Vista Beta Presents Clearer View of Data

By Jason Brooks  |  Print this article Print

Opinion: Early tests show rough edges and improved information management, such as freshened file search.

Earlier today, Microsoft uncloaked the first beta release of Windows Vista, the next-generation version of its Windows client previously known as Longhorn.

eWEEK Labs has been conducting early testing on a pre-beta 1 version of Vista, build 5098, and although a good deal of roughness remains to be smoothed out, the Vista release we're running in the Labs promises to make user data easier to organize and consume, while offering administrators some new tools for managing the machines in their care.

Vista's flashiest new feature is Aero Glass, a slick-looking, hardware-accelerated interface, marked mainly by its translucent window decorations.

In order to enable all the eye candy that Aero Glass can offer, we had to swap out our test system's GeForce4 MX 420 card for a beefier GeForce FX 5950 Ultra.

It's nearly impossible to judge performance on an early beta release, but our 2.53GHz Pentium 4-powered test box with 512MB of RAM worked at a good enough clip not to annoy us—for the most part.

Read more here about beta testers' first look at Windows Vista.

Certain parts of Vista took a while to load, such as the system's event viewer, which also tended to black out our test system's wallpaper while loading.

Internet Explorer 7 is one of the more noticeable new faces in Vista Beta 1, and yes, IE now boasts tabbed browsing. IE7 sports a different skin than did IE6, but the two applications are more similar than different.

One change we noticed and appreciated, however, was the addition of a Delete Browsing History option in the browser's Tools menu, which allowed us to erase cookies, browsing history, Web form data, passwords and temporary files with two clicks.

Click here to read eWEEK.com Senior Editor Steven J. Vaughan-Nichols' less than enthusiastic reaction to Vista Beta.

We also liked the sync offline files functionality in Vista Beta 1—we synced a bunch of old stories and research materials to our Vista test box from a Samba share on a Fedora Linux desktop. Once we'd synced those files, Vista began indexing them, and we could search through them using Vista's notably improved search dialog.

We encountered some application compatibility issues with Vista: when we installed GIMP to take screenshots, the application wouldn't run, giving us the error message, "gimp-2.2.exe stopped working and must be closed."

On a related point, we were annoyed that we couldn't select and copy those error messages.

This error did, however, give us the opportunity to visit Vista's overhauled event viewer, which now includes many more sorts of logged activities and tools for customizing log views. Stay tuned for a more extensive review of Windows Vista Beta 1 in an upcoming issue of eWEEK.

Senior Analyst Jason Brooks can be reached at jason_brooks@ziffdavis.com.

Check out eWEEK.com's for Microsoft and Windows news, views and analysis.

Jason has been a member of the Labs staff since 1999, and was previously research and technology coordinator at a French economic development agency. Jason covers the mobile and wireless space, including mobile operating systems such as Palm, Windows CE, Symbian and Linux, as well as the devices that run them. Jason has performed some of the most comprehensive tests published to date of the nascent Bluetooth wireless technology, including interference testing among Bluetooth and other wireless technologies such as 802.11. Jason also provides analysis of the desktop computing area, including Windows, Mac and Linux operating sytems, as well as productivity applications such as Microsoft Office, StarOffice, Lotus Notes, GNOME and KDE. Jason's review of StarOffice received the most hits of any story published on www.eweek.com.

Submit a Comment

Loading Comments...