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Windows Vista December 2005

(Build 5270) Review

Part 4: Wrapping Up

Last weekend, I was prepping this review, which I originally envisioned as a single document, similar to my preview two CTP reviews. However, by the time I had installed build 5270 on Monday, I realized there was no way I could condense this thing into a single document. There's just too much going on in build 5270. While that made life a bit difficult for me, it speaks well to the improvements Microsoft has made to the product, and I've been happy to document my experiences with this build here. It hasn't always been this pleasant, believe me.

In this fourth and final part of my Windows Vista build 5270 review, I'll touch on a few additional topics that I didn't cover in the previous installments, look ahead to the next CTP, and provide some closing thoughts.

In any event, build 5270 is a huge milestone on the long and winding road that is the development of Windows Vista. If you're lucky enough to have this build, enjoy it. Things are only going to get better.

(Build 5270)

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Vista says NO to old DVD drives

Windows Vista will no longer support DVD-ROM drives that do not handle region coding in hardware (RPC1 drives) - thus preventing playback of DVDs that are region/CSS encoded with those drives. Not a big problem, as RPC1 drives haven't been officially manufactured since 2000 (and Microsoft claims their drives are all broken), but for those with hacked drives (RPC2 with RPC1 firmware), or move the RPC1 drive to new computers, well, no more DVD movies for you!

Information to upgrades.

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You know what is really sad, and I was reading about this in the open sauce column in January's CPU magazine.

Winblows with the mythical Vista seems to be following the Linux distro path all on it's own, the only difference is, we will have to pay out the ###### for whatever version we want.

So far, 7 or more releases, and that is just on the introduction, and without server.

This has got to be Microsoft's biggest fop yet, coming right behind the 360.

If MS was smart, they'd have one release, affordably priced for the end user, and one for the server community.

The way they are doing it is a crock.

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Gates outlines Vista and vision of future computing

CES 05 January 2006

Press snipet.

Bill Gates highlighted Windows Vista as well as gives a vision on how personal computing technology will go in the future.

During his demo, Mr. Gates was able to integrate his information and data seamlessly across a cell phone, tablet PC, and his desktop PC that was connected to a 40 inch monitor that divided the display into 3 work areas.

During the upcoming announcements, Microsoft showed up the new Windows Media Player which is a lot cleaner than previous versions. The next Windows Vista explorer provides a host of useful features for modifying data such as being able to crop and do basic editing on images without having to load a graphics editing package.

Internet Explorer 7 was shown off with its Firefox-like tabs but with some very interesting twists.

Much of the push on Windows Vista so far has highlighted a cleaner, faster, more polished look combined with a heavily revamped plumbing underneath. GDI and the myriad of vulnerable networking APIs are gone and replaced with a new architecture.

Those who were worried that Vista was just Windows XP with a new look have nothing to fear, it's a very definite change for better.

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Channel9: Developing Windows Vista

The folks over at Channel9 lead by self-proclaimed 'Microsoft Geek' Robert Scoble have posted some great videos as of late concerning the development of Windows Vista. The amount of work that goes into creating a software product like Vista is staggering. These videos really put into perspective the problems and challenges faced by Microsoft in developing their next generation OS.


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Microsoft creates alot of their own problems by trying to monopolize everything, and trying to "version" everything to death.

Why in the ever lovin' hell would anyone want to create more than 2 versions of the same product?

They have what, 7 or 8 versions of Vista? That has got to be the stupidest thing that I have ever heard of. I mean really.

They did the same crap with 95. They had 6 versions of that and not one of them was ever right. 3 versions of 98, 4 if you count that farce ME. 3-4 versions of Win2K server.

And vista is supposed to have literally what, millions of lines of code?

7-8 versions, all with different features and purposes? It's a joke.

What they should have done was put out a single core, and modularized it so people could get what they want. That is one lesson they could have taken from the Linux community.

Microsoft stands a very good chance of whipping it out and stepping on it big time with this little OS of theirs that has already been pushed back 2 years.

They wouldn't have to be so concerned with losing their financial ass if they weren't wasting so much of their money that they could put to better use like actually turning out honest to goodness quality products.

But then that all disappeared when DOS and Windows 3.11 did.

Edited by Specter
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Update 16th Jan 2006.

