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Windows **^&%#*^ 7


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Windows 7

Yes, I will be first to condemn Windows 7 as time wasting software.

Worse still it is engineered to stop you from finding files. And yes I have switched all the Aero, UAC and DEP, off.

Oh I worked out how to add 'Search' to the Explorer context menu, but the results were still not displayed after 20 minutes, and this was for a file on the start menu. (I was testing).

The Libraries are useless and get in my way. The look and feel is anaemic, and I have to say, not being able to switch back to the Classic look is really unfair to older users who might not have enough years left to learn how to cope with this new faux challenge.

Is it better than Vista? Well in one sense Vista was better because you knew instantly, you would never use it in a fit.

Windows 7 is sneakier in that it looks like it might be great. Certainly I think many of the reviewers who have praised it, must be very superficial users, never delving into the file structure for productivity purposes.

Is Windows 7 unusable? Not in the Vista sense, no, it can be used, but it is not friendly, with many conveniences either missing or hidden.

Of course if you get one of the versions that can be run in XP mode, it might be better, but that is not a long term solution.

If Google's expected forthcoming Operating System tries to imitate Windows 7, we are all lost.

Microsoft seems intent on making the end user adopt what it considers is the way we should want to work on our computers.

Ever since Widows 95 we have seen various features lost or replaced with less functional ones.

Indeed there were things I could do on Windows 3.11 that were not possible in Win 95, but at least there was sufficient means remaining to make it possible to adapt with some advantage in some areas.

Windows 7 gives you the same promise. It is lying in my opinion. Where the Aero transparency could not be applied to needed operating facilities, it seems like they were removed instead.

Windows 7: it shouldn't be this difficult. :stare:

Personally I think it is a corporate plot to make us all waste our lives on trying to find a way to use a computer. :mad::lol::wink:

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Windows 7

Yes, I will be first to condemn Windows 7 as time wasting software.

Worse still it is engineered to stop you from finding files. And yes I have switched all the Aero, UAC and DEP, off.

Oh I worked out how to add 'Search' to the Explorer context menu, but the results were still not displayed after 20 minutes, and this was for a file on the start menu. (I was testing).

The Libraries are useless and get in my way. The look and feel is anaemic, and I have to say, not being able to switch back to the Classic look is really unfair to older users who might not have enough years left to learn how to cope with this new faux challenge.

Is it better than Vista? Well in one sense Vista was better because you knew instantly, you would never use it in a fit.

Windows 7 is sneakier in that it looks like it might be great. Certainly I think many of the reviewers who have praised it, must be very superficial users, never delving into the file structure for productivity purposes.

Is Windows 7 unusable? Not in the Vista sense, no, it can be used, but it is not friendly, with many conveniences either missing or hidden.

Of course if you get one of the versions that can be run in XP mode, it might be better, but that is not a long term solution.

If Google's expected forthcoming Operating System tries to imitate Windows 7, we are all lost.

Microsoft seems intent on making the end user adopt what it considers is the way we should want to work on our computers.

Ever since Widows 95 we have seen various features lost or replaced with less functional ones.

Indeed there were things I could do on Windows 3.11 that were not possible in Win 95, but at least there was sufficient means remaining to make it possible to adapt with some advantage in some areas.

Windows 7 gives you the same promise. It is lying in my opinion. Where the Aero transparency could not be applied to needed operating facilities, it seems like they were removed instead.

Windows 7: it shouldn't be this difficult. :stare:

Personally I think it is a corporate plot to make us all waste our lives on trying to find a way to use a computer. :mad::lol::wink:

And that is why I said goodbye to m$m when XP ended. Linux is sooooo much better! :wub:

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Linux is sooooo much better!

Apart from the obvious advantages (it is robust, built to professional standards from the ground up, - and it's free) I have found Linux has several unexpected strengths. My wireless router at home has always been temperamental, or so I thought. It would drop its internet connection mid-evening about once a week. After I upgraded to Vista I found often that I had to reboot the router, sometimes several times, before the laptop would recognize the wireless network. Then my Vista-powered laptop decided it didn't have a wireless interface at all, and I gave up. I loaded Linux on it - and now I just power up the laptop and the internet is there. Every time, without fail. Can't remember the last time I've touched the router. That's how it should be. Both my laptops run Linux and I can do everything I want to using free standards-compliant software. Wonderful.

