First impressions about Windows Vista RC1 (2/2)
Ok, after a month and a half working with Windows Vista I think here are my first impressions about this great product.
What I did right after installing the OS? Look for the Games, of course. I think it is the very first I do whenever I get hold of any new OS, mobile phone or pocket pc. They are really cool apart from the enhanced classics (Minesweeper and Solitaire) we can find two of the coolest games Chess and Mahjong, and another games targeted to the kids called Purble Place which is a didactic game that helps to improve the memory.
Now to serious stuff...
IE 7 is the explorer installed on this OS and it has come through some changes. The most notorious is the tabbed browsing, which is pretty comfortable, and you can access a thumbnail view (Control+Q) to see the content of all the open tabs. It also comes with a built-in pop-up blocker and an anti-phishing filter. Another new feature is the feed reader so we will not need to have yet another program to manage all the feeds we would like to read. Hopefully with these changes and the option to add Add-ons to the browser, we won't need to install a toolbar or open many programs to do basic stuff.
Like Vista and Office 2007 the interface has been simplified but all the common icons are at hand so our performance will increase since we will do the work with fewer clicks.
Aero. It has a nice visual effect that still has a professional look while not going too far and make tacky effects. The glass effects, which makes the title bar semi-transparent looks cool but my favorite one is the many thumbnail views (Alt+Tab or Windows key + Tab) where you can see a real-time thumbnail view of your running applications.
Sidebar & Gadgets. In Vista's desktop we have a sidebar where we can place Gadgets which are simple mini-applications that are open all the time and easy to reach. Since I am always looking for translations I installed a dictionary. It's really easy to add new ones and there are a lot free in the web (http://gallery.microsoft.com/default.aspx?l=1) apart, if you feel strong enough (and time enough) you can make your own.
Snipping tool, another great accessory that many people will love. This is a pretty simple tool that lets you copy any section of the screen. No more print screen and then crop it in another image editing tool. It has the following copy modes: free-form, rectangular, windows or full screen.
There is a new Windows Media Player which let us order our songs, movies and pictures. It has a tag system so we can search for those tags, although it can be an overwhelming task to go through all my photos and start tagging them by who's in the photo, when and where it was taken... It also has the utility to rip CDs and to burn CDs.
Another small but practical change is when a folder is shared you are given the option to copy to the clipboard or email the link of that share.
Searching has been improved and now we can search through all the content that we have chosen to index. It is radically different from XP and it's worth a try, we still have the option of the classic file search. Another toolbar killer.
Windows Defender is a new tool that keep us save from all the spyware and some virus, it also has the great option to see which are the programs that will start up with our OS and will give us the option to remove them. No more looking in the registry. There are many useful tools to keep our Windows running like the first day. System Diagnostics Report gives you an overview of how your system resources are doing. There is a new application called Windows Live OneCare that is still in beta that will improve the performance, stability of our system, and will get rid of viruses and help us making back-ups.
Parental control, this is another feature that probably has been asked in the US, since it is a hot subject and even TVs have parental control. You can block or allow specific sites to browse, block or allow certain programs and also set when a user is allowed to log into the computer. But the most surprising feature is the reporting section where you can see the user activity. (You can see an extended post in: http://blogs.msdn.com/ie/archive/2006/03/01/541669.aspx)
BitLocker is another great tool broadly demanded by professionals. This feature allows encrypting your hard drive so if your laptop gets stolen then at least all the data will be safe from prying eyes.
There are two features which I consider two of the most important ones and haven’t been able to test. These are ReadyBoost and Ready Drive. The first one let you use a flash memory (like USB memory) like an extended RAM. The latter one lets you use hybrid hard drives, which has very-fast volatile memory which will save battery power and dramatically improve read-write operations.
I have been working with VS2005 and SQL 2005 and found no issues working with it (Although sometimes I had to run it with elevated privileges in order to keep some apps running).
Although VS2003 is not supported it seems to work ok for some scenarios (I had some issues debugging web apps and also searching from files), but since migrating from .Net 1.1 to 2.0 is so easy, and VS2005 has so many improvements I would recommend to follow that way instead of risking installing VS2003 in Vista and see how some feature fails to run.
IIS 7 is the new version for IIS in Windows Vista. But I think this subject is worth another post.