Windows Vista RC1 is done and it's looking pretty darn spiffy! I have to say that the progress in the past month or so - particularly in terms of performance - has been tremendous. Obviously I use Windows Vista on my regular machines at work but over the weekend I also installed RC1 at home - so my family now get to experience it's joys. And it's gone down very well. I have no science behind this but, if anything, Vista seems snappier than before (when it was running XP SP2). So far we do not have any programs that won't work with Vista. So, it's all looking good.

I think I am a little unusual in running an Active Directory at home (hey, I'm a Group Policy PM!!!) but there's one feature that stands out for my family already - Fast User Switching. Yes, that's been available on XP for quite some time but NOT on domain joined machines. So, my family has been either using my account when they want to browse the web (!) or logging me off, logging on with their account, etc. A bit of a pain! Now, Fast User Switching is available to them they love it!!! I suspect we'll see a good number of customers who run the Active Directory and for whom FUS is a "new thing". Like my family...

From a Group Policy perspective we've been working on Windows Vista for quite some time, as you might imagine. I've hinted at some of the features we're adding in previous blogs (ADMX files, the central store, etc). But one quick way to come up to speed is to watch my TechEd 2006 presentation, which is now available via TechNet's ITs Showtime series. This covers all the new features and some of the great new policy settings in Windows Vista. Apart from the ugly PM on the screen (that would be me!), there's some good content in here for anyone needing a quick review of our new stuff (if I may say so myself!!).

While I am a-blogging, it's worth mentioning the Group Policy Wiki. We've had this up and running for over 18 months and it's been well "crafted" by members of the Group Policy community. As you know, a Wiki is a collective effort to maintain great and useful content. So, take a look, add some value and we all win.

Anyway, that's my quick blog for now. I hope you enjoy the resources above...

Mark Williams: Program Manager, Group Policy