Windows Vista RC2: installation, first impressions, Aero style

In the morning I found that the ISO image of Windows Vista RC2 has completed downloading (the total size was 2.49 GB). Quickly I found the blank DVD+R disc and also found that it was the last DVD from the 50 pieces disc pack. Well I was lucky that I had at least one left :). I burned the image using my favorite burning software Nero. I wanted to verify my image so I made Nero to “Verify written data” after the burning process. 10 minutes later the DVD was burned and it seemed it did not have any read problems.

Then I used software to repartition my hard drive. I had to make my primary Windows installation partition smaller and meanwhile deleted the Linux swapspace partition. Eventually I had about 10GBs free, which I thought was pretty enough for Windows installation and couple more apps.

Windows Vista RC2 installation

After completing few steps to get a free serial key from Microsoft (I found some instructions here) I was able to start the installation. The system has just restarted for the first time after I initiated the installation and it seems like it’s completing the installation now.
Some time later…
Well it took over 20 minutes to finish the installation since the reboot. So finally I’m in Vista :).

Windows Vista RC2 desktop screenshot

Windows Vista RC2 Welcome Center screenshot

The first thing you see after you’re done doing some basic setup (user, time, network) is the Welcome Center. It has some worthless stuff and I don’t think anyone will turn to it after having Vista installed the first time.

Windows Vista RC2 Start menu screenshot

Well, let’s get more into it. Start menu. Start menu has not changed much from Windows XP. The changes are not that radical as we saw in Windows XP comparing to previous versions like Windows 2000 or 98.

The most useful thing I’d say is the search field. Once you click start or press the “Start” button on the keyboard the Start menu pops up with the search field focused. What’s the use of it? When you type a search phrase results appear above the search field instead of the programs list. Matched programs appear first, then your browser (IE7) history and favorites and also recent files you have viewed. Program search becomes useful when you want to access an application that you don’t use often and you’re too lazy to look through a huge list of installed software to find that little app. All you do is just type in the app name and press Enter and you’re done. I enjoyed launching Calculator that way. Just type in ‘calc’ press Enter and you have calculator opened. Let’s say you want to access your music. Type in ‘music’ and the first result is the “Music” folder from your user’s directory.

Besides the program search it can do the file search quickly and pretty accurately. I did not have a chance to test the speed on a huge collection of music, videos and downloaded crap, so I can’t speak much about that.

The new Aero look. It looks cool but does not impress me much comparing to MacOS X or Linux XGL (see video here). I think Microsoft could add more cool GUI features. Well, it’s better than XP anyways, so most of us who never used MacOS or Linux XGL will spend hours enjoying the new GUI features of Vista.

One interesting and rather useful feature is the window switching when all opened windows are shown in 3D. It looks good and saves time looking for a specific window. It looks better than Mac’s Expose, but Expose gives a better overview if you have many windows opened. You can also scroll through the windows using your mouse scroll. It brings some realistic look and feel :).

It is also interesting how you can access this feature. The icons in the Quick Launch panel are bound to Win+[Number key] shortcut on your keyboard. For example first icon in the Quick Launch panel is Win+1, second one is Win+2 (which by default is the cool windows switching function).

To be continued…


2 Responses to “Windows Vista RC2: installation, first impressions, Aero style”

  1. bardicknowledge Says:

    I haven’t used Vista since before the RC1 was released. Have they finally fixed the program compatibility issues yet? Because if they have I will just delete my partition of XP and install Vista. My biggest concern is thecompatibilty though. I have played with all other features. I like the GUI more than Mac OSX ( I personally don’t like macs) and the same goes for ‘most’ Linux GUI’s. The XGL GUI is just so pretty XD.

    And since I use my pc a lot of my school work (web programming and development) I need to ensure its ability to run the software I need.

    But if they haven’t I am still going to download it when I get a chance ( I am currently at my parents for thankgiving ).

    Have you read about how Vista supposedly increases torrent speed by 10% because of the way the stack has been designed? I am going to test this hopefully sometime this week using uTorrent. If you are curious I will reply back with my findings 😛

  2. freeborn182 Says:

    Well, I’ve used the only Vista I used before was Beta 1, but it was really different and many thing have changed. Moreover I used it over a year ago and not more than for 1 hour, so I do not remember much. That did not look like a great step comparing to XP. I guess they did not even have the IPv6 compatability.

    Compatability is also my concern. I tried to run Photoshop CS2 (I’m doing some photography and I need it) and it was incompatible with Aero style so Vista automatically switched to Vista basic. What it means is that all 3D effects turned off (including the cool window switching). The semi-transperency of the title bars also turned off. That was the only issue I guess, for the rest photoshop worked great, though I’ve been testing it for about 30 minutes.

    ACDSee Photo Manager 9 Trial did not work correctly (not Pro version). For some reason it could not open C:\Users\Alex (my home folder). Entering the path manually did not help. Vista said about incompatability with ACDSee Photo Manager before I started it so it might explain this issue.
    Then I downloaded ACDSee Photo Manager Pro 8.1. Vista also complained about incompatability, but this version worked perfectly. No issues at all.

    For downloading Torrents I used Azureus (Java based). It also turned off Aero style, but not at the start like Photoshop. But it downloaded a 50MB torrent pretty fast with no issues. I would not mind seeing your speed tests :).

    I also downloaded Office 2007 Beta 2 from Microsoft’s web site. It did want to install saying that I did not have enough space, though I had 1.2GB free on C:. It is interesting that Office needs so much space, when the installation is only 400MB. Probably it needs to unpack some portion to the C: drive.

    I’ll blog later on compatability, cause that seems to be the greatest issue for users switching from XP to Vista.

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