65 More Windows Vista Mistakes

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I just couldn’t leave well enough alone. Even after my problems with Outlook 2007, and my original feedback on Windows Vista, I went deeper into Windows Vista’s second beta. This time, I didn’t concentrate so much on the font issues (so that I couldn’t be accused of being such a nitpicker). Don’t get me wrong; there are still thousands of UI oversights still sitting within Windows. I intend to prove that beyond a shadow of a doubt. I don’t just want to hear about how some of my problems were addressed – I won’t rest until all of them are. I keep being told that a lot of it will be happening soon, but… I’ll believe it when I see it. This isn’t just about fonts and icons, my friends – it’s about something I intend on using as my primary operating system for the next… seven (?) years.

  1. Why can’t it detect when I have a .com on the end of a domain in the “Start Search” field – working much like CTRL+Enter does in IE or Firefox?
  2. If Windows is moving slowly, I can see the stop/refresh button in the Windows Explorer jump. At least, the graphic inside the button starts lower than normal – then jumps up to the proper (aligned, centered) position.
  3. Dragging object icons – strange transparency issue still exists. Looks like hell.
  4. For some reason, many dialogs/windows have a black line between the glass and the top of the inner-portion of the window. If this is due to me changing the size of my title bar – you’ve got a serious bug to fix.
  5. Why, if I change my Shell Dlg font in XP to Segoe UI, the default size is 8pt – in Vista, it’s 9pt – and that REALLY screws things up. Is there no way to set it to 8pt anywhere? Please make the hook?
  6. Would somebody please smack the person who thought that white Battery/Power and Volume icons were en vogue?
  7. Why won’t you let me exit out of the location settings dialog if I don’t want to enter an area code first? Even by confirming that I don’t want to do it yet, you keep the window open. This might be tied into how I found out – by trying to get a Business number within Outlook. This may very well be Outlook’s fault, not your own (in which case, that’s another red checkmark in the Outlook 2007 column).
  8. I was able to get ReadyBoost working, I think. If there’s an easy way to watch benchmarks, I’m not finding it. Tried looking for a “Benchmarks” option in the Start Menu, but it’s just not obvious to me. I found it once, but I’ll be damned if I can find it again. Tried looking in the most logical places, too – including within the Task Manager.
  9. The ReadyBoost tab should display information like “You’ve sped up your system by 10% by using ReadyBoost today.” Wouldn’t that be nice to know? It’d also be nice if you could tell me the relative speed of my current USB memory stick – so that I could find out if there were faster ones available.
  10. Why doesn’t ReadyBoost information show up in the System Properties? Ya know, Control Panel | System? There, it still shows me running “1.0 GB of RAM” – but it’s not accounting for the flash RAM I’ve just inserted.
  11. System Information (if that’s Vista’s) is calling on a different point size of a font. I believe it’s Segoe UI, but it’s awfully 9pt Tahoma’ish to me.
  12. The Event Viewer has tons of useful information. If only you’d stop calling on Microsoft Sans Serif throughout, and remember the damn window size every time I open/close the app. Tried looking for the benchmarks / system resource view here, too – still can’t find it.
  13. Sometimes when I’m fiddling with the Visual Appearance, I lose the ability to turn on transparency. I have to reboot the system before that feature works again (even so, I have to go in and re-toggle it a few times to get it to work).
  14. Why aren’t you doing this?
  15. Thank you for pseudo-updating the default selection of backgrounds / wallpapers. However, where’s the dual monitor support? Seriously, you have nothing in here for dual monitors. What if I want one wallpaper to be X and the other wallpaper to be Y? What if I want to stretch wallpapers on both screens to each independent resolution? I have 1600×1200 on one monitor right now, 1680×1050 on another. Non-tiled dual monitor wallpapers look like hell in this scenario. Fix it.
  16. I love the “img15.jpg placeholder” wallpaper. I say it’s a keeper, even if you make it hidden somewhere in the system where only the geekiest geeks could find it. Sad thing is, the “img15.jpg placeholder” was designed better than just about any other graphical system element I’ve run across.
  17. The Personalization dialog’s top nav section seems to have a background color applied to it (that’s not matching the background image). Same holds true for the System dialog (each found as a subsection of ‘Control Panel’). Oh, and Power Options, apparently. Why in some and not in others. At least if you’re gong to screw something up, screw it up all over the place please?
  18. Mobility Center is not customizable. Why can’t I save settings to different profiles? Wouldn’t that make sense? Jeez, even my cell phone has profiles contingent on setting.
  19. You only have seven settings in the Windows Mobility Center – can’t you just make up an 8th one, or are we really going to have to stare at this glaring empty space in the lower right-hand corner? My suggestion: do away with the separation lines altogether, flood the entire area with white space, and for PETE’S SAKE round the corners like you have the outside of the window!!!
  20. What’s starting to drive me nuts is your inconsistent application of internal window margins. For example, the distance between the top border of an Explorer window and the first window element (the search bar) is different than the distance between the top border of the Windows Mobility Center and the first window element (in this case, the panels). Open Notepad, and you’ll notice another distance altogether. Who’s in charge of looking at this stuff!? You really expect someone to fork over $100+ for this?
