Tuesday, February 21, 2006

*UPDATED* I'm running Windows Vista

So I finally got around to installing the Windows Vista Beta... Actually I read some reviews that it was stable to the point that you could use it without to many problems so I figured it was time to jump in!

I'll keep my thoughts brief as I've got too many too tell on the subject. But I will try and kill a few impressions and concerns that I had when reading about the OS over the last year or so.

First off Windows Vista is a more then a simple graphic upgrade to XP. It's not whole lot more but there is more to it then that.

Microsoft is laying the ground work for an entirely different way to think about the files on your computer and more importantly they are going to change the way you use your computer...

They're moving away from the "tree" based file system (c:\ being the root and all the folders and files below being the rest of the tree) to an SQL based file system that will not care where the software is installed or where your My Document folder actually is, just that's it there. This allows you to access your data in a lot of different ways that were slow and inefficient with a tree based file system. It will also add a lot of flexibility in the corporate and security world. Word on the street is the SQL file system will not be part of Vista but it's smart to get us used to using our systems in a way that seems like we are using the new file system... Yeah..

A couple other things that the press has been harping on is that we'll all need these beastly computers to run Vista due to the 3D interface... Fact is the Beta which is always slower then the final product is as fast and in a lot of ways faster then XP. It will require more ram then normal but honestly everyone should be considering 1 gig as a standard now days. It also handles ram much more efficiently than in XP so while it says you're using more ram then normal but that's because it's actually speeding up your system.

Next thing is this "3D" interface that they keep pushing.. The picture about is the only thing "3D" about the interface in the way you think of 3D. The tilted look above is just a way to select a window that's open. You can't tilt windows on the fly or anything. What is 3D about the interface is the window borders, menus, and a lot of other things have this awesome frosted glass look to them. You can even see through them. It's really nice looking. There are some really cool animations that make switching between windows a lot smoother. Over the graphic changes are really great.

My biggest issue with the OS so far is the new "security" features they have built into it. They are completely over the top. On a default install every time (and I mean every time) you click on ANYTHING that launches a program you get a pop up window that asks if you want to permit the action... I want to use my damn computer and don't have time to click "permit" every time I click on something! If I didn't want to launch it I wouldn't have clicked on it! This is still in beta so hopefully they will listen to the cries of the testers and change this before the final release.

Anyway, there are some other things that are good and bad but overall once the new interface started to click and I started to think differently about how I access my data I find my self really liking it. I think it's going to be extremely difficult for the average user to get used to but honestly.... What isn't?

Sorry. I'm an IT guy what do you expect? ;-)


So the latest version of the Vista beta was released yesterday. This the first one with all the features that Vista will have built in. And more importantly the user interface has had a huge update done to it and is much easier for the average user to get around in.

Things feel a little more like the XP interface only much nicer looking, the access to data as changed back to a better mix of old and new allowing for the everyday user to adapt much easier to the new system.

Windows Explorer still does some odd things like once you go a few folders deep the quick access links on the left side go away and it becomes a single view of the folder you're in.. That's fine and all but it doesn't allow for easy copy and paste from one folder 3 levels deep to another folder a few levels deep. And what if I want to copy a few files from a folder into a number of other folders? I'd have to open another window or navigate all the way to folder and then back just to copy the one file. The left panel shouldn't go away just because I went a couple folders deep.

The 3D effects are fully working now and IMO it looks really good. I'm sure they will only get better... It seems the effect that you see in the first screen shot that tilts all the windows has been removed or at least haven't found it yet. It was in the quick launch bar in the last build. I can't say this is a bad thing, while it's cool looking it honestly had little use. At least for me.

The same windows security features are still on by default which is a MAJOR mistake on Microsoft’s part and it's difficult to disable as it has to be done via group policy. The OS should not ask you to permit the action every time I double click on ANYTHING. That's just crazy and I really have no clue how someone can use it for more then ten minutes and think it's a good idea.

Oh one other thing is all of my laptop's drivers are support on the default install expect for my sound card and oddly my modem! This is HUGE to us who reformat hundreds of machines a year and have to go dig up drivers for everything.

Once again I'm much more impressed then I expected to be with the OS. See the screen shot above for a little better view of the new Aero Glass 3D desktop.


At 2/24/2006 2:11 PM, Blogger audi said...

that sounds really cool. except for that security thing. i like the movement away from a tree based filing system.

At 2/25/2006 1:42 PM, Blogger Nick said...

Half of those new GUI features were quite clearly stolen from the Mac OSX.

Come on, admit it.

At 2/25/2006 6:29 PM, Blogger Moo_Cow said...

That only means it's 1/2 better then Mac OSX... You add that to the 132% that XP already had up on OSX and Steve might as well give up.

At 2/26/2006 10:59 PM, Blogger Nick said...

XP was a miserable operating system. Not only was it ugly, but it was a memory hog. It didn't lock up like 98 or 2000, but it was still a pretty annoying experience.

Mac OSX is the king of usability and easy understanding.

As long as Steve is making quality compact desktops like the iMac, high-powered machines like the Quad-core G5, and beautiful, beautiful laptops, he'll do just fine.

At 2/27/2006 10:19 AM, Blogger Moo_Cow said...

Sorry, I won't be moved on this one... Never have been a Mac fan and while OSX is MUCH better than any of the other versions it's still a Mac. It's just hard to be happy about a system with 10% of the market share that has a tiny line up of software comparably and are way over priced.

Don't get me wrong MS has plenty of issues, XP is extremely stable but I shouldn't clean boot to 400MB RAM used... That's just stupid. And it is pretty fugly. But at least I have choice on hardware vendors, I can play games on it (More than 10), I never have to wonder if the software I'm about to download has a "windows" version... (unless you’re trying to crack WEP keys... They never did port Kismet or the other over from Linux), and at least I've got a @#@!ING right mouse button!! (and don't give me that "Well, you and plug one in and use it" crap) ;-)

Just too much to give up for a pretty silver case and little nicer looking OS that has just as many odd little bugs as Windows. I think we should agree to disagree, I’ve found it’s always a good thing to do with this argument people stay friends longer if they just look the other way on the Mac/Windows war.. 


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