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Chris G. Williams Beware: I mix tech and personal interests here.

I found a workaround for the AVG Antivirus issue, so I finally did it... and wow this Glass thing looks good.

A few things of note. 

1. Moving files is a major pain in the ass. I had backed up the “My Pictures” folder to my E: drive prior to the install and when it came time to move them all back into my new “My Pictures” folder, not only did it take FOR-EV-ERRRRR but It kept aborting the transfer over and over. I would select a few folders, Cut, Paste and it would transfer one file then hit me with an Admin prompt. After I said ok and apply to all, it would copy the first folder then abort. I had to individually move each folder, one at a time. Took to long, had an admin prompt each time. Real nuisance.

2. My videos (which I left on the E: drive considering what a nuisance the pictures were) look like CRAP. All of them look awful. The quality is a lot worse and there are these weird visual artifacts all through the videos.  I'm guessing I need a new codec pack or something.  Still, for such a “visual” upgrade, Vista really let me down with my vids.

3. This one is kinda cool, although in a roundabout way. Prior to installing Vista (I went for the new install instead of the upgrade) I got a message saying there was no support for the integrated sound on my mobo and that I would need to get a driver for the manufacturer. So after the install I'm poking around and see that of course, there is no sound. So I pop open the control panel, device manager and see my onboard sound chip. I right click on it and select “update driver” and Vista not only finds the driver automatically, but installs it automatically and reinitializes my sound (enabling it) all without any reboot. That's awesome.

4. Oh and about the AVGFree antivirus it said I had to remove. (Previous post) Apparently they are in Microsofts block list and you can't install it even after installing Vista... UNLESS... you open the AVGFree installer archive with WinRar, extract the files, rename the installer program and the AVGFree.exe to anything else (like AVGFree2.exe) and then run it. You'll get a couple of standard warnings but Vista will let you install it and it runs and updates just fine.

(Please save your breath and spare me from warnings about how I shouldn't do this... that it's blocked for a reason, etc... I'm running a BETA Operating System, do you really think I'm gonna put anything mission critical on here?)

5. The Sidebar. Well, it's kinda neat. It comes with a few gadgets preloaded, specifically... a photo slideshow which doesn't allow you to block certain subfolders from showing... (consider yourself warned.) It's either the My Pics folder or the My Pics folder and ALL subfolders. Yikes.  Also on the bar, you get a cool looking analog clock that reminds me too much of High School (though its fairly configurable... with numerous clock faces) and lastly you get an RSS Reader (very cool idea) that only lets you choose from two Microsoft feeds (very lame) and you can only pull one or the other... not both at once (super lame)

6. The pretty stuff. Glass is cool. No doubt. The transparent windows and stuff are a nice touch. The overall UI takes a little getting used to, but it feels ok and didnt take long to get comfy in. The thing that took me the longest was figuring out where the Folder Options dialog was. Windows Media Player got a slight visual overhaul as well. Nothing radically different in the UI though.  One of the coolest features BY FAR is the (not so) little screenshot thumbnail you get when you move your mouse over the various items in your task bar. I LOVE THIS!! I need this so bad on my machine at work.

7. Installs... First thing I installed (after Vista) was iTunes. No problems there. Might just be my imagination, but it actually seems to start a lot faster than it did on XP. (Probably because this new install isnt supercluttered yet...)  Next up, I installed GTalk and again no problems (other than GTalk telling me this version of Windows wasn't supported yet... it let me install it just fine.)

8. I have to mention this because it just happened again while writing this.  Having to deal with 4 dialogs (YES... FOUR) just to delete a shortcut off my desktop is F'n absurd. First I get the “are you sure?” dialog, then I get the “access denied” dialog saying I need to provide “Administrator credentials” which consists of just clicking a “Continue” button, then the screen dims and says I need to authorize a “File Transfer” operation, by clicking “Continue” (again), then the screen comes back to life and I see a 4th dialog that tells me it's deleting the file (and how much time is remaining). This would almost be comical except it also CAUSES MY MUSIC TO TEMPORARILY STOP PLAYING!!! Come on guys, I can almost accept you scaring the crap out of grannies everywhere with your 4 ominous dialogs just to delete a file (a nonexecutable, no less, on my own desktop, no less)... but interrupting my music is UNFORGIVABLE!!  Jeez...

