Future Tense: Bottom Ten Windows Annoyances



+ Add a Comment


Thanks For Giving Me This informationwhich is important for me



Online TV Channels



So...some of your annoyances are things that I have never had (I've never had focus taken away, nor had MS Security Essentials turn itself off and require validation), and one is that you are a pathetic hipster who has thousands of songs that you have not listened to in over 5 years on your computer because you think it makes you better to not have enough musical taste to weed out the crap?


As for #11...well, if you would turn your computer off at night, which you should (No...your career is not so important that your computer needs to be on all the time.  You are a BLOGGER for crying out loud.  You don't even have a job that pays the bills!) you wouldn't get those either. They would install themselves at shutdown.  Again...never happened to me because I know how to use a computer intelligently.  And #7 and #10 are again just YOUR ignorance of computers.  At least you admit it with #7 saying you know you can turn it off but are just too stupid to know how.  And you can change the REcycle Bin to give details.



David Gerrold is a Hugo and Nebula award-winning author. He has written more than 50 books, including "The Man Who Folded Himself" and "When HARLIE Was One," as well as hundreds of short stories and articles. His autobiographical story "The Martian Child" was the basis of the 2007 movie starring John Cusack and Amanda Peet. He has also written for television, including episodes of Star Trek, Babylon 5, Twilight Zone, and Land Of The Lost. He is best known for creating tribbles, sleestaks, and Chtorrans. In his spare time, he redesigns his website, www.gerrold.com


David Gerrold

Wow.  Who pissed in your oatmeal?



#6 FTW.


Evil Claw

Don't forget the Windows Backup Error if you don't have 50gb freespace on the drive your backing up. Dumbest thing on the planet. I have a 128gb SSD and can't back the 72gb of data on it because there is less than 50gb of free space left on it. And yeah, I would be backing up to different/external drive.I have to use Norton Ghost or equivalent.



Please send this list and comments to Redmond before W8 RC goes gold!

+1 on #5 (esp. the dup. file finder)



Windows does have a lousy design.  In the UNIX world, we don't reboot for software updates; the only time you have to reboot is for kernel updates, and, even those now don't require reboots anymore (http://www.ksplice.com/).


Juan Rivera

Then again Windows usually recovers just fine when improperly shutdown while Linux just usually goes and stays down with some file system corruption.

Sadly no OS is perfect and lets just leave it at that.



1)  Windows Update causes Windows to "Forget" things...

Many times when Windows Update does its thing, something gets reset.  For instance, network priv's.

This wouldn't really annoy me if it weren't for the fact that NONE of my coworkers understand a basic client server relationship, and don't realize that... "no, you can't access  the file on the shared folder without priveledges", as well as "no, not the username and password for the PC you're on, the one you're trying to access."

For years I've been having to correct this problem myself because try as I might, I just can't get my coworkers to understand how this is done.

2)  Here's an odd networking config quirk...

When setting up a static-IP connection in Windows 7, there's this button that says "validate settings" or similar.  If you press it from within the Static-IP config dialog, it will detect that you're using a static connection, and reset it to dynamic to "fix" the problem!  And yes, I entered the config properly,  exact same settings reentered without validating works fine.

3)  "Admin" or "All Users" versions of dialogs often reload the entire dialog, or even create a duplicate of the original dialog floating on top of the existing one.  WTF?

4)  Priveledges are still a joke...

"You Don't have permission to access foo bar's files, what would you like to do?"
*Click Continue*

"Here you go!"

I can only imagine if the rest of the world worked this way.
"You don't have permission to access foo bar's bank account"

*Click Continue*

"Here you go!"

Dan O. 




maybe im unique but most of these problems i have never experience with windows 7. The only ones ive noticed at Number 3 definetly, rarely 4, and thats about it, a pop up has never bothered my or made me lose the focus, i dont use security essentials so i cant attest to that.  when i double click a drive it just drills right in and ive never shut the system down unless i wanted it to shut down.


Brian Dowding

I starting reading this with every intenet of adding some of my own - then I got to 6.  That one is the worst.

My second worst, is how Windows Explorer handles selecting text of a filename.

To Clarify, I will often use bulk file renamers like MP3Tag, Renamer, Lupas Renamer - depends on what I need to get done.  Some of these are better at different things.  In any case, I will often need to replace PART of a filename with something else.  If I am going to REPLACE "X" WITH "Y", I got to get the text copied from the filename for the "X" field before I enter my value in teh "Y" field.

