I'm posting this from a 32 bit Vista Beta 2 build 5384 install on an eMachines m6805. So far, so good. It installed in a little less than an hour including installing drivers from the CD that came with the computer, and setting up the wireless network.
First the things that don't work
include Hibernate and Sleep in ACPI. They lock the machine up every time. It seems to have something to do with the video drivers (even after downloading and installing the latest from ati). So I have set the power switch and lid closing to just shut down Windows. Also Flash player and Java will not install automatically, but you can just Google for them and install them manually. Contrary to what I was led to expect, you still have to restart Windows every time you install a driver, antivirus software, change network workgroup name, or change fonts in Windows. Windows is slower starting and also seems to run slower after finishing startup, but that may just be because of all the eye candy hogging the resources. It is not unbearably slow, just not as peppy as XP was. The "blue screen of death" seems to have changed to black, (I've seen it about 5 times so far because of trying out ACPI settings for Hibernate and Sleep as mentioned above) although Windows reports it as a "blue screen". The following screenshot shows a little problem with Internet Explorer, but I think it has more to do with the Sun Java plugin:http://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h2...a_IE_error.jpg
Now for the good stuff
(in no particular order). Windows is now beautiful! No more "Fisher-Price" desktop theme. The Aero-glass and semi-transparent window frames along with the variety of subtle color schemes looks very stylish, finally catching up to the classy looks of Apple's OSX. CSS encrypted (commercial movie) DVDs play without installing any extra software. I was able to burn a CD of programs that I downloaded for Vista (Anti-virus, ATI drivers, Mozilla, and internet plugins). Vista offered to burn the CD as either UDF or Mastered ISO format. I chose Mastered ISO to be able to look at the CD in any other computer. The CD was easily readable on another computer. Windows Defender is installed by default, and keeps a lookout for Spyware. Of course Windows Firewall is there too, and seems improved. It offers to poke holes in your firewall when you try to use an internet enabled program instead of just blocking it. Internet Explorer now sports a tab bar, and time will tell if it is more secure. Windows was able to detect and setup my laptop's default screen resolution (1280 x 800) without any help. When you connect to a WEP enabled or WPA enabled access point, you can select to see what you type in for that big long encryption key. This is very nice because if you only typed one character wrong, you can see the error and correct it without retyping the whole key. Windows resize and drag smoothly without window corruption. USB is working (at least my USB wireless mouse is) as are the SD and CF card readers. The Synaptics touchpad also works as it should, including scrolling. I have not yet tested the firewire port, but Vista shows it as installed and working.