Sometimes, I come across a tech article so ridiculous that it’s just begging people to scratch their heads and say “Is that guy/gal writing it for real?” I recently came across a PCWorld article written by Ian Paul titled “Windows 7′s Worst Features” and after reading it, it left me in a totally disgusted state. First of all, to have a company as big as PCWorld to have actually approved and published the article is beyond my knowledge. Secondly, I really wonder if the author is even technically qualified to write an article about Windows 7 because it seems as if he just spent a few hours tinkering around Windows 7 and had to randomly find anything negative he had encountered without giving any thinking into it whatsoever. This article definitely doesn’t spell the end of journalism but I just hate when big magazine publishers publish awful articles like these. Was it due to a slow news day with nothing major to report on? Did they need to publish a flame bait article to draw attention to their site thus giving them more hits and thus more revenue? Was the author somehow forced into writing the article? It’s beyond my knowledge but it certainly disgusts me to no end.
Alright, so let’s begin.
Below is the link to the article I am referring to. To keep things simple, I’ll just go over each “negative” feature the author points out and add my own thoughts and counter-points to it.Windows 7′s Worst Features
When Clicking Isn’t Switching
The complaint here is with the Aero-Peek feature. The author complains that with multiple tabs opened in Internet Explorer, clicking on the IE taskbar icon doesn’t automatically switch over to the actual application. Instead, it gives you a preview of the tabs opened in IE. To actually switch to the IE application, you need to first click on the IE taskbar icon, hover your mouse over a tab of your choosing, and then finally clicking on it. This would take you two clicks of the mouse button. Well, here is the thing. If a single click actually opened the IE application like how it did in previous OS versions, wouldn’t you still have to find the tab you want to work with and then click on it to switch over? This process still takes two clicks of the mouse button. Also, if you are really frustrated with this feature, one can simply turn it off by heading in the taskbar Properties menu and configuring the Taskbar Buttons drop-down menu to Never Combine. Now you can have your single click back. Case solved.
The Automatic Switch
This is another complaint against the Aero-Peek feature. When you hover your mouse over those mini-tabbed pop-ups as mentioned above, Windows 7 will give you a “preview” of it. By that, I mean that it will blank out whatever application you have focus on and will “show” you the application you have moused over. When you move your mouse away, the preview is gone and you are once again focused on the original application you had focus on. This is exactly what the author is complaining about. He states that if he is reading an article in the preview mode and decides to click on a video link (which forces you to move the mouse away from the mini-tabs) to watch it, it disappears. Well Ian, it’s called a “preview” for a reason! I honestly can’t see how he labels this as a negative feature. If the preview application actually stayed on screen even if you moved the mouse away, then you would have instead “switched” to that application instead, not previewing it. That would be more frustrating in my opinion. The Aero-Peek feature lets you quickly (keyword) view other applications you have open without having to switch back and forth between them.
Too Many Notifications
This is one of the most absurd negative point I’ve read in an article about Windows 7. The author even points out that Windows 7 improves on the notification messages it spews out from previous OS versions but that it can still be “excessive”. I don’t know what version of Windows 7 he’s using but I hardly encounter any notification messages in the system tray area. I install many programs and even then, the notification messages is virtually non-existent. I have never in my entire experience with Windows 7 saw a notification pop-up when I plug in my headphones. Once again, if you don’t like notification pop-ups, then hide them in the Notification Area Icons control panel applet!
User Account Control
This is a heavily debated security topic. In many people’s opinion, they regard this feature in a negative way. The point is, UAC helps secure your computer in a way previous Window operating systems could never do. Sure, the feature was very frustrating when first introduced in Windows Vista but it has made dramatic changes in Windows 7, and in mostly a positive way. The author complains about the Secure Desktop mode in UAC and so I’m inclined to believe that he, as well as many others, don’t really understand how the technology works and so they view it in a negative way. The author wants a better way for Microsoft to implement UAC but what he doesn’t understand is that the computer cannot, I repeat, cannot make all the decisions for the end-user. If UAC was truly “automatic” and doesn’t require any user intervention at all, you would technically have to trust Microsoft to tell you which application is safe to run or which one’s are bad. If UAC automatically blocked ABCD.exe from running and you know that it is not a harmful program, whose to blame? Could you blame Microsoft? In the end, the end-user must make decisions. End of story.
