I've downloaded Windows Vista Beta 1, formerly known as "Windows Code Name Longhorn", from MSDN yesterday. I was planning to install it on my pc where I have Fedora Core 4 but this version is picky about file systems and refused to install there. I could have probably tried the suggested method of hitting shift+F10 and use diskpart to get rid of all partitions but decided to install it on my other pc which has 2 disks.
Anyway, I was able to just insert the DVD when I was using XP and install it. Installation was seemless. It just asked me a couple of questions and installed it.
I am not sure how much disk space it actually takes but Windows folder itself is about 3.2GB, Program Files takes less than 200 MB, so does the users and others folders. So, it looks like a 4GB installation.
I've installed on my HP XW6000 workstation with 2x2.8GHz CU, 1 GB memory, nVidia Quadro4 980XGL card, Sony DVD RW 510A, Broadcom NetXtreme Gigabit Ethernet Card. They all work fine with the default drivers but nVidia already has alpha drivers for Windows Vista which according to some NeoWin.Net Vista Forum users works (There are several Vista forums there). It did not, however, recognize my FlashCard when I attached it to SanDisk Reader and claimed that it needs to be formatted.
I have tried to run Yahoo Messenger but it kept on crashing. There does not seem to be windows messenger bundled with this version either :( When I go to messenger.msn.com, site thinks that I have Windows 98 and offers me to download that version of MSN Messenger. I installed XP version but could not connect yet.
I'm using Free Edition of AVG Antivirus application which sems to work OK for the moment. Vista has not been performance tuned yet, so it is kinda slower than XP.
Vista Beta 1 comes with IE 7.0.5112 which has tabbed browsing and a nice, very clean interface. I have not managed to make RSS feeds work yet though. I will post more info as I find more about it later...
[UPDATE - 08/02/2005]
MSN Messenger finally worked! I also found out how to add a RSS feed to IE7: just right click the RSS/Atom/XML icon and choose "add to favorites", then choose feeds.
[UPDATE - 08/03/2005]
I think I found out why IE7 is painfully slow. It has an option to check the authenticity of the sites you are opening in your browser. When asked, I had selected to check the sites. To turn it off, Go to Tools > Options > Advanced and select "Turn off Phishing Filter". Life is back to normal.