Windows Vista Feedback

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I spent a few hours with Windows Vista last night, per Jim Allchin’s request to send him feedback about what I discovered in terms of discrepancies and oversights. I took that task seriously, and stayed up late to compile this far-from-comprehensive list. I sent it to him at 1am, and I hope he doesn’t have a filter that keeps him from seeing it. I realize this list is lengthy, but… these reasons are exactly why I’m afraid Vista won’t be as polished as originally anticipated. I warn you, this list is long – and it’s only going to get longer, the deeper I dive into Vista Beta 2. This list is longer than the interview! If you think this list is long, check out my follow-up list of 65 More Windows Vista Mistakes.

On the very first (initial setup) screen, I should never see the text and progress bar without some kind of accompanying graphic(s). This is too Windows 2000′ish.

Classic mode in setup screens? I’d assume that’s temporary.

When are y’all going to update the default cursors you’ve been using since Windows 3.1. The shadow addition was nice, but that (too) is Windows 2000′ish. I thought Vista was supposed to be new? I should see absolutely no UI elements here that remind me of XP or earlier. I first noticed this during the initial setup process.

For the Licence Terms screen, it’s using Tahoma 9pt for the text – and the bulletpoints are pulling up as squares. Plus, the dialog is sporting a classic mode scroll bar instead of Aero-ish (as the rest of the window represents). This initial screen lends further credence to needing to have a Glass-lite for non-Glass machines, as if I saw these initial screens, I’d assume that I could use Glass on this machine – and I don’t think that’s the reality.

In the Windows setup screen, the Windows logo icon next to “Install Windows” seems to be sitting lower than the text – so it’s not quite middle-centered to it. I can’t believe this is by design. See how there’s more of the icon beneath the (invisible) text baseline?

Shouldn’t the phrases used during the setup stage (Copying Windows files, Expanding files, etc.) be intercapped? i.e., Copying Windows Files, Expanding Files, Installing Features, etc.?

Is there any way I can see more in the setup wizard – like what file(s) it’s copying over, what files it’s expanding, etc. Could help with setup troubleshooting issues at some point, and I don’t see a way to toggle a rolling log view. Installing features -> what features? Installing updates -> what updates?

Windows (c) 2006 should likely change now before y’all forget when Vista actually does ship. :)

In the first Windows session (Set Up Windows wizard), I can’t use CTRL+Backspace. This should eliminate the word I’m currently on – not create a new character.

In the first Windows session (Set Up Windows wizard), the machine seemed to be moving rather slowly – which I could only assume was due to the heavy animation in the background (neat, but the next screen proves that it’s just completely out of place from the rest of the setup-before-you-log-in process). Polish, Jim, polish – setting up OS X is a much more aesthetically pleasing experience.

In the first Windows session (Set Up Windows wizard), the font is not Segoe UI – it’s Tahoma throughout the entire dialog. I’m assuming there will be infinitely more buddy icons, too.

The “You’re Ready to Start” graphic flickered and jumped when I pressed the Windows button.

On the login screen, the menu options on the Power button are calling on Microsoft Sans Serif, not Segoe UI.

Preparing your desktop… the screen flashes.

The first time I get into Windows, I feel like I’m bombarded with options – a balloon that tells me I’m not quite ready yet, then a window that opens up to show more options about my Windows version, and yet another window that shows me my current security settings, and then yet ANOTHER window that asks me if I want to turn on the Phishing filter when I try to “Find a program” to protect me from Malware by launching an IE session (which really oughta be preinstalled, or at least asked for during the setup process). Screw Norton – their products have been crap since ’98.

The font in the title bar of Windows Defender is not Segoe UI – hasn’t been for quite some time. Big, big, big oversight. Also, it seems that the font throughout the entire Defender utility is Microsoft Sans Serif! It’s certainly not Segoe UI. The only font “Segoe UI’ish” is the graphic in the upper-right corner. ;)

Why wouldn’t the network wizard launch the first time I was trying to get online?

