I gave Vista a try , part I

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New notebook has just arrived (Toshiba Tecra M5 – after first few hours my opinion is that this is definitely not heavy duty hardware) and I’ve decided to try to use Windows Vista Beta 2 on it as a main system, to learn and get my own opinion about it.

Installation went fast and it took about 1 hour to complete, OK – this is still Beta. Almost all Toshiba hardware was recognized and installed properly. We had few of these machines at office and we performed installation with standard BIOS and BIOS prepared for Vista. No difference if You don’t want to run Areo Glass. Windows Update, my system was recognized and I new version of Windows Update was presented. I’ve received few different updates, and possibility to update my video driver with Areo Glass enabled version. After updates, reboot and performing once again scoring for this system I was able to enable Areo glass interface. I’m not very big fan of fancy GUI’s maybe this is a reason why I’m not crushed with it. OK, it looks nice, it may be a reason to switch to this system for someone – but it’s not something what

Memory usage – I know that this is Beta version but memory usage is huge. My new Tecra has 2 GB and about 800 MB of it is taken by Vista at start. When I’m writing this post with base system, MS Word (2007 Beta) and VS .NET 2005 it takes about 1 GB of RAM. Something has to be done with it before release.

Windows Firewall, looks better, better management interface integrated with MMC 3.0 – that’s OK, blocking incoming and outgoing connections – at least. First run on default installation – what the heck, in all policies (and there are three – Domain, Private, Public) outgoing connections are blocked, and incoming are allowed. Quick click in setting option – everything looks OK, all policies are enabled and outgoing connections are allowed, incoming are blocked. Quick test and it appears that settings tab is correct about it – so glitch in UI. I hope it will be solved in next refresh and in RC.

Applications – at the end I have to work with this thing in incoming week. Our standard application which I have to have on my laptop (at the end I work for corporation) – most of them as AV etc works fine, for others new updated Vista versions were available. LOB for me – Visual Studio .NET 2005, Virtual PC, Office 2007 Beta, mail client, browser, putty, etc. – everything was installed correctly and works OK.

One problem I’ve encountered was lack of Bluetooth drivers – I was trying to use Toshiba Vista stack, it was installed correctly, devices were recognized but when I’ve tried to pair my mouse Toshiba’s application crashed. My pet will have to wait till I get new drivers.
Quick test for most used applications like VS .NET, mail client – no problems at this moment.

Windows Explorer – new look is what You have to get used for a while. I still haven’t figured out how to disable Favoritesmenu and save last settings. I brought back old style File menu and I can live with it. Explorer crashes sometimes, especially when I try to sort thing in my Start menu, but this doesn’t happened very often, most of the time it works stable.

Most painful thing – User Account Control aka UAC – I’ve read about it few times but this is my first Vista installation. Number of messages one is getting from it when standard operations are performed on system is really annoying. To delete shortcut from all users start menu You have to answer to 4 or 5 different message boxes. Or to empty trash can – this operation also requires clicking on 3 message boxes. Something has to be done with it and from what I can read on Internet and other sources work on this thing is in progress.

New power management options – I like it, I can create different plans for energy savings and switch among them. This is useful when Your notebook is Your main hardware.
Additions like Sidebar – I have to find some useful widgets to use it, widgets to use it. Right now with fancy clock and CPU meter it’s something I can definitely get rid of.

New management tools are nice. Event viewer, event collecting, different views – I know, this is all going from MMC 3.0 but also new event services. Nice and clear console for performance monitoring,. I would gladly welcome Power Shell (I still prefer name Monad) as a part of standard installation but it is not here. That’s my quick impressions after installing the system and migrating my data onto it (I have backup 🙂 ), now I have to familiarize myself with new things and then I will be able to say something more accurate. From my current perspective, if You ask me about user experience only and we would not discuss details of this system it looks like refreshed Windows XP .

But it’s still Beta, RC are on the way … In few days I will try to post more about using Vista, if You are interested in this topic just stay tuned.