Windows Usability Nightmares

It's necessary for me to use Windows for various reasons. And I really do like Windows 7 pretty well. But there are still some bone headed features that just drive me nuts.

Windows 7 Introduces Control Panel Chaos

For instance, what usability genius at Microsoft thought it was a good idea to list everything in the Windows 7 Control Panel in horizontal rows? Now, instead of quickly scanning columns in alphabetical order, you have to scan every single row from left to right to find what you're looking for.

You would think this could be solved by using the "Search Control Panel" feature in the upper right corner, but it turns out the first letter you type there pops the keyboard focus out and suddenly you can't type any more until you focus the search box again. Amazing.

Windows 7 Control Panel Alphabetical Chaos

Whose documents? Them is MY Documents

I know Windows usability designers have to target the lowest common denominator, but it is really frustrating as a "power user" or whatever to have everything designed for people who can't organize their way out of a wet paper bag. That's why the "My Documents" paradigm has been such a nightmare for me, ever since Windows 95. It is stupid for these reasons:
  • Crap folders appear there against your will constantly!
    It seems every software company feels the right to dump a folder there with their name on it every time you start their software, generally prefixed with "My ". Although some default junk folders can be permanently removed and suppressed, a great many of them will never permanently go away.

  • There's a freaking space in the folder name!
    You can't rely on this folder to be useful for anything because there's a space in the name. That means you have to surround the path to the folder in quotes in order to reference it in a lot of situations.

  • It's difficult to find on disk!
    I've tried several times to force myself to use My Documents like the "home" folder it's intended to be. Inevitably the situation appears wherein I need to save to the folder from some software that doesn't have a by "My Documents" button, so a frustrating search begins through the terribly laid out "Documents and Settings" / "Users" folders. This has gotten worse with Windows 7.

  • Prefixing the word "My" with everything that is mine makes me feel like an idiot!
    Whose folder is that? Oh, it's mine. Whose video recordings are those? Oh, wait those are "My Video Recordings". Whew, thankfully someone labeled them for me so that I could figure out whose video recordings they were. Otherwise, I would have just sat there staring at the "My Computer" window with my mouth hanging open and a string of drool dribbling down to My Keyboard until someone showed me where the videos are that are Mine.

Navigation by Sentence Fragments

...moving on... The new Windows 7 paradigm of having a very long clause or sentence fragment to describe things you might want to do drives me absolutely nuts. This sometimes works quite well when you do a search from the start menu, but if I'm looking the control panel like below... should I click on those long links? Or should I just click the heading? Most of the time they seem to take me to the same place. No wonder people find Windows so confusing.

Windows 7 Control Panel Clausal Navigation


Finally, OMFG, when can we finally be set free from these stupid "suchandsuch.jpg is a system file" warnings? I can't tell you how many times I have started a massive file copy or move or delete process, walked away for several hours, and then come back to find this crap below (real life mind blowing screenshot below). I have never once ever cared that whatever file in question was a system file. Yes, Windows, whatever it is, for the love of God, I want to destroy it so bad. Please.

Windows 7 Is A System File Confirmation

Okay, I feel better now. Thanks.

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