It’s official. Microsoft has released Windows Vista Beta 2 as a public beta. You can download it (and check to see if your computer meets their minimum requirements) at http://www.microsoft.com/windowsvista/.
Here are some other links, so you can check to see if your Video card (or integrated video) will support “Aero Glass” or not. http://www.ati.com/technology/windowsvista/index.html http://www.nvidia.com/page/technology_vista_main.html http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/evaluate/hardware/entpguid.mspx and http://www.microsoft.com/technet/windowsvista/evaluate/hardware/entpguid.mspx Don’t be fooled though. Even if your card doesn’t support “Glass”, Vista still has a lot to offer you. I’ll give you some examples below.
So, what does Vista have to offer you if you can’t run “Glass”? Well, here’s an example that I ran into just this morning. About 5 years ago (when I was running Windows 98SE) I got an external CD Burner from a friend of mine. The cost was $80.00 + I had to burn a CD for him. I started it, but never finished it. Last year, I tried to read the CD on WIndows XP, and it failed miserably because the CD wasn’t closed (and I didn’t have the proper version of Roxio’s Disc Drive program) installed.
So, I gave the CD up for dead. This morning, I thought “Why not try it?”. I put the CD in (I have no CD burning software other then what comes with Vista installed) and it opened. Only one of the files on the CD is bad. The rest open and run perfectly. Now, to finish the CD for my friend.
I ran Vista for three weeks with just Windows Firewall and Windows Defender installed. In fact, the only reason that I installed an antivirus at all, is because I set up my e-mail accounts in Outlook. (For the record, I would have installed it regardless of what client I used). I still run with only Windows Firewall and Windows Defender. Did I feel safe? Yes. Do I recommend that the average (or any) user do this? Not a chance. I also ran with the UAC enabled (until I decided to install the antivirus). Does that take the place of an antivirus? NO. The only way it even comes close, is if you actually take the time to READ what the message is, before you click “Allow”.
So, how does my running Vista without an antivirus make it worth the upgrade? Because with the UAC, and actually reading the pop-ups before I allowed them, I was slightly less likely to catch a virus then I was on XP with my antivirus. Imagine the combination of a good antivirus (whatever your definition of that is), a good firewall, a good antispyware program, AND running the UAC in it’s intended manner, would get you. It’s not as perfect as the Mac and Linux fans claim their repsective OS’s are, but for Windows, it’s pretty close. I’ll have a post about UAC soon.
There are a lot of other things that make Vista worth trying out. The ability to add your own personal comments (“Metadata”) to files. The sidebar. Cool desktops. Cool screensavers (especially if you have “Glass” enabled). Automatic disk defragmenting (although sometimes it seems like it’s eating up way too much CPU). And, just the overall “cool” of showing it off to your friends.
So, check it out. Even if you can’t run “Glass”, you may be surprised. It’s coming soon anyhow, and unless you build your own computer, you’re going to have to use it eventually. This is one version of Windows, that I would probably consider having installed on my computer when I buy it.
Until next time, have a great week everyone.