Archive for February, 2008

Bad Vista UI! Bad!

Monday, February 11th, 2008

We all get to a point where our open window account in Explorer skyrockets. I use the ‘Run’ dialog to get to a lot of places, which opens each directory in a new window. So I often find myself with all my Explorer windows grouped together on the taskbar, and something like 16 or more directories in the listing. It’s natural to just want to ‘reset’ things and close them all.

But beware! The Explorer group includes not only your directory windows, but also any copy jobs going on. If you right-click and choose ‘Close Group’ when you are copying, your job in unceremoniously canceled (which itself could take a while, depending on how cranky the Vista copy routines are that day). God help you if you happen to be copying many gigabytes of files.

This is bad user interface design. Directory windows and copy windows should not be grouped together. A directory window displays information, while a copy windows displays a process. Yes, they run in the same program (Explorer), but they are two absolutely different things, and should be grouped together into two separate groups on the taskbar. A less-correct alternative, but probably easier to implement in software, would be to close all the directory windows, then ask the user — for each copy job — whether or not the copy should be canceled.