Visitors here who bring laptops running Vista still have to reboot the router until the laptop finds it. It isn't the router at fault - I've tried three different models from different manufacturers. I can't explain this, but Linux has cured it for me - I love Linux. :wink:

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My laptop runs Vista and I've never had any problems with it. I have several neighbors who run wireless networks, so the only problem I have is when too many of them are on. It tends to slow me down. I unplug my router and plug it back it back in and I've got my speed back and I'm set up with a secure network.

Just last week, I bought a new desktop with Windows 7 Home version. The one I replaced (XP) was about 3 years old and it was taking 2 to 3 minutes just to open a browser. I can't download the software for my cable modem so I'm using the ethernet connection, which I would have used for the wireless router anyway. The problem with this is, when I went to install the software for my Palm PDA, it couldn't do it completely because it couldn't connect to the internet.

That's not that much of big deal to me as I can still use the old system to download the information from the PDA and my infusion pump.

I installed another program that I use for editing and beta reading that wouldn't work with W7. There is a built in feature that allowed me to get the program to work by telling it what the last operating system was it was on. The program now works like it did before.

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Microsoft seems intent on making the end user adopt what it considers is the way we should want to work on our computers. Ever since Widows 95 we have seen various features lost or replaced with less functional ones.

Mac users have the same complaint all the time with Apple. We just figure out workarounds (with macros, scripts, or whatever) and fake it.

I'm not sure I understand your specific complaints, Des. Your main problem is in finding files? What happens if you type option-F ("windows button" + "F" for find)? My experience with my PCs so far is only with Vista, but I'm doing OK with that -- given that these aren't my main machines.

What are your other specific problems beyond search? If you can present them as bullet points, maybe we can find some solutions for you.

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Mac users have the same complaint all the time with Apple. We just figure out workarounds (with macros, scripts, or whatever) and fake it.

I'm not sure I understand your specific complaints, Des. Your main problem is in finding files? What happens if you type option-F ("windows button" + "F" for find)? My experience with my PCs so far is only with Vista, but I'm doing OK with that -- given that these aren't my main machines.

What are your other specific problems beyond search? If you can present them as bullet points, maybe we can find some solutions for you.

Thanks Pecman, I appreciate the help.

However the main problem is the frustration of M$ attitude to limiting the user to its new style of operation.

It is a little like buying a movie that was originally black and white, but is only available in a horrible colorized version on DVD.

Obviously, that is not the whole issue or entirely fair, but it is compounded because the ability to switch the color off has been removed or is so difficult to activate, as to be torturous.

Windows 7 has something called 'Libraries' in which we are supposed to keep our files except they are virtual folders which we tell to contain certain types of files. But they don't, they only link to files elsewhere and that elsewhere is frustratingly hidden in an Explorer file manager which is ugly, has limited access or functionally challenged. I think they are an attempt at categorization for easy access for an end user. Bah! Humbug! That's not the way I work. I really don't want my AwesomeDude documents linked in a Library that also links to my tax records, and if there is a way around that, I am not interested in the time consuming process of learning it, as I already have subdivided the real folders. It wouldn't be so bad if it was a straight one time exercise, but once you have worked out one thing, you then find you have to do something else in order to get what you can easily do without going through Library feature, if Explorer permitted you to find the folders. I have seen a way to deactivate the Libraries referred to, but I want to see if they are of any use to me before I do that. (See, I am not unreasonable.) :wink:

Their method may have some use for younger or new users who are starting out, but my 90 year old customer is never going to cope with it and my 60 year old Greek is tearing out his beard in despair. "Me no Understand."

However I have found an answer in a 3rd party file manager called 'Xplorer2.' If you remember the old Norton File Commander with its multiple panes and tree structure, then you have an idea of its value. But the Xplorer2 has many more features than Commander, including an instantaneous preview panel, full context menu is available along with many, many other features. It costs $29.95, (they also have a free lite version), but I consider that price worthwhile to allow me to use Windows 7 the way I want to. The search (Find) function can reveal all files on the drives and not just the ones it thinks I should have access to. Learning how to use this program is intuitive, friendly and rewarding, unlike Windows 7 Explorer.

