I decided to dedicate this past weekend to understanding Vista. I played with it, worked with it, and surprisingly never wanted to give up on it. When initially setting my computer up I found the User Account Control (UAC) to be a little annoying since you are prompted for administrator approval just to move shortcuts around in the Start Menu. I ended up disabling for about 10-minutes while I got everything ready to go and then I re-enabled it (this can be done in the User Accounts located in the Control Panel). After getting past the initial setup stage it is great to have the additional security that UAC provides.

Everything was going good but for some reason when I installed Vista it did not recognize any of my other Windows installations. On my desktop computer I had installed Vista and XP on a seperate hard drives, but on my laptop I had Vista on one partition and XP on another.

My initial thought was to edit the boot.ini file like I always did in XP, but fumbling through the new layout in Vista only led me to find out that a new boot manager is being used. The new boot manager, called Boot Configuration Data Editor, did not seem all that easy to manipulate the settings because it uses the DOS prompt for everything.

I spent quite a bit of time searching for an easy way to change the settings and then I stumbled upon the free software called VistaBootPRO. The screenshot above shows you the program and you can see how easy it is to change the boot options. One thing that is really great is the ability to backup your boot manager before you change anything, that way you don’t have to worry as much about screwing something up.

You have to make sure you run VistaBootPRO as the Administrator which can easily be done by right-clicking on the shortcut and selecting “Run as Administrator.” After I got the boot manager working Vista was much more fun to use. Once the Antivirus companies start developing compatible software then I will be truly happy.

One of my favorite features of Vista on my laptop is the ability to select different power plans which help me save even more battery life: Power Saver, Balanced, or High Performance. In Windows XP I could get about 6.5 hours of battery life on my Dell M140 laptop, but if I put Vista in Power Saver mode it will give me about 7.5 hours with no significant performance loss. This is definitely better than Vista Beta 2 where I could hardly scrape by on 4 hours.

As for program incompatibility the only thing that I have found not to work is Nero 7. However, Mozilla still needs to work on Vista compatibility because the partial updates will never install unless I run the browser as an administrator. That’s because Firefox and Thunderbird are trying to modify the program files with the partial update and Vista requires Administrator rights in order to change them. Hopefully this is something that can easily be resolved.

Overall I can’t wait to get my hands on Vista RC1. The Pre-RC1 that was released last week is running great for me and I’m looking forward to sitting through a long upgrade (a little sarcasm there because people are reporting up to 3.5 hours to upgrade, :( ).