The User Account Control dialog is not Glass, when the rest of my Windows experience is.

UAC should detect when I, as a user, have told it more than 5x that it’s okay to launch into a particular dialog. This could possibly be a toggle for power users somewhere, but not available for the average user.

Massive amount of window flashing in the Computer Mangement console when you select different options, not to mention the need to update every single one of the icons throughout the utility. I’m not supposed to be using NT 3.51, am I?

The Update Driver Software dialog (with calls to select the type of hardware) is calling on the Microsoft Sans Serif font). This is the dialog that asks you if you “Have Disk.” This is also an example of a dialog that I believe suffers from pixel bloat. How tall do you need the top of the window to be?!

Device properties dialog (sheet) is calling on Microsoft Sans Serif throughout. I believe this is all tied into the ShellDlg font setting. See kbid 282187 for more information.

The Options pane (sheet) in the Computer Management console is calling on Tahoma.

When I click on the “What’s new in Windows Vista Ultimate” link, why aren’t the options hyperlinked to the files, folders, or utilities they’re touting?

Why do I see icons redrawing themselves? Like, for example, the first time I open the Control Panel? I have a 128MB video card here – within a full Glass experience. I should see the icons instantly. It makes me feel like my computer’s slow when I’m watching them draw themselves in over the generic icons – like I’m on the Web rather than on my local (very speedy) machine. I should never see an icon refresh for the rest of my life. We should be well past this point with perf.

Why, when I hover over a gadget, do I not get extended info about it in a tooltip? Instead, I have to select it first to get the info. Unintuitive. It’s also impossible to view this window with a classic view Control Panel sitting underneath it. Glass is almost too translucent at this point.

I have animations everywhere else, why don’t I get a nice animation when I maximize a window by double-clicking the title bar? Likewise, why don’t I have any animations when I move a window? I’m on Glass, make me feel like I’m in fluid space here.

Windows Sidebar Properties dialog is in Tahoma.

Ever see the screen animations when you drag a Widget out of the OS X “sidebar” and onto the workspace? Why don’t I get any cool effect in Windows when I do the same thing?

When I drag and drop widgets around, why don’t they act like the icons OS X’s menu bar – moving the other widgets/icons out of the way as I maneuver around. Visual feedback is necessary here. If you’re trying to do this already, the animation is failing miserably. Feels more like falling off a bike than riding it.

Safely Remove Hardware dialog is in Microsoft Sans Serif.

Is it “Setup” or “Set up” – stick with one or the other. I believe you used “Setup” early on, but in the Welcome Center, you have an icon for “Windows Media Set up” – if anything, it should be “Windows Media Setup” or “Set up Windows Media” (either of those works well with modern English conventions). I was an English major in college, by the way.

It’s kinda silly that I press the “Windows Media Set up” option, which changes the top area of the window to reveal a “next” button which then launches into the true setup wizard. That’s one unnecessary step, don’t you think?

WMP11 setup is in Tahoma.

Burn all these Windows Media Player visualizations, please. Take ‘em in the back and shoot ‘em. Never speak of this again.

I complained about this at dinner, but it’s relatively impossible to see all the information about a media file playing – when you’re giving little space to actually display that information.

Visualizations seem to stutter as I resize WMP. Then, too, I can see white painting on the foreground window (!) inside the pixel bloat on either side of the player controls. I thought this stuff was gone?

WMP11 Options dialog is calling on *BOTH* Tahoma and Microsoft Sans Serif. I don’t know who was smoking what.

Why isn’t the Identify Monitors identifying number (when clicked) anti-aliased?

Theme Settings dialog has Tahoma, and the preview window is showing a non-Glass screen shot (and I don’t have the Recycle Bin on my desktop, though it’s sitting right there in the preview).

Why is the default desktop icon size “gigantic?”

Pre-login screen, the font displaying Windows information in the lower-right corner is using Microsoft Sans Serif.

Windows Mail options dialog is in Tahoma, Segoe UI, and Microsoft Sans Serif (trifecta!). Also, why can’t I turn off the grid lines in Windows Mail?