Perhaps I am missing the point of M$ methodology, but they are certainly missing my point that some of us don't want to do things their way, which is why I don't like Mac OS. I am quite happy to have another door into the bedroom, but if I don't want to use it because my own door already suffices for my entourage, then I really shouldn't have to spend all day trying to work out that the new door is not only locked, but is self limiting because they made it too awkward to use.

There are other issues with limitations in Windows 7's approach to functionality and access to features in programs, but Xplorer2 certainly provides me with access to using Windows 7 the way I want to use it. That Windows 7, lacks any stylistic appeal after the boot screen, is also not attractive in my opinion. (Yes I'm a grumpy old man.) :lol:

I suppose I should add I have no affiliation with Xplorer2 other than as a user.

Thanks again for the offer of help Pecman, I really appreciate it. :stare:

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I'm running the 64 bit version of Windows 7 Professional on an older desktop dual-core AMD system that I had in high school and gave to my sister when I got my Intel quad-core system. It's running great, much faster than the 32 bit version of XP Pro which it replaced. It starts faster and shuts down faster. The printers were automatically detected on our network, an HP 2200 laser printer with the duplexer and second paper tray, and an HP Photosmart C7280 All-in-One with the duplexer (even the scanner works; I haven't tested the fax because I have no use for a fax). I love the libraries; they let me link in related files from however many folders where they're saved. Libraries don't contain files; they contain links to folders and files. Every program I've installed, both 32 bit and 64 bit, has worked with no problems.

I did an custom upgrade of 64 bit Win 7 because the PC had XP (it was 32 bit) and there's no real upgrade path for XP (32 or 64 bit) -- you get a new clean install of Windows 7. What I didn't know because all of the articles I'd read about converting an XP system to Win 7 implied that the old data would be lost and I'd need to back it up, then reinstall all software. I didn't care about the data (it was my sister's, left over from when she used this PC) so I didn't back it up. I didn't care about the programs (ditto). What I found after Win 7 was installed was a folder named Windows.Old. It contained all of the data folders and files and application programs that had previously been on the PC. I was able to access the data files (no, there wasn't anything embarrassing), and some of the programs actually ran just by clicking on their exe file, like Irfanview.

BTW, after booting from the DVD there were only a couple of questions to answer and the install completed without any hand-holding. It took less than 45 minutes from start to finish.

I'm going to upgrade my quad-core PC to the 64 bit version of Win 7 Ultimate. I don't have time to do it now (we have finals in 3 weeks) and my last semester as an undergraduate will be this spring, so I'm going to wait until this summer.

Colin :wink:

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Last night I upgraded from Vista to Windows 7, 64 bit. The installation was almost flawless. There were some questions about backing up my files at the beginning, but as I now use an online backup service (after having lost a hard drive and chip set last month), I by-passed those questions. After that was done, I sat back and let it work. 2 1/2 hours later, it was complete. The only thing that didn't come across was my start list of much used programs. It only took me a few minutes to add my fav programs back to it and delete those that Microsoft thought I would use.

So far, I'm happy with Windows 7.

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Perhaps I am missing the point of M$ methodology, but they are certainly missing my point that some of us don't want to do things their way, which is why I don't like Mac OS.

Well, I think that goes both ways. To some point, you have to change your approach to different computers and different kinds of software. I have no problem adapting to how Microsoft does things or how Apple does things. To me, it's a kind of "right brain/left brain" thing, where I can just change gears and keep on going. It's not that big a deal to me.

Where I get upset is when individual programs violate the OS rules and do things their own way, often in a completely unintuitive direction. Adobe is a huge offender in this regard (IMHO), with their own weird installers, pop-ups that nag you to update, and all kinds of other crap. I really hate what they do, because they're clearly going in a weird direction and away from every other piece of software that obeys the GUI rules.

If you ever want to see the big picture on this stuff, read Microsoft's own book on Human User Interface Guidelines (and Apple has one, too). They explain why file menus are as they are, how and why dialog boxes should pop up (and how to get out of them), and all the other stuff we take for granted. To me, that's like the dotted lines on a highway: a car is meant to ride on the correct side of the road and follow all the rules so you don't smash into other cars or people. If you ask me, companies like Adobe are driving all over the road and going backwards. Makes me nuts.

