Windows 7 ... what do you like, or not & why ... or do you care?

Psi*

Tech Monkey
Keeping to the subject & that is a challenge even when I picked the subject. But I try to at least have the pretense of being objective. And can I just call it Win7, or W7, or even just 7 for the sake of this thread?:confused:

1st ... it is on a DVD. So much for using my legacy (aka old cr@p) CD drive to install it. My IDE CD drives served me well over the years the half dozen or so times I needed them install anything including Win XP 64. I admit that I never touched even a Vista box so I don't know if it was distributed on CD or DVD. I was surprised with Win7 on DVD as 1 of my friends did an upgrade to a machine via download. So I would have thought that anything justifying a DVD would have taken prohibitively long to download. Not!

2 ... it installed w/o a hitch. That was onto all new h/w that I took the pains of ensuring would be Win 7 compatible tho. That was the quickest ever getting connected to the net as it was completely transparent to me.

3 ... do you find the marquee like progress bars annoyingly distracting? I have a few programs that show progress bars as they do their thing. W7 adds a sliding marquee like "light" that also glides along the length of the progress bar. So for an otherwise stale screen it ... captures my eye. Not a big deal unless I am doing something at the desk or focused (reading) elsewhere on the screen and then it is just a distraction. I hope that there is a check box someplace that i just have happened upon yet, but I keep getting distracted when I look for it.:rolleyes:

So this doesn't go to a complete ramble, I'll stop at 3.
 

Psi*

Tech Monkey
Like. Hitting the Windows key & typing in what I want to run

Like. ctrl+ mouse scroll button to resize desktop icons. Kind of cool although I never really cared too much about this before. :cool:

Like. God mode ... seems all the rage in forums. Just a huge Control Panel, but neat. Name a folder "GodMode.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C}" on the desktop or where ever.
 
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Tharic-Nar

Senior Editor
Staff member
Moderator
Vista was on a DVD as well, in fact, the OS install was larger than 7 by about 2GB.

GUI adjustments are nice and all, some of which are practical, other times (and more frequently) they add more movement to an RSI ridden hand, those few extra clicks to get to some buried option, all for the sake of making the interface less cluttered and more user friendly. It's partly this reason i started using the Run command more frequently for launching specific apps, was faster than using the start menu. The [Win]-Type function was in vista as well i think.

I was going to post the following in the desktop thread, but it deserves a mention here. There is a shell replacement for good old XP called Emerge Desktop. It takes a bit of configuring to get it set up the way you want, and it does have a few quirks, but it does allow you to configure the GUI to a way that suits you. I used it for months, and after the format i did, i miss it, the ability to have a right click start menu was useful. got an old Screenshot somewhere.
desktop-emerge.jpg

That God mode is amusing, but at the same time, really rubs me the wrong way.... was that ever mentioned in the documentation? These little easter eggs, while cool, are dangerous. How many other little tips, tricks and eggs are laying in your OS, ready to hatch with the next malware attack. Sure, i'm paranoid, but hiding things, be they simple aggregate windows or some random command that kills all active processes without user acknowledgment (jokes about crashes aside), are dangerous if undocumented.

I haven't had to use 7 or vista for very long, i don't own either OS, but i've had to try and fix computers with them on. The impression i got was it was dumbed down to make it more user friendly - at the expense of flexibility and configuration, but thats the power-user in me complaining. There were a number of times i had to jump through various loops and windows to get to that 1 wireless option tickbox or something.

Next build will probably be a 7 machine, so my opinion may change as i become more familiar with them.
 

Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
I'd have to say that I like how flexible the OS is. For example Windows 7 is the first Windows OS designed to handle multiple GPU driver installations, such as in the case of IGP+discrete GPU laptops.

On the flipside, I dislike how many minor cosmetic issues still exist (many existed even in Vista!). Such as the taskbar application button colors. If you mouse over taskbar buttons they will change to various colors, which is kind of neat. But this "gets stuck", so even after mousing away the button color remains lit up. Not only is it distracting but it makes it harder to tell application status changes, active applications, and if an application is flashing an alert at you.

That God mode is amusing, but at the same time, really rubs me the wrong way.... was that ever mentioned in the documentation? These little easter eggs, while cool, are dangerous. How many other little tips, tricks and eggs are laying in your OS, ready to hatch with the next malware attack. Sure, i'm paranoid, but hiding things, be they simple aggregate windows or some random command that kills all active processes without user acknowledgment (jokes about crashes aside), are dangerous if undocumented.

