500 Hour Test of Tomorrow's Windows "Vista"

Summary and Conclusions

Microsoft's new Vista is surprisingly entertaining. The new look of the operating system is good, and lets it outshine its Linux and Mac OS competitors. One notices repeatedly while working with this software that Microsoft scoped out its competition very carefully.

Unexpected crashes sometimes occur when working with beta software.

It remains to be seen whether users will still enjoy the many colored effects in Vista after they've seen them for a while, or will decide to turn them off in favor of a normal default Windows scheme with gray windows. Either way, Vista incorporates many small but effective changes that can help simplify work and also boost productivity for everyday tasks. Many of these small details don't manifest themselves to ambitious users until weeks or months of exposure to Vista, and are easy to miss when working with early versions of this system.

In the beta version, some windows may not be completely rendered on screen.

In our discussion of this new system, please remember that we're still dealing with a relatively early beta version. That means that everything is still up for grabs, and each new release candidate will introduce thousands of alterations in the operating system's makeup and capabilities.

View The Vista slide show

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