Trying to select PART of a filename in Windows 7 is annoying!  The manner in which it is annoying is not even consistant.  Often, you have the text you want selected, but before you can hit CTRL+C, suddenly the ENTIRE filename has selected itself.  Sometimes you can select what you want, and wait - to see that the file doesn't select all of itself on you...  and just as you hit CTRL+C it does it again - as if to taunt you.

Windows XP never did this.  I can not even find an article on Windows bugs and annoyances that addresses this.

Somehow it is even worse that sometimes it works as it should and doesn't do this...

It has to be fixed so that it does what it is told - consistantly.  It is so annoying.



1)  I like to use autohide because I like the extra desktop space, and when it works, it works well; but when it doesn't, I have to use the windows key to get to the taskbar and eventually use the task manager to kill and restart Explorer. No matter what version of windows I use, eventually, the autohide taskbar stops working until I intervene or restart the OS.

2) No "keep window on top of other windows" option for the calculator. I hate to keep toggling between the calculator and a document I'm working on, or when I'm doing online banking; before I would be forced to resized my windows to accommodate the calculator. In fact, all windows should have the menu option to remain on top. I solved this problem using a very useful and free utility called Deskpins.

 As far as the problem of having files that are impossible to delete or move on occasion because some other program is supposedly using it, I use a program called Unlocker to unlock these troublesome files.

3) Multiple file transfers are a real pain in windows. While doing backups or transferring files, one typically has to wait for the current job to finish before setting up more files for backup/transfer; otherwise windows tries to do the tasks simultaneously. This slows mechanical drives to a crawl and seems to exponentially increases the time to completion with each discrete transfer added. So typically, I would have to plan pretty carefully regarding backing up files and folders. I got around this annoyance using another excellent free program called Teracopy. It seems to transfer files faster than windows does, gives better estimates for transfer durations, and queues up transfer requests rather than execute them simultaneously. Supposedly, Windows 8 will add this kind of functionality.

4) Renaming multiple files. For me when I take a bunch of videos or pictures while on vacation etc. I like to just  give all the files the same initial name, such as Summer 2011 and then add a descriptor for each file later. But doing so with Windows is quite a pain, since there is no batch function for doing this. Maybe I could do it in a DOS shell, but that's a pain too navigating all the subfolders in DOS mode.  I found a great program for solving this issue called Bulk Rename Utility. It is very powerful, versatile and intuitive.

 5)  Shared/network files that are deleted do not go to the recycle bin, but are "gone." I've accidentally deleted a folder on a network drive while trying to move it and suffering from lag. The files simply vanished and I was unable to recover them with 3rd party undelete software. The fact that shared/network files deleted remotely do not go to the recycle bin is a major disaster waiting to happen. I guess most people do not make a bigger stink about this Windows oversight since (I assume) most people do not give full writing privileges over the network (i.e. give read only privileges). But I find it harder to manage my home network in the read only mode; however, I do not want a repeat of deleting crucial files either.

As always, great article David


Fecal Face

#6 Drives me insane, especially if I'm typing something.



Under the Network and Sharing Center, if you set a new connection to automatically be a public network it is incredibly confusing as to find the setting to change the network to a Home network or to even change your auto setting to ask you upon the next connection to a network.

This option should be better labeled and have a link directly to it.



I had totally forgotten about the missing red-X Delete button in Windows explorer - that was one of my number 1 pet peeves of upgrading to Win 7!  And I hate the fact that the calculator can't figure out the order of operations unless you switch it to Scientific.  3+3*3 should equal 12, not 18, regardless of what mode the calculator is in.  PEMDAS, MS!  One last thing, I use a TV tuner card and love the Media Center interface and the remote that came with the card, however after a couple days of up time it requires two button presses of the remote for one execution of the button that is being pressed.  So cycling through shows takes twice as long, and hitting the >| button to flip past commercials requires lots more button pressing.  Restarting the computer (not just the program) solves the problem, so I blame MS. 

Otherwise, though, I'm a Windows fan even having experience with the other "big two" operating systems.  There are things they do well, and things they suck at too.  Windows is just what I know and like best.



Directory Opus (which admittedly isn't cheap) is a great Explorer replacement, has a dupe file finder, and gives you the ability to look at two folders at once in the same folder. I can't imagine Windows without it.



In response to #3, you should be using Winamp.  With over 100K songs in my DB it's still zippy fast with no slowdowns.  For videos you should use something else.  Databases don't make sense for videos anyway, so stick to a proper media player like VLC or MPC, both of which are far superior to WMP.