  21. I don’t mind seeing the circled question mark icon in a window. However, I DO mind that you keep putting it in different places. Again, let’s compare and contrast the Windows Explorer window and a Windows Mobility Center window.
  22. Why can’t I easily switch to the Recording options in the new Volume dialog? Seriously, why?
  23. Why do the Volume dialog’s sliders have a boxy shadow behind them? Looks horrible.
  24. I made this point a couple of bugs ago, but it really deserves to be called out here. Are things going to be curved or not? If you are going to curve the edge of Windows elements, then curve all of them. Not some of them – all of them. This would include every single possible edge you find in the OS. Buttons, borders, backgrounds, etc.
  25. In the new (file) Open dialog, why does the “File name” field sport a different height than the “File type” field? Then, why are both of them sporting different heights than the breadcrumb and search bars at the top of the dialog. Gah!!! Do I need to buy someone a ruler… and slap them on the wrist with it a few times?
  26. Again, in this Frankenstein of a file Open dialog, I have one several opportunities to press an upward/downward arrow. I press the one in the Search box (it’s one width, producing a menu typical of what I find throughout other programs). I press the one in the object area (seeing the width of the arrow button is fatter, producing another style of drop-down for object sorting and filtering). I press the one for the Folders view (seeing that it’s now a circle button, and that produces inconsistent padding both above and below it). I think you just made Baby Jesus cry.
  27. In the open dialog’s breadcrumb bar, sometimes the file name (or path) gets cut off. No way of seeing what’s past a certain point. I don’t see a handlebar to make that area wider, but it should either stretch to a better length on its own or provide some kind of tooltip to show me the truncated information.
  28. Hey, would someone please fix the fact that the Task Manager’s Applications Pane has a horizontal scroll bar that never goes away – no matter what you do? It serves no purpose and has been annoying the hell out of me since Windows 2000. WHY IS IT THERE?!
  29. In the Task Manager, why can’t I right-click a column heading to add other columns – I can do that in an Explorer window – why not here as well? Did the Task Manager programmer not pay his Tribute to the king?
  30. Why, in the Task Manager, when I hover over a truncated title, do I not see a tooltip with the hidden information?
  31. Who’s duck do I have to sick to make this easier to do?
  32. I turned off the Security Center. Why is it still showing up in my system tray?
  33. Clicking the “Adjust indexing options” in the Performance Rating and Tools dialog (subsection of ‘Control Panel’) does nothing.
  34. On my laptop, the Power Options should automatically go into Power Saver mode when I’m not plugged into AC power. Right now, I have to toggle everything manually. Likewise, it should go High Performance when I’m plugged into an external power source.
  35. You have to figure out what else to do when it comes to needing more information in a Control Panel option. For the first hour or so, I didn’t even see the scroll bar in many panels. For example, Control Panel | Power Options | System Settings is just tall enough to warrant a vertical scrollbar. However, it’s pointless – there’s nothing else to show down there but (admittedly properly measured) white space.
  36. Why am I still seeing old Windows dialogs? Like, for the Screen Saver option in the Control Panel. Shouldn’t that be a subsection of the Personalization applet?
  37. There we go! I found the “Performance Diagnostic Console” finally. This is nice, but you wanna talk about scrollbar overkill? I’ve got more scrollbars in this single window than I think actually exist. Thus, creating what I like to call a “paradox.”
  38. Reliability Monitor in the Performance Diagnostic Console is pretty nice. A few controls and images are awfully old, but the tool itself might prove useful in troubleshooting scenarios.
  39. OMG. The Performance Monitor section of the Performance Diagnostic Console is calling on the System (or Terminal) font?!
  40. Why can’t I drag & drop the Resource Overview (in the Performance Diagnostics section of the Performance Diagnostic Console) into the Sidebar? Either all four, or each one individually?
  41. This is weird. I’m looking at the Personalization dialog here. The status bar is turned on, claiming… “2 items.” Really? I see more than two items here, so what “2 items” is it referring to? Conversely, the status bar claims to be seeing “0 items” in the System dialog of the Control Panel. Who’s seeing what?
  42. I know you said it wasn’t going to make it, but can someone please tell me why I don’t have a slider control or pause button in the Windows Explorer copy function?
  43. Why, when resizing a dialog like “Problem Reports and Solutions,” do I see white space appear in the window title area – specifically, on the side that I’m moving back and forth? Other areas of the window are being painted irregularly, too. Looks fine when I stop movement, but the actual movement is jarring to the window elements (apparently). Do you not expect anybody to resize – or do you expect them to excuse this kind of UI quirk?
  44. In the Start Menu, why does an empty folder cascade out to “(empty)”? If you’re going to do that, at least shade “(empty)” a light gray instead of black.
  45. Can you please require people to reference the same 16×16 help icon that I keep seeing everywhere? I’ve seen about three different versions of it – one polished, one plain, another completely different than these other two. Sounds like all of you need help with it.
