I’ve just spent the last day taking Vista Beta 2 on a test spin, and it looks to me like Microsoft has a winner. There are a few rough edges, but overall, it’s a polished piece of work.
What’s big in it? Finally, the new search is in, and it works quite well. It’s fast, it lets you search in countless different ways, and you can create saved searches that are live and update themselves as you use Vista.
Microsoft has also fixed the obnoxious User Access Control (UAC). It’s a feature designed for extra security; when you make changes of certain kinds, you’re given a warning or asked to provide administrator credentials.It made the operating system practically unusable unless you were logged in as an administrator. I’m pleased to say that in this beta, much of the nagging is gone.
There’s some bad news as well. The Windows Firewall is still incomprehensible. And hardware support remains problematic. It won’t recognize my wireless network, or several wireless adapters. And I’m not alone in this.
The upshot? Hardware support might hold up the release past January, but other than that, this is a fine piece of work.