Windows Vista RC 1 Tryout

Since asuka didn’t migrate to the new box easily, that box is sitting on the floor now doing nothing except keep a backup for asuka’s disks as of a couple weeks ago.

Hey, why not download the RC1 version of Vista?

Did – after much trouble with the official download mechanism, simply downloaded a bit-torrent version. Microsoft tells the MD5 and SHA1 of the ISO, so the bit-torrent version can be verified without any trouble. Thank you, DCRC.

Was warned off trying the 64-bit version by various web postings.


Took a while, unattended, after a couple of simple, basic settings (e.g. Language).

First log on took a long while, too. They try to keep you interested with fading in/out promo notes.

I installed Vista x86, 32-bit in the little 9 gig Linix swap partition. There was some fussing about it not being the right sort of partition, but that was very easy to fix.

The install leaves a very clean directory structure. I like that the users are put under “\users”. Too bad that “\Program Files”, with its embedded space, is pretty much unchangable to “\programs”.

Disk properties says that there remained less than 2 gig, so this DVD image expands out from a compressed image for sure.

Windows networking:

I could map my XP box’s shared drive. I could map the Linux servers’ Samba shares. I could not map any Win98 box’s shared drives.


Transparent windows are confusing, messy, and really don’t bring much to the table, in my view.

There were a couple of gratuitous icons, but they are easily tossed and unobtrusive. Nice.

The gadget toolbar confused me for a bit ’cause I did not even notice its existence until I tried to move the trashcan over the unpopulated part of the gadget toolbar – which was indistinguishable from the desktop background. And, what possible value is there in putting gadgets inside some specialty area? What is wrong with them going anywhere you like on the desktop? Heck, Microsoft seemed to intend to encourage people to create smart icons (“gadgets” seems to be the word the world is converging on for these mini-window programs) quite a few years ago. The tragedy of them is that, as they appear simple, it should be simple to create ’em. A few lines of code in some scripting language (e.g. Python, C#, Java) should get you an “Hello World” gadget. But, I digress.

The windows generally have a cluttered look.

The new minimize-size-close buttons on the upper right are nice. Their mouse-hover glow is a great improvement. And these buttons’ larger size is nice. And the big red close button is superior to the old windows style. Keep in mind that I have always used Windows Classic mode. For all I know XP may already has “fixed” these buttons. Anyway, they are almost, but not quite, as nice as OS/2 was a decade ago. Would that you could put the X in the upper left, away from the sizing buttons.

Vista does a bit of selling something called Windows Live. Like “Dot Net”, Windows Live is something … I’m sure. Yes. Quite sure. And, without question, it must have something to do with Windows. Or something. The red X worked fine in Windows Live. Or something.

The media player tries to sell something called, as Dave Barry would say, I’m not making this up, “Urge.” That’s right. They are trying to sell you a … what? … urinal?

So, that’s the 10 minute look. I may never see Vista again until some machine I get for Windows comes with it.

Overall impression:

Incremental update. Not irritating.

Looks like they are doing as good a job as they can to default-to-secure-mode. Kudos!

They are moving toward trying to make the whole PC experience one that is more like buying a car rather than buying a fixer-upper boat. That’s the proper thing for them to do, of course, given that if you want a fixer-upper boat, your best bet nowadays is Linux. And they are doing a pretty good job of it, it seems.

As the only “car” manufacturer, they are on the uncompetitive slow-road. Since their disasterous decision not to split the company in to pieces, it’s a safe bet that they will plod on relatively successfully, but gradually downhill for many years to come. That “many years” could be shorter than anyone would imagine if certain machines ever take off:

  • “Audrey” type machines (cheap, throw-away, distributed-around-the-home appliances with built-in web browsing)
  • smart-phones that can drive any neighboring screen and keyboard/mouse.

But, that’s another subject.

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