Mac Vista

Since I have both Parallels and Fusion running, I found it useful to try out Vista under Fusion. According to tests, Vista runs better under Fusion, while Parallels’ forte is XP. No, I haven’t verified that, I’m entirely happy assuming those tests are right.

Windows Vista is kinda pretty, even though I don’t see any aqua or aero effects, or whatever they’re called. (Here’s a full size view on how it looks while it is huffing and puffing its way through the initial 49 updates of the OS.)

But, even the Mac Pro I’m running now, with its 8 Gb of RAM is starting to page out when I’m running Vista. Admittedly, I’m running a few more things at the same time…

task bar, pretty full

… as you can see. Two XPs (1 Gb, resp 768 Mb) are running, Photoshop, Transit, the Fusion with Vista (1 Gb), Skype, Safari, OmniFocus, Mail, NeoOffice Writer, iTunes, Preview, Transit, and Activity monitor. As you can see on the activity pie chart, there’s just a gig of blue and nothing green to be seen. I guess the next move will be to fill’er up to 16 Gb of RAM, and if that’s not enough, I have to go to 32 Gb, which this machine is supposed to handle. I’m sooo spoiled…

Just like on OSX, I just now created a separate admin account and changed my regular account from admin status to “standard”. I’m very curious to see if it’s workable. While running as admin, I got a deluge of “Please approve this action” dialog boxes. Let’s see what happens if I’m not an admin and I try to install Open Office.

First, it blocked the download, warned me about the dangers of the internet, but it’s easy enough to approve it and proceed. Then it warned me about the installation program being unsigned, fair enough. Then it asked me for an admin logon to install the program (perfect!). And then the installation threw up an error box:

Failed Open Office installation

Did a quick Google and didn’t find anything about this error (“Wrapper.CreateFile failed with error 123”). Interestingly, after clicking “OK”, the installation proceeded, where I would have expected it to abort, rewarding me with:

Installation Completed dialog box

And, hey, it seems to work! Ok, so far so good under a limited user account. That is definitely good news.

Next little test, let’s open Task Manager:

Task manager

No problem, up it comes. Fine. Now let’s click “Resource Monitor”, which I know only admins can use:

Needs permission

Darn it, I’m bloody impressed! Instead of having to do that cumbersome “RunAs…” stuff, Vista does exactly what OSX does, asks for admin credentials (it even put in the right admin user name, which I rubbed out with a bit of yellow mud just above the password prompt). And up comes the resource monitor.

Phew, never thought I’d have to say I like this very limited first look at Vista after what I’ve heard about it. I think I’ll keep exploring it.

Now, let’s look at what Vista sees as the underlying machine, that is what Fusion pretends to be:

Basic info about computer

It sees a dual 64 bit processor and 1 Gb of RAM. Nice. If you look at the very bottom you see a new MS policy of automatically activating the OS, instead of letting the user do it. Normally I wouldn’t care, but if you’re running MSDN copies, you should be aware of this, since you often don’t want to waste activations on every installation you do. Vista isn’t going to wait for you to approve if I interpret that statement correctly. (I’ll wait and see if it goes ahead without asking or not after another three days, will keep you updated about it.)

So, what about the “Windows Experience Index”? It says “1.0” here, can’t be lower than that. Hm. Better check out the details:

Windows Experience details

Ah, now I see, the overall rating is equal to the lowest rating, which I got for gaming graphics. I have enabled “3D graphics” but I get no aero. I think Fusion doesn’t support Aero yet, but I couldn’t find anything on the web to confirm that, so I may be wrong. Apart from that, I find the above scores pretty impressive. Vista, at first blush, seems useable on this machine, not too sluggish, but then nothing is sluggish on this setup, really.

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