Thursday, May 27, 2010

My first week with Windows 7

I finally got a new company laptop and consequently made the leap from XP to Windows 7. After a week, it's hard to overstate how disappointed and dismayed I am. It might be better than Vista--which I never used on my primary machine, but just on one or more of my test and virtual machines--but the main reoccurring thought is: "Really, ten years since XP and this is the best you can come up with?".

Some of the gripes:

  • Windows 7 still does a horrible job dealing with changing environments. For example:
  • When I start a large copy job while on Wi-Fi and then plug in the Ethernet cable, the job will be copied slowly over Wi-Fi instead of Windows 7 figuring out that it would only take 10 minutes over the wired network rather than two hours over wireless.
  • Every time I plug in my trackball and keyboard, Windows 7 reinstalls the drivers.
  • Windows 7 detects that my external monitor has a 1280x1024 native resolution, but still sets it to 1152x768 every time I connect it.
  • Windows 7 got rid of Netmeeting, the replacement is clunky and requires all participants to have Vista or Windows 7. Really a wonderful idea if you have contractors who are on XP.
  • The compressed folder tool is now incapable of compressing files with Asian characters in the file name (REALLY MICROSOFT???? IN 2010??????)
  • The entire user interface experience has slowed down compared to XP (and it's not even close to Mac). Even with a fast CPU and tons of RAM, most actions still show a wait cursor for a while.
  • Even after shutting off most of the Aero candy, most actions have an animation associated with it. Not only is this slowing down things, because Windows don't close until the animation ran its course, it also pulls the eye away from the mouse cursor)
  • Many actions now require more clicks. For example, in Office 2003, creating a new document was a two click process File -> New. In Office 2010 it's

1 - Click File

2 - Reorient yourself on the big new tab

3 - Find New

4 - Choose a template

5 - Find the Create New button all the way on the right

6 - Click new (unless you selected a web template, then the button is download, then you click the downloaded template, then you click Create New)

  • Even worse, there is no way to turn this off.
  • Switching to a program using the task bar is now also a multi-step process

1 - Click program icon

2 - Wait for the preview window list to come up

3 - Try and figure out which one you want

4 - Click it

Newsflash: most people want to go back to the window they last worked on in the app. In other words, the topmost window.

  • Waking up is still a 30 seconds to one minute process with 3 screens and a few animations. On any Mac laptop, it's: (1) Open lid (2) Done
  • In a lot of places, it has become impossible to tell which of multiple buttons the default action is. The best example is locking the computer. After pressing ctrl-alt-del, a green screen with a few links like Lock Computer, Log Out etc. comes up, but there is no indication that Lock Computer is the default action.
  • Windows 7 occasionally asks me to do completely superfluous and weird things. For example, when logging in to a new wireless access point on our company network, it throws up a screen asking me to classify the network as work or home. WTF? Or the Outlook default that it asks you to click a balloon to "reenter your password to send to server" every couple of hours. Since whoever sits in front of the PC doesn't have to know the password, but just click the balloon, how the eff*** is that making things more secure???? Thankfully, that can at least be turned off.
  • When Office 2010 thinks, it usually thinks wrong. For example, the Recent Documents list only contains documents I created or changed. If you just open a file to read it, it will not show up. This is wonderful for someone who works with a lot of technical references which 95% of the time you only need to read, not change.
  • In the same vein, how about adding a “correct all” option to the context menu for misspelled words? Do you really think I want to fix one Wifi, and leave the other 8 as is???? Partially related side note: can someone finally explain the difference between its and it’s to Word’s grammar checker?

I could go on, but the bright side, you can finally hide the ribbon in Office 2010.

P.S. Since the built in full text search still can't hold a candle to Google Desktop, thanks a lot for making sure that Outlook 2010 email looses all formatting in the search results.
P.P.S. /sarcasm/Thanks for removing the Desktop button from the task bar. Right clicking on the task bar and clicking on the 5th entry on the context menu is just so much easier. /end sarcasm/

No comments: