Me and Vista, sitting in a tree...

by Matt 26. October 2006 10:32

Yeah baby. It's Vista time.

Part of a new role I'm in at work has me looking at .net 3. I've held off this for a while - not enough time to mess about with the changing targets of monthly CTP releases. But seeing as we're now very close to Vista shipping (and with it .net 3) and 'cos it's now my job, I've got myself a nice shiny new laptop, and a nice shiny new OS.

What can I say that's not been said by so many other blogs and reviews?

It looks nice - I like the glass and the fading, and the cute little animations. It's all good fun to show off.

I still haven't found a good use for the sidebar. The analog clock is nice, but I don't think it's compelling enough to keep it running.

User Account Control - the contentious one. To be honest, it's not that bad at all. It's slightly annoying at the moment, but that's because I'm installing lots of stuff, and so seeing it a lot. I expect this will settle down under normal usage. It's a bit jarring though - the whole screen disappears for a second while it switches to the secure desktop. A nice transition would just make the whole experience a lot more pleasant. The one thing I don't like is trying to do something in Explorer that requires permissions. Explorer prompts me to see if I want to get prompted by UAC - so I get two prompts to click through.

And speaking of Explorer - it's all change there. I really like the new folder view. I like being able to click on the headers to sort, group, stack and filter. I like the new views and the resizing thumbnails. I like the breadcrumb bar. I like the favourite links. I don't like the little folder tree - it's too small and cramped and it makes the interface busier and messier, and keeps coming back when I close it. But on the plus side, I'm finding I'm using it less and less as a means of navigating. I'm beginning to care less about where things are stored on the disk. UAC stops me messing about in Program Files, so I don't go there as often. Everything else, I just search for.

Oh yes, search. I'm already a fan of Windows Desktop Search, but this just blows it out of the water. I don't know if it's because I've got a faster machine with more memory, but it's not just faster, it's instantaneous! Perhaps this is an indication of the performance improvements in Vista - which just seems rock steady and dead quick - I've been trying to batter it with VPC's and Visual Studio and it's taken everything I can give it without breaking a sweat. Search in folders is brilliant too - the word wheel effect in Control Panel is great. No more hunting! And I love searching from the start menu. No more navigating to find something, just windows key and type. I really miss that when I'm back on XP. But I don't like the size of the start menu! I think getting rid of the flyout menus for All Programs was a good idea, but now we're stuck with the list in a tiny little pane inside the start menu. It's not very good for browsing. Searching, yes. Browsing, no.

But perhaps the best thing is the quality of text. Again, I don't know if it's the new machine, but the picture is fantastically crisp. It's a huge difference between IE or Visual Studio on XP.

So, yes, Vista is lovely. It's not as minimally chic as the Mac, but it's got it's charm, and it's about time we had a new Windows to play with.

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