Here are a few Vista features and my thoughts after a few days of use.

Instant Search (Thumbs Up)

The first thing I noticed with Vista is that stuff wasn’t where I expected it to be.  This is not Windows XP, that is for sure.  Immediately after I set up Vista I needed to see the Device Manager and I had no idea where to look.  I have since found it by the way.  But what I learned early on is that you can easily search for installed programs as well as files.  You can see in the screen shot that I typed “Device” and as I typed the search started.  The top item was “Device Manager” and it was highlighted so I could hit enter and it opened.  That was easy.  I have been using this to start most programs so far.  I just finished installing IIS.  I couldn’t find the admin tool so I just typed IIS in the search bar.

Lots of Windows Security Warnings and Prompts (unsure)

I heard about this but didn’t realize what it was.  Every time you do certain things you get a security warning.  So, for example, if I open the IIS Manager Vista prompts me with “Windows needs your permission to continue.  If you started this action, continue.”  I am sure there is a way to disable these messages but I have to admit, I feel more secure.  We’ll see how long it takes before I get frustrated.

Lack of Control over Defragmenter (Thumbs Down)

My friend Gary from work has been showing me the ways of a sys admin.  He taught me to use partitions for various files.  He also likes to defragment the drives after making big changes.  I’ve been following his ideas lately but found a snag with Vista.  The Disk Defragmenter is pretty lame!  You options seem to be (after you get past the security warning): a) Run defragmenter on a schedule or b) Deframent now.  That is pretty much it.  I don’t know what happens when you choose b.  There are no options and no status update.  Is it defragmenting all of my drives or just one?  I assume it is doing all of them.  I tried running it on a schedule but I don’t know if it worked.  It was scheduled for 1 AM but my PC was asleep at the time so I think it skipped it.  This morning I tried to run it manually.  So I kicked it off and went to work.  I came home to find out that the PC went to sleep and never finished defraging.  This is pretty lame.  I have heard that Vista manages the defragmenting for us now so I shouldn’t have to worry about it.  I am not so confident in this.

No More “My Documents” (Thumbs Up)

Windows XP had a folder for each user within the folder Documents and  Settings.  Inside each user is a folder for My Documents and inside that My Music, My Pictures, etc.  I like to re-direct my “My Documents” to a different drive and that was easy to do.  But you didn’t have a lot of control over the other “My” folders.  It was all or nothing.   Vista introduces a Users folder.  Inside that, each user has a folder, in my case it is called “Andy”.  Inside that folder you will find folders named Contacts, Downloads, Documents, Music, etc.  No more “My”…I like that already!  Then I found out that you can easily re-direct any of these folders to a different location.  So I put Documents, Downloads, etc on my D drive and I put Music, Pictures, and Video on my M (media) drive.  And I can still use the shortcut on the start menu.  I click “Andy” and I see all of my folders, even though they are located in different locations.  This is very cool.  To learn how to re-direct the files, read this post I found on Ed Bott’s blog (I don’t know him, found it with Google).

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