After days of waiting patiently, I finally decided to stay up until the wee early hours on a Friday evening to download Microsoft Vista Beta 2 at breakneck speeds.
Was it worth the wait? Well, I’d have to say, ‘No!’. In fact, 30 minutes after I’d installed it (to take a couple of pictures), I nuked it from my system. Read on to know why. (Yes, I actually took pictures — I wanted to test out the white balance on my camera.)
Let’s review the Vista installation.
The Vista installer features a clean interface, but hides most of the background tasks from the user. It’s too simple in my opinion. Advanced users, such as myself, prefer to see what’s happening ‘behind the scenes’. Anyways, a couple of mouse clicks later and I was on my way. I decided to install Vista on one of my cleanly formatted drives, a Western Digital Raptor 74 GB 10,000 RPM drive. The installation procedure took 20 minutes. Not bad. That includes the time the Vista installer took to copy the installation files from my 16x DVD-ROM to my primary hard drive (another identically configured Raptor).
Here’s the first screen you’ll see after installing Vista on your system (well, I opened the Device Manager — you’ll see why below):
1. I was very disappointed that Vista did not include a driver for the legendary 3Com 3C905C PCI ethernet card. Notice the question mark beside the Ethernet Controller (click on the picture to have it maximize in your browser). Maybe, 3Com is to blame for not supplying newer drivers. If that is the case, I will be prompted to purchase Intel ethernet cards in the future.
2. My Envy24HT (VIA chipset) based sound board wasn’t detected either. Yes, another annoyance. No network connectivity + no sound = Useless Windows.
3. The user interface. Bravo. I have to hand it to Microsoft for the user interface — yet another thing that Microsoft copied from Apple (among other things).
I guess Microsoft wasn’t joking about the minimum requirements. 512 MB of RAM just won’t cut it for Vista. Notice the amount of RAM in use in the image above. That’s a fresh, out-of-the-box install. Guess what happens when you install a virus scanner and other resource hogging programs? (Yes, you can tweak Windows to use less RAM, but most users can’t be bothered). Microsoft needs to make Vista more efficient — it’s a resource hog.
Now, let’s examine the disk space utilized by Vista:
38,181 files in 6,768 folders, occupying 7.54 GB of space. Windows Vista just dwarfed Windows XP by over 300%.
Bottom-line: I think it’s best to stick to Windows XP for the foreseeable future. According to a recent survey, 71% of respondents thought that Vista’s minimum requirements were a bit too excessive. After evaluating it first-hand, I tend to agree.
Microsoft Windows Imaging installer unveiled.? The article essentially provides some insight into why Microsoft went with the simple installation interface, and also the fast installation times.