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

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10. Where are the file menus?

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How to turn on file menus for folder windows.
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(Click image to see larger view)


OK, this is smart. Take a primary interface structure in use for more than 20 years and already known to hundreds of millions of computer users worldwide, and hide it from them. This appears to be a Microsoft-wide strategy, since Office 2007 also does away with the classic File, Edit, View and other menus in favor of relocating many of the same functions to other places in the user interface. What, are they nuts? (For more on Office 2007, see Review and Visual Tour: Microsoft Office 2007 Beta 2.)

Apparently. Because while Vista doesn't entirely dispose of these menus, it does dump them from many single-purpose applets, all folder windows and in a ridiculous fashion in Internet Explorer 7+. While about 90% of the menu items from IE7's old main menu are now available somewhere on drop-down menus connected to icons mounted on the same bar that tabs must squeeze into. Moreover, the icon meanings aren't particularly obvious. The upshot is that Microsoft remade the classic main menu structure as text menus that drop down from icons. It's a file menu with icon markers. What's up with that? How is that improved design? It isn't. The excellent IE4 through IE6 toolbars are no longer as flexible, and are highly space-constrained in IE7+. The whole thing is a mess. The Address bar puts Refresh and Stop on one side of the URL field and Back and Forward on the other side, increasing mouse travel required to go between them. Why? Change for change's sake is what it seems. Form over function.

You can turn the main menus back on in Internet Explorer 7+ by clicking the gear-wheel icon, choosing the Toolbars submenu and clicking the Classic Menu submenu item. To turn file menus back on in folder windows, open the Folder Options Control Panel, click the View tab and click the first item, "Always show Classic Menus."

9. Windows Defender Beta 2 is buggy.

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The Windows Defender success page.
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I admire Windows Defender's real-time spyware/malware monitor because it gets the job done unobtrusively. But the Vista Beta 2 version of Defender, like the public Windows Defender Beta 2 release for Windows XP, is buggy. The Vista version's bugs are, however, in different places. Where the public Beta 2 of Defender for XP had significant installation issues and user interface controls that didn't work properly, the Vista version's woes center on scheduled scans. Even though Defender comes preconfigured for a daily 2 a.m. scan for spyware, the scan doesn't always run automatically; and when it fails, it fails silently. After three days, Defender gives you an error message that you haven't scanned your computer. A quick trip into the Defender settings area shows that, yes, it's scheduled to scan at 2 a.m., and that no, it hasn't run its scan. The problem has occurred on two of the four Vista installations I'm testing (I checked power management, and the machine was set to never sleep or hibernate on its own The machine was, in fact, left on.) Hopefully this will get figured out before Vista ships.

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