Do not let the name fool you, "Godmode" doesn't unlock anything the user couldn't already do. All it does is take every single configuration panel and link to it in one single place. So this isn't a security risk or vulnerability, and certainly isn't dangerous. (Unless you count end-users messing with settings they shouldn't be touching ;) )

More info and new folder shortcut trisks can be found at http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10426627-56.html?tag=mncol

]I haven't had to use 7 or vista for very long, i don't own either OS, but i've had to try and fix computers with them on. The impression i got was it was dumbed down to make it more user friendly - at the expense of flexibility and configuration, but thats the power-user in me complaining. There were a number of times i had to jump through various loops and windows to get to that 1 wireless option tickbox or something.

I agree in some cases the number of configuration panels required to reach the setting you want can be absurd. But WIndows 7 is far more "configurable" than XP ever was, all the settings and more are indeed there. It just takes a bit of knowledge or googling to find them, and a bit more to find tricks, shortcuts, or Run commands to access them more quickly or directly. The Startmenu search box goes a long way towards alleviating this issue for me.
 
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Tharic-Nar

Senior Editor
Staff member
Moderator
[sorry, this turned into a bit of a rant, though it may be constructive... maybe]


Sorry, my rant wasn't really against the god app aggregater, but more of the easter egg thats needed to unlock it. Many users like these sorts of things, gives them that warm fuzzy feeling like finding out about Win-E and Win-R for the first time, and the drag-drop folder to the right side - to create a custom quicklink box. Imagine if you're running a business, and this easter egg aloud you to erroneously bypass the policy based limitations on system administration for that user, they could do all sorts of damage and waste many hours of staff time trying to fix it (just hypothetical). These loopholes have been in windows for years. This is more of a bug than an easter egg, but interesting none the less, Back with windows 2000, if you had exceeded your storage quota, a dialog box would pop up asking you to delete files etc, but by opening the interactive help - which in turn loaded the OS, bypassed the quota dialog and you could resume with an excess quota. While these little surprises are not in themselves harmful or dangerous, they can sometimes lead to exploits.


When it comes to OS's and applications in general, there is a certain level of configuration i would like quick access to, so something like the godapp can be handy, but all to often, someone finds out about it, messes around with it and then people such as ourselves get called and asked to fix it - without being told what they did to break it in the first place (that little piece of humble pie would save us so many hours of 'tinkering'). Regedit, Msconfig, GPedit, Services.msc, etc, (i'm stuck with xp, so i don't know if any of it's changed). these sorts of apps while handy for us power users, are hazardous to average users. People see stuff online, about how to speed up their computers with so called tweaks (that don't do anything except under extremely specific circumstances), and blindly follow whats written without thinking it through, only to reboot into a BSOD loop.

While i appreciate the fact that a lot of the more hazardous options (things that will cause undesired effects) are hidden away to save such nightmares, getting access to them shouldn't lead me through a labyrinth of dialog boxes.

For the most part, i will admit i've become too comfortable with XP, blindly ignoring some of its previous and still standing - short comings. I used ME for a year before XP, so i know the meaning of patience, lol. Going from 3.11 to 95 was painful enough. I guess my perception of Vista was marred with the onslaught of bad press and humerus horror stories. Then being forced to try and fix peoples computers with it installed didn't help matters, since i only dealt with it under undesirable circumstances.

So far, i've only encountered 7 through review articles and someone running an early beta. Some of the new features did seem interesting, but the question remains, are they productive past the initial 'cool' factor. Like hover over app tabs in the task bar for a preview of content.... isn't it easier and faster to open the app then minimize if it's the wrong one? XP's same app condensing was useless, since it just added needless clicks to open apps. The auto hide inactive icons just gets annoying, since there was no way to control what apps it hid - nor do i like it hiding things in the first place. While a lot of this will have changed, the question remains, is it actually useful?

I will not argue with the [win] key, it's useful and even more so with vista/7. It's all the fancy effects like 3D scrolling of app previews, which is kind of pointless with multiple documents that all look the same. Some of the desktop widgets you can get may be useful for some, but short of making quick notes, simple calculations and telling me i've got mail, there isn't much else i need - like, i really need to know what the weather is in real time in my area.... all i need to do is look outside. Tab previews from the taskbar, no good to me when i have 30-40 tabs to browse through.

I guess i'm concentrating too much on the GUI and interaction than the actual underlining mechanics - but as i said, my use is limited to that of fixing Vista / previewing 7, so i can't really pass fair judgment. Not yet at least.
 

killem2

Coastermaker
Love 99.9% of everything on this OS.

