imnuts' Blog
Random stuff from my mind…

The Buggy Release of Vista 5456

Over the weekend, the Vista team was nice enough to drop off another build for us beta testors to start working with. It is really nice to have since the Beta 2 build was in our hands for testing for more than a month and was starting to get old. Many promises of changes and fixes were made, and it seems like many things have been fixed so far in this build. UAC, which used to create problems when doing simple tasks has been toned down, the graphics have been smoothed out, and things are running a little better overall. However, there are a lot of little things that are just sitting here that seem to be oversights that should not have happened. The nice thing about this though is that the download size has been reduced a lot, by about 1GB on both the x86 and x64 download from Beta 2. It is also probably the fastest installation for many people to date as well. There is also the option for upgrading Beta 2, which I haven’t tried yet, but will in due time. So, there has been work in doing various things to make this good, but it seems like things have been overlooked that shouldn’t have been.

So far, I’ve barely closed the bug reporting tool that is used with Vista. In fact, in the first 12 hours of this build being installed, it wasn’t closed. There were also several bug reports filed in that time. So far, this is probably the buggiest build I’ve worked with that is still usable. There were past builds that were more troublesome, but I couldn’t use them as they just wouldn’t work and posed to many problems for day to day use, which I’ve been doing for some time now. So far, many of the problems that I am seeing are in the administrative areas of the build. The firewall, management consoles, and the control panel are all displaying things that shouldn’t be happening. The big issue that I’m seeing that is really odd though is that the individual management consoles are missing something, GUI related, functionality, something, but the full Computer Management console which has many of the functions built into it for easy access to a lot at once is working fine and doesn’t really have any issues. I’m not really sure how you can build two things that are nearly identical yet one works and one doesn’t, or one looks different than the other.

Other issues that I’m seeing that shouldn’t be there are things that work, but not until after you restart a time or two. In past builds, the firewall would start prompting you immediately if there was a program that it didn’t recognize accessing the internet. Now, it takes a couple restarts before it starts prompting about allowing access. The Welcome Center can’t be turned off until you log in for a second time either. I’m not sure what it is, but there must be something going on that is preventing stuff from happening in the first couple logins. I also see the firewall issue as something that should probably be addressed as that is kind of a security hole if it isn’t working properly. It’s really nice that all programs I had accessing the internet were doing so just fine, Winamp, WLM 8, Thunderbird, Flock, and I had no prompts for allowing access for them. Who knows what might have been able to get out and possibly in if this was a computer that wasn’t protected from the outside world. I trust my setup fairly well, so it didn’t bother me all that much, but I hate to think what might happen to a standard user or the average Joe out there if this would happen to them.

Even though this thing is buggy and has random oddities, there are a few improvements that have been made and are worth mentioning. The big one that has been a major point for a few months now is the User Account Control (UAC) feature. It has been the most annoying thing for most beta testers since it has been introduced. While it is a great concept, it has been poorly implemented in past builds. You would be getting restriction prompts and access denied messages when trying to do simple tasks, like deleting stuff from the desktop, or installing programs. They have done a good bit of work on it and while there are still prompts, they aren’t quite as annoying now, unless you have sound. They have added the critical error sound to the UAC prompts. It’s nice to know something needs attention, but it is the wrong sound, and shouldn’t be around if accessibility is enabled to make use easier for blind persons as that is the reasoning behind the sound. So, hopefully, the small issues that are still around in UAC are being looked at and fixed for the future builds. It’s nice to see that they are in the process of listening to folks and revising the system though.

The other thing that has seen some improvements once again has been Aero, the graphics theme and probably the most notable new thing in Windows Vista. If you are looking as to what some of these changes may be, head over to the PROnetworks gallery as there are quite a few screenshots of various things in the build. It is really nice to see how the details are being worked on and different views are getting more refined. Things like Flip3D, which used to look nice from afar, but kind of ugly up close, have received work to make the window edges smooth, and the transitions between open windows smoother as well. The transparency also seems to be better and clearer, that is if you can get Aero Glass to work. If you have trouble with it, see if this helps, as it seems like this has been a somewhat common issue for some reason in this build. Not sure what it might be though as transparency is working just fine for me as it has been for a long time now.

The other nice thing about the graphics in this build is that they kept the animations functions that could be added into Vista Beta 2, so if you want to get some cool effects with windows, try this out. Save the following code in notepad it as “dwm.reg” someplace that is easy to get to (like the desktop)

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


Now, double click the file to add it to the registry. You’ll likely get a prompt about administrator rights being needed, this is normal though. Then, all you need to do is open up the services panel and stop and start the Desktop Window Management service. You can get to the services management console by typing “services” into the start menu search box. After restarting DWM, if you hold down on the Shift key, all the windows will minimize and maximize much slower allowing you to get some amazing screenshots. This also works with Flip3D, so you can slowly rotate through all the open windows you have.

Application compatibility has also changed some. While things are mostly compatible, there are some difference. The things that I’ve noticed thus far that have changed are NOD32 and VMWare. In Beta 2, VMWare Workstation was working mostly fine. It had some issues during the initial startup and also caused some BSODs when shuttind down virtual machines, but it worked fairly well. Now, in 5456, it doesn’t seem to want to work. It could be that it has to do with this install being 64 bit and I had Beta 2 installed as the standard 32 bit install though. The other big change that I really like is that NOD32 is working again without issues. In Beta 2, there was an issue where NOD32 would cause 100% CPU usage for some reason. Some users got around this by disabling IMON (Internet Moniter), but that didn’t seem to work for me. So, I tried it out again and it seems to be back in business. If you’re wondering what NOD32 is, have a look at their homepage and a review I wrote. If you are wondering about other programs that may or may not work, well, I can’t do to much help there as I haven’t really gotten everything installed yet. I do know where you can find a fairly decent list of programs that do and don’t work though. If you are wondering about Build 5456, see here, and since many people are still working with Beta 2, you could see this about the public release.

A couple final notes about this, I’ve been having fun using this build and will continue to do so until the next build is released. If you are wondering if you should install it or not, I would say that if you can live with minor bugs being everywhere, go for it. Otherwise, I would just stick with Beta 2. So, thanks to Microsoft for providing Vista 5456 to us.

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4 Responses to “The Buggy Release of Vista 5456”

  1. Not that I’m impressed a lot, but this is a lot more than I expected for when I stumpled upon a link on SU telling that the info here is awesome. Thanks.

  2. Another big shot, another Genious of our days! Definatley on of the HISTROICAL figuers! Such a pitty!

  3. Wow such an unexpected erosion! The undamaged creation stood quiet to think goodbuy to Michael! He is Elvis of our days!R.I.P MICHAEL!

  4. Кто что думает как долго будет продолжать эта невыносимая жара?

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