Reviews

Windows Vista RC2 Review in Reviews

28 October 2006 | Comments (2)

I’ve installed today Windows Vista RC2, to be more specific this is 5744 version.

I use Vista RC1 5600 version and want to show you how it looks, but now when i got fresh RC2 you can see this new version.

Firefox RC2 in Vista RC2

First screen show new Firefox RC2. It is so nice, got new great looking icons and looks much better that 1.5 version.

Good job on that, the best browser ever.

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1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (No Ratings Yet)
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Windows Vista Beta 2, My First Look in Reviews

18 July 2006 | Comments (11)

Windows Vista Beta 2, My First Look
by Michael Whalen from Whalesalad

After finally installing the necessary software on my Mom’s laptop so it would burn DVD’s, I managed to burn a copy of Windows Vista Beta 2. I was eagerly anticipating the new interface during its seemingly endless install process. I decided to go out for a quick ride, and upon returning, the installation was complete. Many of you haven’t had the chance to see Vista in action, let me tell you, the screenshots do no justice. It looks amazing and is actually pretty quick.

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So about that install, yeah, it took forever. I left when it had just started “deflating files”, which is the process right after the first stage, “Copying Files…”. It took what felt like 20 minutes to copy the files off of the DVD, but I have an old and slow DVD drive. Then the deflating begun, and as I said, that is where I left. When I came back about an hour and a half later; however, it was done and ready for use.

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I went through the initial configuration which consisted of setting the time and date, choosing a username and password, as well as a desktop image and other small details like that. The entire install really reminded me of a Linux install. It did the install work and then on first boot did more of the configuration. One thing I disliked about the Windows XP install was the frequent questions during installation, Vista fixes this so you can do pretty much anything and come back later to find a complete install.

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After first logging on I was pretty excited. I really didn’t know where to go first. A bunch of windows popped up, most were alerts of driver installations, etc… One window though, was the welcome center. Similar to the window you are greeted with in Windows Server 2003, this one gives a short summary of the new OS, some tools to transition from one to the other, shortcuts, etc… Its basically, well, exactly what it is, a welcome center.

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I started out immediately by installing Firefox. Soon after, I realized that my sound didn’t work, so I got to work installing a driver for that. I was quite surprised to watch Vista pretty much handle everything on its own. It asked me if it could handle it on it’s own, I said yes, and it quickly scurried into the background and very soon later my speakers were singing, Queen’s Greatest Hits album to be exact.

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One item on the start menu which caught my eye, was the Media Center. I have always wanted to build my own media center pc, and seeing that little icon got me all excited. I started up the Media Center and began fooling around. I have to give props to Microsoft for doing a good job with the Media Center. Like the rest of Vista, it looks really shiny and clean, everything is smooth and good looking, and the sounds/animations are the icing on the cake. Which by the way, is chocolate icing. When people refer to icing on the cake… yeah its chocolate icing.

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The interface isn’t too much different than XP. It looks much better, of course, but it has the same overall feel. This is good because when upgrading, its comforting to know that the overall layout of things is the same. For less technically inclined computer users, making the jump to “Vista” won’t be difficult at all.

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And that brings us to the next topic… Hardware. Many people will probably be unable to upgrade to Vista because their hardware doesn’t meet the requirements. My system is an AMD Athlon 64 with 1GB of ram and a 9800Pro video card, and everything works quite niceley, however, on my Laptop (which I also installed vista on, and am using at this moment), there really is no reason to upgrade. On my Laptop, which is an AMD Athlon XP 2500+ (Sense a pattern here, AMD processors? Yeah, they’re the best), I can’t take advantage of any of the nice gui features.

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I don’t have any of the real nice transparent windows, the taskbar isn’t transparent either. Alt-Tab doesn’t have the same appeal, and the new feature that allows you to shuffle through windows sort of like a rolodex, doesn’t work at all. (On my 64-bit rig, you would do this by pressing the windows key plus tab, similar to alt-tab). The following is a good screenshot of both IE7, and the lack of good lookin gooeyness on my Laptop because of its weak video card.

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Now, you all know by now that I absolutley love the new interface, but what kind of things has it got going under the hood? Well, for starters, everything is a whole lot more “secure”. Meaning, for every single little thing you want to do, you’ve got to click a few obnoxious dialog boxes confirming you’d like to allow xyz service to do such and such. It reminds me of what Linux distrobutions are doing lately, asking you if you really want to make some change. Drives me absolutley insane, I know what im doing, so give me some option in the control panel to turn off all the bullshit.

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Enough ranting, how about whats under the hood? Yeah I said that already. The Explorer has had a huge makeover. One thing everyone who is using the Beta has probably noticed, is that when Explorer crashes it automatically “fixes” itself. Sadly, this happens quite too often. Explorer has a lot more of the OSX features. The “Smart Folders” idea has been applied letting you save a search as a folder, etc…

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What about Internet Explorer? Well it has had a makeover too. It has the same sort of appearance as the regular Explorer, but with tabs. IE7 has a whole lot of improvements, too many too list, so I will just share some of the things which I like. First of all, when middle clicking, control clicking, whathaveyou, the tab opens after the tab it was opened from, not at the end. For example, lets say we have tabs A, B, C and D open. If I click a link within tab B, the new tab will open right after B, before C and D. This is awesome because it keeps similar tabs together, instead of everything opening one after another. Also, when you have a saved password, and for some reason you enter a different password into that field (example, your password has changed) IE lets you know that you entered a different password and asks if you would like to replace what it is currently remembering, with the new one. Pretty sweet stuff.

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Windows Media Player has improved as well. It far surpasses every other version of Windows Media Player, in terms of looks, maybe not in terms of performance. For me at least, its difficult to navigate my library, and at times WMP will suck every available system resource to simply play an MP3 file.

They are headed in the right direction, but iTunes is still, at least for me, the dominant music player.

Vista has left a good mark on me. I will probably continue to use it as my primary OS on my laptop, but Windows XP will dominate my desktop rig while at home. Certain things just take too long or are overly complex (simple Windows networking for instance). The GUI is pleasing, and that’s what is keeping me hooked at the moment. I hope that in the final release there is an anti-dumbass switch some of us will be able to press to turn off all the totally annoying warnings. Until then, which I guess is a bazillion years from now, I’ll have to stick with the annoyances.

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars 3.63 out of 5
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