I've been using the CTP alot this evening and I've come to the conclusion that as much as I want to, this build isn't ready for everyday use - atleast for me and my hardware.
In terms of my drivers for my hardware, this build moves completely backwards. Before hand in builds such as 5231, all my drivers worked absolutely wonderfully. Build 5270 has not been nice to my hardware this time around. Especially with my sound and graphics. My graphics card, an ATI Radeon X300, does all the neat Aero effects quite nicely, but performs extremely sluggish. I tried loading some of the LDDM drivers ATI has on their site - but that literally devestated my PC. Fortunately for me, the awesome System Protection feature in Vista rocks. I was able to restore my PC to the previous state before installing the ATI drivers. My sound card works and installs the drivers just fine, but when it boots up into Windows...for approximately 30 seconds I am able to adjust my volumn - the everytime I go to adjust the volumn again, the volumn control fails to appear. Sound does continue to work and I can adjust volumn in Windows Media Player, but that's it.
Looking at the software side of things, most of the new Windows programs in this build work like a charm. I absolutely love Windows Mail and Windows Calendar. I can definately see myself using these programs continuously. But UAP (User Account Protection) is something I wish I can just turn off and forget about. UAP is blocking my every move. Yes, I could log in as Administrator and do all my testing there but what's the point? I am testing Vista as Vista should be run by any average home user - never as an Administrator. I broke down and added my "Brandon" account to the Administrator group but that did absolutely nothing. UAP is the reason why Windows Live Messenger won't install. Something about a "leastPrivilage" level not being what it should in order to execute the install.
Despite my above mentioned issues, I feel very strongly that Windows Vista is heading in the right direction. The user interface is just amazing. Its a real nice refreshed look to the same Windows user interface we've grown accustom to seeing since Windows 95's debut. Many people argue it looks "just like XP" but I beg to differ. While it has elements similar to that of XP's interface, its definately something different. Think of it as an "extreme makeover" to the the existing user interface with a new technology - the Windows Presentation Foundation. Windows Vista also comes with a great deal of Windows programs that allow you to do exactly what every user should be able to do with their PC, from email right down to calendars and organizing photos and other media. The Network features allow you to save networks and give you better troubleshooting features. There's so much more.
But Microsoft still has alot of work to put into Vista yet. The UAP stuff needs to be refined alot more than it is now, that's for sure. I look forward to continuing my testing with this build and can't wait to see what's next from Redmond in 2006.