Musings of a PC

Thoughts about Windows, TV and technology in general

Vista Beta 2 diary: initial thoughts

So these are my initial thoughts and findings after having just installed Vista Beta 2 onto my D800 laptop.
 
I’m currently looking at the login screen. Since I haven’t joined the computer to a domain (yet), this is the easy user logon page. It is different from the XP model as I’m only looking at one username and it is prompting me for a password. There is a big Switch User button which (presumably) allows me to pick from other users on the system. I’ve only got one user defined so I can’t verify that.
 
The prompting for a password makes it easier for people who aren’t sure what to do or what is expected of them. XP required you to click on the username first to get the password prompt. I like the change. I dislike things that aren’t intuitive, as you might have noticed from my criticism of the security settings window.
 
The strange blue icon has reappeared – this first made an appearance in one of the Vista installation windows. There still isn’t any help when you hover over it, though. Clicking on it reveals the purpose – it is for accessibility options. The final icon on the screen gives you the shutdown choices.
 
Time to log on … well, sound works! The logon sound hasn’t changed.
 
I’m not sure about the resolution the display is running at. Display properties have moved but I don’t think it is the best setting for my laptop. Ah – Windows is using a standard VGA graphics adapter driver. Of course, having wiped out the installation of XP on my laptop, I no longer know what graphics adapter I’ve got! Planning, planning, planning :-).
 
OK, so I now know it is an NVidia GeForce4 4200 Go. I know from reading a blog about installing Vista on a D820 that the NVidia drivers need "tweaking" in order to work without the help of your reseller (Dell). So, over to www.laptopvideo2go.com I go to get the files I need. Install the drivers and … I get a code 43 error that quite a few other people have reported. Next stop: Windows Update. Now that the computer knows it has a GeForce4 installed, it can install a working version of the driver. Trouble is, that version only supports DirectX 8.1 and uses a Windows 2000 miniport driver, so I’m not getting a good System Performance Rating.
 
Is the GeForce4 too old?
 
Oooh … plugging the laptop into the network prompts me to choose a network category – public or private. There is a description from each and the implication is that the choice dictates firewall settings, etc. Curiously, choosing private (the one that is more open) requires admin privileges.
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