Windows Vista, WOW!

loocas | miscellaneous,opinions,software,technical | Monday, October 27th, 2008

I spent this weekend reinstalling the Windows, then configuring it and finally installing all the applications and programs I use. I hate this procedure so much (I know, I should use some image restore utilities etc…) I tried to avoid it as much as possible until the OS finally completely collapsed. Reinstallation also has some positive aspects to it, like revising your workflow and software you use. Like Mail, I stopped using it even on the previous installation, then I installed the Live Mail (or whatever the name), such a shitty app., I really don’t recommend anyone even trying it out as I did, since you then get stuck with it due to some important mail conversations you suddenly receive and then just try to put up with it.

So, what’s so special about this reinstall? Well, nothing much, aside from the fact that Vista really isn’t the greatest, flawless, most tuned up and stable OS ever. After reinstallation I planned on tweaking the UI to my liking as I’m so allergic to the over-brightened UI (in general) that Aero Glass by default offers. The problem is Aero no longer obeys most of the settings in the Advanced Appearance dialog, which is a pain! I especially hate the pure white window colors, which fill up most of your screen and considering that most of pro 3D artists have more than a single monitor, this becomes even worse. You sit at the computer 24/7, gaze on the huge screens, burried in a nicely tuned up UI in your favourite app (3ds Max for example, which really has some nice color tuning features that I really appretiate. Too sad it’s been getting worse and worse with incoming new features, like the new horrible Select By Name dialog) and all of a sudden, you need to pop open some reference photo or an e-mail, or whatever, so you fire up the folder in which it is stored to get blinded by the super-pure-white color scheme (really, just printscreen it and measure the color value, you’ll see #FFFFFF! The designer responsible for this at Microsoft should get fired! Or the whole UI team that hard-coded most of the Aero Glass colors in)! Sure, you can argue to not use Aero at all, that you don’t have to. Well, quite the opposite! You see, the problem is that Aero is fully accelerated and runs on a DWM service, which, if you turn off Aero, gets turned off as well. The problem then is any app. that wasn’t specifiacally written with this in mind experiences some random difficulties especially in regards to refresh and redraw times. Like Photoshop CS2, when I try to paint with my tablet, it’s impossible since the cursor drags behind and lags like hell (randomly)! Same with 3ds Max 2009. If DWM is off, when you try to draw a selection marquee it lags terribly! It’s not such a serious issue in Max as it really is in Photoshop CS2 which cripples the app’s functionality/usability completely! I guess that’s where the EULA line “the company DOES NOT WARRANT THAT THE OPERATION OF THE SOFTWARE WILL BE UNINTERRUPTED OR ERROR FREE.” :) How sweet!

Anyways, I tweaked the hell out of the Vista’s Glass theme and made it, thank’s to UKIntel’s great mod tutorials, to my liking. There’s one last thing I need to nail down, which are the window colors. I don’t know of a way (yet) to make them darker. But for now, at least the apps’ borders and other UI features are a bit darker, making them more easy on the eyes, which is great! The theme I made is a bit buggy right now, there are some areas that need polishing and adjustments, but I’ll do that later, since I need to work some times as well and since I lost monday due to the installation and setups of all the various apps I use, I’m a bit behind… Ah well, some more sleepless nights won’t hurt. Or will they? Hopefully not.

vista_custom_theme

So, where’s the WOW! you ask? Sorry to dissappoint you, but there’s no WOW! in Vista or any other version of Windows for that matter, if you ask me. Vista is just another iteration of Windows. Nothing special. The only reason I upgraded from XP was the 64bit support (yes, I know XP has a x64 version, but seriously, does anybody care? Especially the hardware manufacturers?), but every now and then I ask myself: “was it really worth the extra 6GB of RAM?”, I don’t know the answer. There are some aspects that could potentially say “Yes”, as well as some that simply say “No”. If you’re looking for an answer to your question: “Should I upgrade?”, then I’m sorry to dissappoint you again, but you have to answer that yourself as you’re gonna be the one using/working on the system.

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