Glad to hear you found a workaround, BTW. I often find that if I run into an OS issue, chances are good that somebody else out there is annoyed by the same thing and has come up with some little third-party program designed to fix it. I have to admit: I like running Vista with the old Classic XP interface, and the "pretty" interface is kind of silly to me. And yet... I saw a demo of a new video editing system a few weeks ago, and kind of dozed through it, but it finally dawned on me halfway through the presentation that it was all on Windows 7. The shocker was: I thought it was Mac! So that's how close the operating systems are getting these days.

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Well, I think that goes both ways. To some point, you have to change your approach to different computers and different kinds of software. I have no problem adapting to how Microsoft does things or how Apple does things. To me, it's a kind of "right brain/left brain" thing, where I can just change gears and keep on going. It's not that big a deal to me.

Despite my left and right brains having mushed together inside the eternal dullness of my skull , I know exactly what you mean Pecman. My friends are always telling me off for accepting the Microsoft intended way of doing things. I admit that sometimes those intentions are however, hidden.

Where I get upset is when individual programs violate the OS rules and do things their own way, often in a completely unintuitive direction. Adobe is a huge offender in this regard (IMHO), with their own weird installers, pop-ups that nag you to update, and all kinds of other crap. I really hate what they do, because they're clearly going in a weird direction and away from every other piece of software that obeys the GUI rules.

Yes, again, that is one of my pet peeves as well. I think Creative is worse than Adobe for installation challenges.

If we look at the logical evolution of basic DOS type programs, then it is obvious the influence they had on the Microsoft book your refer to, below. I have often started training new computer users by showing them the basic Edit DOS program and then they can more easily understand what the file menu bar is all about in Windows. What doesn't help is that Microsoft have now hidden the menu bar in Explorer file manager. They have hidden many components and that amounts to a great deal of frustration for people who don't understand why M$ would seemingly break its own rules. For an example of really disobeying the rules, our old Video rental program scrolled the Suburbs listing only when you pressed the delete key.
:wink:

If you ever want to see the big picture on this stuff, read Microsoft's own book on Human User Interface Guidelines (and Apple has one, too). They explain why file menus are as they are, how and why dialog boxes should pop up (and how to get out of them), and all the other stuff we take for granted. To me, that's like the dotted lines on a highway: a car is meant to ride on the correct side of the road and follow all the rules so you don't smash into other cars or people. If you ask me, companies like Adobe are driving all over the road and going backwards. Makes me nuts.

Obviously I agree.

Glad to hear you found a workaround, BTW. I often find that if I run into an OS issue, chances are good that somebody else out there is annoyed by the same thing and has come up with some little third-party program designed to fix it. I have to admit: I like running Vista with the old Classic XP interface, and the "pretty" interface is kind of silly to me. And yet... I saw a demo of a new video editing system a few weeks ago, and kind of dozed through it, but it finally dawned on me halfway through the presentation that it was all on Windows 7. The shocker was: I thought it was Mac! So that's how close the operating systems are getting these days.

Yes well, Classic interface is not an option in Windows 7 and several hooks that some of my utilities use are broken.

I can work around that but it is annoying. I have turned off all the "pretty" features in Windows 7, I'm a minimalist when it comes to GUIs. At the moment I have a problem with my antivirus program being confused as to why I have changed my operating system. How it knows that I don't know. I installed Windows 7 on a new hard drive, clean install with not even a USB flash drive plugged in.

Anyway Avast have written back to me with a solution of installing it in 'Safe Mode'.

Creative sound card software was updated online and then proceeded to load and install new software for itself. When I okayed the software/driver install, lo and behold, even more files were downloaded for install. Then it told me that it had failed to install one of these additional progs. No sound. I rebooted the computer and the sound came back. -I have a bad feeling about this Cap'n. It may be sound, but not as we know it.-

I have a feeling that there is a degree of, if not artificial intelligence then at least, self examining processes running in the background of Windows 7. I have already seen some evidence of programs and utilities being readjusted away from my preferences and then back again to my settings. I'm sorry I can't be more specific, but I didn't take notes at the time. The Nvidia video software did however change displays and their settings a number of times until it was stable.

