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First Look: Windows Vista RC2

With Vista Release Candidate 2 -- likely the final "official" interim version of the operating system before Microsoft releases it to manufacturing in the next month -- the folks in Redmond have pulled together a product which simultaneously teases, vexes, and impresses the prospective user.

First Look: Vista RC2

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Since this is Microsoft we're talking about, let's take those out of order. The biggest annoyances with RC2 involved installation issues. Despite assurances to the contrary, I wasn't able to upgrade to RC2 from the previous Vista Beta version I had on my test machine. Instead, I had to do a fresh, full re-install. (Interestingly, while RC2 put up a message threatening to wipe my disk clean, that's not what it in fact did; a look at Windows Explorer revealed a directory called "Windows.old," where it had placed the earlier build.)

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You'd expect Microsoft to have focused on squeezing out all the stumbling blocks to a smooth installation. After all, isn't one of Windows' big selling points its purported easy installation as compared to Linux? Pretty clearly, that no longer obtains, especially given the fact that many Linux distributions aren't as driver-deficient as in the past. On the other hand, after the initial crop of users upgrading from XP, most Vista users won't be installing the OS themselves -- they'll be getting a pre-install on a new PC.

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