Hate .1% that they still do not have the horizontal span feature that died with XP :(
 

b1lk1

Tech Monkey
Nothing but headaches for me with 7. No plans on moving to 7 on any of my personal machines but will on my Techgage machines when it is available just because they need the latest and greatest. I have no real opinion other than I will stick to Vista since it is and always has run great for me.
 

madstork91

The One, The Only...
I only got to play with it a short while before I relocated. But I can tell you that Win7 is the only OS that I had literally NO complaints with after switching to it. None. Nada. Zero.

And those of you who have been around these forums know that I love to bitch, and will find a glitch in a "Hello world" program if I can.
 

Psi*

Tech Monkey
I have found a few peculiarities with some of the engineering software that I use. Fortunately this stuff is expensive enough & the issues are not so severe that they are all over it. For instance, the program kicks off a little number cruncher routine that opens its own window, in W7 it does not open on top of the parent window ... it is behind it so you can't tell that anything happened.

What the hell did MS need to do that would cause such a benign ... bug in otherwise compliant s/w?:mad:

There are also the little extra animations an glitzy thingys, different sounds, screen savers (as if there aren't 100s of other available for free) ... how about just making the damn thing stable, a better memory manager, & more efficient in CPU usage & let National Geographic take care of "nature" screen savers???
 

Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
Imagine if you're running a business, and this easter egg aloud you to erroneously bypass the policy based limitations on system administration for that user, they could do all sorts of damage and waste many hours of staff time trying to fix it (just hypothetical).

This is actually an extremely good point here that I completely overlooked. This "Godmode" hack would bypass lower-level access restrictions to a certain extent.

I am not sure it would completely bypass a lockdown though... the OS disables the actual control panels this "Godmode" folder hack links to, so even if you click the links the user would be prompted to enter the admin credentials, or receive an error saying access to that control settings panel had been disabled. I can see how this folder hack could potentially allow for exploits nonetheless, it's a very valid point.

Like hover over app tabs in the task bar for a preview of content.... isn't it easier and faster to open the app then minimize if it's the wrong one?

Not really if you wish to keep the current window you are viewing in focus. I'd rather not blindly click taskbar icons and have fullscreen programs rezzing and having to minimize each one before I found a small dialog box or IM box I was looking for. I find it faster to preview the buttons, and I also use the feature to monitor background programs. I can preview a background program to see if it finished whatever it's doing, updated yet, or whatever without having to bring it to the forefront.

I can XP's same app condensing was useless, since it just added needless clicks to open apps. The auto hide inactive icons just gets annoying, since there was no way to control what apps it hid - nor do i like it hiding things in the first place. While a lot of this will have changed, the question remains, is it actually useful?

Well considering Windows 7 gives full control over systray icons, allowing you to pick and choose what icons to show and what notification popups you want to allow them (if any), you might find it less annoying. ;) I still cringe when I see how many icons are in the systray's of my friends and family members though... I only run a handful and trim those I don't use via their respective programs, so I always have used the "show all" option myself.

Some of the desktop widgets you can get may be useful for some, but short of making quick notes, simple calculations and telling me i've got mail, there isn't much else i need - like, i really need to know what the weather is in real time in my area.... all i need to do is look outside

I can't say I use any gadgets as I have all the tools I need in tiny programs (like CPU-Z to name one), but there are plenty of Windows 7 users that love having the option of gadgets. Just visit a Windows 7 forum and view some of the threads!

There are also the little extra animations an glitzy thingys, different sounds, screen savers (as if there aren't 100s of other available for free) ... how about just making the damn thing stable, a better memory manager, & more efficient in CPU usage & let National Geographic take care of "nature" screen savers???

Dunno, I'd have said this Windows release had the best memory manager to date. :D Even when I'm running linux with 4.5GB of RAM used up, with Windows using up another 1GB and my open applications using up the remainder things are staying remarkably fluid. What Windows 7 does is start caching it's own data to disk/pagefile, and when push comes to shove I've seen WIndows 7 clear itself down to somewhere around 700MB when it needs to free up RAM.

With the above I have the CPU pegged at 99% load, the GPU running it's own F@H projects, and my usual programs in the background... but I have zero issues with music playback and HD-quality video still plays smoothly. I'm happy with it. :)
 
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Tharic-Nar

Senior Editor
Staff member
Moderator
I still cringe when I see how many icons are in the systray's of my friends and family members though...