I wouldn't at all be surprised to hear a voice saying, "Dave, I still have the greatest enthusiasm for the mission."

The similarity between the Mac and Windows is obvious, but I will be damned if I will settle for being asked if I "want fries with that."

If I was younger and had more time I might investigate Linux, perhaps I will in the next level of my dotage.

Finally, ("Hooray," cheered the crowd,) I really think many people only use the OS as a means to launch their program of interest, some of us like to know what in tarnation is happening behind that launch, so we can best utilise our computer for our own idiosyncrasies. :lol::stare:

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Just to clarify what I said above, Avast advised me to use their dedicated uninstall program in safe mode and then reboot into Windows and install the program, without any customisation, from their preferred download site. This was strange because it only downloaded a small file which, when I ran it, then began a further download of the actual install program. Creative also seem to have activated this method, but only in part.

I guess I wish they would let us know what they are doing, so that we knew what to expect. But then the politicians have been doing the same thing for years, they never tell us what they are doing, either... :wink:

I have noticed Windows 7 is stabilizing with time. It is faster than XP. I guess I am becoming more comfortable with it, but I don't trust it, yet. I'll go see what else I can switch off. :lol: I'd rather break it before I do the activation thing.

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Continuing the saga of "Discover Your Windows 7 Hidden highlights" I have to inform you that Windows 7 comes without an email client. Microsoft have done away with Outlook Express, and replaced it with something called Windows Live mail, which we are expected to download and install (for free.)

I am suspicious of this as it seems to open up the possibility of the email not being private, and no, I don't know what I mean by that remark. :wav:

Any thoughts, anyone?

What is everyone using for email these days? Is Thunderbird an acceptable alternative?

In addition to the email, Windows also offers other free programs under the Windows live banner such as Movie maker.

I can't work out whether Microsoft is going broke or trying its hardest to go broke by alienating its customers,

Of course they could just be trying to take over the Net, or is that an unwarranted conspiracy theory?

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Des, you might consider Pegasus Mail as your email client. I've been using versions of it since I first got a computer and like it. I've also tried Thunderbird, Eudora, Outlook Express, and the email program in Star Office but I always go back to Pegasus.

Like any other program it takes a little bit of learning, but it can't be too hard because I figured out how to work it when I first started using a computer. I'll admit that I haven't updated to the latest version 4.51 and am still using the older 4.41, but none of the updated versions released before presented any problems when I did update.

Things I like about it. It is super easy to attach files of all types to your emails. For those of you who use British spelling, you have the option of using either British or American spell check. I also find it easy to change the sort in any of the files, ie sorted by sender, date, subject, etc. It is also easy to edit emails you are going to forward and also get down to the actual message to forward like when you get an email that has been added as an attachment a number of times, something I really hate. (Thank God I've finally convinced most of the people who forward me things to quit attaching the email to their email and instead just forward the message. I finally had to go to one lady's home and show her how to forward an email without attaching it to her email. Unfortunately I still haven't managed to get her to clean them up and still get lists of all the people it has been sent to for the last umpteen years. There are few things I dislike more than scrolling through three pages of forwarding lists before I get to the message.) Lastly, it is a free download, although I've read somewhere that the developer (David Harris) is now asking for donations.

On the negative side, the spell check could be better, but it is still pretty good. It won't compete with Microsoft Word, for example, but was easily equal to the version of Thunderbird I tried a few years back. And I don't think you can make fancy stationary with it like you can in say Microsoft Works, but then I could care less about that. If I feel I need fancy stationary I will write my message in Works and attach it. On the other hand, if you want cute little thingies all over your email, better look at a different program. Also, some emails won't open without going to attachments and clicking on the last one listed, but that isn't much of a problem. It also won't open Power Point presentations and I have to go to my Power Point viewer and open them that way. I don't know if any of the other mail programs will open Power Point presentations either but suspect that Microsoft Outlook might as long as you have the full Office Program.

Like all programs, some will like it and others will not. Since it costs nothing to try it, go ahead and give it a try for a couple of weeks and see what you think.

