Windows Vista Beta 2 – my install experience


I have been running with a pre-beta 2 build for sometime – and last night decided it was time to flatten my Toshiba Tecra M3 and start over – in part inspired by my colleague Mikes very positive experience.


First the good news – I have a working Tecra M3 with sound, Aero Glass, Visual Studio 2005, Windows SDK for WinFX and other odds and sods all happily running. Vista did a very good job of installing with very few prompts and also did a good job of finding drivers direct from Windows Update. I had a working machine very easily in little over an hour. My mum would have approved.


Now the more problematic bits



  • Initially I had no glass. Turns out I needed a later beta BIOS for my Tecra than the beta BIOS I was on. As it didnt have the correct BIOS it installed a “windows xp” (i.e. not a WDDM driver) from Windows Update. A flash of the BIOS fixed this (NB: I can’t see a public place to get the beta BIOS. Sorry)
  • Many utilities and programs did not install first time even when I was logged in with Administrator priveledges. In the end I did get them all to install – in some cases using the “Windows XP SP2 compatibility” option on the .EXE, in some cases by inspecting the install script and manually moving stuff around.
  • Oddly enough – bigger programs such as Visual Studio 2005 installed without issue for me.

Diagnosing glass problems is an interesting one for Beta 2. I will make a moment to do a short post on this soon.


I guess the most striking bit for me is that I am now certain many ISV apps will have issues installing on Vista. I suspect a lot of the issues will be simple to get round – but they will exist. Hence good to see we now have a site focused on helping ISVs get ready for Vista http://devreadiness.org/default.aspx


The most annoying bit for me as an end user is User Account Control as its stand in Beta 2. I must have clicked through 50+ challenges in the space of 3 hours and had completely given up reading them. Doh! The team is still working on UAC and will be reducing these significantly by RC1. See http://blogs.msdn.com/uac/archive/2006/06/01/613098.aspx 

Comments (1)

  1. Adam C. says:

    I’d love to get access to the BIOS update you used to enable Glass on your M3.  I’ve got Vista running wonderfully on my M3, all except for Glass.  Any chance you can share the contact info for the Tecra BIOS beta?