I figured I'd give a run down of what I have been able to accomplish in the past 3 days of playing with this beta. For the record, I am not an IT person or "professional" beta tester.
A bit of background. I installed the beta onto my company laptop. I have proven to my local IT person that I am quite knowledgable about hardware and software, and I can often fix small problems around the office and save him a 2 hour trip, so as repayment, I get some autonomy in regards to running software on this PC. The stipulation is that I also get no support. I'm on my own
. The rest of the company is still on XP and Office 2003.
So, what do I need to do my day to day work? Office (I run 2007), Groupwise for corporate e-mail. We run a Novell server, so the Novell Client. I also do some custom application work, so I run Visual Studio 2008. We have custom web apps, so IE is also required.
The laptop was purchased in May 2006, is a Core 2 Duo T7200 (2.0 gHz). It maxes out at 2 GB RAM (which I have). Video is an ATi Radeon Mobility X1600.
I wanted to dogfood this, so I installed fresh on a new hard drive. So far everything seems to be working. I have not compiled anything, yet, so I don't know how VS 2008 is working. I'll be working on that this weekend.
I also played with Vista Beta 1 and Beta 2 back in the day, and they were nowhere as polished as this beta. It took Novell almost 7 months after Vista went RTM to get a working client. The Vista Client SP1 works fairly well in this Beta. It doesn't seem to run the login scripts automatically when I use the initial login screen. If I just login as a windows local user and then login to Novell, the scripts run and my shares are added.
One thing that doesn't work is the email shortcuts in Office 2007. Eventhough I have Groupwise selected as my default mail app, Excel and Word don't recognize it. I'll play with setting and see if I can fix that.
As far as the UI enhancements go, I love the new taskbar. I am slowly learning the library structure. That may take some getting used to. I also run a separate monitor when in the office, and I really wish that MS would support dual monitors better. I have display fusion for Vista and I love it, but the OS should have basic settings, like separate backgrounds per monitor, and options on how the task bar operates with one or two displays functioning.
On the whole, I think this is the best OS MS has put together. I'll qualify that with this, I really like Vista. I think MS got Vista right, they just ran out of time. Five years of development, including a major reset hurt them. I do believe that Windows 7 is a polishing of Vista, with Sinofsky UI enhancements, and that's good.
I'll come back with more as I continue testing.