Take care

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Continuing the saga of "Discover Your Windows 7 Hidden highlights" I have to inform you that Windows 7 comes without an email client. Microsoft have done away with Outlook Express, and replaced it with something called Windows Live mail, which we are expected to download and install (for free.)

Des,

This "elimination" of Windows Mail is the result of agreements between Microsoft and the DOJ and the EU equivalent agency to remove freebies from Windows 7 and future versions to enable "competitive" products to compete. Of course, it doesn't prevent PC manufacturers from bundling whatever (dross) they want with their PCs. Whatever.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Yes well, Classic interface is not an option in Windows 7 and several hooks that some of my utilities use are broken.

Des,

If you don't like the Windows 7 Start Menu, you can download the freeware Classic Start Menu from OrdinarySoft.

Most utilities like anti-virus, spyware, firewalls, etc. are Windows-version specific. You'll have to download the Windows 7 version of each that is "broken" and they should work fine. Of course, that assumes that the publisher of a utility is offering an update.

Colin :icon_geek:

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Thanks Colin, you are a National treasure of help and information. :hug:

I didn't know about the DOJ and EU attempts tp frustrate my computer experience. :hehe:

But it isn't just that, Microsoft's free download of Windows Live Mail is not really a satisfactory alternative to Outlook Express, for me.

Thunderbird works fine for me as it is similar to my first email program back in 1995. I also want to investigate the other suggestions below.

I have a perfectly excellent one click (anywhere) instant menu which provides access to any folder-file or program, on my computer. It is called TrayMenu and was written by Kei Wei, a former MS software tech. I have seen reports that MS forced him to stop development or distribution of the program because it provides the end user with absolute access to all of the files. The program is still available from private sites, but of course has had no updates for many years. These type of programs were commonly available for Windows 3.11.

In Windows 7, the ability to call TrayMenu from a batch file or a keyboard macro or a shortcut is broken because Windows 7 no longer supports Shortcuts with an argument switch in the way needed for this program. Interestingly it will work if I run it in compatibility mode for say Windows 95, but then any program which I select on the menu won't run because compatibility modes passes Windows 95 mode onto the program, which then rejects the OS as not the one it wants to run under.

I have a partial answer and at least have TrayMenu working, but further experimentation is needed to enable ease of operation. (Beware, there is now another program called Traymenu and it has no relationship to the Wei program.) In any case TrayMenu is not an easy program to fully realise its many benefits.

The Windows 7 Explorer -"file manager", once you have found where its link is hidden, is decidedly unfriendly. It breaks Microsoft's own rules by making the File menu bar hidden until you work out how to switch it on. Even then, the Explorer interface is not to my liking, and in particular the search function, does not find all files; and yes I have switched hidden files, on. Fortunately Xplorer2 does provide all my needs and more, for a price.

In some ways I sympathise with MS and Mac in their attempts to minimise corruption of the OS by unknowledgeable end users, as I look after a 90 year old's computer and a couple of other non-technical 60 year olds. I often wonder that they manage to actually switch the computer on, let alone do any actual work on it.

However the answer lies in educating the end user, not removing features for which even the DOJ and EU have not objected

The problem as I see it is that end users who happily just use their OS to launch programs will find Windows 7 somewhat acceptable, they may even love it. Those of us who want the want the OS to do things our way (the correct way :icon_geek: ), will find they are increasingly frustrated, because they have to work around the hardwired features, which are of no value, for many users.

The Windows 7 Libraries which I frankly find annoying because they get in the way of my own file and folder organisation, are the subject of debate in many forums on the net and I expect that some answer to eradicate or minimise their presence is imminent.

As I have said before, it is not that I don't make the effort to accommodate change, but that the change must also accommodate people who have no time or inclination to do things differently. Anyone over about 60, really does not want to waste their remaining years learning a different way to do what they can already easily achieve.

I really must see if we can get a "tearing hair out" smiley/emoticon.

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I've been using Windows since the dark ages and generally have found the innovations workable if not well done. Windows 7 undoes some of the annoyances of Vista and adds some nice features -- some of which take some getting used to.

