Visual Tour: 20 Things You Won't Like About Windows Vista

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13. Network settings user experience went backwards.

In Vista it takes seven clicks to open the Network Connection Properties dialog to display the network stack. In Windows XP, the same feat took four clicks. Making it harder to find things is never good user-interface design. Burying a dialog or control page because people can get themselves into trouble is also not good design. If you want to prevent someone from using something, make them authenticate and tell them this is an "advanced" feature that can get them into trouble. Moreover, if you want to prevent neophytes from accessing the network stack, make the network run well enough that they never have to.

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Managing Network Connections
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12. Too many Network Control Panel applets, wizards and dialogs.

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The Network File and Printer Sharing dialog
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There are now four separate Control Panel items -- Network Center, Network File and Printer Sharing, Network List and Network Map -- plus the Network desktop icon, which let you access other computers on the network. But that's not all. There's also "Connect to a network," "Set up a connection or network" (which offers five separate wizards), "Add a device to the network" and "Manage network connections" (giving you access to network icons and the network stack). While many of the new tools have merit individually, collectively they don't hang together, and the user has little sense of process or where to go next. Network Connections is the central point. But the routine is broken and the logic behind the changes isn't self-evident.


11. Display settings have changed for no apparently good reason.

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Personalization, the replacement for Desktop Properties.
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The Display Control Panel, which was conveniently accessed by right-clicking the desktop and choosing Properties in previous versions of Windows, is like the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. Pieces of it are here, there everywhere.

Previously, a neat tabbed dialog handled Themes, Desktop (including desktop icons), Screensaver, Appearance customizations and video card/monitor settings such as resolution and color depth. Apparently, that was too difficult for newbies to grasp. Vista offers the new "Personalization" Control Panel, which bewilderingly places some items on the left side as hyperlinks and others as major settings areas on the right with icons, larger headings and descriptive text. As if the tabbed dialog didn't have enough stuff, Personalization adds Sound Effects and Mouse Pointers. It sounds like it's a good organization, but the net effect is that there are more clicks and more clicking around to find the settings that were once clustered together -- where they belong. Of all the makeovers in Vista, this isn't the worst one. But it is the first one you'll likely notice and be less than thrilled about.

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