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Vista feedback

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  #1  
Old 10-31-2006, 09:15 PM
Doug Nelson's Avatar
Doug Nelson Doug Nelson is offline
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Vista feedback

Anyone trying out Vista yet? Any problems? Is it still free? For how long? Can you dual-boot with XP? Is it easy? Other comments?
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  #2  
Old 10-31-2006, 10:51 PM
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Re: Vista feedback

I am running full time Vista Ultra RC2 since it came out. A few weeks. Prior to RC2, I ran several flavors of Beta in "part time" mode: not in my primary system. And yes, RC2 is free. I don't believe MS charges for the software. Only charges to have it mailed to you.
Regarding installation in a system with XP while retaining dual boot: I don't run it in that mode, but I don't see being an issue if you have multiple partitions. I elected to wipe clean my HD and install it fresh.

There are 2 ways to look at Vista: how it looks and how it does what it does.

How it looks

It is visually stunning running in it is full resolution glory. It requires 32 bit color and a quite robust video card. If you are able to meet the criteria, you will truly appreciate how good it looks. The "glass" look is, at least for me, very nicely done. If the system is not robust enough to support the graphical experience at its top resolution, it will run at one of 2 other lower resolution modes: XP look and feel, or the classic windows interface.
Overall, big thumbs up from me.

How it works

Things become much more complicated commenting on this. MS, it is obvious, is trying to publish an OS that is fast, secure and user friendly.
They have succeeded in certain areas but not in others. It is the old joke in software development: you can have only have 2 out the magical three: cheap, fast and bug free. You can pick any two but never three.
There many areas in Vista that users will complain...This is specially true for moderate, technically savvy users. Entry level users, will be well served by following the wizards that MS provides. Advanced users, will never be lost, so it is not an issue. It is the "middle of the road" users: the ones that already knew their way around XP, but not necessarily why things happened the way they did, that will feel lost:

Folder structures has changed significantly

The control panel is very different

If you are used to manually configuring the network settings, good luck navigating the network wizard

Many actions now provide, sometimes ominous, warnings regarding the appropriateness of one's actions

Overall, it will take, just like it did with XP, some time getting used to. I'm still looking for things. It is like moving to new house: you move all the boxes but it takes you a year to find the contents in all the boxes.

Software backwards compatibility

This is strictly based on my experiences and it could be due to the way I tend to install and run applications. So please take this with a grain of salt...

I have several issues regarding backwards compatibility. None of them critical, but all alarming. I have managed to solve all issues but it is still disturbing. Some of the instances of things not running properly, are from software truly obscure that would be a challenge to run on any OS. But here goes some well known packages:

ACDsee Photomanager Pro
When you try to launch it, there is a warning that says, and I'm grossly paraphrasing here, "This software is not compatible with Vista". Even gives you the manufacturer's name, address, phone and URL so you can contact them and ask for an update. This tells me MS tested the software and found that, in the users' best interest, they should not run it. I have a trial copy and got it to run without (knock on wood...) incident.

ACDsee Photomanager 9.0
It launches with the same message as the Pro instance, but nothing works inside: can't see thumbnails, will not display a preview, the help doesn't launch etc etc.
I'm sure as soon as Vista is officially released, ACDsee will come out with updates.

Adobe Photoshop and Illustrator
In both cases, and after certain user actions (not the kind that you are thinking about: just regular use), some of the settings disappear. I don't have a better explanation for when it happens, but once in a while, my saved workspace fails to load. If I load it manually, all is well. Could be unrelated to Vista, but I never had that problem with XP.

Virus scan packages
With very few exceptions, the vast majority doesn't work. MS knew this and it provides, from within Vista links to its web site where they, from time to time, slowly certify vendors. The best known packages from MacFee, Symantec, etc., will not even install. The reason for this, is due to the fact that virus scan requires special access to the inner workings of windows and MS is very reluctant to provide the technical details on how to do it. As of now there are only 3 that have been "blessed" by the MS wizards.

Other packages
I tried to run several homegrown packages that ran fine in XP, but only moderate success in Vista. I found that software that was written strictly following MS best practices runs without a problem. Software that was written with folder structures hard coded within the source code ( a big no no... ) will not run since some of the critical folder structures within the OS have changed.

