I finally found the time to install and play a little with the new build of Longhorn. It is not too different above the covers than the previous build (PDC Bits), though it *seems* to be a little more stable. One of the first things I found was that SimpleText did not exist anymore – there is another post covering that bit.
A quick note, all the screenshots here seem a bit washed out – that happened when I tried to convert them to png. If you rather see the screenshots in their full glory then you can download this rar’d version of a Word document (which is 3.89 mb). Also if you don’t know how to uncompress a .rar file then check out WinRar.
The installation went quite smoothly and was much better than the previous experience where the setup was stuck for approximately 2 hours when detecting pnp devices (leading me to think many times it has hung), but I am pleased to say that has been fixed (at least on my machine). I would also like to point out that I am running this natively and not in an emulator like Virtual PC or VMWare. Once I provided the basic information to the setup such as the computer name and keyboard language, timezone, etc I walked away and came back after about 45 mins to see the familiar Ctrl + Alt+ Del of the Longhorn logon. Like I said, overall this has become more stable. Earlier WinFS was a resource hog and ended up taking most of the CPU for a very very long time. Now that has tamed and it does not eat your CPU cycles as much. This is not to say that it does not eat memory right now, it absolutely does, check out the vmusage and you will see WinFS.exe (the WinFS service) is using 213mb!
The following services depend on WinFS; the important ones to know are the MSSearch ones – is that Microsoft’s upcoming new search engine integrated into Windows (as its been rumoured)? Check out a screenshot if you want.
- Windows File Promotion Manager
- MSSearch Gatherer
- MSSearch Indexer
- Windows Filestream Agent
As you can see the desktop has not really changed much – all the changes from an end-user perspective are superficial (which something I don’t care about). Some icons have changes a little (e.g. the Search and the Recycle Bin), and the theme has changed a little and the new default wallpaper with the leaves. to me the most important changes are underneath – the stuff that “makes” the OS.
This build has certainly improved with not as much memory leaks (at least that is what seems, I have not monitored this yet). For example earlier if one had the sidebar enabled in the PDC bits your machine would slow to a crawl after a couple of hours or so because of all the memory leaks from the Sidebar. But, now this seems to be running fine.
Speaking of superficial changes here are some more as most people get excited about this than the underlying stuff:
- Different faces for the clock including the timezones you can set.
- Shutdown “button“ is now a menu which to me makes more sense.
- IE looks a little different – renders about the same. You can also see the new options such as a Download Manager and a Inbuilt Pop-up blocker – about time to add those features I would say. Now if only they could to a MDI like Opera or Firefox.
- This build also has built-in parental controls which I am sure parents with young kids/teenagers would like. I have not played with this so I am not sure how it works, but seems like its not only the web but also could alter the whole usage of the computer – e.g limiting the games they can play and probably how long too.
- There is a new sync manager that seems to have more functionality that the “My Briefcase“ feature from the past.
- There is also a new Contact Manager which all applications running can make use of. This seems to be independent of Outlook, etc and the data stored can be extended by any application as they wish-to. Here is screen shot of a new contact.
As I start playing with this more I’ll ofcourse be uploading more information here – and those would be more interesting (in my opinion).