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Vista is here, and Microsoft means it this time (sort of)

Robert Vamosi has taken the just-released RTM (Release to Manufacturer) version of Windows Vista for a spin, and he's got the First Take, video, and slide show to prove it.

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Robert Vamosi has taken the just-announced RTM (Release to Manufacturer) version of Windows Vista for a spin, and he's got the First Take, video, and photo gallery to prove it.

Usually, the RTM label means development is all done. But Microsoft's still working on fixing a few bugs before Vista's business release on November 30 and its retail release in January 2007. However, this version is the best indicator yet of what to expect from the final four Vistas: Windows Vista Basic, Windows Vista Home Premium, Windows Vista Business, and Windows Vista Ultimate.

A few highlights from Vamosi's preview:

  • Let Vista guide you: Upon installation, the Vista Upgrade Advisor scans your PC's hardware and recommends the best version of Vista for it. (We're assuming it doesn't just recommend the most-expensive option in all cases.)

  • Search for apps: A desktop search interface finds the apps you want to use and eliminates the need for the "All Programs" list in the Start menu. The "All Programs" list is still there if you want to kick it old-school.

  • Less clicking: Mousing over file icons and application thumbnails dynamically launches a full-screen preview.

  • New programs, tools, and games: Get the full list on Microsoft's site. Minesweeper looks about as fancy as Minesweeper's gonna get.

  • Slammin' tones: Hot Windows start-up jams composed by Robert Fripp. Rebooting has never sounded so fresh.

And now for the glitches Vamosi encountered, which Microsoft expects to have resolved by Vista's release:

  • Vista drains laptop batteries like a champ.

  • The Program Compatibility Wizard, which lets you run older Windows apps on Vista, only appears after an old app crashes.

  • A visual glitch on the User Account Control screen.