Well I finally switched to Vista on my main dev machine at work. Its a Dell Optiplex 745 (detailed specs at the end) and installing Vista was trivial: I did a clean install via RIS from the corporate network. The default installation includes Office, so I had to add Visual Studio 2005, then its SP1, then its Vista pack. I had to install one more dev tool and I was done.
I'm generally happy with the new UI, but there is one problem area, and it has driven me nuts: multi-monitor support is buggy on my configuration. When the monitors turn themselves off, sometimes one of them refuses to turn itself back on. This is very, very annoying. To get it back I can either reboot the machine (ug), or go to the Display CPL and tell it that Monitor #2 is no longer Attached, click Apply, click Yes, then tell it is Attached again, Apply, click Yes. Not as inconvenient as a reboot but not exactly plug-n-play either. Updating the drivers from the WHQL ones to the latest on the ATI site made no difference.
If you suffer from this problem, do yourself a favor and make your Primary Monitor #1 as that one always seems to get powered up. If you don't, the Display CPL will appear on the monitor which remains switched off, and you'll have to get it back onto the visible screen via the keyboard, which became surporsingly simple once I had done it like ten times. How Vista actually determines which monitor is #1 and which is #2 is a mystery to me. All I can suggest is that if the "wrong" monitor shows up as #1, power down, swap the video cables over and try again.
Without a doubt my favorite feature is the ultra-cool Windows-tab application switching. I use full-screen terminal server sessions to my email and Xbox development boxes, and with Windows-tab I can actually check on whether a build has actually finished without actually having to switch to the app. (I do wish it would display some text for each window as it switches though: with multiple instances of Visual Studio running I can't easily tell them apart).
UAC : Much Less Painful Than Expected
As I am a developer I seldom install things once a box is set up, and I haven't found UAC to be a pain. Yet, anyway. The screen-flash is annoying though. I don't browse the web on this box so I don't have any IE-related issues.
- Dell Optiplex 745 (4G RAM, Intel Core 2 6600 @ 2.4GHz)
- ATI Radeon X1300 256M VRAM
- WDC WD1600JS SATA drive (160G used for System)
- Samsung SP2504C SATA (250G used for source code)
- Windows Vista Exnterprise 32-bit
- Windows Experience Index Rating: 4.1
- Dell 2001FP and 2004FPW monitors via DVI