Tuesday, April 25, 2006

TechEd Bloggers

Being quoted on TechEd Bloggers home page is not quite like getting Slash-dotted, but still fun. The bit cited on the TechEd Bloggers site is not quite the full story. The build is pretty stable, and works reasonably well - this bodes well. As a consumer OS, it'll sell well (if only because any OEM version of Windows sells well). It looks pretty too.

The bit of my earlier post cited by the TechEd Bloggers site related to the "move things around because we can" problem. Here are just two examples. First, in XP, you could right click the desktop background, select properties to open up the desktop properties. There was a single tabbed dialog box with all the options. But in Vista this is all changed. Your right click on the desktop brings up a Personalise (SIC) option. This is a menu listing the individual tabs in XP's dialog box and a bit more. Clicking some of those just brings up a (single tabbed!!!) dialog box which looks much like one tab in XPs's dialog. Clicking others brings up new windows. All very confusing and to me just adds more complexity to the process. At a very minimum lose the tab in the XP-cloned dialogs. A singe dialog needs both a window title and a tab why? Oh - and by the way, the window title and tab title are not really consistent in terms of what they display anyway!

The second example is the Desktop icons. In Win2k, the default desktop had a bunch of icons (the computer, IE, etc) in a particular order. In XP this changed to nothing being displayed, but you could change to a default order by clicking down into desktop properties. In Vista, this is done a different way, and the default order displayed are different. I like the ability to display the control panel - but why did the order have to change?

Compatibility is not quite there, but that's to be expected. I'm certain this is going to get better as Vista drives towards release. Also, the UI has butchered my beloved Turnpike. Turnpike looks so awful under Vista, I'm actually considering finding a new mail and news client. After using the product for something like 10 years, I'm reluctant. I'd really like a "compatibility mode for shell extensions that looked cool in XP" feature.

Another thing that jumps out is how much bigger Vista is than XP. Vista now comes on a DVD, roughly 6 times the size XP, if I have my maths right. The Windows folder alone is just a tad under 7GB! And after a day's running, the background memory usage is 1.3GB. I'm struggling to understand this apparant bloat. While there is some really great eye-candy and the stabilty is good, Vista is going to represent a wholesale replacement of my home network. While it all works fine under XP and Win2k3, several of my machines are just too long in the tooth for Vista. I suspect this may be true of many corporate clients.

But the thing that bugs me the most is UAP. This can not have passed the Jim Alchin's Mom test, and gets me angry every time it kicks in. Trying to delete windows.old (the folder the 5365 installer created from the previous build of vista on this box) has taken hours to complete. The combination of permissions, and the need to ask for admin priveleges drives me nuts. The think that makes least sense is that Vista doesn't make me enter admin credentials, just to click twice - with a couple of 2-3 second pauses in between. Now what is the point in that?? I really hope Vista RTM will have an easy way to turn this stuff off!!

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