Customize Toolbar (at least in Windows Mail) is calling on Microsoft Sans Serif.

Why doesn’t Windows Mail behave like Outlook yet? When I resize the window, it should also auto-resize the columns. I never want to see a horizontal scroll bar as long as I live.

Can’t you make the default screen saver something a little more exciting than the jumping Windows Vista logo?

In the Change Settings (actually, Change “settings,” as you didn’t capitalize
“settings”) dialog for Windows Update, the OK button has a graphic in it. This isn’t a bad idea, but it seems to be wedged up against the top and bottom border of the button. Kinda cramped, don’t you think?

If my Glass title bars and borders are translucent, why aren’t the drop-down menus as well?

Again, as in Windows Mail, why don’t the Windows Explorer column headings (or columns in general) auto-size to the window width? Otherwise, I have all this empty space to the right of the window.

File properties window is using Microsoft Sans Serif.

When selecting an image in the Explorer, the status bar has an Edit button. When I clicked it, I was half-expecting to edit the photo. That, and the button itself seems to have lost its left-border?

Here’s a thought: when Windows is loading for the first time, why doesn’t it ask the user what kind of things they like? Generally speaking of course… sports, movies, nature, games, etc. Then, it could create a custom theme around those settings (you can buy licenses for a small set of images and content that you might use to make the user’s first time in Windows more personal).

Why can’t I edit a photo’s meta information inline? Why do I have to open a dialog before I can change anything? I’m speaking, of course, about the properties (status?) bar at the bottom of an Explorer window.

Burn the font preview dialog. It’s inflexible and sadly outdated.

Why can’t I get a preview of a font by hovering over its icon? I’d settle for a live preview in the properties bar. The icons in this folder also appear to be broken, showing a generic document icon overlay in the lower-right corner of the OTF/TTF icon.

Also, the font folder seems to have the old Control Panel icon from Windows 95 (!) in its properties bar.

OMG, the Windows 3.1 “Add a font” dialog is still there. This is classic. You must ship with this dialog in place so we can point out just how many things you still missed. ;)

I guess it’s called the Preview Pane. Makes sense. However, I thought Microsoft was all about shoving the preview pane to the right of the window – not the bottom? Don’t get me wrong, I think the bottom is fine… but I’m curious to know if it’d be any better on the right?

The Folder options dialog seems to be outdated with its settings, too – as well as calling on Microsoft Sans Serif.

I’m kinda getting sick of talking about Microsoft Sans Serif and Tahoma. Someone needs to sweep the whole OS and get rid of ‘em and fix app incompatibilities from that point forward. It should all be Segoe UI, no excuses – this is 2006/7.

Any chance of letting the user change the bitmaps in the Windows Explorer? The green/blue curtain thing is nice for about five minutes, and then it’s old. Don’t keep the XPize guy in business. ;)

Control Panel > Additional Options displays… get this… “There are no items to display.” Well, if there are no items to display, then why did you show me the link in the first place?

The Speech Recognition pane in the Control Panel seems to be truncated at the bottom, clipping the window graphic to the left of the options?

IE’s options dialog… Tahoma.

In the Security Center, it tells me that UAC is on… but there’s no easy way to turn it off (that I can see). Kinda pointless to tell me its turned on if I can’t turn it off from there.

Date and Time dialog is using Tahoma in its tabs and OK/Cancel buttons.

Why does the Photo Gallery Viewer have an uncustomizable icon / toolbar? I don’t want or need the text below my icons, and the labels are underneath the icons unlike the other Windows apps which have the text to the right of the icon. Scream at this puppy until it conforms!

Right now, you have tons of wasted space at the bottom of the Photo Gallery Viewer. Why not fill that space with EXIF or simple file information? You’re not surfacing EXIF anywhere except in the Explorer interface.

The Undo and Redo buttons for the Photo Gallery Viewer are at the bottom of the window, whereas I would’ve expected ‘em to be at the top. Thought they weren’t there until I looked hard.

