Windows Vista Beta 2 Public Initial Impressions

vista1.jpgI have been using Windows since the classic Windows 3.1 on my 80486 Personal Computer DX-2 66mHz. Although it was nice to use, I did prefer RISC OS on my Acorn Archimedes A3010, however Windows 95 was a major leap forward and there was no looking back. Having owned Windows 3.1, Windows 95, Windows 98, Windows Millennium Edition, Windows XP Home and Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 (my current operating system), imagine my interest levels when I heard about the next iteration to be released in 2007.

I have been looking forward to trying out Windows Vista (the new Windows) for myself for a very long time and now I have finally installed the Windows Vista Beta 2 Public Beta. As you would expect with a preview build there are a few bugs, but I managed to get past those very easily and now I am running incredibly fast.

First thing that hits you like a bullet is the new Aero theme, which even though I hate the colour black, looks very special indeed. The 3D and glass effects compliment the black theme extremely well, so you will not miss the what is now considered ‘old’ XP theme. Secondly is the new Start menu, which instead of expanding out across the screen (which it has done since Windows 95), remains within the start menu box that opens on clicking the new funky looking Start button. This is quite confusing at first, but I am sure I will get used to it. Old habits die hard after all!

Internet Explorer 7 is just the same as the Windows XP preview I have already tried, although it is running incredibly fast and may even tempt me back to the Internet Explorer universe of browsing again instead of using Mozilla Firefox. Windows Explorer again is a little difficult to get used to, not so much the navigation but the icon changes associated for recognised files. As you may have already understood by now, Windows Vista is looking great, but is going to take some time to get used to all the changes. The main bonus is that all the new additions are still recognisable, so for any Windows user, getting used to the new layouts and configurations should be quite simple.

There are many new additions, including new Solitaire…. Yes it looks great again after hardly changing since Windows 95. I am not going to cover everything as there are sites like Paul Thurrott’s that will explain in amazing detail.

Although my installation will expire within 14 days, I look forward to buying Vista on release. Remember there is still all the Live! Anywhere applications to be added to Windows Vista, so for Xbox 360 users like myself, there is a lot of incentive to upgrade to Vista if they get this component working correctly.

James Woodcock

Freelance Journalist, Author, Blogger & Podcaster specialising in gaming and technology.

Ever since he experienced the first controllable pixel movement on the television screen, he has been entranced by the possibilities and rewarding entertainment value generated from these metal and plastic boxes of delight. Writing hundreds of articles including commentary and reviews on various gaming platforms, while also interviewing well known industry figures for popular online publications.

  • Where you brave enough to put it on your main computer overwriting your Windows XP MCE? Or is it a separate install? How does the 14 day thing work?

  • I have two hard drives, so just told my motherboard to use my other smaller hard drive as the primary Hard drive so it boots that one instead, so no I havent overwritten Windows XP MCE 2005.

    Well it is like activating Windows, except you can’t in this beta it would seem.

  • Ah, I see… I may have to try this on my 2nd hard drive too. :)

  • Ali Owen

    It’ll be like owning a mac in 2001!