Thursday, June 15, 2006

Adventures in Vista

To quote the Microsoft Windows Vista homepage, the publicly available Windows Vista Beta 2 is meant for “…IT professionals, developers, and technology enthusiasts”. While I am certainly not an IT professional nor developer; I am definitely a technology enthusiast. So I decided it was high time for my machine to experience something new and downloaded the 4.4 gigabyte DVD image. After burning the DVD, I popped it in my DVD-ROM drive and booted to Windows XP.

Once safely booted into XP, I ran the installer on the Vista DVD and away I went. I chose the upgrade option after reading of many successful upgrades on numerous blogs and forums. Why not keep my data intact, I figured. Installation was typical of Windows. Serial key was entered. Files were copied from the DVD drive to my hard drive. Computer rebooted several times during the whole process. Eventually, after what seemed like a very long time, I was greeted with the new Vista login screen. Right away, I could tell them something was very different about this version of Windows.

As was my experience with Office 2007 Beta 2, my first impression of Vista Beta 2 was one of awe. As a designer, I can appreciate the immense amount of work that has gone into making the Windows user experience a decidedly better one. While it isn’t without its flaws-I’ve had to reinstall it several times after infamous BSODs-the next version of Windows is going to really impress a lot of users and not just because of its impressive eye candy.

I must say I’m impressed, which is something that I rarely use in conjunction with Microsoft. However, from what I’ve seen of Vista Beta 2 and Office Beta 2, Microsoft is looking like they’re going to turn the corner of usability and start to close the gap on Apple. I choose my words carefully because I still believe Apple is the king of simplicity and usability. However, Microsoft is making large leaps and, obviously, committing resources to ensuring great user experiences.

I don’t plan on reviewing Vista Beta 2, per se, because so many are floating around the blogosphere. I will, however, document my thoughts in some sort of “stream of consciousness” post(s) as I have experiences worth sharing. Needless to say, I’m impressed with Vista Beta 2 and can’t wait to see where Microsoft will take it with the remaining development time they’ve got until release.

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