I just upgraded my desktop here at work (which runs Vista Business) over to SP1, only to find that I no longer have the pretty Alt+Tab interface. I loved that interface, where I pressed Alt+Tab to switch between programs, then while holding it down, was able to click on the program that I really wanted (I am notorious for having tons of windows open).
What the heck? Was my Vista Business not supposed to have that in the first place? Did it think my graphics card was good enough Pre-Sp1 and now it’s not? I still have Aero Glass, so I don’t know what is going on with this.
Argh, that’s what I get for adopting things early – and in this case when it’s released to the public.
Update: A reboot seems to have refreshed my graphics driver. It reset my resolution to very low, but after adjusting it I once again have my pretty Alt+Tabs. Note that this reboot took place after it said the Installation as complete (and already rebooted my system).
Update2: This seems to be rooted within how windows switches back and forth between Remote Desktop and how Windows switches between Windows Basic and Areo. It seems when I just do a disconnect from Remote Desktop, Vista stays in the Basic form until the next reboot (I haven’t tried the logout yet). This is better than RD on my home computer, which simply goes to a blank screen that I need to lock my computer and then unlock to fix. The Remote Desktop experience has been quirky to say the least.
I had meant to post this sooner, but I recently got a new desktop machine at work. I didn’t have the login for the new machine, so I took it as an opportunity to wipe the hard drive and start off fresh. I wanted to talk a bit about my setup experience and about the software I put on the new machine.
First off I put Windows Vista Business on the machine. I was lucky enough to get 3GB of RAM and since I’ve had a decent experience with my home desktop, I’ve decided to stick with Vista for now.
It should be noted that I am a MSDN member, which enables to me to install the Microsoft Suite of Applications & Developer tools:
- Office 2007 (including OneNote, Project &Visio)
- Expression Web (for Web Design & Dev)
- Visual Studio 2008
These tools are wonderful, but I realize they may not be available to everyone. If you’re a college student (or have a college email address) you can get office for really cheap at TheUltimateSteal.com – a Microsoft purchase program for students. Also student developers can qualify to get Expression & Visual Studio for free at Microsoft DreamSpark. This is a great strategy to get students acclimated to the MS applications, which means that it’ll transfer to employees demanding the tools when they enter the workplace.
The next thing I did was go to my favorite software site – FileHippo. FileHippo is a repository for freeware – a one-stop-shop for downloads. From here I grab the following (in no particular order):
- Mozilla FireFox (bye bye IE) and I set up the following extensions:
- Mozilla Thunderbird (for personal email)
- Pidgin (for IM)
- However, I’m starting to use Digsby (in private beta)
- Filezilla FTP client
- Feed Demon an outstanding desktop RSS reader which recently became free (I was paying for it prior)
Apps & Utilities:
- MS Office 2007
- FoxIt Reader a PDF alternative to the bloated Adobe Reader
- PDF Creator – Free PDF creating, although I am starting to try out Primo PDF
- UltraVNC – The viewer on my work desktop, VNC installed on my home desktop
- Burnaware – CD/DVD Burning
- Launchy – Perfect application launcher for keyboard junkies
- ObjectDock – “Sidebar” application launching
- Windows Live Writer – What I use for blogging
- MRemote – To manage multiple MS Remote Desktops/Terminal Servies, I haven’t had great results with VNC though
- NotePad++ – Best general purpose editor hands-down
Photos & Multimedia:
- MediaMonkey – Incredible media manager, especially if you have a large library (I paid for this one, but there is a free version).
- Last.fm – Scrobble and track what I listen to (my profile)
- VLC Media Player – For videos, DVD’s and single-file playing
- Windows Live Photo Gallery – Easy way to manage, edit, tag and share photos (there is Flickr integration as well)
- FastStone Image Viewer – On-the-fly image preview & browsing
- Paint.NET – More in-depth photo editing
- Defraggler – Disk Defragmenting
- AutoRuns – eliminate annoying startup programs
- CCleaner – Get rid of crap, cookies and temp files
- Unlocker – Gets you out of those “access denied” binds during deletions
- Process Explorer – Task manager on steroids
- Java Runtime Environment
- Tugzip – Great alternative to Winzip, not quite WinRar, but free and open-source
- Synctoy – to synchronize files between my work desktop and laptop, works great if you’re on the same network
- Windows Vista Firewall works pretty well, but at home I use Comodo
- AVG Anti-Virus (for the home computer, we use a separate solution at work)
Are there any essential tools that I’m missing?
As part of getting a new Xbox 360, I am in the process of upgrading my desktop to Windows Vista. I’ve been meaning to rebuild my desktop for sometime, and used this as a good excuse to try out the new OS. However, stuff is happening to me that makes me scratching my head wondering how stuff like this can happen almost after a year in the wild.
I realized that one of my file copies didn’t succeed, so I wanted to restore from a back-up. No problem – I have the files backed up from last Friday (in XP), but apparently I cannot access XP backup files from Vista without downloading a utility. I make my way to Microsoft’s web site and am prompted to install the Genuine Advantage installation utility. I right click that stupid information bar in IE and get a message that my computers settings don’t allow ActiveX applications installed on my computer to run from a web site.
Fair enough Microsoft, I understand why you want to run the “Genuine” check (although I disagree with your “guilty until proven innocent” mentality). I also understand you want to keep a computer secure and ActiveX scripts are definitely a concern. But when your OS doesn’t allow me to run your utility on your web site, then that’s unacceptable! Then they wonder why people think Vista is such a nightmare.
Since I’m at my family’s house I’ve done virtually all of the installation remotely through Remote Desktop and VNC (which sucks on Vista by the way). This means I haven’t physically sat in front of my Vista computer and experienced the OS – so I’m holding off judgment. However, headaches like these are tilting the scales in a big way for me.