The minimize/maximize animation is nice, but not quite as smooth as it could or should be. Towards the end of the animation, it seems to drop frames.

After doing some basic “Fix” functions on a photo, then undoing (I believe), I tried to view the photo again and the viewer told me it couldn’t do it. It could’ve been because I was already previewing the image in another preview session – in which case, it should’ve flipped that to the foreground instead of erroring out with a relatively useless message.

Why can’t I change the color of the selection area? You know, click and drag in an area of the desktop or Explorer and it highlights in blue. What if I happen to like purple more?

The new Media Center software is amazing. However, the buttons to dig deeper into the different sections seem to be using stock images rather than actual thumbnails on your machine. Sloppy, or intentional? If intentional, why?

When you close the Media Center, the desktop goes black and flashes.

Task bar and Start Menu properties still has the Windows XP graphic, and it’s calling on Microsoft Sans Serif.

Even if I select the option to cascade menu items in the Start Menu, why can’t I still double-click the root option. For example, I have “Computer” cascade to the options – and in doing so, I lose the ability to double-click the word “Computer” to launch into that process.

You animate the opening and closing of windows, why not also smoothly animate the changing of options within the window itself – namely inside the Control Panel.

Mouse Properties dialog… Microsoft Sans Serif.

Where can I change the point size of my fonts? I scaled ‘er up to 120dpi per your suggestion but can’t honestly see a difference on my LCD? Not many Themes to choose from, either.

Drop into Windows Classic mode. Man, you’ve got your work cut out for you here. Places that had Segoe UI before, now have Tahoma. The Start Menu is ugly as hell (and it really doesn’t have to be, even in Classic Mode).

Aha! The “tooltip” inside of Solitaire doesn’t adhere to the AERO standards, as set forth by your public document (guidelines). Someone needs to go back into this and make it look like the rest of Windows, please? It’s in the lower left corner, and the design discrepancies are as plain as day. I’d expect this with a third-party app, not a bundled app.

Microsoft Windows Mail splash screen needs an overhaul.

It’s nice to see the column lines don’t exist in Classic Mode (Windows Mail). However, in both Windows Mail and Internet Explorer Classic Mode, there’s an odd border on either side of each icon / toolbar?!

Windows Mail item header (between message pane and preview pane) is using Arial!?

Why does IE still have an upper-left corner program icon and no other program does? I take that back. Explorer doesn’t have an upper-left icon.

Windows Movie Maker UI needs to be destroyed and rebuilt from scratch. There’s so many legacy components in here, it’s not even funny. It didn’t do “Windows XP” look and feel well inside of Windows XP, it’s certainly not doing “Windows XP” well in Vista. The toolbar is a throwback, the Tasks pane is a throwback, the options underneath the toolbar are awkward and sloppy, etc. etc. This program has so much potential, if only you’d find a new UI design team for it.

Why doesn’t the Windows Movie Maker have an “Increase Brightness / Increase Contrast” Effect so that by increasing the brightness of a video, you’re not dulling the colors of it as well? Quick, easy fix that would help a lot of videos out there – yet nobody’s bothered to put ‘er in there. And why should they? It would only be one of the most useful effects for fixing darker videos.

The icon / toolbar in Windows Mail seems to be at a different height than other toolbars throughout Windows, including that of Windows Calendar.

What if I don’t like the red “X” close button? Why can’t I change that to… purple?

Why can’t I resize the side panes in Windows Calendar?

Here’s an idea for the Ultimate edition – why don’t you let a select group of passionate, enthusiastic, community evangelists help make continual suggestions and recommendations for additional downloads and features? ;) Let’s not let this one slip into the hands of the marketers like the Plus pack did.

What’s so strange about glass is that you’re all about “wasting pixels” when the window is regularly sized, but as soon as you maximize the window, you clip the title bar to an incredibly thin level – can’t you strike a balance in between here? Stick with one size, please – no matter the state of the window. Plus, keep each state sporting the same colors or level of translucency? Right now, the maximized state looks horrible.

