Windows Vista Beta 2 review


Dear readers,
I’m sure you have heard the news that last month, Microsoft released windows vista beta 2, public build 5384.4.
I will discuss some issues with this unstable Operating system. The problem is, that I only got to try vista for about 7 hours. The reasons I will say
in this topic. If you’re
on a list (such as freelists), please post this message on them. Only on lists that talk about vista though…
Note: Vista was tested on a computer that contains the following hardware:
ram: 1 gb
processor: Intel (r) t2500 centrino, core duo, running at 2.00 ghz
display: ATI Mobility Radien x1400
Chassie ttype: laptop
thinkpad t60, bios version 1.09b.
note 2: You might also want to read Paul’s review of vista, from a sighted point, at
it’s under the microsoft platform reviews section…


I’ve installed windows vista from a dvd that my cousin Peter gave me. Needless to say, I got real excited about windows vista. All of those legendary new
features and looks Paul wrote in his review, got me going. And yesterday, I found out the truth.

installation of vista:

The installation didn’t change too much. You pop in you’re dvd, click install windows. Then you come to a screen asking you if you want to download updated
setup files. It is a good idea to do this ; just in case a fatal error might happen. Ya never know.
After this, you type in you’re product key. Then you’re asked if you want an upgrade or fresh install. Here’s the deal.
In my opinion, it is good to upgrade. Why? Because you get to keep JAWS, existing xp drivers, and other software. For a blind person, this is the best
since if you don’t have any sound card driver, you’re stuck on the ground with vista ;
unless you have a sighted person who can read the screen. Also,
you don’t have the hastle of reinstalling software and games, which is confusing and hard.
I chose upgrade. After this, windows checked you’re drivers and software if they are compatible with vista. I only had three things:
Ati Catalyst control center
Ati Catalyst control center
think vantage access connections
Norton antivirus 2006
It is best to uninstall these before proceeding, because they might generate problems. At the time I didn’t think of this. Now I kind of regret it… Well
I did uninstall norton antivirus since I knew it doesn’t work under vista.
You click next, and installation begins. It’s a long wait, but Vista will not ask you for anything until setup is done. So just relax and do something.

A note to freedom scientific and microsoft: Setup bug with jaws:

The title of the setup window is weird. JAWS reads it as {1238-bab4586-982jue9-4932}. If
you happen to work for ms or FS, just keep this as a note.
I’m not sure if this is JAWS’s’s fault or Microsoft’s. Heck, maybe it’s no ones. But wen I asked my cousin to find this weird text on the title bar, he
didn’t. Which is strange.


After vista got installed, my first thing was to disable UAP. (user account protection). My cousin Mat did this for me in msconfig. If you have no sighted
person around just use narrator and Anna. Now why would you want to disable UAP? Well because Narrator and anna stops working if UAP is on. For some reason,
they don’t read the screen. I started getting millions of UAp messages right after vista was logged on. Oh yah and the setup said the truth: Think vantage
Access connections gave an error right after vista started. Even the IBM (r) Java software
did too.
Second, I reinstalled JAWS. Video intercepting didn’t work… The setup of JAWS ran fine. I mean, eloquence and the jaws runtime application loaded ok.
So the setup of JAWS is bugless… But after a restart, the trouble began.
Right after I started JAWS, I got an “application file for JAWS has caused this program to shut down” and a close button. And when I clicked it? Well JAWS
shut down. Arg! How am I going to use Vista without JAWS?? Well… My friend, this is one of the reasons why I uninstalled Vista in the first place. No
jaws, no life for me. Well… But there was a little hope left.
If you go into the C:\progra~1\freedo~1\runtim~1\7.10\ folder, you can run the runtime version of JAWS. Just click on the jfw.exe file…. And JAWS works
in runtime mode. But that’as runtime. Meaning that JAWS runs in 40 minute mode, + video intercepting is not used.
So my suggestion: If you did install vista, use the runtime JAWS with it.
Applications and games:
Ok. So while I was using vista, I did explore some of the apps. here’s the results:
windows explorer and shell:
For one thing, Microsoft made windows explorer more anoying to the blind than useful.
Everytime you open a folder, you need to tab into the list view of
that folder. Obviously if you’re sighted you can just click in it… There’s also a
progress bar that appears when you open a folder. This the indexing
service ; windows vista indexes the folders you open and stores them so you can access them
easily. My suggestion: For now, go into control panel, click classic view, go into folder options,
and click the classic view on the general page. This will stop
the tabbing and the progress bars.
General note: The explorer shell is really incompatible with jaws. There’s a toolbar that
is kind of accessible. but the “web view paine” is totaly inaccessible.
Since microsoft built in a search bar, Jaws really can’t handle explorer. I’m sure we’ll
See improvements to it in version 8.0.
Windows mail and jaws: Some of you might of heard that Microsoft renamed Outlook Express to
Windows Mail. Why? I really do not know.
Windows mail has a new junk mail filtering option, and you also get a “junkmail” folder in
you’re local folders list. This is kind of nice… The general
layout of Windows Mail though, is the same as OE’s. So you get the same kind of intro page
when you start it up. you navigate the same way as well. Freedom
Scientific, Windows Mail is already done for you.
At least in this build 5384. Who knows about rc1.
Control panel: Good or bad?
Microsoft remade they’re control panel. And I mean it.
Go to start, settings, and control panel. The original version of the control panel is not
that accessible with jaws, so I recommend you to push the “classic
view” button. This will activate the control panel blind people have come to use and love.
But what a surprise! Ms has built 50 items into their control
panel. That’s twice as much as the 20 or so that is in the xp version of windows. There’s
no display item for some strange reason. At least in my computer
there wasn’t. Strange. Well I didn’t look through it that much.
The system option is also nicely redone. Wen you click it, you get a sort of web-page type
dialog. There you can click device manager, system properties,
and performance. Wen you click one of these, you get into the system properties window.

