I recently received Windows “Longhorn” Vista Beta 1 in the mail from my MSDN subscription and decided to install it on one of the extra computers that I have at my house. I have installed “Longhorn” in the past, but I was quite interested to see what has changed in the install process this time around.
The install process has changed quite a bit from the last time I installed it. It is a very graphical install process instead of the blue screen DOS style install process that you are used to from installing Windows XP or 2003.
From the graphical install, I was able to also click on buttons and enter text into textboxes to do things like blow away partitions, name my computer, specify whether I am doing an upgrade or a clean install, and more. It was quite nice and included a Next button and a Back button throughout this process. The first thing asked for is the product key, which you can get from the MSDN subscriber site (after you have logged in of course). You will find the key by clicking on the Product Keys button at the top of the page. I didn't have to request the key as it was already provided for me in the list which was nice.
Even though the install was better than before there were still some things that were missing for me. First off, I very much like to know what files are being installed and would still like to see these files shown (though fast) at the bottom of the screen. What a shame that they are not there. Also, from the figure above, you can see that you are only presented with a progress bar that says “Installing Windows” and nothing more. I did a clean install and I am unsure whether or not my drive was formatted in the process - I would hope it was, but I am unsure. I would like to have a progress bar presented that showed the formatting process as well.
Once the screen from the figure above was accomplished, my computer then rebooted and another screen appeared that said Windows was installing and nothing more - except to not turn off your computer. This screen also had a progress bar that progressed back and forth probably 150+ times. What is the point of having a progress bar that does this? Wouldn't it make more sense to have it progress only once? The only thing I could think of in why it was done this way was to show you that your computer wasn't hung.
Once installed, I was able to easily change the 640x480 resolution (does anyone use this anymore btw?) to something more manageable. Though I couldn't install any of my drivers that I had with me. I will have to work on this more later. I built this computer myself and it has a nice Asus motherboard with built-in video/audio/network. The drivers for these all couldn't install, so I am left in a bit of a lurch. Oh well. At least I made it this far.
I will report more later.