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Windows 7: The worst bits revealed

Features we really could do without

There's a lot to love about Microsoft's latest operating system, Windows 7. However, there's also some features that we're less enthusiastic about. Check out Windows 7's worst features.

The automatic switch

Thanks to another Aero Peek function, when you move your pointer over any of the small pop-ups, you suddenly find yourself in the new program - except that you aren't really there.

When you mouse over a pop-up, the corresponding application fills the screen, but when you move the pointer to go to the app the app disappears.

The purpose of this feature is to enable you to quickly navigate to another program like IE, refer to something in the browser, and then jump back to where you were.

But suppose that you're in Microsoft Word and you jump over to IE 8 to check out a news item on CNN.

As you read the article, you decide to click an accompanying video - but the moment you move your mouse, you're back in Microsoft Word.

That's not helpful; it's frustrating.

Windows 7 behaves similarly when you hover over 'All programs' in the Start Menu.

Hover too long over 'All programs' and Windows 7 will switch to your full programs list instead of remaining in the primary Start Menu.

Unfortunately, this little trick takes just under two seconds to pull off, which is too slow to be useful but just fast enough to be annoying.

Too many notifications

Windows 7 greatly improves on Vista by cutting down the number of system notification pop-ups that interrupt you during a Windows session - but there's still room to cut down on the excess.

For example, Windows 7 issues an 'Information' notice when you plug headphones or speakers into your computer's headphone jack.

You can't get a virus through a headphone jack, though, so why alert me to something so innocuous?

The most ridiculous alert I've encountered was an update telling me that Windows 7 was going to check for a system update at 3 am.

Do I need to know this? Just do the update; and if you need my authorisation to proceed, let me know when it's time.

My computer should work on my schedule, not interrupt me with details about its itinerary.

User Account Control

When it introduced UAC in Windows Vista, Microsoft hailed it as a significant step toward making Windows systems more secure.

But most users detested UAC - in particular, the way it blanked out the screen and then repeatedly asked whether they really wanted to install something.

Microsoft has made the UAC in Windows 7 dramatically better, with fewer screen blank outs (you can even turn them off) and alerts.

Still, there must be a better way than UAC to handle security issues.

NEXT PAGE: Windows Live – an essential hassle

  1. Features we really could do without
  2. The automatic switch
  3. Windows Live – an essential hassle
  4. Vague control panel
  5. Elusive 'My Documents' folder

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