In response to your problems with IE:  Don't use IE.  Don't use Bing.  Switch to Firefox and Google.  With firefox 7 here, all the remaining issues with firefox are fixed.  There's no longer a reason not to use FF.  Chrome is nice, but it's a secondary browser.



I have experienced a few of these, but I am perplexed at others. That Normal.dot file also affects outlook if you use word as your e-mail editor. I had a user that kept sending e-mails with red text no matter how she formatted the e-mail, it was due to normal.dot having red text as default.

I don't have the problem with MSE or the double click double folder opening. I also don't have many of the focus stealing popups, but they are annoying when they do occur. Decent list for those little things that bug us, but aren't deal breakers.



I love window 7, but my only two complaints are these:

1) Ever since vista, Microsoft has never addressed the issue of windows forgetting window view/sort settings (particularly if you set it to sort by date modified). Seems to happens randomly once every so often, and when it does, you have to add date modified back into the right click context menu, and then right click again to set it to that. 

2) Win7 will sometimes forget jump lists. Particularly the right click on windows explorer. Can be fixed by deleting a file, but still mildly annoying



What annoys the crap out of me is that IE9 allows you to block a plugin (like flash) from running on any sites unless you have whitelisted that site. I do not want Flash running on all sites (like Facebook) so I do not allow it. But IE9 asks every freaking time: "This website want to run the following..."  For the 50,000th time, NO! I see no way to selectively blacklist.


Also the backspace key is a poor choice for a "back" shortcut. Too many times have I been typing something, changed focus for a moment, just to come back and press backspace and lose my comment.



"Chrome is a memory hog and a cycle hog. If you open too many tabs in Chrome, the system slows down"



How dare thou defile thy godly Chrome that thine hipsters use! IT'S TEH BEST AND 100 TIMES BETTER THAN FIREFOX!



More seriously I do hate that every tuesday morning I wake up to my login screen. I really wish there was a way to stop it from rebooting UNTIL I SAY SO.....or at least save my documents and webpages first jeez.....




To fix the problem with automatic updates restarting your computer: Go to the start menu and type: gpedit.msc

This opens the Local Group Policy Editor. Open the folder "Local Computer\Computer Configuration\Administrative Templates\Windows Components\Windows Update".

Then on the right side, double click the following items to modify them as follows:

  • "Configure Automatic Updates": change to Enabled, and select "3 - Auto download and notify for install" in the first dropdown, and something like Saturday 3AM for the other dropdowns. This will keep updates from installing automatically but you'll get an icon in your notification bar that will tell you about them anyway.
  • "No Auto-restart with logged on users for scheduled automatic updates": change to Enabled
  • "Re-prompt for restart with scheduled installations": change to Enabled and set to 1440 minutes (the maximum). This keeps Windows Update from nagging you about restarting for 24 hours at a time.

You may also want to look at the other settings to override Windows Update behavior to your likings.




MaxPC covered that in an issue a few years ago. Dunno if it will work on Win7, but worked great in XP. Go Regedit->HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Policies\Microsoft\Windows\WindowsUpdate\AU. Create a DWORD named NoAutoRebootWithLoggedOnUsers and give it a value of 1. This will prevent automatic reboot.

I haven't tried the one to disable the restart nag, but instructions are at http://lifehacker.com/289998/disable-windows-update-restart-nag



Windows Media Center The interface sucks the choices scroll by so fast that I am always over shooting the choice I want. Thay could have just listed all the choices on one page and let me pick the one I want. What a bunch of bullshit eye candy



I really liked MCE2K5's interface, and love Win7's media center UI. Of course, I primarily use the remote, so it's not really possible to overshoot anything. But using the mouse scroll wheel in channel Guide is annoying, this is where the remote is much better.




Browse with noscript and flashblock plugins (I use firefox - can't say for other browsers). They're wonderful. Especially for a laptop. I like not having a web page saturate an entire CPU core for several seconds sometimes initializing all of the goddamn javascript and flash ads and god-knows-what-else. Flashblock will also keep videos from playing when the page loads. (if you want it to)

A lot of times you'll run into a page that requires javascript to display (or god forbid, is entirely flash). In those cases you can easily whitelist the domain either temporarily or permanently via a toolbar icon.

I highly recommend it. :)



Yes, I have fallen victim to a reboot from the scene-stealing pop-up "offering" a reboot. The Media Center in Win7 also has performance issues with large music libraries on a network. It takes quite a long time before your catalog is available every time you start it. XBMC has no issue. This happens on fresh reloads as well.



