Jan 082008

[written 1/3/08; revised 1/7/08]

The Web is full of complaints about Microsoft Windows Vista. You seldom hear anything good about it, so I’ll repeat myself. Every time I use XP, which inexplicably has become beloved since Vista came out, I miss:

  1. Start search (no need for sub-menus)
  2. Search in any window, including Control Panel
  3. Explorer enhancements: better group headings, better column options, new filters
  4. Breadcrumbs for navigating folders in the address bar
  5. Favorite Links as shortcuts to frequently used folders
  6. Expanded explorer options in any file dialog
  7. Checkboxes to select files
  8. Snipping Tool for screen captures
  9. Windows Photo Gallery (available as Photo Live Gallery to XP users)

Lest you think I am a ‘fanboy’ (a big geek insult), I’ll document one of many peeves I have with Vista. It’s something you’ll notice this time of year in both Vista and XP: Two weeks ago was “Last Year” or “A long time ago.” Yup. Though Vista still displays today, yesterday, earlier this week, and last week, at the end of the year it looses the concept of earlier this month and last month. Kinda stupid.

However, XP fanboys note: XP is just as stupid and Vista has — finally! — fixed an odd flaw found in XP’s sort by date modified. [mjh 01/07/08: Wrong! See update at bottom of entry.] In XP & Vista, clicking on a column heading sorts by that column. (Column headings are only visible in Details view in XP but in all views in Vista — score another one for Vista.) If you use XP’s show in groups (buried — more accessible in Vista) and sort by date modified, you’ll see this glitch if anything messes up that sort. Click on the date modified column heading all you like: XP won’t sort. The trick? Turn of XP’s show in groups, click the column heading to sort, turn show in groups again.

To recap: The bug in XP is fixed in Vista. In Vista, the show in groups function is more accessible, with a bonus of item counts in the headings, plus you click headings to select all in that group and collapse and expand headings as desired.

This would be the kind of interface change the detractors steadfastly ignore. Is it reason enough to upgrade? For me, yes. mjh

year-end bug in Vista

UPDATE 01/07/08:

Damn! I was sure the glitch that screwed up the sorting of grouped files was fixed. Just today, I saw it is still a problem: Even in Vista, you still have to turn off grouping to get modified date sorting in proper order *if* it is out of order. (Just clicking Date modified twice doesn’t do it.)

Date sort problem in Vista

Notice in addition to the date sort glitch, that the screen shows “Tomorrow” for 1/7 and “Today” for 1/6, when in fact this was 1/7. If you are tempted to chalk this up to a screen refresh problem, the screen did refresh after 1/7/2008 12:43am.

Sigh. I am embarrassed for Microsoft and Vista. However, I still like Vista for other reasons. mjh

 Posted by at 8:08 am