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Vista - hot or not?

Updated: Warm, but very pretty

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Letters The people have spoken. Vista seems to be a success, of sorts. While some of you are experiencing teething problems, the majority agree it is very pretty. Which is nice.

This reader was particularly flattering…

I read one of your articles "Vista creeps over the Horizon" where you asked for emails from people who have downloaded vista and office 12.

I have installed both and have been running them for the past fortnight or so via an MSDN license. My experiences have in large been fantastic. Reliability has been top notch and I have experienced no serious issues at all.

The only minor issue seems I have experienced seems to be playing some mpegs in windows media player. Bizarrely they work fine in the preview through picture viewer but not through media player? I have used the new backup and shadow copy features and they seem to work great.

The ability to open folders, especially large ones set to thumbnail view is massively faster in Vista. One particular folder in XP takes on average 3 mins to open, in Vista it takes only a few seconds. The search functionality, whilst similar to Google Desktop, is integrated much better and easier to navigate and to find the items you really want.

I love the new UI in both Vista and Office. Office is a revelation, some of the enhanced rendering and functions make advanced and basic using significantly easier, and the results can look like very professional. It takes a bit of time getting used to some Office applications "ribbon" menu, but once you have got used to it, it is much easier to find what you really want.

I have also noticed that Office 11 (not sure on other versions) seems to automatically download a compatibility pack to ensure it can open and use some of the functionality of documents written in Office 12, possibly meaning that organisations don't necessarily have to update everyone's software in one go. In large, I have been massively impressed.

David


I've installed it on a brand new laptop... and it sure is pretty and the graphics render quickly.. I've not been so impressed by a User Interface since a 1985 and the Apple Mac.

Some things seem to be broken:

  • Forgets that I've already selected the "keep google as default search", and prompts to select from a list.
  • Treats Java like a dangerous virus.
  • The news feeder does not allow non MSN news to be added

Other comments:

  • Project 2007 & Visio 2007 do not share the new office button-bar
  • Visual Studio 2005 prompts to download a fix for Vista because of compatibility.
  • Memory usage at rest went from 300mb to 700mb in the upgrade

Steve


I installed Vista (MSDN Ultimate Edition) and Office 2007 onto my ancient Toshiba Tecra M1 laptop which I’m not even sure counts as having any sort of graphics card. Not only does it now boot faster than XP ever did, it also supports all the onboard hardware out of the box and is much more responsive than XP ever was. Overall, I’m extremely impressed so far – particularly as I was expecting it to run like an absolute dog on this laptop!

I have also installed 64-bit vista on my hand-build Atlon64 X2 system and it also runs nicely there too – only issue I’ve come across is that I can’t get drivers for my cheapie Actiontec USB 802.11b WiFi thingie

Alex


Applications can no longer steal focus when they want your attention. Instead, they now politely blink on the taskbar. That alone is worth the upgrade for me.

Chris


Have just set up Windows Vista 64 bit and I'm emailing from it now. Seems good so far (3 hours ish!), but it completely ignores Windows Server 2003 group policies. Looks pretty though, nicer than OS X Aqua IMO. Haven't had to install any drivers yet at all, this on a Dell Precision 380. I've only had problems with finding drivers for printers, presumably because of being the 64 bit version.

Overall, not as bad as some people make it out to be.

Ross


Not too bad, eh? Unfortunately, Windows Vista Business N hasn't received the same accolades:

I downloaded Vista about a week and a half ago. I have it running on 3 machine.

There are two versions of Vista Business, one with an "N", and one without.

It seems that the "N" stands for nobbled, because Media Player (and other less important stuff) has been removed.

The non "N" version is better. The aero interface runs on a basic graphics card (a cheap Dell machine), but some applications won't work with the aero interface, and resort to a "basic" look until the application is shutdown. Bizarrely this includes Flight Sim X (better on Vista according to the box!)

The rest is a typical Same Old, Same Old. Some stuff works, some doesn't (Nero 7, I'm looking at you)

On my home computer (for testing purposes obviously), the COM keeps crashing, and I've had a few lockups, especially with regards to the sleep-mode. Once the computer rebooted whilst sat doing nothing what-so-ever.

A strange feature is the Power Off button, which puts the computer into sleep mode. This takes longer to start-up again than a clean start. Now turning the computer off becomes a menu option, not just a button press.

Final analysis is that there is no big improvement from XP, it still feels buggy, and whatever you do, don't get Windows Vista Business N!

Stewart


Nor is this reader impressed:

So here I am, downloaded the iso, burned to DVD, installed on suitably powered work horse. Install drivers, well the ones I can find any way! Install office 2007, and everything looks clean, tidy, fresh and new! And here is where the fun starts, we use isa server 2004, and given that there are applications that are not proxy aware one needs to install the isa server firewall client, however the firewall client has "known compatibility issues". No worry, let's just install the new one for windows vista... but there isn't one... and then a user approaches me, can i change my password for the network please? Of cause I say! So I go to install the windows server 2003 SP1 admin tools... seem to install fine, run active directory users and computers... and hey presto...! Broke.... I could go on and on...! I think it's safe to say the Beta testing process has just begun...!

