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Is Vista Ready for Public Beta

By ArthurP ·
I have been testing Vista since release 1 in July last year; and I mostly happy with the advancements that have been provided. Yet despite it's different functionality there are certain functionalities which have not been changed since the days of Win 3.1 - Cursor icons, Calculator, and for the most Paint, although this package has received a right click menu functionality.

The fonts displayed are mostly Tahoma, or MS Sans Serif instead of the Segoe UI.

The initial installation screen appears to have been based upon Windows 2000, with only the text and progress bar being displayed. The Licensing screen is presented in Tahoma 9pt font, with the bullet points being displayed as squares, with the dialog box being displayed in classic mode; and does not lend itself to the original Vista experience.

The installation process itself is simply bland and does not display what files are being copied to the machine. Sorry, but being Techies we want to know which files are being copied to allow problem resolution.

Upon first launch the machine appears to operate very slowly and flickers - I'm assuming that this is down to the heavy background, and the use of the graphics card memory rather than software. Vista uses memory allocated from the graphics memory rather than the additional software drivers which normally enable "soft transitions" within earlier versions of Windows. This issue should be resolved fairly quickly, (though it's taken 10 months to get here first).

The screen graphic settings are still associated with the machine, and not the user profile, which means if you use the graphics at a higher capability than anyone else, you'll need to keep changing the settings when you're using the machine.

Although the Windows Update is set within the installation, it defaults to checking every day at 3am which would mean that unless the user checks for updates after the initial installation their machine could be left with vulnerabilities unpatched for a significant period of time. Running Automatic Updates on completion of installation would mean that the sysem is patched and therefore reduces the risk of attack via known/published vulnerabilities.

The Windows SideBar, which is a nice introduction, currently has two states either it's pressent and takes up a sizable amount of screen on the right hand side, or it's hidden. Sadly there is no functionality included yet that allows this bar to be automatically hidden or moved to another part of the screen. The "gadget" icons on the sidebar cannot be resized, which means that you are able to only display five gadgets whilst in 1280 x 1024 screen resolution. The calculator gadget wins the prize for the most fonts used - MS Sans Serif, Tahoma, Segoe UI, and Times Roman .. just how many fonts do you want ?

ScreenSavers - there are some good introductions here, but some of them are pointless; yet the development team have decided to leave-out the settings option.

Running the x64 version of Vista, means that you will see two program file folders. The first is the native 64-bit, and the second is 32-Bit, which is named "program files(x86) with programs installing within the correct folder.

Not sure whether those of you who have tested Vista have noticed but there are two versions of IE7 available. IE7 will be deployed to Windows 2000, and XP based systems while IE7+ is included within Vista. This is primarily due to the way in which each package works. Within W2k, and XP IE7 is associated with the user profile, whilst within Vista IE7+ operated sepperately and is not associated with the user's profile operating as a seperate application - we're waiting for more information upon this ....

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It looks as though Vista will receive its public unveiling within the next couple of weeks when it's made available to a larger community of Techie Beta users.

Currently Microsoft are releasing updated versions of the Vista build upon the penultimate Friday of each month. Which means that you will need to re-build your machine on a monthly basis in order to receive the latest functionality.

Prior to the release of Vista Beta 2 to the larger population I believe that Microsoft will need to address the issues below ... & in this instance I also include the Beta of IE7 ...

With the release of IE7 Beta2 Preview, Microsoft failed to advise that the version prior to March 20th was vulnerable to several known issues. It was only after considerable pressure was applied & logic argued that Microsoft amended the relevant KB to state that IE7B2P was vulnerable, and that users should update.

This raises another issue in that the user is required to remove IE7B2P, which invokes a system restore point, and removes any applied patches/software that has been installed after the IE7B2P leaving the machine vulnerable to attack, until the user has re-applied the patches; but in the meantime their machine is within the public domain with minimal security; yet Microsoft were not willing to accept responsibilty for this issue, and continually stated that IE7B2P should not be used upon a live system - ?

Just how many spare non-productive computers do they think a family owns ?

There are still bugs within the product, that have been identified for quite some time, not to mention that lack of drivers - whether this is originally a Microsoft issue or not, it is Microsoft that will receive the grief, and therefore something that Senior Management should ensure is resolved.

There is also the lack of documentation concerning the build for the general public; in that the x64 version uses both "program files", and "program files(x86)" yet this has not been mentioned in anything that I have seen available to the general public.

Will Microsoft also release documentation explaining how to navigate around their new "Windows Explorer"? - This can be confusing upon first use ...

My biggest concern is how will Microsoft handle security patches.

Microsoft currently state that neither IE7PB2 or Vista should not be installed upon a live production system. However, with the pending release of the Operating Environment into the Public arena, Microsoft do hold the moral responsibility to ensure that those people who have installed either IE7PB2 or Vista, and who are testing it - whether it be for kudos, curiosity, or research - are fully protected.

