Windows Vista: There is still hope ahead

By on June 28, 2006, 6:04 AM
It all began when my laptop hard drive started failing a couple of weeks ago, so upon the arrival of a replacement drive I decided I would give Windows Vista Beta 2 a chance as my primary OS. With all my information backed up on another computer, I felt like I had nothing to lose.

I had previously tried Beta 1 for a short period of time, but as was to be expected it left me quite unimpressed. Beta 2 was different though, as it was touted as a real preview to the final OS release, just with all the bugs you can imagine. I installed it on my Thinkpad, and to my surprise after a rather long installation process, the system was pretty much ready to go with 95% of the drivers recognized by the OS.

After 72 hours of amusement and frustration at times, I was ready to give my opinion on the OS. I get the feeling Vista is going to be as much jump as Windows XP was to Windows 98, but definitely no more than that. That is not such a bad thing if you see Vista as the long-needed, evolutionary update that XP needed so badly.

I won't go further on new features as those have been already covered a thousand times before. I will mention though that the public beta 2 is still far too buggy to run as a primary OS unless you do enjoy frustration, several times a day. If you already jumped into the beta 2 bandwagon like I did, then you probably know what I mean, but if you haven't installed it yet but plan to do so, I certainly recommend you set up a dual boot environment and install Vista Beta in a separate partition which can be formatted later.

Which finally takes me to my last ramblings, and that is that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Reports are popping everywhere of a new Vista build (5456) based on Beta 2 and just a couple of weeks older, which seems to be working much better and stably. Although this version is not available to the public but only to selected tester groups, the word is out of the bag, with new 'Aero' cursors, improved application performance (including a previously sluggish Media Center), smaller RAM footprint, less annoying UAC (User Account Control), and an installation process that reportedly can take as little as 20 minutes (as a side note you should be able to upgrade Beta 2 to this new build if you can get your hands on it first).

It's too bad this is not going to be a public release, but it will have to wait until the next milestone (Release Candidate 1). In the other hand, I see a bright future for Vista, hopefully Microsoft will be able to deliver on time.

Update: I forgot to mention this incredibly useful Windows Vista Beta 2 Software Compatibility List.

User Comments: 4

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nic said:
Most of the real changes in Vista are "under the bonnet" and so are of benefit to other software developers in writing more sophisticated and secure software. Any user impressions are simply usabilty/look and feel related and do not cover the large improvement that Vista is over current/past Windows OS. There's a lot more to Vista than meets the eye.
Julio said:
Agreed, and I can't stress enough that beta software is just that, beta software. However the look and feel is the most palpable changes for the time being, and you can see Microsoft is taking steps in the right direction... late steps, but oh well :).
ThomasNews said:
There was an article I saw yesterday about UAC. Basically Microsoft saying - Don't switch it off, test it & give feedback. Hope they do get enough testing in for it as it seems it'll offer a more secure system; they just need to get the user interaction level right.
buttus said:
I for one am looking forward to the new OS....although I certainly hope that support for the 64-bit versionis much better then Win XP Pro-64.*shakes head*
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