Vista – better and better?

First warning – this is not really technical article, it is more user oriented… So if you enjoy all articles about scripting etc, go to next entry in your feed reader ;)

Maybe some of you know I had few presentations about Windows Vista beta2 – at that moment I saw huge advantages in “under the hood” changes, but it was still only beta – for example it was constantly crashing on my desktop…

I haven`t reviewed any RC or any newer version of Vista after beta2 – and based on too many disappointed people all around the internet I thought Microsoft probably messed up something – even thought I was not expected them to do so. When I got my new desktop, I decided it is time to move on and try Vista – and 64 bit version ;)

After some time spend with Vista I must say I really love it – performance is really great (well, in my case better than XP definitely) and I love small changes they have done. Vista is my first OS where my first action was not “Optimize for best performance”.

In last few days two features really interested me – features that were missing for too long.

First one – if you are same like me you don`t use Windows Explorer – instead Total Commander or something that is more keyboard (and user) friendly. Sometimes you however need to do something from explorer – for example TortoiseSVN have sometimes problems with TC.

I always hated how you copy\move files and folders using explorer, specially if you wanted to move 3 files that are not next to each other – you had to hold ctrl and select items one by one and it was too easy to simple remove all your selected entries. Yesterday I found out that in Vista you can enable check boxes to select items:

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I think this was already possible in XP, please correct me if I am wrong (I have feeling that I used it once loooooooooong time ago).

If you want to copy something now, just select all check boxes and drag&drop or hit ctrl+c:

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There is also option to select all items by one checkbox:

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As I said, I think this is not new to Vista – but for me it makes explorer much more useful tool.

Another feature I really like is the way how address bar of explorer is handled – you don`t see static structure like before (for example C:\Temp), instead you see all elements that makes path:

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Of course you can click on all elements – I got used to this almost immediately and (from user perspective) it is one of most useful changes in Vista for me.

I always hated favorites in all Windows:

OpenFileDialog: browsing for a file

Because I don`t really use My Documents (don`t like that folder structure) and I probably never used My Network Places or My Recent Documents, I only used My Computer (in fact to get to my C: drive) and Desktop (for download -> read -> delete documents)…

There were some ways how to change items that are displayed here, but they were (for me) not worthy spending precious time on ;) In Vista these shortcuts are JUST ONE FOLDER:

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You can add there whatever you want, remove it… Really easy and nice… It looks like after all those years I will maybe give explorer a second try (I did the same with Windows Media Player 11 some time ago and I was really impressed – but then I switched to Last.FM :D).

Next week I am going to US to attend MVP Summit – after that I would like to write some technical drill down of symlinks, hardlinks, junction, reparse points, mounting points etc in Windows XP and Windows Vista, so if it is interesting for you, watch my blog closely ;)

Troubleshooting Windows Vista performance?

As mentioned in my previous post about Windows Vista, I think it is too soon to judge new OS from Microsoft. What is important is that once we will get applications designed for Vista AND users\administrators will learn what advantages this OS really holds, we will be able to decide whether or not Windows Vista is success.

I am comparing Windows Vista to LAUNCH version of Windows XP – and because my judgements are mostly based on Vista internals and not based on pretty face (and features that are publicly promoted by Microsoft), I can see big potential in Windows Vista.

One of my expectations is that Vista will be able to run stable (with good performance) for longer time than XP – I think everybody knows situation that XP started after few months to be sluggish, respond slower, sometimes stops thinking about some philosophical problems…

For example as you probably already noticed Vista introduces much more complex log viewer structures – and today I found out that you can use event log to troubleshoot your performance – just go to Microsoft\Windows\Diagnostics-Performance\Operational.

Currently I can see only reports related to shutdown\startup\standby – and one problem related to desktop window manager (I was testing how much it can take ;)):

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In details you can also see details what causes slow down. For example here NlaSvc shut down took 20009ms, which means degradation by 19617ms (in this case it was rare problem, so I dont need to to care):

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This is just example of small extras that are implemented in Windows Vista – there is still lot to learn about this new OS ;)