For about a week I've been running Windows Vista RC1 on my laptop. I had used the Beta 2 on my desktop machine. I was unable to use the Aero theme on it, because my graphics card (GeForce4 TI 4400) does not support DirectX 9. However, my laptop's modest Intel 945GM integrated graphics does support DirectX 9, thus my laptop can run Aero quite nicely.
Aero is some nice eye candy. I remember the first time I saw the XP graphics, and I thought "ok that's just silly." Aero is a more impressive evolution.
Overall RC1 is much, much faster than Beta 2. It has some bugs. For example, I can't seem to use my mouse to scroll through contextual menus in Explorer (arrow keys work fine though.) There still seems to be issues around long filenames/paths and with compressed folders. Also, Windows Defender keeps trying to tell me that it is blocking some startup program, but when I open the list of startup programs, all of them are active.
Now will an upgrade be worth it? Probably not really at first, but it will become necesarry eventually. XP was a bigger upgrade in terms of stability, at least when compared to Windows 98 or ME. A Windows 2000 user could get by without XP for a long time, at least until they needed some specialized hardware driver. Seems like Vista will be a tougher sell for XP users.
As for me, I have decided to finally upgrade my desktop's graphics card. The GeForce TI 4400 has been an awesome card. I bought it back when I played games (before I had kids basically.) It was great on games like Medal of Honor and Unreal Tournament. I don't play games anymore, so I will be happy with a cheap, Aero-capable card.
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