Tuesday, November 11, 2008

5 Basic Things Windows 7 still Can't get right

While I'm generally pleased with Windows 7 so far , I've found myself shaking my head every now and then. In some instances it's obvious that Microsoft has been paying attention. Other times, not so much.

I've noticed five issues so far that, though minor, leave me wondering if Microsoft is going to be able to pull off a really great OS by its 
projected mid-2009 release.

.ZIP Files
Windows 7 still takes forever to extract files from a zip archive, which leaves me dumbfounded. An 18.4mb zip containing only two files took me almost 23 seconds to extract using the right-click context menu's 
extract all option. Using 7zip's context menu extraction, the same operation took less than three seconds.

Zip files have been supported natively since Windows XP. Seven years later, there's still no improvement. Third party applications are 
so much better at handling .zip files it makes me wonder why Microsoft bothered adding support in the first place.
FTP Support
Is it really too much to ask that a Network Place I've created actually behave like a local drive? Plenty of free applications that I use can do it with no problem, so why not Windows? When I tried to edit a text file on my FTP server, Windows 7 tried to open it in Internet Explorer - which instantly had a fit of colossal proportions. Multiple windows spawned and re-spawned when I closed them. Ultimately, killing the iexplore.exe process put a stop to it. 

Shouldn't an FTP location behave like any other network place, such as an SMB share? If Windows can't handle that, maybe FTP shouldn't be an option.

Adjusting the Clock
This used to be so easy, and now it's not. Now when I double click, the pretty little calendar/clock applet appears and hides. Why? I understand that my clock is supposed to synchronize automatically, but what if it doesn't? With XP, double clicking the time took me directly to a screen that allowed me to change it. Now it takes a right click, left click, and then a click on another button.

Well, at least the UAC prompt is gone. Yay.

Network Connection Repair
Once again, this was such a simple operation in XP. Right click the system tray icon, choose repair, and wait a few seconds. It worked well, too. Vista introduced the god-awful diagnose and repair system. It takes forever and it hasn't solved any additional issues for me - and Windows 7's version is just as bad.

If diagnose is here to stay, maybe the solution is to present both options right up front. I for one would be quite happy to just have the old repair option back.

Managing Network Connections
connect to menu in XP is configurable, and I like being able to expand it. Vista dropped that option, and it's still gone in Window 7. I also can't right click a system tray icon and view all connections like I could in XP. I've got to go through the network and sharing center first.

It's needlessly overcomplicated. Getting rid of little conveniences like this is no way to improve an operating system.

Am I alone in this? If you're running Windows 7 do these things - or other little things - frustrate you, too? Share with your fellow readers in the comments!

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