It's pretty bad when Windows Media Center actually works better under Vista Ultimate 64 than under Win 7.  I'm almost tempted to go back but Adobe CS4 and Vista don't get along (won't install properly and crashes Windows when right clicking on anything).

I'm actually using iTunes for music right now, even though I used to consider it horrible bloatware.  Still looking into other music/media players like XBMC, or might go back to WinAmp.



Howabout an annoyance I find on clients machines and it doesn't really matter which version of Windows it is... software that installs itself or piggybacks because the user didn't use the "custom" option when installing. Windows should be "application aware", at least aware enough to know that if the user clicks on ONE setup.exe that it should only install ONE program and not also a toolbar, a fake antispyware etc...




Now THAT is my number one pet peeve at this time: running into crap like Yahoo Toolbar or Ask Jeeves Toolbar on people's machines because they were told to install a Java update or whatever, and didn't see that it included the drive-by install.

Someone could probably make a lot of money by inventing an application that would keep these critters from installing.




Too bad the OS can't tell what an exe does.

Because it's an exe.

That's why package managers like debian for linux are great.



The Windows stealing focus. I don't have that issue. Anytime an app wants attention I get a notification in the Windows 7 task bar. I don't think it's a Windows issue. I think it's an App issue.



Actually, YOU are incorrect or dont use Windows. Applications have the distinct tendency of STEALING FOCUS and pop up way too many times and I have shut down or done other things I didnt want my PC or users PC's to do (I'm a tech) more then I can remember. It's extremely annoying. AND I still dont understand why Windows will not show folder size w/o going to properties. Also having to restore a file from recycle bin just to see it? For God's sake, M$ should have addresses these issues back in 98 or so thereabouts.  But now were getting TILES in Win 8? just no words..






I've never had that problem. But my normal settings are Tools -> Folder Options -> check the box "Automatically expand to current folder" then under the "View" tab, check "Always show menus". I also don't have any single click option enabled for Windows. That could make a difference, but I never use it so can't be sure.


I just tried a couple different settings and couldn't get Windows Explorer to respond the way yours is. You might want to try resetting Win Explorer to default and start over by applying your own settings.



You can add more items via the "View -> Choose details" menu option, or right-clicking on the column headers in the right pane and clicking "more". There are a few additional Folder options there, but still may not be what you're looking for.


#6 Most annoying annoyance.

Agreed. Most. Annoying. Feature. Ever.


#7 If you're running MS Word, try deleting the normal.dot, just in case something has infected it. I know you've done scans, but with MS, you never know, lol. A Google search quickly returned items of normal.dot disabling. I don't know that Windows Wordpad would have a normal.dot, though, so can't say for that. Probably my own biggest beef, other than focus stealing, is permissions on USB HDD's and Win7. Sometimes I have to completely change ownership of files on external HDD's to be able to access folders that wouldn't be a problem on XP.




I am guessing you told the windows explorer shortcut in the task bar to open in my computer.  If you use a bad target address from a website like I did my first time the drives will open in two windows.  If you use the following link which is almost identical to the bad one it will work properly:  %SystemRoot%\explorer.exe /E,::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}



Yeah, I can't replicate annoyance #2 either. Windows 7 Professional 64-bit.

Folder Options:
General Tab:

  • Open each file in the same window
  • Double-click to open an item




Windows stealing focus is my # 1 beef with windows. I do love how it perfectly times itself and takes focus as soon as I enter the return key.

I also hate when a file/folder is in use and there is no way to find out what has it locked. I give up and restart.



That last one is probably my biggest problem with Windows. I absoultely will not pull a USB stick or external storage device out without properly ejecting it. Windows really pisses me off in that it constantly tells me something is using it but can't be intelligent enough to tell me what. Reset. Nearly every time.

Another annoyance (for me) is the fact that I'm technically robbed of storage space on said devices when OS X, Fedora, or Ubuntu just show and let me use 8 Gb on an 8 Gb thumb drive. That really adds up on 1 Tb external drives. Burns my ass bigtime.

That said, what Windows does well it does well. That's why I continue to use it along with other OSes.



agreed on everything. What's locked it? Like why I cant remove the usb thumb drive because "its in use". um, I copied that file an hr ago.. wtf.. let it go.. or tell me how

Log in to MaximumPC directly or log in using Facebook

Forgot your username or password?
Click here for help.

Login with Facebook
Log in using Facebook to share comments and articles easily with your Facebook feed.