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My first week with Vista

So, this is my first week running Vista (RC1) on my primary machine. It’s a laptop that I use exclusively both at work and at home. The specs are:


Alienware M7700

  • 3.8GHz Intel P4 w/HT
  • 2GB RAM
  • 100GB 7200RPM SATA HD (two NTFS partitions)
  • nVidia GeForce 6800 Ultra Go (beta WDDM drivers)
  • Realtek High Definition Audio card (beta drivers)

I get a “Windows Experience Index” of 4.4 and that’s really only because apparently a 3.8GHz ain’t much these days. My graphics card gets me a whopping 5.9 and everything else is around 5.0.


I have to say first that I’m a sucker for pretty presentation and so I love Aero Glass. I find it both aesthetically pleasing as well as functional. For the most part it runs smooth as a baby’s bottom on my machine. Video playback is a little chunky as is transitioning to and from Flip3D. Like others, I do wish there was a little more eye candy that could be enabled. I understand that Microsoft has to target a broad audience, but that doesn’t mean they had to rip out the fancy features… just disable them by default. Also, I haven’t played any games on here yet, but then again I don’t really do that on the PC so much these days… that’s what the 360 is for. 😉


Audio is a little rough. I don’t have a very good soundcard to begin with… in fact the worst thing about this laptop is that the audio is absolutely the worst I’ve ever had in a computer in a long time. Vista wise I get a lot of cracking and stuttering with the most recently available beta drivers.


Disk performance has mixed results. To some extent, things feel infinitely faster than XP. Launching applications, loading media, building… they all seem quicker. However, if I do ANYTHING with zip files the performance is absolutely unacceptable. I don’t know what they’re doing, but they need to fix it. I do know one thing… they need to stop extracting zip files in the user’s temp directory because if I’m not targeting the files to be extracted to that drive I have to pay a move penalty. Dumb. Also strange is deleting medium size directory structures. I went to delete my Temporary ASP.NET Files folder today and it estimated over 3hrs and constantly popped up confirmation dialogs about deleting subfolders. It really did take over an hour to delete what XP would have deleted in about 10 seconds max. Both of these problems however seems related to explorer and not really the I/O subsystem.


Now on to User Account Protection. Uhh… I like it! However the implementation is downright painful right now. I’m not even talking about the fact that I have to encounter it so often… that part is actually quite comforting to me because I feel protected. What I’m talking about is the actual UI implementation itself. How come the blacking out of the screen is so jarring? Hello… how about taking advtange of DWM? Eeeeaaaaase in the semi-transparent black background and confirmation dialog box instead of causing the screen to blank and then pop in. Ugh. I turned it off because of this alone… not because I don’t like the protection it offers me. That’s a BAD sign. Fix it quick!


Application compatibility I haven’t had any real problems. There are a couple programs I can use such as our VPN software (CheckPoint SecureRemote) and today I went to install Mr. Sell’s incredibly useful RegEx testing tool and it couldn’t find .NET 1.1.422 even though it’s obviously installed. My main programs are IE, VS Team Suite, JetBrains Omea Reader (errors out whenever you first launch it), WMP 11+Urge, Windows Live Messenger, SQL 2005 Development Edition + Express. All are running fine. I’m also running Office 2007 B2TR on here and loving it.


While I don’t think it’s quite ready for prime time yet, I don’t think MS will have a problem hitting their release date. I’m more concerned about the third parties that have to get their driver support together. Even though they’ve had at least all of 2006 to figure it out that’s one of the biggest complaints I ever hear about Vista. Heck I had to search the internet high and low to finally find drivers for my SATA controller. The version that came on the OEM CD will not work. I even contacted the manufacturer, Promise, and they told me they had no plans to support Vista. Then I contacted Alienware and they told me to go to Promise. *sigh*


As I finish writing this, I see that a new build has just been released to Beta testers. I think I’ll stick with RC1 until RC2 hits. All I can hope is that, once Vista lands, Microsoft makes the right decision and just builds a better consumer experience on the platform for the next 5-10 years instead of trying to write an entirely new one again. Just focus on the consumer features ’cause this kernel should carry us just fine for a while.

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  1. I think there’s no way to bring in the UAP dialogs via DWM, because you are actually loading a secure desktop (the same as when you ctrl+alt+del) and therefore DWM isn’t available. It just appears you’re desktop is there because they pass a bitmap of your desktop to alpha-blend into the background. You can see this clearly if you have a video running — it will not continue playing “behind” the UAP prompt.

  2. John,Ahh… I see. Well they really have to do something about it because it’s just really unfriendly and seems to go against everything Vista is supposed to represent from a user experience point of view. I would absolutely leave the feature on if it weren’t for this. :(Later,Drew