Shipping Information:

Microsoft will Ship All Vista Bits with Each Product Edition

Although Microsoft will market several Vista product editions, or SKUs,

the company will distribute one version of the product's DVD providing

the code for all product editions on each disc. That way, users will be

able to unlock functionality from higher-end Vista editions at a later

date, after paying for the upgrade privilege. The change in plans,

which was first reported by "CRN," means that Microsoft will need to

maintain only a single Vista master disk image rather than the multiple

images that would otherwise be required. Each time a Vista edition is

upgraded, Microsoft will provide an updated product key, as each

product edition requires different product key sequences. At that

point, your old product key will be invalidated so it can't be used on

a different system. Say what you will, but this new scheme makes a lot

of sense, given the sheer number of email messages I get about

upgrading one edition of XP to another. And with Vista, we'll see even

more product editions, each with its own specific set of features.

So near and yet so far. :)

Windows XP Home Edition Support Extended to at Least Late 2008

For the past 2 weeks, the Windows community has been buzzing with news

that Microsoft was scheduled to halt support for XP Home at the end of

this year. (Apparently, Microsoft never expected that its next Windows

release would take so long to ship.) Well, the crisis is over.

Microsoft this week revealed that it has extended support for XP Home

(and a few other XP editions whose support was also scheduled to be

terminated this year) to "2 years after the next version of [Windows

Vista] is released," according to the company. If Vista ships on

schedule at the end of the year, that means that Microsoft will

continue supporting XP Home through late 2008. That's not too shabby.

Note that Microsoft's business-oriented Windows products have much

lengthier support life cycles. Microsoft is supporting XP Professional,

for example, through 2011.

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Update 16th Jan 2006.

Shipping Information:

Microsoft will Ship All Vista Bits with Each Product Edition

Windows XP Home Edition Support Extended to at Least Late 2008

Excellent news Colin. The 2nd bit about extending XP Home support is a big relief to me considering all the systems I maintain and the fact the users will unlikely upgrade to Vista.

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  • 4 weeks later...

This is a Public users experience of windows vist Build 5270.

So it took me days to get my internet working, my drivers installed, my settings tuned and everything to start running smoothly...but my god its worth it: Vista is a lush, promising step from Windows XP.

Personally all that safety crap doesnt bother me, out of all the Critical reports I read weekly about XP being hacked it seems like a land far, far away. Not once has anything really bothered me. So Vista is alittle too strong in that sense, everything that does anything to change the system requires your confirmation - so ActiveX programs from the net or spyware arent going to be able to sneak past you anymore. Note that IE7 runs in a wrapper so things cant climb into your files and run amock. Windows Defender sits proudly on the system tray keeping you safe, I believe its also known as the best spyware detector out there now. Accounting for all that; I found it was all abit overkill and disabled the prompts and turned off Defender, as of right now no-one is targeting Vista, so its like running Linux or Mac in that sense.

The graphical interface is damn nice, the smoke, glow and glass effects are swish and make it feel less alot less childish and alot more elegant. The window fade in and out effects are nicely done and they arent over the top, which is a good thing. In many ways it feels like your using Windows XP with some professional effects and a new set of crisp clean icons.

Stability? Not a big issue, but its an issue. Vista has crashed about 2 times for no apparent reason and gone to a blue screen of death twice whilst installing drivers which is totally acceptable considering its an early beta. The biggest issue I have is performance, after using it for an hour things got laggy and even on a fresh boot dragging transparentish panes around the desktop can induse some framerate issues, also opening a window with many things in causes it to notably load things in.

Networking? I can see where theyre going with it. The "Network Center" is a big step up over Windows XP. It comes with diagrams and a list of connections - so sharing over a wireless network will be alot easier for the routers owner who usually cant see the people on the network (dlink issue I believe). It seems very early in development unfortunately, at the moment Im connected to the internet but its saying i'm not, its got a tray icon that cant seem to diagnose the problem, then theres IE7 which also shows no connection but If I try and add one it warns me Im already connected.

Paint, you'll be glad to know, hasnt been touched. Its still basic, its still plain and its still good fun to use. The only real chance is the save dialog which now by default offers to save in a high quality PNG format. Thank god Microsoft finally caught on.

Sound is something that Microsoft has silenty (zing) worked on! The tray icon brings up a swish little bar that shows the amount of noise being output. However at the moment its very basic and you cant disable the icon. Ive read that in time each task or group of tasks can have its own sound level, conveient when running many different apps at one time.

Windows Media Player has recieved a major amount of work, infitting with the new Vista interface - Search and glass primarily. Its definetly based on Itunes, theres no denying it really. Its not a bad thing at all and Microsoft have certainly customized the approach to suit their need. The right bar is consistant with the Explorer windows as is the the search bar. The album, artist, year, rating, songs, recently added sidebar makes finding the song you want alot easier and if it fails you can search in no time at all.

Searching. Again, quite like security, isnt something Im big on in XP or Vista. Its been totally revamped and is no doubt very very useful. It doesnt really affect me though, my documents are neatly ordered and I know where everything I want is. However delving into it I found it had alot going for it.

