UPDATE: I fixed links and images after re-uploading cropped images to Flickr.
Now, to be precise, this is all actually based upon build 5384. The build actually released as the official “Beta 2” may differ. Still, it calls itself Beta 2, so for arguments sake (as well as brevity), we shall as well.
Installation was painless. Whereas Beta 1 was unable to format partitions, forcing installers to trudge out to the command line with a myserious key combination during the installer, Beta 2 was faced with none of these problems. My existing installation of Windows XP Pro was blown away without any complaining, and merely two clicks of the mouse in the lovely Vista GUI installer. (Speaking of which, am I the only one who found it odd that Windows was the last major OS left with a text-based installer? Apple and Linux have both had them for many years, while XP was installed entirely through a white on blue textual interface.)
Installation was surprisingly speedy. It took about 20 minutes to complete the entire process from format to desktop, which I dare say is better than the average Windows XP install time.
The first thing I noticed when Vista first boots is that my second monitor doesn’t flip on a few seconds later, as I was accustomed. No problem. I probably just need to dive in and click the ‘Expand my desktop onto this monitor’ button in my Display Properties… Unfortunately, that wasn’t it; but more on this later.
You’re initially greeted with the Windows Vista “Welcome Center”. Basically this is a lot like the “Manage Your Server” concept in Windows 2000 Server and 2003 Server - a central point of some basic information, letting you branch out into the most common areas you’ll likely want to customize first. Notably present is the option for activating Windows, which I swiftly scoffed at and ignored.
The second thing I noticed was a prompt asking me what network I was connecting to. Vista had detected my network card, DHCP’d an address, and wanted to know with what security settings it should treat this connection - sharing or not.
That’s it for now, folks. Next up we’ll look some more at my driver problems, get some screenshots cleaned up in Photoshop (oh, like you didn’t notice all the white space…), and have a lot more fun with this beta. Stay tuned and if you want to spoil some of your fun, check out my Flickr Photo Set of all the Vista goodness, as it gets uploaded.