No matter how useful some of the newness of Windows 7 is, it was bound to cause some problems for a number of people. Things done the same way for nearly twenty years, and then changed suddenly, are bound to cause difficulties that must be worked through.

Last week, a story in PCWorld gives a very complete story about some things that are causing problems with the way people work, and yet, with all that it describes, it gives no words about the two things that I have had to implement other solutions for, to restore previous behavior.

For those not up on the gripes I hold about Windows 7, the lack of the drill down menu, and the willy-nilly way that the excuse for a menu puts things together where the menu system used to be is one of them, with the other being the fact that the GDI was changed so that people with more than one monitor have to use a third party solution to make sure that some windows will not come up across the monitors, but instead on one or the other.

Now, as far as what the article states, I agree with some of the positions, and others I don’t; most probably because I don’t use the features.

The story talks about printer drivers as the first problem, and I would agree that it is one – but it has always been one for some people, because one of the things that Windows promises to the rest of the world (including especially the hardware manufacturers) is that hardware changes will be brought about by want or need. It’s is what makes the whole computing ecosystem, save for the customers, very happy. So as far as this gripe goes, it is a continuing one, and nothing new to Windows 7.

The next problem is one identified with the way the icons on the taskbar work – clicking on them does not always switch tasks, especially with the use of Internet Exploder. This one can be controlled from within Windows, and you can have either the new, or the old behavior, but not both, or any mix of the two. It is sad, but not a big problem.

The next problem noted is similar to the last, but involves Aero Peek. To me, this is a non-starter, because I don’t have the problem at all. It has never occurred on my machine, due mostly to the fact that I don’t keep tens of windows open at once – blame it on a fast machine, good housekeeping habits, or old times with Windows that crashed and screwed up many programs – it could be any of those, but for whatever reason, I don’t do it, so I don’t experience any problems.

The next two I will take together – there is a claim of too many pop-ups and too much intrusion by UAC. I say yes to both, but then we are told that those arcane (or should I say apocryphal?) users who guide the production of Windows wanted more help against drive –by attacks and other problems that UAC supposedly solves. To me, this falls into the “If I only had a brain” category. Those who have one can turn them off, others – not so much.

Windows Live Essentials – this is seen by the author as a problem because it must be downloaded. I don’t see that as a problem at all.

The problems I have are that some things are not fixed, revision over revision. To wit, I was working on mail while downloading new mail and one of the three panes in the mailer froze. This is a behavior I had had with Windows XP and this mailer, but I thought it was a problem for that OS and the fact that the processor was either specifically having a problem because of coding  (P4 versus something newer) or speed. It turns out that was not either of those at all, because the problem is still there, just masked by the higher speed and number of cores I am now using with a Windows 7 system.

I cannot be the only one that experiences this (in fact, I know I am not, but the others who talk to me about the problems are not taking the time to complain to Microsoft), yet it continues – and by making the Live Essentials free, Microsoft can get away with letting problems like this one, which might be hard to pin down, continue, as no one paid for these applications anyway.

The next complaint is the persistence of Gadgets. I don’t use them, so it does not bother me, but I will say that the Sidebar feature of Vista was preferable. The author wishes for a key combination to toggle hide-unhide behavior for all of them.

The next complaint is just the whining of someone that, by the rest of the article, I would not judge to be a pinhead. The themes are said to be too complicated in the way they are applied and changed.

Here I disagree completely. I like the behavior of Microsoft on this one, and think that it is something that they probably should not have spent time on, but since they did, it is very nice. The Windows 7 themes are great!

The Control Panel is a problem for many. It is too vague, complains the article, and I would agree. I liked the simplicity of the XP panel, and staying with it, with the appropriate new additions, would have been fine.

The other problems, difficulties with screenshots, the way that Homegroups are a pain for all but those using homogeneous Windows 7 networks, and the problems with hardlinked directory structures and Libraries are more complicated than can be explained, or properly complained about in the short space here.

It is clear that many are unhappy with these constructs, and that the author has hit upon the wants of many. Windows 7, no matter how many people adopt it, is far from perfect, and could have been made better by not removing many of the behaviors of Windows XP, which were honed over time to near perfection, or at least made stable so that many knew things worked consistently.

That said, Windows 7 shows that Microsoft was listening to some, and that it was capable of change in the right direction after Vista.


Quote of the day:
The end of the human race will be that it will eventually die of civilization.

– Ralph Waldo Emerson

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