I’ve taken the dive and installed Vista. There’s been a couple of unpleasant surprises but things have mostly gone smoothly.
The first hurdle is the “which edition and version?” escapade. I settled on Home Premium OEM. This may well limit my ability to switch hardware in the future and it also ruled out upgrading from XP but the price is too good to go past. It’s by far the cheapest option.
This isn’t my main machine and is used for torrents, network monitoring and occasional browsing. PRTG Traffic Grapher and µTorrent installed and ran without a hitch as well as a couple of my desktop utilities. This was a pleasant surprise.
Initially I found the differences in Windows Explorer a little disorienting and it felt quite unfamiliar. It wasn’t long before I had found the settings and changed a few things that I started to feel more at ease. I’m still not sure how I feel about the ‘Favourite Links’ section but I use this heavily in Outlook so I’m not hiding it for the meanwhile.
I’m also still waiting to see if there’s any value in the ‘Details Pane’. I find it a little distracting as it’s fairly large and changes when the selection changes, drawing my eye away from what I’m selecting.
Shortly after installation Vista decided to download some updates. After a while I wanted to check the status of this but I couldn’t find the system tray icon for it. I noticed that one of the buttons on the start menu had changed and there was a mention of updates in the tooltip so I semi-attentively clicked it. Without any confirmation the computer went into shutdown/sleep mode but as it was only 20 or so Mb into a 150Mb download it continued downloading. There was no option to shutdown now or go back to the desktop. All without any sort of confirmation dialog. A quick flick of the reset button ensured I didnt lose 40-50mins of usage.
Another gremlin reared it’s head whilst I was installing software. One of my desktop utils uses the, unsupported on Vista, Windows Help file format. This is fixed with a download from the Microsoft web site.
The last annoyance is less to do with Vista and probably more to do with me wanting everything. As I have multiple machines I use a USB KVM. This doesnt work in the Vista boot menu so I have to keep a PS2 keyboard plugged in to select the WinXP install on that machine. Inexplicably though, this setup does work in the CMOS setup. Oh well.
Overall I’d say my Vista experience so far has been largely positive. As I mentioned this is my 2nd machine so it doesn’t have any peripherals so drivers aren’t an issue. I’m sure I won’t be able to say that when I move my main machine to Vista.