Internet Explorer 7. Its a nice step in the right direction, Im using it right now infact. The way I look at IE is this; its nice to have another quick browser Im familiar with but its certainly not something I can use full time, mainly because I enjoy the customization Maxthon and Firefox offer. However I will say its nice having IE7 come up when Im doing something quickly - its much more useful than IE6. The tabs add so much to it and dare I say are handled better than Firefox (without the extensions to help it).

The crumb bar is a really neat change they've made. As you go through directories you have your url as usual, example : c:\windows\system32... but now in Vista you have these arrows next to each sub part that you can click and choose another folder to go in, so say you went into windows system folder by mistake you can just click the arrow next to see and choose the new folder to go in.

Closing down is MUCH quicker than XP, its almost a 7 second process. Starting up and installing Vista is a long process, but its being worked on. The login menu hasnt changed much, but it looks slicker.

Right, now Ive had my nightly time playing with Vista, Ill leave you with that afterthought that Vista is going to kick ass, its got along way to go but fundamentaly your going to enjoy it much more than XP simply because its a step up and not a reinvention.

Most of the feed back I have read on this version is similar.

The next and final version before release is supposed to be the best, all the bells and whistles included.

Its a good read.


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Windows Vista Editions Revealed Part 2

18 February 2006 Windows Vista editions are finalised.

Windows Starter 2007

Windows Vista Home Basic

Windows Vista Home Basic N

Windows Vista Home Premium

Windows Vista Business

Windows Vista Business N

Windows Vista Ultimate

Windows Vista Enterprise

The news of the SKUs can be found on the beta pages of Windows Vista help.

N stands for the media player free versions of Vista which will be sold seperately in Europe.

Prices to follow.


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6 versions right out of the gate.

Gee, what will Microsoft think of next?

I hope everyone has deep pockets. Paying for this POS will rival buying a new coe PC.

And the bad thing is, the things that were supposed to make this OS good were left out.

Gamers will have to run out and pay 500.00 or more for the Ultimate Edition, and pay that for a version of XP with make-up. What a rip-off.

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Is it me, or does Vista look like it is going down the Apple route where the look is concerned?

No, you're right.

But is that really surprising, seeing as how Microsoft owns a big chunk of Apple?

I still can't believe the way the are going to rob us, when they left out all of the things that were supposed to make Vista a decent OS.

They could have at least come up with an original look, since they left out little minor things like the FILESYSTEM. :stupid::wall::whistle: .

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Just to clear up a small point.

Windows Vist does use a file system.

Its called Transactional File System its is a new kernel construct that is part of an updated Vista NTFS. Found in Beta 2. Release soon.


A lot of information on this new OS is above.


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Ultimately, Windows Vista will not be the evolutionary release that Microsoft first promised, but will rather offer an evolutionary upgrade that rewards your Windows experience and skill and offers concrete and obvious improvements over today's Windows versions. Vista will be more secure and more elegant looking than XP, and will provide a productivity-enhancing shell and a raft of features that most Windows users will find valuable. Blockbuster? I can't say for sure, but it's certainly a bigger upgrade than was XP in its day.

--Paul Thurrott

December 8-23, 2005

The statement I bolded up says it all.

Also, that was my point. Vista is using an updated version of NTFS. One they are still thinking about, or were, releasing for XP.

Vista was supposed to have a new, high performance journaling filesystem like Linux and Unix uses, but MS decided to leave it out.

I read his page.

I will dig up the links from tech republic Will take me a bit though. I have 3500 of them to go through.

A few of the big things like that filesystem we were promised, and have been waiting years for were left out. No surprise that, really.

What really frosts me though, and alot of folks I know, is that to get everything we were promised, we will have to get a second mortgage to get the things that MS did promise, and not all of them at that.

This, like I said before, is just going to be Microsoft's 2006 version of the ME fiasco.\

Eye candy, and not a whole lot more than that, worth paying for.

Smart money stays with XP for a good bit longer.

And just you wait till we all see the prices we will get gouged for this. The gamer and performance enthusiast is going to have to shell out big bucks for the ultimate edition, if they want anything out of their system.

If Microsoft had any decency at all, they would release the so-called Ultimate edition as standard, and the Enterprise Edition for business.

And then of course, we can't forget the whole "Paladium" thing, especially in light of Ms's and MSn's cooperation in turning files, data, and users of to Uncle Sam.

Here is one link on the filesystem.

Edited by Specter
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  • 2 weeks later...