Why can’t I seem to get to my recording settings through the Volume dialog anymore?

I don’t have a 1 or 2GB USB stick yet, but as soon as I do, I’ll let you know how perf feels on my Vista box.

When I accidentally drop a gadget to the desktop, behind the designated area of the Sidebar, there’s no way to retreive / access it without first closing the Sidebar. I see there’s an option in the system tray icon to bring all gadgets to the front, but I wouldn’t have even considered looking there.

Wow. The calculator gadget sets an all-time record for number of fonts used inside an application. Yikes. Get this: MS Sans Serif (?!), Tahoma 9pt, Segoe UI 8pt, and Times New Roman. Ladies and Gentlemen – we have a new world’s record!!! Jim, please make this stop.

Wow. Your bubbles screen saver is really lame. Really. Really. Lame.

Ribbons screen saver is rather nifty. Gee, was someone inspired by OS X? :)

The Print dialog is sadly outdated.

Why does the information bar have to be so annoying? Seriously, why does it reload the page when I say it’s okay to download something? Overkill, waste of time.

IE File Save dialog has Microsoft Sans Serif.

Cheese and crackers, would somebody please update to the IE transfer dialog to either display more information or give us a PAUSE/RESUME button!? You wanna talk about a feature for Ultimate edition. :P

Windows Calendar font and icon alignment are all wonky.

IBM ThinkPad System Update won’t install because it “can’t find a supported .NET framework.” :)

If I change my font settings, why doesn’t it apply to all open windows? Namely, IE didn’t update when I tweaked something.

Color me very impressed with the “update driver from the Internet” feature. Picked up my Thinkpad wireless adapter without blinking. This is exactly the way it should be. Same holds true for the way it detected/installed my PM Device for the ThinkPad (T41p). The only thing I’d ask for is more feedback as to what it’s doing and what it might be sticking on (if anything).

The drop-down menus in the breadcrumb bar of WMP seem to be awfully unpadded (see, there’s such a thing as being too anemic). Click the arrow next to Music, Library, Artist, etc. – you’ll see what I mean right away.

Try minimizing WMP to a Classic Mode taskbar with Windows Media Player toolbar enabled. Yikes. This bug has been filed over and over again since WMP9.

Please, find another way to display playing file information in the status bar area of WMP? The current way is simply unusable.

The Windows Media toolbar pop-up preview window is using Arial.

Why is there extra spacing below the buttons, breadcrumb bar, and search bar in the Windows Explorer? This extra padding doesn’t seem to exist in other windows?

When I set my Caption Buttons smaller (say, to 15), why does the entire title bar shrink as well? They seem to be more independent from one another than they were before. Like, the buttons used to be middle-aligned in the title bar – but now they’re attached to the top of the window, so they should resize independent of the height of the title bar. That is, if you designed this properly.

For some reason, there’s a black line in between the title bar of the Task Manager and the menu. I have my title bar font set to a respectable 8pt when I see this.

I don’t know how I got into this loop, but I’ve been futzing with a lot of display settings (on / off / up / down), and I seemed to have retained Glass, but lost any ability to toggle the translucency of it. That is, until after reboot (I’d assume).

Why can’t I run OneCare on Vista yet?

Sidebar has major performance issues (in using it). When I went to add the Stocks gadget, I dragged and dropped it over there and didn’t see it show up, so I did it again. And again. Turns out, they all got shoved to a second page which I didn’t know existed. You’re telling me there’s no way to shrink the default size of these gadgets so that I could accomodate more on the screen at one time – or to set it up so that I don’t end up with 47 calculators inadvertently? :) It’s potentially a set up for your next “million shortcuts to ‘My Computer’ on the desktop” scenario.

Okay, that’s enough for now. I took you at your word and compiled this list based on the Beta 2 build that I received from you with the “I’m sorry” stamped in your script. ;) I’ll be more than happy to provide even more feedback throughout this entire process. Below, you’ll find a starter list of applications that some of us just can’t live without – making us the Ultimate users.