Vista still, well, beta

No big surprise, Gary Krakow at MSNBC wrote today about his experiences testing Vista:

The stuff that works on Vista seems to work well. But getting the Beta on to a computer was another matter. Installing Vista Beta 2, for me was one of the worst operating system experiences that I’ve ever encountered.

Link here.

Of course, it’s beta and a bit of hell is to be expected.

Experiences generally are mixed. We’re running Vista on various test systems here and I’ve personally been running it on in a Vmware. Eric Sites, our head of R&D, has been putting it on his home machine and his experience has been a mixed bag:

I installed beta 2 last night with very few issues.

I had to download new Vista beta drivers for my new ATI (512mb) video card, purchased specifically because my not-so-old video card had only 128mb of RAM and would not support some of the nicer features of the new Vista graphics system. I got these from the ATI website, but it took about 3 reboot after disabling the motherboard video card driver in the control panel, which I had already disabled in the BIOS but Vista wanted to use it anyway. It was causing the ATI to not load which was strange because Vista did not have a proper driver for the motherboard video card either — it was using a generic driver so the screen looked like crap.

I also had to download drivers from the Creative websites for my Sounds Blaster Audigy 2 high end sound card. I rebooted and everything worked, I did not have any issues with the motherboard sound chip.

I did not try to upgrade my XP installation, I installed an old harddrive I had laying around and deleted the old partitions before starting the install.

Luckily Vista did have support for my motherboard network card, to download the other drivers.

After getting the system running with sounds and video, I installed MS Office 12 and set up my VPN back to the office to check email. The VPN setup was smooth but when I started download my email it was glacially slow. I took a look at task manager and the networking tab, it showed my VPN link speed at only 26 kbps. This was a little odd, it should have been 100 Mbps. After about 30 mins, the link speed started increasing, but only to 760 kbps. The Outlook 12 UI was very unresponsive while downloading email, I was able to read about 5 emails but it just got too frustrating to continue and it was getting late (2:20 AM).

More to follow later, I still need to install my dev tools and the new DDK now renamed to WDK (Windows Driver Kit) and KMDF (Kernel Mode Driver Framework) which is a component of the WDK.

One aggravating aspect of Vista is UAC (User Account Control, previously referred to as User Account Protection, UAP), where you get incessant dialog boxes asking permission to do some inane thing or another. Paul Thurrott (who has railed against this feature in the past) claims that this feature has gotten better in Beta 2, so we’ll have to take a look.

Anyone else out there running Beta 2? Any other feedback?