Vista Impressions

I’ve been self-hosting Vista Beta 2 on my notebook for a week. The overall verdict is: I like it. Here are some details:

The good:

  • No banged-out devices. Between the “in-box” stuff and Windows Update, I was good to go. I actually had more trouble with WinXP x64, a shipped product.
  • I can finally suspend/resume sucessfully. I hope this is the norm. I see too many half-closed laptops being toted around building 41
  • The boot menu has been redesigned and it now includes a memory tester. I can finally throw away my MemTest86+ floppy.
  • The sound control panel is much improved. I get per-app volume sliders, and only for the apps that are actually running. Bless you, Larry Osterman.
  • I don’t want to jinx myself, but the date popup is sufficiently changed as to suggest it might work reliably now. It has yet to fail me.
  • The new fonts are quite well done, and look especially nice with ClearType (on by default). My favorites are Segoe (the default sans-serif UI font) and Consolas (fixed-width for programming and cmd.exe, available here).

The Bad:

  • Windows needs my permission to continue. A lot. I worry that I’ll eventually approve something evil out of habit
  • I am desperately seeking the windows equivalent of sudo. If anyone in the LUA/UAC team is reading, I implore you: please add this functionality to runas.
  • I had hoped for an in-box MPEG2 decoder. No dice. DVD playback still requires additional software. Maybe this will change by RTM?
  • Aero Glass: frivilous eye candy or productivity boon? I’d like to make this judgment, but I don’t have WDDM graphics.
  • The sidebar and gadgets are a big letdown. Apple did it right, by placing the widets in a layer that spans the desktop and can be raised with a quick keypress. Why are the Vista gadgets confined to the side of my screen? I guess Microsoft’s corporate ego is too fragile to tolerate wholesale imitation of a good idea.
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