I was thinking about bringing this up when i mentioned the icons, but it's not strictly an OS issue. What really drives me up the wall is applications that set 'startup with windows' flags.... it actually makes me angry sometimes, just because of the persistence of the application in trying to set it, which in my mind, demotes it from application to malware. You tell it not to auto start... it does it anyway, you remove the entry via msconfig... it promptly restores it on boot due to a registry entry. This is malware behavior - if it doesn't do what you tell it, despite giving you the option to do so, then it's either broken or malware, and i care little for both.

itunes, must be installed if you need quicktime (unless you get the alternative :) ), itunes automatically takes control of all your media, despite you telling it not to, it automatically 'pre loads' itself at boot whilst hiding the option to disable this 'feature'. Windows Live Messenger, if it's installed, the only way to remove it's auto start is by creating an account with them (or uninstalling), logging in and then opening the rather obscurely hidden options. - perspective - you need to create an account to disable it.... ??? Yes, there are ways round all this, but you shouldn't need to dig through unrelated options and configurations to do so.

So many applications do this autostart thing, and it's completely unnecessary, all it does is slow down your computer and cause needless disk thrashing. Nearly every time i see someone with a 'slow computer', it's 3 things... malware, autostart apps and Disk fragmentation.... the latter pales in comparison to what the other 2 can do.

MS Office, messenger(s), Itunes, Anit- Virus/Spyware, Firewall, java, other media palyers, database's My/MS-SQL, Mail, video card utilities, sound utilities, peripheral utilities, network utilities, additional random apps and services.... it turns a 45 second boot time into 10 minutes...

What would be a nice OS feature, application override, when you tell the os NOT to autostart an application, it does what it's told and prevent the application from changing the option until you state otherwise, all tied into the UAC to help minimize exploitative behavior. (yeah, i know, malware could disable AV startup with the above, but AV's use services as well, disabling the application on boot won't stop it, since the services are still running, you just end up disabling the GUI). But then again, applications like itunes also use services, in fact, a lot of media players/managers do, so trying to completely disable them is extremely difficult, even uninstalling leaves some traces. And yes, i really hate itunes.... :p (which is why i avoid installing it where possible)

I've got to stop it with the rants...
 
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Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Psi* said:
it is on a DVD.

Haha... I don't consider this to be a problem whatsoever. The reason XP was on a CD is because the entire ISO was near 600MB. Vista changed things up, and I believe it was 3.2GB. The x64 version of Windows 7 is 3.0GB. If the OS was delivered on a CD, it would mean it would have to be split across four or five CDs, which means there'd be constant switching between the discs, rather than just clicking "Next" and waiting for it to finish.

The vast majority of people who will be upgrading to Windows 7 will have a DVD-ROM drive. I'd reckon the number is above 99%. If you want to install the OS on a machine without a DVD-ROM or ODD at all, then you can always go the thumb drive method, which can be even faster than installing from the DVD. We're currently working on a how-to to explain the various ways of accomplishing this.

Psi* said:
W7 adds a sliding marquee like "light" that also glides along the length of the progress bar.

I find that kind of distracting also, so I just minimize it. I am not sure if there is a setting to disable that. I'm sure there is, but it would be in the form of some registry hack, not a simple option elsewhere in the OS.

Tharic-Nar said:
Sure, i'm paranoid, but hiding things, be they simple aggregate windows or some random command that kills all active processes without user acknowledgment (jokes about crashes aside), are dangerous if undocumented.

As far as I'm aware, the "God Mode" is an easter egg, which would be the reason it's not documented. I don't think Microsoft would document a feature that was never supposed to be in there in the first place. Some joker programmers might have just added the feature as they personally would find it useful. Either way, it's cool to have such great control (I haven't looked at it yet, will later).

With regards to more malicious easter eggs, I doubt you have much to worry about to be honest. I've never heard of an easter egg that was there to wreck a PC.

Tharic-Nar said:
There were a number of times i had to jump through various loops and windows to get to that 1 wireless option tickbox or something.

That's one thing that bugs me about the OS as well. Like to disable or enable a network device, you need to right-click the networking icon in the systray, wait a few moments, then go into the properties and then into the devices section. In XP, you just had to right-click the networking icon and go to properties. It was so much easier.

Kougar said:
If you mouse over taskbar buttons they will change to various colors, which is kind of neat. But this "gets stuck", so even after mousing away the button color remains lit up. Not only is it distracting but it makes it harder to tell application status changes, active applications, and if an application is flashing an alert at you.

That's interesting... I've never had that happen. I do think the colors are kind of cool though.

Tharic-Nar said:
Some of the new features did seem interesting, but the question remains, are they productive past the initial 'cool' factor. Like hover over app tabs in the task bar for a preview of content.... isn't it easier and faster to open the app then minimize if it's the wrong one?