If Microsoft are not going to include Vista within their monthly patch cycles, then they need to produce a statement to this effect; and explain whether they are going to continue issuing monthly updates - as current - which will cause an uproar from within the user community.

Although I have blogged upon this issue, I have kept it to exclusive sites. However, for once I'm going to raise my head above the parapet & openly state that although Vista has the potential to be a really good and secure OE that until Microsoft have address the support, and security issues it is not ready for release to the public community until Senior Management, must ensure that they has provided a resolution to these issues before any form of Public Beta is considered ....

Vista has the potential to be one of the best OE?s released by Microsoft, however, with current guidance from senior management, the lack of basic debugging, and continued focus upon the front end GUI; Vista has the potential to become more of a joke than Me ? and we still laugh about that today !!

Grateful for your thoughts

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'more of a joke than Me', Indeed!

by andyILM In reply to Is Vista Ready for Public ...

Hey Arthur,thanks for your rundown on Vista's problems/unresolved issues. Got to agree with you.

I just downloaded and installed Beta2 from the public DL site. Decent download speed (half an hour at 6MB/s).

You are right about the flickering and jerky response on first few boots. This on a Pentium 550 (3.4/1M, X800Pro, 1GB DDR) that scored only a 3 on Vista Performance Rating! An average machine like this should be able to run the basic GUI without trouble. I think MS needs to take another look at what kind of hardware will be required to run this.

My first impression: Vista is a resource hog that needs serious rework/devlopment. It looks like hardware upgrades may be in order for a lot of users that intend to run Vista on current hardware. How about ordering a few dual core CPUs and overclocked video cards.

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Vista fear

by rmaro In reply to Is Vista Ready for Public ...

Well I have installed Vista 32 bit. I also installed Office 2007. Vista I still need to tweak the program as it is slow and cumbersome. While Office is absolutely the best. I will not prejudge Vista as I need to continue installing my programs. Instead od an upgrade Vista only allowed me a clean install. The upgrade would have allowed my programs to run or not. Now have to navigate in new territory. As I use Vista hopefully will become accustom to the new designs.

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by flowers In reply to Vista fear

Have have installed Vista (Beta 2) and wish to also install Office 2007 (Beta 2). Office installs successfully, but I get an error message whenever I try to launch any app within the Office Suite. Were you successful in getting Office 2007 to run on Vista? Were their any tricks to get Office to run? Thanks!

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Office 2007 Beta 2 works well with Vista(5384.4)

by ArthurP In reply to Question

Thank you.

I have been running Office 2007 in various formats since beta 1 last year, and can confirm that I have the current version of office 2007 Beta2 Public, (MSO2k7B2P), running with Vista Beta 2 Public, (both the 32-bit & 64-bit versions).

Though I do have to admit that MSO2k7B2P does run better under Vista x86 than it does under x64. This is probably due to the fact that Microsoft have not yet released a 64-bit version of Office 2007.

The trick to installing it; nothing really, just ensure that it is installed under administrative priveleges.

If you have any other problems please give me a shout & I'll help where I can

I don't know if you've seen this blog from James O'Neill who is a Microsoft Evangelist in the UK, but there are a few tips that may be of some use ... Honest


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Vista Upgrade

by XT John In reply to Is Vista Ready for Public ...

I did it the hard way... installed over an XP system. The new features Vista offers over user profiles, such as Parental Controls, will not work on XP created profiles. Vista lists them as 'unknown'. They would have to be deleted and recreated in Vista. I went with a more 'average' PC for the install, a P4 2.0g, 512 DDR, 256m Radeon card. It runs like a dog. It was running XP very stable and quick. I've started to tweak settings back to more 'classic' view, trying to speed things up. Nothing so far. My hard drive is gonna have a stroke soon, from spinning like mad. Be prepared to be annoyed every few minutes from pop up messages, 'Your Symantec is impcompatible with Vista', your audio driver is incompatible, such and such is attempting to access the internet, etc. My 15 year old, who is a total computer geek/lover hates Vista. She is a lover of technology and everything PC related. So far two thumbs down from us. Also, a 'good' video card is not good enough in Vista. Though my Radeon is 256mb, and a nice card, it is not nice enough to run any 3d stuff. This PC specced out with a rating of '1' from Microsoft! go figger... the card cannot support Pixel shader 2.0, so it's useless for 'Aero'. Gonna give it some more time, but planning on reverting back to XP verrrrrry soon:)

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Microsoft releases Vista updates

by ArthurP In reply to Is Vista Ready for Public ...

Hello Everyone,
It appears that Microsoft are listening to the concerns of the user community, (both Geeks, Techies, & Home users), because on Friday 23rd June Microsoft released 7 updates for Vista, via the Vista Upadates.

I'm running Vista x64 and received the following updates, but have not been able to find them listed within the MSKB

I would be grateful if anyone can please confirm that they have also received these updates, and any further information that is available please

Thank you


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