Visual Tour: 20 Things You Won't Like About Windows Vista

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4. Installation takes forever.

The Vista setup routine is something of a disappointment. The one big improvement is that it gets most of the user inputs out of the way by placing them at the front end of the process. That means you can get it going and walk away. That's a good thing, because it still takes a long, long time to complete. Go for a walk, take the kids out to dinner, do the crossword puzzle. You've got time.

The Windows Vista Setup routine.
(Click image to see larger view)

Unlike some other reviewers, I had no problems with installation on four separate machines, including a late 2005 Lenovo T43, a brand-new Dell Inspiron E1505, two 2003-era 3-GHz desktop computers and a virtualized instance with VMware Workstation 5.5. But note also that Beta 2 is not the time to perform an upgrade installation on a computer you care about. Or, if you do, perform the upgrade in a virtual machine or on a PC whose operating system you've backed up for later restoration. If you're going to do a clean install, there's no need to wipe the drive; dynamically partition it and install Vista cleanly into the new partition. Your only hassle is drivers, but that's actually been a strength of Vista the last few builds. I've had very little device trouble with old or new PCs. All told, I've installed various builds on more than a dozen machines.

3. Version control.
There are five essential packages of Windows Vista: Home Basic, Home Premium, Business, Enterprise and Ultimate. Tablet PC functionality, which was previously a separate edition of Windows XP, is a significantly improved feature set available in all but the Home Basic version of Vista. Media Center functionality, which was also a separate edition of XP, is similarly available in the Home Premium and Ultimate versions of Vista. The groupings make sense after you pore over them, comparing features in depth. But at first blush, it can be a very confusing process to figure out which version is best for your needs.

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