I guess I'm not sure how TrayMenu differs from the Start menu's Search Programs and Files feature. If I type in CMD.EXE there, for example, the program shows up on the list available. If I type in Best of Nifty and the Net, all the XLS and other instances show up. I can find any program or file using that feature -- and they show up almost instantaneously.

As for the new Document option, I don't see a lot of difference between it and the old Windows Explorer - kludgy as it is -- except you can identify any number of folders to appear when you say documents from anywhere on your computer.

The Homegroup feature in Windows 7 -- that links all your computers and printers (I have 3 computers in my house and office) -- installed flawlessly. And, 3 legal copies of Windows 7 for $50 each -- the Home Premium Family Pack -- was a good buy.

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TrayMenu was addictive for me. In Windows 3.11 I had a program called PC Tools for Windows. The current site with that name is no relation. Norton bought out the original PC Tools for Windows and apart from the Commander file manager, never did anything with it. They went over to Security and botched that too, in my opinion.

Another favourite in W 3.11 was a German (I think) program called New Menu For Windows.

This was a one click scrolling menu that showed everything on your computer with added bars for the weather, resources used, as well as other joys.

None of these (except for the Norton Commander and security) were transferred to the 32 bit software environment of Windows 95.

This is where TrayMenu came to the rescue. TrayMenu asks you to choose a folder which it will then regard as its Home Folder. You see this on the left column in the photo of my desktop. When you click on the Traymenu icon or if you have done as I have, assigned TrayMenu to the centre mouse button, the home folder will be displayed, no matter where you are or what program you are running.

Now here is the first trick, you can put whatever shortcuts you want into the home folder and Traymenu will display them. If it is a folder, the folder will expand when you place the mouse over it. For instance in the photo, you will see I have put a shortcut to My Computer in the Tray-home folder and it expands to show all my drives. In addition I have expanded the C drive to show the Nvidia folder and its sub folders are all expanded until I have reached setup.exe.

Now TrayMenu allows full access to the right click context menu which means I could open the folder in Explorer, preview the file if it was a media file (depends on size) or send the file to wherever, or run the file or any of the other thing you can do from the right click context menu. You can also set up an attributes file or add switches to the Home Tray items which will allow sorting according to your preference. This takes a bit of work in understanding how these switches work.

Needless to say my most common folders and files are shortcuts in the Home folder, but basically I have immediate and instant access to anywhere on the computer with full context menu manipulation. It doesn't matter where I am, in the middle of a Word document, or viewing a movie, all I have to do is click the centre mouse button and I can do what I want.

Is it stable, remembering that no work has been done on this program since the turn of the century? Well yes and no. Some of the automatic features for switching on, say control panel as a menu, no longer work, because MS changed its registry designation, but that is not a problem because you can drag a shortcut to Control panel (or anything else) into the home folder.

Look, basically it is not a program for newbies or those who get frustrated trying to scroll menus. For me, it is the most productive utility on my computer. Since Windows XP I have had to resort to a batch file which calls a TrayMenu shortcut when I use the centre mouse button which itself is linked to a hotkey on the keyboard. This has been necessary because the hotkey can no longer be called as it could in Win 98.

I have kept my eye out for any similar programs, but none of the ones I have found afford the same degree of flexibility as TrayMenu.

As I said in earlier post above, there is a program available called Traymenu on the Net but it is not this one.

traymenu-on-desktopa.jpg

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Des,

In Windows 7, if you create a Library called TypeMenu, you can add any folders, files, shortcuts to programs that will functionally replicate, I think, what I see as TypeMenu from your screen shot. You won't get the same display, but the functionality will be there.

Then simply type TypeMenu in the Search Programs and Files in your Start menu to access your files, folders and programs.

Since libraries are virtual, there are no changes to the underlying folders.

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Des,

In Windows 7, if you create a Library called TypeMenu, you can add any folders, files, shortcuts to programs that will functionally replicate, I think, what I see as TypeMenu from your screen shot. You won't get the same display, but the functionality will be there.

Then simply type TypeMenu in the Search Programs and Files in your Start menu to access your files, folders and programs.

Since libraries are virtual, there are no changes to the underlying folders.