Windows Live Essential Hassle
This actually seems like a valid complaint. The only way to hide/show gadgets is through the right-click menu. Yes, I agree with the author that this can be a hassle. I couldn’t find an article showing how to create a shortcut key for this function so if anyone does, please do share.
This is the one that troubles me the most. How on earth a journalist writing negative Windows 7 features and doesn’t even know how to change his/her wallpaper is quite baffling. The author complains about how confusing Windows 7 Themes can be when all he wants to do is simply change his wallpaper to a different picture. It seems as if he believes the only way to do so is through the Personalization applet (which is where you work with Windows 7 Themes). All you need to do to change your desktop wallpaper is, well, browse to your picture location, right click the picture and then select Set As Desktop Background! How simple was that? No themes to mess with. In fact, themes aren’t complicated at all to begin with. It’s not particularly rocket science.
Vague Control Panel
I can relate to what the author feels about this issue, sort of. His main gripe is that the Windows 7 control panel applet’s are vague in their description, harder to navigate and the change of applet name. I understand that sometimes changing something just for the sake of “change” can be frustrating. However, we have to understand that with a new operating system release, there will be more options and settings that can be configured. In my honest opinion, if I needed to configure a setting, I would not at first venture into the control panel and browse for the correct link. I would instead “search” for it first using Windows Search. A lot of times that is all it takes to steer you in the right direction. As for the name change, some do make sense. For example, he singles out the Add/Remove applet being renamed to Programs and Features. In this case, it does make sense for the name change because in that applet, you can install/uninstall your “programs” while also being able to turn on/off Windows “features”. The Accessibility applet name change to Ease of Access Center mentioned in the article does however, puzzle me. In the end, this issue isn’t really that big of a deal in my opinion to warrant it in a “worst Windows 7 feature” type article.
Screenshots: Easy But Not Simple
The Snipping Tool was not introduced in Windows 7 as stated in the article because the feature was in Vista as well. He complains that the screen capturing utility was a hassle to use and goes on to compare the process to a Mac operating system. I agree here that in Windows 7, it does take a few more steps to save a screen capture. The process is not difficult as what the author would indicate but it’s rather just a bit more hassle.
Elusive My Documents Folder
Once again, for a professional magazine journalist to point out a negative Windows 7 feature without actually understanding how it works is just plain absurd. I understand that the whole Library feature with Windows 7 can be a bit intimidating at first but if anyone spent at least 4-5 minutes reading about it, they would understand that a Windows 7 Library is NOT actually a real folder like what the author would lead you to believe. It’s a virtual folder and is there to help you better organize your files and folder should you have them spread all over the hard drive. Rather than dumping everything into one single location, you can now have them be stored anywhere you wish. By adding a link of that folder location to a Library, you’ll have a single place to view all files and folder within that one Library view. Here are a few articles that do a good job of explaining how the Library feature works in Windows 7:
The Exclusivity of Homegroups
Honestly, I don’t really use the Homegroup feature much to say anything about it but judging from what the author is writing, he believes that this is a negative Windows 7 feature just because it is only available in Windows 7 and not Vista or Mac! Homegroups easily allow Windows 7 computers to join up and easily share files between them. Yes, I do agree that it would make it much more cooler if Vista computers could join Homegroups as well but in no way should someone shine the negative light on it just because it doesn’t. He doesn’t write anything negative about the Homegroup feature at all like trouble getting it set up, difficult joining process, files not sharing correctly, etc.
In the End…
I’m not a hardcore Windows 7 defender but many points in this PCWorld article is just plain idiotic. There are some few things I can agree with but for the most part, the article seems to be written by a PC amateur journalist. I’m sure this is not the worst negative features list article out there but I’m willing to bet it’s pretty high up there. As a tech personnel, I know that nothing can be perfect, no matter how hard a company tries. In this case, I certainly wish that Windows 7 was indeed “perfect” so that I don’t have to ever read pathetic articles like these again.