Is slow, very slow... in fact so slow that you might be forgiven thinking that XP's explorer has gone off into an infinite loop. Fortunately there is a fix for this. I ran a test on my folder of code, searching for "*.cpp *.h".
- Before: 4 min + (explorer hung... gave up trying)
- After: <1 sec
- It's dog slow.
- It is switched on by default
- There is no easy to access option to switch it off.
- Select "Run" from the Start Menu.
- Type "regsvr32 /u %windir%\system32\zipfldr.dll" at the prompt, and "ok".
- Window Depth
Tooltips and menus regularly get pushed to the back instead of being "on top". For instance sometimes when I move my mouse of the tray icons to see the tooltip for that application, and initially the tooptip comes up above everything, but then almost straight away the start bar muscles it's way ontop of the tooptip. Similar things happen with menus near the start bar.
- The Grey Toolbar of Death
Every now and again a toolbar window decides to cover the entire desktop. It's completely blank of detail, and you have to re-start windows to get rid of it.
- Start Bar Icon Reordering
Intermittantly the icons in the start bar just to the right of the start button decided to reorder themselves, and magically appear and disappear temporarily. Which is pretty annoying because I get used to the order and it's slows me down when I have to search along the list of icons to find the one I want. I put frequently used icons at the start... but they don't stay there, they wander.
- Explorer Windows aren't Multi-Threaded
One explorer window can hang most of the UI if it's looking for a network resource that isn't there... this often goes on for a minute or more until the timeout on the network resource gets hit and your back again.
- No More Pre-Emptive Multitasking For You
Remember the bad 'ol days of Windows 3.1 where you basically ran one application at a time? Well they're back! With windows XP you have a "cutting edge" OS that can be brought to it's knees by a single application that hangs, causing the whole system to lock up. "No way!" you say? Sure Ctrl-Alt-Del gets you to the Windows Security dialog, but click as you might on that "Task Manager" button you get dumped back to the desktop and... wait for it. No task manager, so you can't kill the offending app. So you try clicking on something, anything... nope. Nothing responds. Surely this is just a one off bug? Well no, actually this happens to me about once a week.
- Re-painting Windows is Hard Work
Reasonably often when uncovering a window in XP I find that only part of the window is redrawn. Happens to lots of apps over time.. and always resolves itself when something else passes over the window. But it's a bug to add to the growing list.
- Help! I've fallen and I can't get up!
Yeah, windows has it hard when it tries to shutdown. Such and simple inane task as quiting all applications and then stopping is too hard for the latest and greatest windows. Too bad linux and mac os x can do it fine. Sometimes when XP has failed to log out or shutdown you can get the message "The application failed to initialize because the window station is shutting down" when you try and start some application (e.g. Task Manager) to diagnose the issue. I've had some success getting out of this state by ssh'ing in from a remote machine and killing off tasks using PsTools but I havn't found out which process is blocking the shutdown. You may as well hard power cycle the machine, as there is currently no way out of this state from the local machine.
- Sorry Dave I can't let you open that file.
Once upon a time, when you double clicked a file the application that was associated with that file's extension would be opened to view/edit the file. Well not anymore, try as you might Windows XP will stubornly use IT'S choice of program, not yours. So you try going into the folder settings, and change the association, and a) it doesn't remember your setting and b) it's still doesn't work. There is an arcane, difficult and obscure way of using regedit to hack XP into submission, but it's so arcane and obscure that I can't remember it. It's pretty horrid really. (This applies to common types, like graphics files for the most part) And don't think that "Open With" is going to save you. It's clever idea is to give you a "Browse" button that you can manually associate file types with a given EXE. Heres a run down of what happens:
- User selects "Open with -> Choose Program..."
- User clicks "Browse"
- User selects an EXE file in the file system, and clicks Ok
- User notices that the currently selected "Recommended program" is NOT the program they just chose, but plows on regardless.
- The wrong program tries to open the file.
- User stares blankly at the screen, not quite believing what they're seeing for a moment, then the simmering anger sets in as they try and try again... fighting the horrible UI and flailing uselessly against the horrible XP.
- Screen Refresh
When XP detects there isn't a screen attached to the video card it decides that the settings in the display properties weren't REALLY what you wanted and decides to pick a "more optimal" screen refresh. Which also happens to be one your LCD monitor doesn't support. So that when you plug your monitor back in or switch your KVM back the screen says "Input Out Of Range". Beautiful, just beautiful! If this happens to you, check out Res, a command line utility for changing the resolution and refresh. This is useful for putting in your startup folder to force window's to set the right screen mode for your monitor.
My ratings for the windows OS's (out of 10):
Now I use Windows 2000 a lot, and I use Windows XP a lot. And on the whole Windows 2000 is a much better OS. So many things that were working fine in 2K are now broken in XP. This list is just the tip of the ice-berg. Why bother releasing an OS that is worse than your last effort? Money... I would imagine. Lots of lots of people thinking that by upgrading they are getting a better computing platform.. HA! ha ha ha... hahahahaha.... *sigh*.