As a dogfooder who tried Windows the Vista Beta, man has this product come a long way. Kudos to the Windows team for dramatically improving just about everything in the product.

Here's some key things to remember:

Backup your files - Always good advice, but don't forget to export your IE Favorites and your OPML blog roll from your favorite blog reader before starting.

My PC: Dell XPS M170 (pre dual-core), 2GB RAM, 80 GB Hard drive.

My Installation List

  • Windows Vista Ultimate Edition
  • Visual Studio 2005 Team Suite
  • SQL Server 2005 Developer Edition
  • Visual Studio Express - Full support information here
  • Windows Live Messenger
  • WinZip 9 SR1
  • Windows Live Writer Beta
  • Visual Studio Team System
  • Mezer Tools - Screen Capture
  • iTunes
  • Firefox
  • Adobe Reader
  • Office 2007 - I love Office 2007, killer app
  • Office 2007 Add-in (Save as PDF or XPS)
  • New York Times WPF Reader
  • Expression Web
  • Windows Grep
  • Digital Image Suite 2006
  • Ventrillo
  • World of Warcraft

 

Other Personal Notes

  • UAC can be annoying: But you can turn it off by clicking on your user account, selecting personalize and turning it off. This is a personal decision everyone needs to go through, but I'm thankful there's an option to turn it off.
  • Everything is both new and familiar: That may sound like a contradiction, but while there's a lot that's new in the operating system, I don't feel lost and I can intuitively figure out where things are. In that sense, I don't see customers getting "lost" in Vista.
  • What doesn't work: RSS Bandit - I've already pinged Dare, I'l let you know what I hear back
  • It's Faster: World of Warcraft performance is faster than on Windows XPSP2 both in terms of frames/second and the feeling of responsiveness. Unexpected but cool :)
  • What Driver didn't work: My Sierra Wireless AirCard 860 didn't "just work", but luckily the good folks at Sierra Wireless do have Windows Vista drivers, but make sure to download the (almost hidden) option #2. The first option is for Cingular's weak-sauce software while the second is Sierra's driver. Use the second one.
  • Favorite secret feature so far: Intelligent copy and paste. When I copied over my old machine's Windows XP "My Documents", it recognized the structure and asked me to move things like "My Music" or "My Pictures" to the new folder structure (C:\Users\Danielfe\Music or C:\Users\Danielfe\Pictures)
  • Favorite keyboard shortcut: From Peter's blog, hit Windows Key+N to launch apps in your quick launch, Windows Key+1 launches the first app, Win+2 launches the second, and so on
  • Full list of Windows Vista shortcuts: Can be found here
  • PowerShell looks cool: The version listed here is in fact the RTM 1.0 version, the team just needs to update the labels.

 

All-in-all, I think users will be pleasantly surprised by Vista and the sky is not actually falling.