I can’t actually remember now how long I’ve been using Windows 7 for, so I had to look it up. The day I got my hands on it was January 9th 2009. That’s just 910 days Or 2 years, 5 months, 29 days, or 21,840 hours, or 130 weeks ago. Actually not that long when you think about it. I’m now looking forward to getting the beta of Windows 8 sometime around September (a perk of being an MVP and a Microsoft Press author that one) which will mean that I’ll have been using Windows 7 for much less than three years before I finally dump it on everything except the media centre box under my TV, and upgrade.
Around the beginning of January 2012 we can expect the official beta to begin, exactly three years since the last one. With Windows 8 coming out at the end of the year, maybe this time even a couple of months earlier then Windows 7 did.
You’d imagine then that I’d be wondering why at this point I have to give up using an operating system that’s the most stable, dependable, attractive, feature-rich and secure that Microsoft have ever developed. If you are though, you’d be wrong as the truth of the matter is that I simply won’t be able to get away from Windows 7 quickly enough!
In fact I’d go as far as saying I hate its annoying, finicky, irritating ways so much that once I get my hands on that Windows 8 beta it will be “Windows 7? What Windows 7?” from there-on in.
So let me explain this position to you. The problem resides in all the annoyances that Windows 7 has, all things that simply have got to change for the next version of the OS. Every version of Windows has had annoyances and I seem to remember the Windows XP Annoyances book was one of O’Reilly’s best-selling titles, and had a hit spin-off website that’s still alive and well today.
So what is it about Windows 7 that I hate so much. This is also the list of what I would like Windows 8 the fix the most. I’ll detail my hit list here and I’d absolutely love to hear yours too, so please feel free to comment. These annoyances come in no particular order…
Windows will install Updates as Scheduled!
Actually, if I had to pick my top #1 Windows 7 annoyance, this would be it! I don’t mind the Action Centre popping up an alert to tell me that Windows 7 will automatically install updates as to the schedule I’ve set. Why though does the thing need to bring up a help page whenever I click on the action centre flag to discard the message, and then after I’ve done it why does it need to tell me again, sometimes a total of three times popping up Windows Help on every occasion? Seriously guys, why did you have to put us through this?
libraries were a wonderful idea when they were first announced. In Windows 7 though they are extremely limited and hamstrung by not being able to view libraries of certain file types, or libraries by author.
The Homegroup is another great idea that simply failed to work properly. To this day I can find no rational explanation as to why two PCs cannot see themselves or their files over a Homegroup, when they can see both perfectly fine in the networking centre.
There’s so much to dislike about the Windows 7 Start Menu. I can understand why they removed the legacy Start Menu display option, but the fact that it still exists at all when we have the fabulous new taskbar is a complete mystery to me. Even programs that have additional options, such as sub programs, could be shunted off into Jumplists, and uninstalling a program should be as simple as it is on the Mac, by throwing its icon into the recycle bin.
The whole Start Menu / Windows 7 Taskbar thing never made sense to me. It’s a half-way house between old and new ways of working and with both existing side by side and being used together, it means (to me anyway) that neither can ever be used effectively or to its full potential.
The System Reserved Partition
Okay, so on some computers Windows 7 needs to put a “System Reserved” partition on to store the boot loader. This is understandable. What’s not understandable is why this is only ever 100MB, which then prevents some users from being able to use the System Image Backup utility, and why can’t Windows make sure it’s on the same physical hard disk as the copy of Windows? If you have a dual hard disk system in your PC you could all too easily find this essential partition ending up on the wrong disk. This means that you effectively double your chances of a hard disk problem or removal causing Windows to become unusable.
Folder View Options
It’s always been great in Windows that you can set folders to view how you want them to. It’s even better that you can set one folder to look a certain way and then click a button to make all other folders appear the same way too. Why is it still with Windows 7 though that you have to do this two or three times before it actually remembers what you’ve told it?
Sound Device Switching
Many people now use several sound devices with our PCs, and these can very commonly include wireless headphones. How come then that you still have to go all the way into the Control Panel and change the default sound device to be able to switch from one to another?
Files on the Desktop
This is a problem that should have been fixed with Windows XP! How is the average computer user supposed to know that the desktop is not a suitable place to store files? How are they supposed to know these files won’t be backed up with the rest of your documents by the average backup software? It galls me that Windows still allows anything other than shortcuts and program icons to be stored on the desktop, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve seen people lose valuable files and data as a result.
Your Computer Needs to Restart
I’ll skip lightly over how Windows 7 really should have had a facility enabling third-party software and hardware companies to plug their updates into the Windows Update system. We’re all busy people though and on average we spend many more hours at our computers than we ever did before. We don’t want to be constantly nagged by our computers to restart the machines then whenever there’s another minor update been installed. It’s absolutely fine that if you have your Start Menu power button set to Sleep, that Windows Update temporarily changes it to Shut Down. This is enough! Busy people do not need to be nagged all the time, we need to be left to get on with work.
These are my top annoyances about Windows 7 and they’re all things that I won’t miss at all! This is unless they’re all still present in Windows 8, in which case you’ll be able to hear the scream wherever you are.