Windows media player 11:

Wmp 11 has the same layout as wmp10. The runtime JAWS didn’t read the buttons of the
player. I do not know if this would be the case in the full JAWS version…
Otherwise after starting WMP, you need to select the express wizard. After like 5 minutes
(in which wmp copies files and sets the player up), you get into
the windows media player main window.

Cd Burning:

What a shock: Microsoft revamped they’re cd burning wizard. When you pop in an empty cd,
you need to first format it. This kind of reminds of me of Sonic
DLA, which is a udf cd burner. (ahem). After formatting, a nice cd burning wizard comes up.
There’s a next button, but don’t click it right away. If you
press tab, you get into a nice little edit box which is unlabled with JAWS. In the box you
give the label of the cd. After you did this, press enter and
the formatting begins. It only takes about 30 seconds though. After this is done, you click
ok, go into the start menu, run, and type in d: in the box.
you get into a blank folder, which is you’re empty cd. It’s time to control c and control v
: pop open a folder, select a file, press ctrl c, alt tab back,
press ctrl v. A nice touch is that windows copies the file to the cd. So unlike in the xp
cd wizard, which takes like 5 minutes to cache files, you have
the file burnt right away on the disk. As for finalizing the cd, I do not know. Jaws is
incompatible with the explorer’s web view paine… For now, at
least. They say that there’s a button to finalize and convert the file system of the cd
from udf to cdfs. Yep, windows uses udf. Nice.

Audio games:

Bad news. The first time I started Alien Outback up, I got an “application has
failed to start” error. This was ao that can be downloaded
from draconis entertainment’s website. So I imagine Ao will have to be remade… Shades of
doom seemed to work ok though.
When I started solitaire and purble place up, I got a critical error. ? I couldn’t read the
window since Runtime jaws can’t use the virtual viewer…


On this Centrino machine, Vista ran great. It took about 20 seconds to go into
the logon screen, which is really good. There’s about a .10
second lag though when you press a key, which is far better then the 1.5 second or so on
the old toshiba machine. Keep in mind that JAWS was running as
well, too. Microsoft, how come I have an “older versions” option on my boot menu? I upgraded and I really shouldn’t have any older versions of windows installed.
When I selected this option with my arrow keys, windows froze.


At this stage, I do not recommend installing Vista. Why? Well for one thing there’s no
JAWS. I was using jaws 7.10.452 and it still didn’t work… Second,
the antivirus software isn’t the best that’s available for Vista. Ok, I’m not saying that
they’re the worst antivirus ever made, but it’s far from Norton
or Mcafee. There is nod32 and avast currently that can really work for Vista. Too bad. Ah
well, maybe Rc1. Speaking of RC1, microsoft is supposed to release RC1 this month. But ya know, they’re most
of the time off schedule, so expect rc1 in september or so.
Microsoft will also offer rc1 as a cpp (customer preview program) to a few thousand users.
And nope, I will not be in that number. I have dial-up. I’m
actually lucky to receive this vista from my cousins.
Why did I reinstall xp?
Here are a few reasons for this:
1. No real JAWS.
2. Antivirus. I want something that actually protects my system.
3. mouse. My mouse stopped working after the third or so reboot. Why? No clue. It
compeletly disappeared from device manager as well. I have a touchpad
and track point. So my sighted peers couldn’t use my mouse and computer. I really don’t use
a mouse, but it can come handy if you’re friend is diagnosing
you’re system. 4. It’s a beta. Although I didn’t notice any bugs while using windows besides explorer.exe
shutting down, I’m sure it does have some. You know how those
bugs have a way of suddenly appearing and not going away.
Well I hope you have enjoyed this long review of vista from a blindness

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