(Build 5308) Review

Feb 2006

Build 5308 arrives

I want to be very clear here. Despite my initial misgivings, the February CTP is a major improvement over previous builds. Indeed, it is the first CTP that I can run regularly, as my main desktop. Suddenly, the impossible is possible. There's a lot to like here.

BUILD 5308

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Vista versions not so confusing after all

Yesterday Microsoft released information about how Windows Vista will be packaged when it’s ready for retail delivery later this year.

Windows Vista Home Basic

is for cost-conscious PC buyers who want basic functionality without a lot of extras. It uses the simplified Vista user interface and doesn’t support DVD burning or Media Center features.

This version will probably end up on the entry-level PCs for every major manufacturer, with encouragements to upsell.

Windows Vista Business

adds the Aero interface, support for Tablet PCs, integrated desktop search, and other goodies. It’s not clear whether it includes Media Center features, but given its positioning – small to medium-size businesses that lack IT departments – it’s reasonable to assume that those pieces aren’t there.

Windows Vista Home Premium

adds the Aero interface, integrated desktop search, Media Center features, and support for DVD burners. It’s unclear whether it supports Tablet PCs,

This will be the default installation for most mid-range PCs. In fact, it's a simple test: If the computer has a DVD burner, it will probably get Home Premium.

Windows Vista Ultimate

is positioned as the one that “has it all.†It includes all the features in the other retail versions as well as corporate features like BitLocker drive encryption. Is it a complete superset of the Enterprise edition? That’s not yet clear.

For the most part, PC makers will make the choice that matches the hardware and will do their level best to sell upgrades. Those rare consumers who do buy a retail box generally tend to be enthusiasts who will naturally gravitate to the Home Premium and Ultimate versions.

Corporate customers who have PCs covered by Microsoft Software Assurance or a Microsoft Enterprise Agreement have it easiest of all:

They get one version, Windows Vista Enterprise, which includes BitLocker encryption, Virtual PC Express, and the Aero interface. The idea is to give corporate customers a single image that they can customize and deploy to meet their own needs.

The biggest change of all? One retail DVD includes all four versions. The product key, which is entered at the beginning of the installation process, determines which version gets installed. That’s potentially very good news for retail customers, who should be able to use any Windows Vista media to reinstall the operating system (provided they haven’t lost the product key).

With a single media source, it should be possible for a Windows user to upgrade to a more feature-rich version without a lot of hassle. Buy a new product key from a retailer or direct from Microsoft (the price would depend on the specifics of the upgrade – jumping from Home Basic to Ultimate would incur a bigger price than going from Basic to Home Premium or from Home Premium to Ultimate).

If the upgrade premium is low enough, this could be the ultimate upsell opportunity. You want Media Center features? Buy a $50 upgrade, get the product ID via e-mail, and install the new version from your existing media. For that matter, you could upgrade a handful of computers on a home or small business network with one DVD and a quick visit to an online license reseller.

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while I admire your candor here's something that compels me NOT to get excited about Vista;

1) removal of WINFS, which was to be a flagship icon for an enhancement from XP. Now? we have WINFS coming to WinXP within the next year.

2) the vista vector graphics, which were to be revolutionary for windows. Now I understand it's NOT going to be vector based.

overall, I've read in numerous forums of all those features that were to make it compelling to upgrade to Vista.

3) DRM (digital rights Management) No thank you...I don't need to have someone tell me what to do/ not do on my PC.Where does this put MS? right up there with Yahoo turning names over to chinese authorities for prosecution. downright rediculous.

I buy my PC to use it as I want to. Bill Gates must be getting a good blow##b for adding DRM into PC's.

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while I admire your candor here's something that compels me NOT to get excited about Vista;

1) removal of WINFS, which was to be a flagship icon for an enhancement from XP. Now? we have WINFS coming to WinXP within the next year.

2) the vista vector graphics, which were to be revolutionary for windows. Now I understand it's NOT going to be vector based.

overall, I've read in numerous forums of all those features that were to make it compelling to upgrade to Vista.

3) DRM (digital rights Management) No thank you...I don't need to have someone tell me what to do/ not do on my PC.Where does this put MS? right up there with Yahoo turning names over to chinese authorities for prosecution. downright rediculous.

I buy my PC to use it as I want to. Bill Gates must be getting a good blow##b for adding DRM into PC's.

Yeah...It's keeping his sorry ass out of anti-trust court.

Right now, with the key features we were promised for Vista not being there, and some of them coming to XP, there is no reason to spend the money he wants for this POS on something that was made to resemble a MAc.

That's what the graphics look like to me anyway.

It's just another bloated version of XP with the same features XP has now, and in the near future, what is sad is, XP will have the same features, and we won't have to give that greedy ###### a dime.

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