While attending Microsoft Tech Ed 2006 last week, I worked through several Hands-on Labs at Tech Ed 2006. Located in each of the exhibition hall’s Technical Learning Centers, the Hands-on Labs

gave Tech Ed 2006 attendees a chance to play with a variety of

Microsoft products. I decided to try the Windows Vista labs.

Tech ed 2006: windows vista hands-on lab

You can see more photos of my Hands-on Lab experience in this gallery:

Each lab station had a monitor, keyboard, mouse, and lab

manual. The labs appeared to run on Microsoft Virtual PC and used a custom GUI

interface developed by HynesITe, Inc. Unfortunately, my lab experience was less

than perfect. Before I started the first exercise, a lab worker approached me

and suggested that once the lab started I turn off Windows Vista’s Search

feature. Apparently the new Windows Search feature doesn’t play nicely with

Microsoft Virtual PC. Instead of indexing the virtual machine’s C: drive,

Windows Search tries to index the machine’s real C: drive. This made the labs

run extremely slow, to the point they were unusable.

I started the first lab and walked through the process

shutting down Windows Search. This took approximately 10 minutes. Once the

lab started I also had trouble accessing the virtual machines. What appeared on

my screen didn’t perfectly match the lab manual and it took me several minutes

to make sure I was logged on to the appropriate machine with the correct

account. After at least 15 minutes of frustration, I was finally ready to work

through the lab.

I chose a lab designed to showcase Vista’s new management

features and walked through the lab’s step-by-step instructions, which were easy

to follow. Despite having disabled Windows Search, the machine still ran much slower

than I expected. When I asked the person sitting next to me if their machine

was running slow, he told me it wasn’t. I’m not sure if my sluggish machine was

an isolated issue or not, but it made the lab extremely tedious. If the speed

wasn’t enough to deal with, I also received a few error messages while working

with the Windows Vista MMC. After three labs, I gave up and head on to my next

Breakout Session.

Other attendees have told me that they love the Hands-on

Labs and didn’t have any problems. My problems may have been isolated events. Yet,

with so much to see and do at Tech Ed, I didn’t have time to wait for the labs

and was disappointed I couldn’t try more of them.