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Windows 7 Quirks

By:Christine Fettinger

Last week I setup a second partition on my laptop and installed the newly released Windows 7 RC. I had used the previous beta a few times already, and had been following the news on Windows 7 pretty closely as well. At least for me, the positive hype is spot on. I’m really digging it. I think there are numerous resources out there already covering all the great features and changes they’ve made, so instead I wanted to write about some of the oddities I’ve noticed.

First, in Windows Explorer now when you use the details view, the columns have been reversed. Now after the name of the file comes Date Modified, then Type, then Size. It used to be Size, Type, then Date Modified. Not a biggest of annoyances, but it would be nice to permanently reorder them if we prefered the old look. Right now you can drag the columns to reorder them, but the setting doesn’t save.

Another quirk is an inconsistently with their new Jump List feature. Right clicking on a taskbar button pops open a mini window with commonly used tasks or recently opened files. You can even pin your favorites to the Jump List. It’s a very handy feature that I find myself using a lot. Now when you right click an icon in the System Tray, you don’t get a Jump List. Instead you have to left click to get the Jump List. And to be more confusing, if you want to get a Jump List for an item in the Start Menu, you don’t click at all. You just hover the mouse over it and wait.

The third thing I wanted to mention was that I find the difference between an Active and Inactive window in the built-in themes to be a little too subtle. I wish it was a bolder difference. Most users want to be able to instantly see what window they are in when glancing at the screen. Sometimes I find myself typing in the wrong window after coming back to the keyboard.

Overall, these are relatively minor issues in the big picture. Windows 7 is proving to be well worth it. Almost everything I disliked in Vista has been addressed in one way or another. Poor performance, application and driver compatibility issues, incessant notifications, etc. I would love to see some tweaks to some of the quirks in the final release. If not, I’m sure I can adjust over time.