Tim


I just read your article on Vista and thought I'd give you my brief experience of it having just downloaded and installed it from MSDN this afternoon. Everything went fine, including updating the drivers via Windows Update then I clicked on IE's icon and got a blue screen of death! Fortunately after the automatic reboot IE decided to open.

Oh and it does look very pretty!


Pretty or not, things get worse.

You asked for first impressions - have been running Vista Business today on a Dell Precision.

UI is lovely - no complaints there.

Cannot get it to talk to our department 'Snap Server' at all - I've tried changing NTLM negotiations to no effect.

Server 2003 admin tools simply do not work. On running 'Terminal Services Manager' for example, I am told that it failed, then a pop up tells me this will be fixed in the 'final version' of Vista. (I tought this WAS the final version...)

The new Terminal Services client is INFURIATING. Say you want to do something simple, like connect to a terminal server that is in a domain. First, you HAVE To input a username before it will even attempt to connect, but then, it will treat the username you give it as a local account on the server, tell you that it failed to log in (no shit, but worse - this could cause an account lock out) then finally you get to be able to type in your credentials, but the domain is set to the local machine context. Come back TS client 5 - all is forgiven.

I was initially impressed with support for Rupert, my Orange M3100 - connected it and in a few seconds it was ready to go. Vast improvements over active sync include the ability to browse the device exactly like the existing drives (i.e. my internal storage and storage card are presented in explorer as drives) and a lot faster. Still can't simply save directly to the phone which would be nice as it would be like having a flash pen but at least I can double click images and view them from Vista without having to transfer them first.

'Sync Center' seems to be the replacement for ActiveSync, however it only seems to want to let me sync music with Windows Media Player, but worse - it doesn't let me choose the 1Gb card I have in the phone - only the 53Mb of internal storage I have free. Naturally in true Microsoft fashion it warns me that this is not enough storage, while totally ignoring the 800Mb I have free on the storage card.

The ability to sync with Outlook does not present itself. Hmm.

Am going to be experimenting by installing Vista on various other hardware we have lying around.

Fitz


And then worse again...

My review of Vista is limited to: I wouldn't install it even if you paid me to. Even if you paid me a lot.

It is crap. And I thought XP was bad. Pretty new graphics don't make up for constant reminders, questions, and babying by the OS.

Stefan

Oh dear.


A few of my fellow moderators who are lucky enough to have earned MVP status have their free MSDN accounts, and have had vista for almost 2 weeks now, there is plenty about it in our Windows Vista Forum here: http://discussions.virtualdr.com i'm not lucky enough to catch Microsoft's eye yet, so i guess i'll have to wait until January 30th aswell.:-(

Liam


I installed Vista (MSDN Ultimate Edition) and Office 2007 onto my ancient Toshiba Tecra M1 laptop which I’m not even sure counts as having any sort of graphics card. Not only does it now boot faster than XP ever did, it also supports all the onboard hardware out of the box and is much more responsive than XP ever was. Overall, I’m extremely impressed so far – particularly as I was expecting it to run like an absolute dog on this laptop! I have also installed 64-bit vista on my hand-build Atlon64 X2 system and it also runs nicely there too – only issue I’ve come across is that I can’t get drivers for my cheapie Actiontec USB 802.11b WiFi thingie J

Alex


I installed Vista RC1 and it scared the daylights out of my PC (3.0GHz, 2GB RAM, 128MB Graphics, etc.) and I cleansed my system of it in less than a week. I didn’t get round to testing RC2, but I have recently downloaded and installed the latest release through MSDN and it installed a lot easier than RC1; I only had to hunt for 1 device driver.

I have only put a few applications on it so far, mostly Office 2007 and Visual Studio 2005, but the one application that caused grief was Nero. I upgraded my OEM v6.3 copy to the latest “Vista compatible” version from Nero, but got multiple failures during the installation. I have been able to burn a DVD using Nero Burning ROM, but find it concerning that there were so many problems during the installation. As the latest version of Nero comes bundled loads of stuff (why would I want a replacement for Media Centre when I don’t use the Microsoft version anyway?) it may take some time to figure out what doesn’t work properly. I have emailed Nero about this, but they haven’t bothered to respond to me yet.

On the whole I have to say it looks nice enough and I shall probably switch to Vista full-time (currently dual-booting) in the very near future.

Regards,

Des

So there you have it. If you've just downloaded the new products, or are busy doing so, we want to hear how you got on. Send your views to news@theregister.co.uk. ®

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