This is one feature I actually don't like, and I'm tempted to just switch back to the classic style. If I have a bunch of folders open, it's a real pain to hover over the icon, and then each open window one-by-one in order to find the right one. It's just inconvenient.

Psi* said:
For instance, the program kicks off a little number cruncher routine that opens its own window, in W7 it does not open on top of the parent window ... it is behind it so you can't tell that anything happened.

That happens a LOT in Vista/7, and it's very frustrating. I don't use Windows as my primary OS, but it's all I use on our benchmarking machines, so I have a fair bit of experience of installing and uninstalling applications there. Some applications will spawn a window just like you said, behind the main one, and it won't even show up in the taskbar. I've had installers linger for like 15 minutes, thinking it was Windows stalling, only to realize there's an "OK" dialog box I need to click right behind the main installer window.

Tharic-Nar said:
Windows Live Messenger, if it's installed, the only way to remove it's auto start is by creating an account with them (or uninstalling), logging in and then opening the rather obscurely hidden options. - perspective - you need to create an account to disable it.... ?

This is the main reason I despise Windows Live Messenger. My family will sometimes use it on my PCs, and in order to disable it from starting up, you have to sign-in... and that's RIDICULOUS. The old versions of MSN never used to be like that, but they changed it a few years ago. Sadly, the majority of people to use that bloated piece of crap are probably going to want it to start up with Windows, so we're in the minority.

Tharic-Nar... I have to ask, how in the world do you embed an attachment like that? I've never figured it out.
 

Tharic-Nar

Senior Editor
Staff member
Moderator
Tharic-Nar... I have to ask, how in the world do you embed an attachment like that? I've never figured it out.


Untitled-1.png

You need to use the [noparse][/noparse] command to insert the picture into the post. So you upload the picture or file, then click the paperclip icon again and it'll show you a list of attachments. You click one and it'll create the attach flags around the attachment number assigned to that item.

Untitled-3.png

So in this case, it'll insert [noparse]Untitled-1.png[/noparse] into the post. Also, if the image preview is too large, it'll use the zoom function. (and as a side, if you want to type VBcode into a post, you have to use the [noparse] command...)

If you don't use the attach command, it'll float as a separate object, like below...
 

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Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
As far as I'm aware, the "God Mode" is an easter egg, which would be the reason it's not documented. I don't think Microsoft would document a feature that was never supposed to be in there in the first place. Some joker programmers might have just added the feature as they personally would find it useful. Either way, it's cool to have such great control (I haven't looked at it yet, will later).

This GodMode thing was an intentional tool put in by Windows 7's developers. There are in fact quite a few more versions of it too, a la:

http://news.cnet.com/8301-13860_3-10426627-56.html?tag=mncol

With regards to more malicious easter eggs, I doubt you have much to worry about to be honest. I've never heard of an easter egg that was there to wreck a PC.

It's not maliscious by itself, but the functionality could allow someone with malicious intent to bypass user account security... my University was still using a tightly locked down XP they remote load on all their machines otherwise I could've tested this out just to sate my curiosity. ;) I still remember a few years ago a "tightly locked down" install of XP still had as many holes as swiss cheese for an user to work around access restrictions.

That's interesting... I've never had that happen. I do think the colors are kind of cool though.

I agree, it's a very nice touch. But it's also annoying when it gets stuck, I have to choose which button I want to be brightly lit and mouse to it to work around it.

This is one feature I actually don't like, and I'm tempted to just switch back to the classic style. If I have a bunch of folders open, it's a real pain to hover over the icon, and then each open window one-by-one in order to find the right one. It's just inconvenient.

If it bothers you that much, revert to the normal taskbar buttons by re-adding the text to them. It was just another reason out of serveral I use a hybrid Vista/7 taskbar, as it will keep each open folder button separate.

That happens a LOT in Vista/7, and it's very frustrating. I don't use Windows as my primary OS, but it's all I use on our benchmarking machines, so I have a fair bit of experience of installing and uninstalling applications there. Some applications will spawn a window just like you said, behind the main one, and it won't even show up in the taskbar. I've had installers linger for like 15 minutes, thinking it was Windows stalling, only to realize there's an "OK" dialog box I need to click right behind the main installer window.

I assumed it was an issue with the installer, but I am starting to think you both are right in that it's a Windows 7 issue.
 
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Rob Williams

Editor-in-Chief
Staff member
Moderator
Thanks, Tharic-Nar. I had no idea it was that simple... and here I am the one who administrates this thing!

