I know that this is not yet formally in beta. Curiosity and temptation were driven by aggravation at not being able to fix my genuine Vista installations and I will sign up for the beta when it comes out. I have made a dual boot to try this out and see if my hardware was broken or if it was JUST a feature of Vista to drop the internet constantly, lock up when shutting down needing a hard reset, run slowly etc even upon fresh reinstallations. I have a good PC with Core2Duo, 4GB RAM.
Windows 7 installed like a dream on an old hard drive, with the Vista Drive unplugged so that it couldnt be munted in any way. I then put back the Vista drive cable, booted to the Vista DVD and started setup/repair and 'repaired' startup. It found Windows 7 and installed the Vista and Win7 Dual Boot which works well. The only problem with this is that when Windows 7 starts up it loses the nice startup screen in place of the moving Vista bar.
First impressions: Rapid startup after an easy installation. My home network didn't seem to work but the internet does (couldnt find any of the networked computers), but when I shared directories (much easier to do) the networked computers found them straight away and then Win7 found them. Win7 couldnt find any of them until I looked from those computers first. Strange but it works now.
McAfee Antivirus, the free version from Telecom, doesnt work. Googles Chrome doesnt work. There was a very annoying iTunes installation that seemed to double up my music and lost my cover art, despite using 'My music' being on a separate disk, but it works fine and my iPhone synchronises fine.
I have an HVR2200 TV tuner. In Vista it would only go with PowerCinema. I view Freeview and also Sky on the S-Video connection. Win7 used the drivers from the Hauppage CD (v1.3, PowerCinema HD edition with AAC+) by searching on the CD and I didnt have to go through the CD setup. PowerCinema will not work at all with the TV tuner in Win7. Even after later going through the CD setup. It just cannot find the card. Sad. But Freeview channels are all nicely set up in Win7 Media Center, and predictably the guide wont go. The sound and picture is probably better than in Vista, and of course the card didnt work with Vista Media Center. Big negative is that I cannot get the tuner to setup the S-Video channel to view Sky in MC. Reading about it seems I need a Media Center remote and IR blaster and it may then go. Haven't found anyone to sell one yet.
User Account Control is nowhere near as annoying and I have actually left it going!
But the BIG plus is that my network is ROCK stable. No hint of dropouts, faster downloads and everything feels faster. Other than the three programmes above everything seems to work.