  46. The SendTo context menu seems to be calling on another kind of layout (compressed, compared to the overly-spacious Windows default). So, too, are the submenus of the Start Menu rightmost pane (Games, Favorites, Computer, etc.). AGAIN, a completely different style is being applied to the New context menu (Folder, Shortcut, etc.). Yet another style is being applied to the Organize menu in the Windows Explorer! IMHO, all menus should look and feel the same throughout the entire OS. If you want a baseline, look no further than the submenus of the Start Menu.
  47. Why don’t I get a larger thumbnail preview of a document or image that I have on my desktop? Seriously, why? Is 128 MB of video RAM not enough?
  48. Okay, now THIS is just funny (and sad at the same time). The Start Menu: nice default view, the margins between each recently-opened program shortcut seem fine – until you toggle the “All Programs” feature. Now, the margins between each of the Start Menu items is smaller. It’s noticeable. Small difference, but still quite noticeable. Egad, if you can’t even get it right in the same area – what hope does the rest of Windows have?
  49. The separator bar between “All Programs” / “Back” changes widths by a few pixels on each end when you toggle the view. Again, I don’t know whether to laugh or to cry. I’ve been waiting seven years for THIS?!
  50. Just read a post on Channel 9 referencing my original list of Vista problems… “Wow, that’s the most annually retentive post I’ve ever read… Can you imagine what this person does when they actually find a problem as opposed to “OMFG BATMAN THAT BUTTON IS NOT PIXEL ALIGNED!!!1!!” I responded: “Yeah, and it’s attitudes like this which cause potentially ‘great’ products to come across as ‘okay.’ If that kind of sloppiness is happening on the surface, I cringe when I think about what’s going on underneath.”
  51. The separator bar between the Start Menu Pin section and the list of recently-opened programs has a different “vspace” than the separator bar at the bottom of the Start Menu separating the “All Programs” toggle with the list of recently-opened programs.
  52. Why does the system tray battery icon have an abnormal left margin to it? Breaks the flow here.
  53. How come Firefox runs faster and better on Vista than IE7 does?
  54. “Search the Index” option in the Start Menu’s “Start Search” field – what Index? Who’s Index? What’s an Index?
  55. To piggyback the prior issue, “Search the Internet” – is that Live’s version of the Internet or Google’s? Can this be toggled to Google easily? If so, where? If not, why not?
  56. I hit it on my first list, but the Windows Calendar UI is amazingly pathetic and inconsistent. First, why is the Search field formatted differently than it is in the Windows Explorer? Second, why is the Search field slapped up against the right border of the window!? Third, why is the view button not working like the View button in the Windows Explorer? Fourth, Why is the calendar formatted differently than it is in the Windows Date & Settings applet? Fifth, why is the “traditional” menu turned on in this program by default? Sixth, why is there virtually no top margin to the area within the Calendars section of the Navigation pane? Sixth, is there going to be a plan to better integrate this within Outlook – so that the two could work seamlessly between each other so that I don’t have to get an Exchance server just to share information between myself and others – and so that I don’t have to update two sets of Tasks and Appointments!? *sigh*
  57. Why, and pardon me if this is wrong of me to ask, can’t I manage all my Windows Live accounts from a Control Panel applet?
  58. Man, there’s so much going on inside the Search Index window – it’s like I’ve died and gone to short-attention span heaven. The only thing that’s missing is (seriously) the kitchen sink.
  59. The Search Index window’s “Add a title” field text seems to be improperly aligned – as does its little magnifying glass graphic.
  60. Why can’t I turn off the text and/or icons in the new Windows toolbar? I hate seeing the double-arrows when there are more options. I can make it with the icons, thank you very much.
  61. The “in” field seems to be a different height than the “Add a title” field (and I’m still not sure what “Add a title” even means).
  62. Why can’t I choose what meta information displays in the Windows Vista Preview Pane?
  63. In Windows Explorer Views, I should never see a horizontal scrollbar. Instead, you should follow Outlook’s lead (!) and automatically push the information together into a single chunk rather than force me to look to the right or left to get to the information I’ve asked to see. And don’t tell me to maximize the window – that’s a cop out, and you know it.
  64. Who decided that the progress bar would be green? Why isn’t that themable? I’d assume it’s a graphic – and if not, then why can’t I make it some other color?
  65. Whoa. The Windows Easy Transfer dialog to warn you that the firewall is blocking the program from running appears to have fallen out of the ugly tree and hit every branch on its way down. You look at it and tell me why I’d even say such a thing. Seems that other Yes/No dialogs have fallen out of the same tree in this tool as well.
  66. Why is the Favorites folder icon the only folder icon that doesn’t have a folder icon in it? It’s just this gigantic star. I think it’s fine that way, but if you’re not going to have a folder image in the Favorites folder icon, then get rid of the other special folders’ folder icons.
  67. Where’s the “Export all possible Windows settings” feature? I think it’s supposed to be there for documents, emails, photos, etc. – but what about my generic windows settings?

Okay, I lied. 67 instead of 65. That’s enough feedback for Vista in one afternoon. I’m going back to picking apart Outlook 2007 now, and will push you back to my first Vista list if this wasn’t enough.