Kougar said:
If it bothers you that much, revert to the normal taskbar buttons by re-adding the text to them.

That's why I said I was tempted to move back to the classic style ;-)

Kougar said:
I assumed it was an issue with the installer, but I am starting to think you both are right in that it's a Windows 7 issue.

Well, I don't recall this issue happening much before Vista, but I did have it happen there as well. I can't think of a particular example right now, but once I have one, I'll post about it.
 

Psi*

Tech Monkey
it gets better ...

I have not tried even one of these including the 1st one that was reported. Curiosity is killing more in "how is she finding out about them"?!?!

God modes part deux
 

Tharic-Nar

Senior Editor
Staff member
Moderator
(i'm whining and ranting again at the end, to which i apologize)

I have a couple questions about a few things with regard to 7 and vista, but i am more interested in 7 since it is likely to be the next os i use. While i've tried to read into feature changes, quite often, there are little things left out, the sort of day to day things that people take for granted, and it's these little things i'm interested in, since they are often what i come in contact with on a daily basis.

Zip management and browsing.
How does vista and 7 handle zip folders now. With XP, the integration was sometimes useful, but for the most part, a hindrance. The opening of zip files as folders within explorer was only useful under very few circumstances for me, since for the most part, if i zipped something, or indeed, something was zipped already, it's usually because i want it out the way and compressed for archiving, so to have the computer cache the zip files etc for 'easy access', it became a bit of a problem when i have directories with 100's of zip folders, each with 1000's of files. Also, when i ran the occasional search, it would search inside the zip folders as well (despite telling the registry otherwise), often resulting in the search hanging inside certain zip folders, unable to stop the search since it was expanding a rather large archive. So i have to dig around for the relevant registry entries in order to disable these features.

Thumbnail caching.
Under XP, like with the zip files, this feature is again only useful on the small scale. I for one often have directories filled with 100's of pictures, to which the thumbnail caching system will struggle for a bit, but otherwise fine. However, there are occasions when i have 1000's of images within a folder, thumbnail caching pretty much grinds the computer to a halt at this point. I don't even use thumbnail view mode yet it still caches. Again, hidden registry edits to the rescue. I've tried to use Adobe Bridge for image management, but like many adobe products, it's feature rich but just clunky, slow and bloated - 600mb of images ends up creating a 1.1gb hidden cache file in the same directory.

Both of the above problems are further compounded when network storage is involved, since with compressed data, it's received from the storage network, processed by the client, and then re-uploaded back to the server again, making the whole process significantly slower and somewhat clunky. Just the simple act of browsing a network folder can bring the computer to a halt while it caches a large data set (read file information, dates, dimensions, meta data, etc).

I wouldn't mind it if there was a way to get the server to handle archive extraction automatically when the client requests data, instead of the client downloading the archive, extracting it, then uploading back to the server again. I know this isn't technically possible on some NAS's (like with rar or 7z), but can something like this be done with Windows Server or linux, without physically using the server? Another limitation i guess is Explorer, since it treats external storage the same as local.

Has there been any improvements to Explorer in general? How does it handle networks? Is there still long delays when searching for new computers on the network. Any speed increases to file indexing and caching?

I use explorer a lot, i've tried Total commander, but for the most part, it's overkill and overly complicated for what i do, i haven't sat down to use it properly since it's very intimidating and - dare i say, somewhat ugly, even though this shouldn't have any bearing on what i need it for. Nearly all these multimedia managers that often come bundled with software, or even enforced upon me, i find useless. I know where my media is, i don't need to find it 'faster' or 'easier', i don't need to stream it and i don't want all these apps clambering for control over it. I just find these mangers cumbersome and slow. They either have a really busy interface with lots links to various things, or are so minimalistic that you can only do things in a specific order.



I guess the problems i have can be summed up as delays in data browsing and management, a second here, a few there, 20 seconds here... all these delays add up, each and every time i try to do something. One of the irregular quirks that was introduced with SP3 on xp was that dragging and dropping files often created shortcuts to the original, rather than actually moving (or copying from a read only source) the file.

Uninstalling applications, the bane of any windows OS, often leaving files, registry entries or shortcuts behind, to the point of leaving multiple gigs worth of backups and temp files that'll never get used - in the event that you decide to reinstall. Is this an OS fault, application fault, or both?

