At Gnomedex, attendees were given a copy of Windows Vista Beta 2. I generally stay away from Beta versions of Microsoft software but having an old laptop lying around (That has really sound technical specs) I decided to give it a go.
The laptop in question had a bunch of old family stuff on it including pics, music, and most importantly several years worth of emails. The laptop had a power issue that caused the computer to die if you hit the power cord. It didn't happen often, but enough to put some pretty good hurt on the OS. After some massive slowdowns and some OS not found errors (That eventually recovered) I decided to move onto my current laptop.
I did all the usual backup things and somewhere on a hard drive I have pretty much all of the stuff that was there in the past. With that in mind I felt it was safe to proceed. Note I didn't have everything but let's just say 90%.
I started on the upgrade path for Vista. I will spare you the details but will give some highlights:
-Lots of drivers don't work (This wasn't a surprise)
-The UI is beautiful and it seems like in general the OS is more responsive than XP
-I lost everything (As I said before I had it backed up but I would occasionally pull the beast out to find an old email address. That won't be happening ever again)
-The OS diagnoses problems and in fact claims that there is a bunch wrong with my current installation that includes both driver issues as well as OS issues. That's kind of funny, sort of like Windows telling on itself. I like that concept.
As I did with XP, I won't install Vista on any device that doesn't come pre-installed. I will probably upgrade devices sometime within 6 months after Vista goes live though. It looks like there are a lot of cool new features especially around collaboration that I look forward to using. I am trying to get my head around the Windows Live stuff but have to admit that I am a bit put off by the credit card requirement no matter what version you are using. I may break down and give them one this week but in general find that a more intimate relationship than I would care to have with a software vendor.