The 10 days of Vista

Last week I decided to build a high-powered Vista workstation and give it a go for the first time in almost a year and a half. I was genuinely surprised that I actually enjoyed the experience. In fact, though I've largely gone back to my Mac and Linux laptops and workstations, I do use RDC to the Vista system for those times when I need Windows. My XP installation has laid dormant for ten days now, and I don't t

Last week I decided to build a high-powered Vista workstation and give it a go for the first time in almost a year and a half. I was genuinely surprised that I actually enjoyed the experience. In fact, though I've largely gone back to my Mac and Linux laptops and workstations, I do use RDC to the Vista system for those times when I need Windows. My XP installation has laid dormant for ten days now, and I don't think it'll be coming back.

That said, it hasn't been all wine and roses. Vista refuses to properly suspend the system, though the workstation does go into suspend, it won't come back out, and elicits a bluescreen every time. Reboots are required far more frequently than I'd like, and occasionally, the windowing subsystem will go wonky, and active windows won't focus -- you can click an app in the taskbar, and it flitters up from the taskbar, but stays in the background, behind other windows. Also, the system won't properly power down the LCD panels when it should suspend the displays. This DPMS issue is highly annoying, and I need to do some more research to figure out why that might be.

I've hit a few incompatible applications along the way, but most of the problems I noted with several apps last year have been remedied in newer versions. Running Vista Ultimate on this IBM Intellistation zPro hasn't been a trouble-free adventure, but it's been at least as good as XP, with some respectable eye candy and some relatively handy new features thrown in.

Now, on to the next challenge -- Vista on a laptop. HP is sending me a new Compaq 2710p business notebook with Vista, and I'll be using that instead of my MacBook Pro and MacBook Air. For me this might be the real acid test. I live and die by my laptops, using my workstations when I have big things brewing that require lots of horsepower and screen real estate. I'd estimate that I use laptops 70% of the time, and the remainder on workstations. We'll see how well Vista fares on a more realistic system than the high-end Intellistation, as well as in a mobile setting. Rest assured, I'll keep you posted.

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