Thanks vwl,

I am a lazy Aussie, and don't much like typing (except when I am writing for human consumption.) What you call TypeMenu is actually TrayMenu I think. I had to reduce the resolution to get the screenshot accepted. The screenshot I posted is from my Windows XP desktop and I merely wanted to convey the easy access that is instant without typing anything.

I do understand the virtual nature of Windows 7's Libraries, but it seems an awful long way around to get where TrayMenu takes me with one mouse click. I concede these things are highly personal, and I am quite accustomed to being regarded as a little eccentric in these matters. I also have my folder system arranged according to the various interests I have, and I want the actual files and folders separated from each other and not lumped together in My Documents. So if the Libraries were a way to categorise files elsewhere, then I would need to see that library listing as a menu from which I can choose what I want to open. This is in effect what TrayMenu does for me, but it does it according to my requirements of hierarchy and not Microsoft's, which I find cumbersome to put it mildly.

I just like being able to click the mouse once to gain access to anything and everything on my computer. I also object to Microsoft's treatment of the author of TrayMenu, even if they do have proprietary rights; they are also (in my opinion) exercising restrictive controls over the end user and the hooks they themselves provided.

Even though I have attempted to show why I find TrayMenu's direct access to all files and folders, so convenient in operation, perhaps it needs to be seen working, to be fully appreciated. In particular, I gave a brief history of older 16 bit programs so that the lineage of such programs was more obvious. It is MS who have restricted our access and the method of our access, for whatever purposes they believe are needed. Given some of the end users I have encountered in real life, I am not unsympathetic to Microsoft's desire to limit the effect of their stupidity on the OS.

The problem for me is that they seem intent on making the end user take the most tortuous, convoluted route possible to achieving anything. The circuitous nature of the Help system in Microsoft programs is legendary, though it is better than it used to be.

From Office 95 as near as I can remember it:

"How can we be of help to you today?"

"What is Access?"

"Access is a Microsoft Office program. Do you wish to look at the tutorial for Access?"

Click "yes."

"How can we be of help to you today?"

Frustrating isn't it?

I freely admit that TrayMenu suits my weird approach to the computer GUI and that I am one of a few people who seem to like this program. (TrayMenu can be used as the shell, by the way, but that is going too far, even for me.)

My discussion of TrayMenu here, was meant as information and as an illustration of how we seem to be manipulated by the Windows environment according to what Microsoft wants rather than what we as users find useful. As I have said elsewhere, with each new release of Windows, we seem to find that for every new feature, at least one and sometimes more, older feature/s have been removed or hidden.

Vista and Office 2007 are examples of regressive software that replace facility with fashion and to add insult to injury, they did it without logic or style. I have no problem with the stupid ribbon in office, but the choice to use it or the older classic interface should have been built in by Microsoft, rather than leaving it for third party providers to offer a solution, which by the way is now available, but I haven't investigated them, yet.

One of the attractions for Windows over Mac has always been the high degree of customisation beneath the hood of a Windows machine. As time goes by I see the Mac and Windows machines becoming more and more similar in their bland and restrictive practices. Fortunately 3rd party software does offer some relief for those of us who are a tad different. The danger of course is that we will miss the innovations if they ever occur.

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One of the attractions for Windows over Mac has always been the high degree of customisation beneath the hood of a Windows machine. As time goes by I see the Mac and Windows machines becoming more and more similar in their bland and restrictive practices.

I agree with the latter, but not with the former. You can customize the hell out of Mac OSX if you learn scripting and the Terminal mode, both of which will allow you to tinker "under the hood" of the graphical user interface.

But the reality for most people is, they just don't want to bother. It's enough that the computer gets the job done. For average people, it's about the software being used to get the job done, not the operating system that runs it.

To me, operating systems are trivial. It's like worrying about what kind of fuel I have in my car. As long as the car moves, it's not backfiring, the engine's running OK, and the price is right, I don't care if it's Shell or Chevron or any other kind of gas (petrol for non-Americans). I only worry about the car and where I'm going.

I do agree 100% that the latest version of OSX and Windows 7 are getting frighteningly close. I'm planning to switch a couple of my Windows machines over to Windows 7 by the end of the year, assuming I can do it cheap and all my peripherals will still work.

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