Thursday, June 08, 2006

Windows Vista Beta 2 attempts

The weekend Vista Beta 2 was released, I downloaded it from the MSDN subscribers site and tried to install it on my desktop PC (P4, 2GB of memory, 500GB HD). The installation went quite well in fact. Even my two RAID configurations did not cause any problems since the old XP drivers still worked. Also, I was quite happy to see that the old DOS-style installation UI has been replaced by a genuine windows-based UI. You can even pop-up a command prompt with SHIFT-F10 at any point within the installation. Most other drivers are built-in, but I downloaded the latest NVidia driver for my Geforce 6800GT to get the most out of the Aero theme (which looks amazing). I was actually planning to replace my XP installation with the Vista (I have been using XP since it was beta 2), until I ran into a driver problem. Apparently, Creative does not have properly working drivers for the Audigy 2 ZS card I own. And, without it, Vista is useless, so that’s that…

Then one of my colleagues mentioned that he had installed Vista Beta 2 on his company laptop, a Dell Latitude D800. He was quite fond of it and convinced me that it was working like a charm. He already replaced his standard XP and installed all the other stuff as well (Visual Studio 2005, WinFx beta stuff, WWF, WCF, Office 2007 Beta 2). After a week or so, I decided to try it as well. The installation did run like a charm. All the drivers were installed automatically, even WiFi and Bluetooth. With XP, you need to install a long list of drivers to get it to run properly. I then installed all the common packages and components I use for daily work. But then the trouble began….

After a few BSODs while trying to get my laptop to sleep (closing the lid), several forced kills of the explorer.exe process, and the WiFi connection failing intermittingly, I decided to put my XP installation back. My girlfriend uses the laptop for daily browsing and wasn’t quite happy with all these problems. Let’s wait for beta 3.

Although I do see the potential of Vista (and many of you will too), Scott Finnie wrote an enjoyable article highlighting some of the things you may not like.