Another problem is the start menu. It is so difficult to manage, since there are multi user shortcuts and directories, as well as User entries. Clearing it or changing it, one entry at a time is asinine, so i use explorer to do it, only to be confronted with the stated issue that apps are split into All or Current user entries. This just stops me using the start menu altogether, since it just gets filled with crap. Every application has it's own entry, which is usually under a company/publisher subfolder, which then just confuses users as to where things are. Is there a change in or introduction of a standard for start menu entries or has one even been implemented? Are applications installed to an Application directory in the start menu, Games to games, or is it still the same random publisher/company/application/applications that bogs the menus down.

The start menu system is really a mess, especially when you have a computer running for a year or 2 with all those apps and entries to contend with. Desktop shortcuts and quicklinks become more useful since you don't have to dig through a massively sub-divided menu structure to find or launch what you need, but when you have a desktop full of icons... you're left with the start menu problem of, where did i put it...

I remember reading about virtual folders or something being introduced with Win7, but it's a little hard to understand without actually using it first hand, so forgive me if this comes across as completely wrong or inaccurate. It was supposed to be one of the features of WinFS if it ever were to be released, instead they managed to get it to work with NTFS as a bolt on. Think it was something along the lines of... Instead of having physical folders dividing data, all data was stored as is with virtual folders being created that contained links to the real data, so that the same data could be present in multiple folders without making multiple copies of the data, this mixed with journaling tracked changes to the data, so any changes were made only once, allowing for better synchronizing. Data was stored with meta data including keywords/tags, allowing for virtual folders to be created that separated data up by meta tags, meaning you can have the same files accessible through different folders (which is very useful with images and descriptions, and multimedia in general, something that these managers tried to do but often felt clunky). Has anyone tried this feature out in a real world situation?



I think i've written too much, and it could probably be better addressed in it's own thread, but i ask and deliberate here since it may provide insight as to the sort of questions that need to be asked when switching to a new OS and whether new features are actually useful - or just a bit of flash...

Sorry if it came off as a rant, but these are the sort of things that build up over time, pet hates with existing implementations we learn to adjust to or completely forget about.
 

Kougar

Techgage Staff
Staff member
Thanks, Tharic-Nar. I had no idea it was that simple... and here I am the one who administrates this thing!

That's why I said I was tempted to move back to the classic style ;-)

I"m not talking about classic, I'd find that even worse! :eek: I'm talking about this:






Zip management and browsing.
How does vista and 7 handle zip folders now. With XP, the integration was sometimes useful, but for the most part, a hindrance.

Unfortunately I still don't like the built-in ZIP handling, so the first thing I do is install WinRAR. I know Rob prefers 7-zip which is an equally good, free alternative. You can tell Windows search (And Windows Indexing, two different things) to not search archive contents. If the archive was already indexed (and not modified since) then it would be an instant search and wouldn't lag any.


Thumbnail caching.
Under XP, like with the zip files, this feature is again only useful on the small scale. I for one often have directories filled with 100's of pictures, to which the thumbnail caching system will struggle for a bit, but otherwise fine. However, there are occasions when i have 1000's of images within a folder, thumbnail caching pretty much grinds the computer to a halt at this point.

Disabling caching in Vista worked fine, Windows wouldn't make a cache index file if you told it not to. The setting to easily disable image caching has been moved in Windows 7 however, which I must say is one strike against it. Here's how to do it, personally I just leave it on now. Link

Both of the above problems are further compounded when network storage is involved, since with compressed data, it's received from the storage network, processed by the client, and then re-uploaded back to the server again, making the whole process significantly slower and somewhat clunky. Just the simple act of browsing a network folder can bring the computer to a halt while it caches a large data set (read file information, dates, dimensions, meta data, etc).

I've never really noticed this problem, but again if I am viewing a folder full of numerous files (of any type) then I use the Details view. No thumbnails are generated and the only overhead incurred is metadata (think access times, date modified, etc).

I wouldn't mind it if there was a way to get the server to handle archive extraction automatically when the client requests data, instead of the client downloading the archive, extracting it, then uploading back to the server again. I know this isn't technically possible on some NAS's (like with rar or 7z), but can something like this be done with Windows Server or linux, without physically using the server?

What do you mean "without physically using the server"? It has to use the server to first read the archive in it's entirety before you can do any action with it. Any sort of extraction will require the files to be reassembled with the desktop's CPU, so regardless of if it is local or not the entire archive has to be transferred to your system then back to the external storage medium. I may be misunderstanding your question here.

Has there been any improvements to Explorer in general? How does it handle networks? Is there still long delays when searching for new computers on the network. Any speed increases to file indexing and caching?

Indexing and caching doesn't bother me, in fact I let it search archive contents now. Once it builds the initial index it should be fine.