9. Ok enough of that... what else is new and cool?  Well it appears MS Paint (or paintbrush or whatever the hell its called) is largely unchanged except for a new skin that matches the rest of Vista. (I love Paint and probably spend more time in that than any other graphics app.)  Also, like any true gamer geek, I looked to see what new games were available... All the same old stuff, with a couple new additions... like Chess Titans and Mahjongg Titans, along with something called Purble Place and Inkball. (No pinball or marble madness though.)  One thing interesting about this is that the “Games” folder has some additional functionality that tracks the last game you played and apparently how well you did and gives the ability to download updates and stuff. Kinda neat. Oh yeah, and the new icons for the games are pretty badass, in that fake 3d looking sort of way. (like a 2d picture of a 3d object, ya know... definitely lightyears beyond the old 16x16 icons.)  The games folder even displays ratings for the games!! Interesting.

10. One last thing worth mentioning (so far) is something called Windows calendar which looks a fair amount like Outlook Calendar (which I live in.) Considering I dont have Office on this machine (yet) this is a nice surprise. Very cool. I wonder if I can network it to other Vista Machines in the house.

Thats all for now... more later.

Posted on Sunday, July 9, 2006 4:13 PM General Interest | Back to top

Comments on this post: Vista Beta 2 Upgrade - more good than bad.

# re: Vista Beta 2 Upgrade - more good than bad.
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Installed the Vista beta on my main rig over the weekend, haven't had much of a chance to try it out yet so my feedback is gonna be limited, but here goes:

1) Only have 1 machine that is beefy enuf to support the OS, and didn't really feel like wiping it clean just to take a look at some new eye candy. But then I remembered.... "bet I can dual-boot with XP and Vista!" Googled it to see if anyone else had ventured down this road before I risked it, found a coupla links giving the thumbs-up on the procedure.

2) Inserted the Vista DVD with XP up and running, performed a custom (non-clean) install. Have a 2nd drive in my rig that is doing little but serving as a seperate physical platter to rest XP's swap file upon, so I pointed Vista at that drive and told it to work its magic.

3) Was a very slow install process. I dont have a behemoth rig, but I'd think an AXP 3000+ with 1gb memory would be decent enuf not to be causing this slow of a process. Speedy DVD drive too. Dunno why it took so long, went out for breakfast and it was just finishing up when I returned.

4) onboard audio, nic didn't get drivers. Lacking a network connection really hindered my testing everything else, so at that point my interest fell way back.

5) just took a casual look around the UI. The glass panes are kinda neat, looks like Control Panel darn near doubled in options, and the gadgets are interesting albeit likely to be the first thing disabled as soon I as get down to some serious tweaking.

6) Boot back into XP, CoH time :)

Maybe this weekend I'll spend a few minutes seeing if I can locate the nic drivers so I can at least look for the rest while in the OS.
Left by stevenc on Jul 10, 2006 11:56 AM

# re: Vista Beta 2 Upgrade - more good than bad.
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Yeah the actual install was slow as poo.

It didnt have drivers for my built in RAID controller either, but I'm not RAIDing so I didnt worry about it. Not detecting the NIC is definitely a drag.

My only REAL complaint is the 40 million dialogs to do simple actions. Seems like a step backwards to me.

Other than that, I'm digging it.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 10, 2006 11:59 AM

# re: Vista Beta 2 Upgrade - more good than bad.
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I believe I got the nag-screen when I fired up Control Panel. That surprised me :) Don't mind so much if, like Zone Alarm, it asks once then leaves you alone.

Security is a double-edged blade. Nag the average Joe Sixpack too much and he'll completely tune out on the warnings and start clicking Yes on stuff he'd known better to avoud before the constant harassment. I'm afraid this is going to result in a more secure *feeling* OS that still gets zombie'd with about the same frequency as its predecessors.
Left by stevenc on Jul 10, 2006 1:14 PM

# re: Vista Beta 2 Upgrade - more good than bad.
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Yeah... that's definitely one of my concerns.
Left by Blogus Maximus on Jul 10, 2006 1:24 PM

# re: Vista Beta 2 Upgrade - more good than bad.
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Glass doesn't just look good. Glass RULES
Left by Bill on Jul 10, 2006 8:32 PM

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