Jeremy's almost but not quite entirely moribund blog

Saturday, December 16, 2006

First look at Windows Vista

Today I got my first look at Windows Vista (on a company-owned laptop). Impressions:
  • Aero Glass looks nice. Very smooth and polished, and a definite step up from XP's Luna theme. I think it also bears a strong resemblance to another operating system sold by a company named after fruit, but that shouldn't surprise anybody. The Win+Tab rolodex-style window switching isn't nearly as cool as Apple's Expose feature, for what that's worth.
  • Solitaire has been seriously overhauled. (For the first time in, what, 15 years?)
  • Microsoft went and hid all the preferences again. It took me forever to figure out how to prevent it from hiding filename extensions from me.
  • File copying in Explorer has been improved somewhat--if it can't read a single file, it lets you retry or skip rather than just blowing up. (Finally catching up with DOS there.) Explorer's old functionality bothered me so much I went and wrote my own copy utility. Vista is halfway tolerable, although it has some quirks and it still nags you with eleventy billion different "Are you sure?" messages. Fortunately, PerigeeCopy seems to work on Vista... ;)
  • User Access Control (UAC) is downright obnoxious. A popup repeatedly prompts you to confirm seemingly random operations such as changing the system font size. Fortunately, it can be turned off.
  • There's a built-in benchmark that assigns a numeric score to your PC. My laptop (actually, it belongs to the company I use it to do consulting work for) scores 4.5 (which is pretty downright l33t--they say 5 is a top-of-the-line rating).
  • OpenGL is totally, totally b0rked. IIRC, Vista implements OpenGL as a wrapper on top of DirectX, and it's garbage. Even a dirt-simple game like Descent I (d1x_oglmw) is unplayable. (It works fine on XP on the same machine, which has a GeForce Go 7600 256MB video chip, for what that's worth.) Perhaps a real video driver (instead of the one that came with Vista) would fix the problem. It'd be nice if I could find one. Neither HP nor has a Vista driver for the GF7 Go series yet...


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