy, you know? It’s… just… slower.

I believe you mean and not *.org. (Unless the World Forum of Civil Society Networks has also put out a distrubution of Linux.)

Ubuntu is pretty good. Kubuntu is good if you prefer K.

I kind of lean towards Fedora because we use Red Hat Enterprise at work.

E-Sabbath - I know what you mean by lack of joy. At first I was like “wow, pretty”. After that wore off I was like “wow, it is about the same as XP expect I don’t know where anything is.”
And damn does it take long to boot. No wonder they hide the shutdown option.

I’ve played with several times. I had set this box up to run Linux, but had to swap back to XP in order to run some programs I needed for one of my jobs. Now that I no longer have the job, I don’t need to run Winblows, but I haven’t gotten around to flipping this back to Linux.

Thanks- I’m glad I found out in time. As this BETA version is set to expire on 1 July (I think that was the date), even if I hadn’t liked it I would have had to buy the full version.

It’s not going to be on sale on 1 July. Of course, if you find the popup annoying and shut it off, congratulations, you have disabled the primary security feature of Vista.

It expires June 1st, 2007.

I think I’ve found more security issues with Vista. The entire OS is speckled with links to websites to find more software. It looks like this is all stored in XML. Someone could write a nifty script to search/replace these links to other websites.

Of course this is in theory. I haven’t tried it yet.

Why can’t this just be an OS? A base of which you run software on? Why does the general user NEED it to contain content like AOL?