Saturday, October 14, 2006

Windows Vista

Here I am, having been waiting for weeks for the Windows Vista RC1 DVDs to arrive. The beta 2 arrived in July/August but my computer was not poweful enough at the time to install it.

When I lost Titania (see previous post "End of an Era") and upgraded, I've kept a primary partition on my new Hard Disk to install the RC1 later.

Installation
Last night I went through the installation procedure. I ran the installer from within XP and chose the empty partition (V:) to install Vista. So far so good. Soon after, the first BSOD appeared. Oh yes, I was hoping that Vista would have a different way of informing you of problems, but BSOD it is! Memory Management error it said... However, after the reboot the installation resumed and it seemed to be ok.

First boot
First boot, everything looks neat and in order. A few questions about regional settings, computer name and it's ready. The new interface needs a few moments to get used to but it looks nice. Minutes later, a new BSOD - memory management again. Reboot - again. Tried the Memory diagnostics on the second boot but they didn't show any problems. Weird.

When I went into Vista again, the error was reported to Microsoft and the feedback I got said that it has been solved in the Final version. Let's hope. Since then I only got one more BSOD after installing the NVidia drivers (mem management again) but now everything appears to be stable and fine. Until the next BSOD that is :-)

What I liked
There are a few things that are good about Vista:
  • Mainly, the fact that I installed them to my V: drive and they remained there. After the boot they didn't change any drive letters. All my stuff is in the same place. They appear to be happily using V: as the system drive and they know that my C: drive has XP on it. That was very good indeed, as I was afraid that they will name the boot drive C: and change the other drive letters accordingly but it didn't happen. Good stuff!
  • User Interface. Admittedly Vista looks more modern and more polished than its predecessors. Aero looks fresh with the transparent title bars and light-up buttons but to be honest with you, my own Toolbox application had window transparency and blurring years ago without the need for an ultra-fast and expensive graphics card. ;-)
  • The sidebar with all those gadgets is a nice feature that somehow seems neat, however you can't stop thinking that you've seen it on a Mac before.
  • Window Switching and taskbar window preview. The new Window Switching feature looks quite neat. Again something we've seen in Macs although with a somewhat different touch. The taskbar can show you a preview of the window while hovering over an item. Definitely nice looking, I question its day-to-day use though.
  • InkBall. The game - even though we first saw it on the Tablet PCs it's a nice little fun game to play.

What I didn't like
And now the list of the things I didn't like:
  • User Account Control. How annoying! I had to search the net immediatelly in order to find out how to disable. Basically, I launched a program that stores its settings in .ini files and every time it tried to write to its own private .ini files, Vista prompted me for confirmation that I would like to allow this to happen! Then it dims the screen and asks for another confirmation. How can they possibly judge the importance of write access to a file simply by looking at its extension? There you go, now all our programs will need to store settings in .txt or .xml files, until the next Windows version comes along which decides that they are important system files and need to be protected! Ridiculously pedantic this feature needs a lot of more work. Sorry.
  • Lots of standard Windows applications don't have the same look and feel as the newer tools, i.e. the GUI components don't look like Vista, they look like Win2000 on a Vista frame. I guess this is a "feature" of RC1 and lots of little things like that will be polished by the time the OS hits the shelves. I'm not gonna be that harsh on MS on this.
Problems
  • Well, the BSOD of course. I don't know what's wrong with my RAM. It's basically very expensive and brand new and it seems to be working fine with XP. So I tend to think that it's Vista's problem not a hardware problem. Let's see.
  • A few things didn't work very well with Aero, like for example when my second monitor start flickering and the windows contents where flashing etc., but I guess this is early days for both Aero and my graphics card's drivers.
Conclusion
The big question of course is: "Will I upgrade?"
To be perfectly honest I will. I will definitely upgrade, the real question is though "When?". I'm quite happy with the stability of XP, although I quite fancy the new interface.

ScreenShots
Here's a couple of screenshots of my desktop. Beware full size is 3200x1200 (!):



Switching Windows





Buena Vista

4 comments:

vpapanik said...

Upgrade ? Of course !!! But when SP1 comes out !

Remember memtest86 ? Give it a try on your expensive RAM. And since the RAM is expensive and passes the test, and since you have a brand new Core2Duo, WHY DON'T YOU OVERCLOCK ? Otherwise you lose performance that is offered to you for free...

vpapanik said...

Hmmm, NEITHER vista supports dual screen properly ! The taskbar is confined into one monitor again...still UltraMon is necessary...

Now will wait for SP2

ksymeon said...

You were right! memtest86 rocks! My second Gb is bust! And I can't find the receipt now! Argh!!! Running on 1Gb now... :-(

vpapanik said...

This is why you had BSODs.

Also CPU-Z rocks and you should check it out. And then you can overclock your already dazzling Core2Duo... :)