Sorry for the techno post. I try to stay away from them, but this is something that affects most everyone out there because at some point, you’ll most likely be confronted by the next incarnation of Windows, Windows Vista. I recently downloaded the RC1 (the RC stands for Release Candidate) version they put out and took it for a test drive on my Thinkpad Z60m.
It all seemed to install fine and run without a hitch which is definitely a first for a piece of Windows software. I remember the Windows 2000 days when after you installed it, your machine basically crumbled. But here we are on what I assume to still be the NT 5 or now 6 kernel and everything seems to run a lot tighter. Something that was a bit spastic were the screen transitions which would “glitch” out and pixelate briefly before going to where they should be. Makes sense given that my displays system is really not optimized for this operating system. But, other than that and a rather long boot time (might be shortened if you do a clean install and not an upgrade) it ran without any problems.
Now as to whether or not you really need this upgrade, I’d have to say no, you don’t. Until programs aren’t being released for XP anymore and are truly faster on Vista, there is no reason to upgrade. For all purposes, this is just XP made prettier. On that note, if you want the prettiness of it, then get it. It’s definitely one of the nicest looking Windows systems to date. It is true that a lot of this is taken from Apple OS X, but it’s not over the top. I found it pleasant to work with. Do I like the fact that this is taking away processing power when churning through photos or editing a film, yes, yes I do.
And this is one last note I’d like to mention is that there is a rating for your “Windows Vista Experience” you can find when you dig around in My Computer > Properties (No, I don’t like the menus that have been around since XP. I greatly prefer the “Classic” style and relate to everything from that point.) Anyways, my Thinkpad which is a brand new machine with a 1.5 gigs of ram only got a 3.7 on their scale. Talk about a slap in the face. But, given that my “experience” was mostly glitch free in what is really beta software, I’d be curious if someone who scores a 5 would see all that much more difference. And if my desktop with 10k SATA drives, an Athlon 64 processor, 2 gigs of ram, and a mighty 256 meg GPU doesn’t get close to that benchmark, I’m really curious what would. Given that this is what I’m musing about when looking at the newest operating system to come out of Microsoft in five years, you can see how trivial most of this is. Welcome to Windows XP Service Pack 3.
UPDATE – One nasty thing it did was upon initial installation, my sound was working fine. Then it found this “better” Hi Definition driver which it decided to install and now I’ve got nothing. No sound. No way to fix the problem that I’ve found. Another thing that sucks is the Outlook web client integration through Explorer 7. It must be their own security tripping them up, but among other bugs, I can’t uh… type in the message body when replying to an email. That’s something of a pain to say the least. Lastly, why does it always want to “Sleep” when I shut down? I chose “Shut Down” every time I shut down. Can’t we stick with that? Nice job on getting rid of the “start” button by the way MS. Now people can’t complain that they go to “start” to click “shut down”.