Network searching is different now. Unlike XP (which "bookmarks" each location and doesn't check if it is valid, online, or accessible) Windows 7 will scan the network when you access "Network" for the first time after each boot. Unlike Vista it will then remember each one it finds and not have to rerun the search again each time you view network shares until your next reboot. It seems to scan faster than Windows 7, but it does still require 3-5 seconds initially.

I guess the problems i have can be summed up as delays in data browsing and management, a second here, a few there, 20 seconds here... all these delays add up, each and every time i try to do something.

This is exactly why I am a proponent of SSD's. This is where you notice if a system has an SSD or not. If those little micro-delays are the sort of thing that bother you (they really bother me if they last more than a half-second) then you should invest in a good quality SSD. You will be happy you did. :)

One of the irregular quirks that was introduced with SP3 on xp was that dragging and dropping files often created shortcuts to the original, rather than actually moving (or copying from a read only source) the file.

Drag 'n dropping depends on the source and destination. If the destination is the same drive, it will MOVE the file. If it is a different drive (or partition) it will COPY the file. Hold down the Shift button while you drag and drop a file to modify the action it performs. Holding the CTRL button will also modify the action performed... between these keys you can instruct windows to either copy, move, or create a shortcut regardless of destination involved.

Uninstalling applications, the bane of any windows OS, often leaving files, registry entries or shortcuts behind, to the point of leaving multiple gigs worth of backups and temp files that'll never get used - in the event that you decide to reinstall. Is this an OS fault, application fault, or both?

It is the application's fault. Whomever created the appplication also writes the uninstaller, and in most cases they get sloppy or simply don't care. In other cases they intentionally leave files behind, either config files or user data in case it is needed in the future. The better programs ask you if you want this stuff removed as well during the uninstall. Windows 7's Add/Remove programs area isn't a huge improvement over XP's, but it does work better. It won't leave partially uninstalled programs listed in the menu and will remove them if it can't uninstall them or thinks it was uninstalled already.

Another problem is the start menu. It is so difficult to manage, since there are multi user shortcuts and directories, as well as User entries. Clearing it or changing it, one entry at a time is asinine, so i use explorer to do it, only to be confronted with the stated issue that apps are split into All or Current user entries. This just stops me using the start menu altogether, since it just gets filled with crap. Every application has it's own entry, which is usually under a company/publisher subfolder, which then just confuses users as to where things are. Is there a change in or introduction of a standard for start menu entries or has one even been implemented? Are applications installed to an Application directory in the start menu, Games to games, or is it still the same random publisher/company/application/applications that bogs the menus down.

I've never found it to be a problem, if I wanted to remove things from the start menu even in XP I could right-click and delete folders and shortcuts from the Programs menu. Windows 7 stores MOST Start Menu items under C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu A few user specific but default items will be stored under C:\Users\Kougar\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs as well. I'm not aware of any other locations being used.

The start menu system is really a mess, especially when you have a computer running for a year or 2 with all those apps and entries to contend with. Desktop shortcuts and quicklinks become more useful since you don't have to dig through a massively sub-divided menu structure to find or launch what you need, but when you have a desktop full of icons... you're left with the start menu problem of, where did i put it...

Again you should just delete the Start menu links or uninstall it if it's not used! XP had a lessor known ability to sort the Start Menu alphabetically, but it had to be manually done. Windows 7 and Vista do this by default, and also segregate folders from shortcuts by default.

I remember reading about virtual folders or something being introduced with Win7, but it's a little hard to understand without actually using it first hand, so forgive me if this comes across as completely wrong or inaccurate. It was supposed to be one of the features of WinFS if it ever were to be released, instead they managed to get it to work with NTFS as a bolt on. Think it was something along the lines of... Instead of having physical folders dividing data, all data was stored as is with virtual folders being created that contained links to the real data, so that the same data could be present in multiple folders without making multiple copies of the data, this mixed with journaling tracked changes to the data, so any changes were made only once, allowing for better synchronizing. Data was stored with meta data including keywords/tags, allowing for virtual folders to be created that separated data up by meta tags, meaning you can have the same files accessible through different folders (which is very useful with images and descriptions, and multimedia in general, something that these managers tried to do but often felt clunky). Has anyone tried this feature out in a real world situation?

All Windows operations systems do this to a certain extent. Windows 7 gives users the ability to use this feature in several unique ways. Libraries is one of the most prominent and hallmarks for the feature, better to Google Windows 7 Libraries than me try to explain it, but you pretty much already just did. ;) But if you use Windows 7 you use the various Libraries and can create your own to expand your, ahem, "library" catalog even more. It's a very useful and time saving feature to have.
 
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