Hardware compatibility
Hardware purchased within the last 18 to 24 months will run without a problem. However I found 2 cases that surprised me:

Adaptec AHA-2940 SCSI Controller
This is an old card that was very common in higher end systems. I was very surprised that, for the sake of stability, MS elected not to support it. Adaptec card support was always a given. This means that my old trusted scanner was no more.

Microsoft Fingerprint Reader
I find it absurd that MS would elect to not certify (or even allow the installation) of one of its own pieces of hardware. That is right people: when you try to install it, it "barks" at you that it is only for XP. So the lesson here is: even still recent XP compatible hardware should run, it is not always the case.

On the plus side, MS has published a tool called Windows Vista Upgrade Advisor (http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvist...r/default.mspx) that does a very good job of painting a picture of the compatibility issues that you will face with your hardware (and software...). Even if you don't plan to install Vista in the foreseeable future, download and install the tool. It will be a learning experience.

I'll post other observations as I gain more experience.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Nelson
Anyone trying out Vista yet? Any problems? Is it still free? For how long? Can you dual-boot with XP? Is it easy? Other comments?
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  #3  
Old 11-01-2006, 03:50 AM
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Re: Vista feedback

You forgot to add the system requirements Frank. Vista will not run well on those with a less than top end system spec.

All this for a nice interface, who needs it?

Security, the very thing that M$ is trying to sell it on is not all it could be. Many AV programs do not work on Vista, and the malware writers have already found ways to exploit it.

What will in effect happen is that the bad guys will still know how to get junk onto your computer, but the very systems used to defend you will be the ones preventing you from removing it.

I'll certainly only be installing it once my current box "burns out", and I don't have any option because it will then be the default OS on any new purchase.
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Old 11-01-2006, 04:18 AM
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Re: Vista feedback

I'm hoping for photoshop and gaming on linux before I have to resort to vista. 3d interface?! yay, now I can lose track of my windows in a whole new dimension
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  #5  
Old 11-01-2006, 05:15 PM
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Re: Vista feedback

Here's an off-the-wall question: if you use a screencap app such as Hypersnap to capture just the application window, does the desktop (or whatever is underneith) show through the transparent bits, or does it snap to opaque for the screencap?

I'm downloading RC1 now, is this the latest public release? I assume it is, since the xfer is via MS Vista site. Any word on RC2 public date? I see RC2 mentioned, is this for developers only?
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Old 11-01-2006, 06:45 PM
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Re: Vista feedback

Instead of trying to explain, here is an example of a partial screen shot where a folder is on top of Firefox 2.0. It is clear the transparency effect.
RC2 was released to developers via MSDN weeks ago. So, I guess for now, the best you can do is try RC1.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Doug Nelson
Here's an off-the-wall question: if you use a screencap app such as Hypersnap to capture just the application window, does the desktop (or whatever is underneith) show through the transparent bits, or does it snap to opaque for the screencap?

I'm downloading RC1 now, is this the latest public release? I assume it is, since the xfer is via MS Vista site. Any word on RC2 public date? I see RC2 mentioned, is this for developers only?
Attached Images
File Type: jpg transparency_test.jpg (18.9 KB, 53 views)
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  #7  
Old 11-02-2006, 02:05 AM
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Re: Vista feedback

I was initially impressed and was expecting something great, but looking good seems to have taken priority at MS
The visualizations can be done in XP, and the transparent window feature is something I've had for ages with Nvidia software/drivers. As Vista is (and will be) hacked just as much as XP (if not more), I wont be buying it at the end of this month, or in Jan 07 when it goes public final release. I will give it a good 1-2 years, so it's stable and compatible with the software and hardware market .
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  #8  
Old 11-02-2006, 02:14 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Vista feedback

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrishoggy
I will give it a good 1-2 years, so it's stable and compatible with the software and hardware market
Good advice from chris, remember XP only really got stable after SP2 was released.
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  #9  
Old 11-02-2006, 03:22 AM
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Re: Vista feedback

Quote:
remember XP only really got stable after SP2
And even then it messed up many 1000's of systems XP SP3 is in the making, but may not actually be released as a service pack. MS has said it may be 2008 before they think of doing SP3.
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  #10  
Old 11-02-2006, 09:20 AM
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Gary Richardson Gary Richardson is offline
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Re: Vista feedback

Quote:
MS has said it may be 2008 before they think of doing SP3.
Great timing as usual M$. Glad they want to keep their existing customers happy. (Sorry couldn't find an Ironic smiley).
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