So while my download of 5536 is rocketing along at way faster than it should be, I'm gonna take a minute to say I told you so. If you're in the TechBeta, go ahead and download it. While you're waiting, here's what you have to look forward to.
*DISClAIMER* This is just based on my experience with the last few private interim builds. I'm saying all this in anticipation that this build has improved since those builds. Of course, your mileage may vary. I'm not liable for any hurt feelings, bad experiences, broken expectations, etc.
Five Reasons Why 5536 Will Rock:
- Performance: HOLY CRAP. My first-boot memory allocation went from 850MB in 5492 to 603MB in 5520. Applications are responsive. Explorer opens quickly. IE rarely crashes. I can run two instances of Virtual Server machines with memory allocated at 1GB apiece and still have the OS be responsive on the remaining GB. I can be, God forbid, productive. I can't even wait to see what 5536 will bring.
- UI: While the enhancements that Brandon is looking for have been pushed back, you'll see a significant change in UI from 5472. WinSAT now runs as a full screen animation on first boot. New icons are all over the place (Check the Control Panel and MMC)
- Quick Install: 22 Minutes from CD insert to first boot. Can't beat it. (MS, please feel free to try)
- Media Center: Lots of bugs and issues resolved. You should see a MUCH better experience here (thanks to a very dedicated Media Center team).
- A Great Experience: Going back to XP gets harder and harder with every build. Vista's design feels very professional, and every time I go back to XP I hate it.
- BONUS - Better Video Drivers: Now, if the video card drivers fail, (more often than not) the driver will take a minute and reset itself without bringing the whole system down. It's pretty sweet. But it happens less often because for the most part, the drivers are improving.
So how is it possible that I could feel so different than I did a couple weeks ago? Well, Microsoft didn't check some major performance enhancements in till late in the game. Their build process changed as part of the SDL, and now code isn't checked in till it's finished and been reviewed, etc. Sometimes teams can go five weeks or more before their works gets checked in. Too bad they neglected to tell all of us that.
Is Vista finished yet? HELL NO. I still feel very strongly that "release candidate" should mean "we think we're done with the product", but for whatever reason, the Windows Client team doesn't operate that way (the server team does, tho). Still, the 5500 series builds give me a lot of hope for RTM. Hopefully the stuff that is still coming has enough time to be thoroughly tested.
So kick the tires. Give it a go. Most of you will have a great experience with it.
Great job, Windows Team. Bring on RC1!!!