The tech helper: Windows 7 annoyances (Feature)
By Jay Dougherty Nov 2, 2010, 3:06 GMT
850 Washington - Windows 7 is full of surprises, but not all of them are pleasant. The things that typically annoy people the most when using Windows are prompts that distract or interrupt the flow or work or play. Pop-up notifications, confusing confirmation dialog boxes, and unexplainable interruptions when copying or moving files are just a few of the common complaints. Read on to find out how to address them.
Q: How do I turn off the pop-up notifications that Windows 7 gives me about backups, antivirus software, and other things?
A: Some of Windows 7's balloon notifications that emanate from the system tray do indeed seem difficult to disable. That's probably because turning them off involves turning to a fairly unintuitive place: the Action Centre.
Open the Start menu, type Action Centre, and select the Action Centre item that appears. From the left-hand pane of the resulting dialog box, select the 'Change Action Centre settings' link. Windows 7 will then slide the 'Turn messages on or off' dialog box in front of you, and from there you can de-select any notifications that you don't want to see. Remove them all to have an annoyance-free computing environment, click OK, and you're done.
Q: I read that Windows 7 had done away with Vista's User Account Control prompts. I installed Windows 7, and I still get the prompts. Why?
A: User Account Control (UAC), part of the beefed up security controls that Microsoft added in Windows Vista, did not go away in Windows 7. Microsoft simply made it easier to eliminate the annoying prompts. Here's how.
Open the Start menu in Windows 7, and type UAC. You'll see an entry labeled 'Change user account control settings.' Click that, and the User Account Control Settings dialog box opens. Within that is a slider that allows you to determine exactly when you should be 'notified' by the UAC prompts about potential threats to your computer system through application installation or other imminent changes.
The good news here is that if, like many, you consider all UAC notifications to be mere annoyances, you can move the slider all the way to the bottom, which equals 'never notify,' to effectively turn the UAC prompts off entirely. Click OK, and you won't be bothered again.
Q: I hate copying or moving files in Windows 7 because the process is inevitably stopped in midstream by a dialog box that asks me to confirm whether a particular file should be copied or moved. Is there a way just to tell Windows to copy or move some files and not to prompt me about potential conflicts?
A: The Windows Explorer file manager is a tool best used for small copy or move operations - or for copying or moving files to an empty drive or folder or one where duplicates probably do not exist. If Explorer finds any potential issues with the copy or move operation, it will often wait to inform you until the potential conflict arises, and you could find a large copy job interrupted, as you obviously have already.
There are a couple of ways around this problem, and neither of them involves continued use of Windows Explorer to copy or move large numbers of files. The free TeraCopy (http://www.codesector.com/teracopy.php) can complete replace Windows Explorer, and it gives you many more options regarding what to do should file conflicts arise during a copy or move operation. It's faster than Windows Explorer at copying or moving files as well.
The other option, if you do not wish to use a third-party tool, is simply to use Windows' command-line 'copy,' 'xcopy,' or 'move' commands, which would allow you to specify command-line 'switches' to prevent any midstream interruptions. Command line commands are not for everyone, but if you're familiar with them, you can get a refresher on how to use them from Microsoft's support pages (http://support.microsoft.com/kb/240268).
Q: I like most of the features in Windows 7, but I prefer some of the older Windows applications to the newer ones. For example, the new version of Paint and WordPad in Windows 7 have the Office 2007 ribbon at the top instead of menus. I hate that. And the new version of MS Live Messenger is more obnoxious than the old one. Can I get the old versions back?
A: In general, Microsoft discourages the use of older operating system-supplied applications with Windows 7, although there are folks out there who have reported success in copying the mspaint.exe and wordpad.exe files from Windows Vista and using them in Windows 7 (http://bit.ly/WrFV2). However, if this option is not available to you, you may wish to explore third-party applications that will effectively replace Paint and WordPad and give you back the look, feel, and functionality that you desire.
Paint.net (http://www.getpaint.net) looks and works very much like the classic Windows Paint tool, and it offers more features, such as layers and unlimited undo, that Paint has always lacked. Jarte (http://www.jarte.com) is a capable WordPad replacement. It's based on the WordPad engine, so it's fully compatible, and it provides enough options for interface customisability so that you can have it looking and working as much like the classic WordPad as you like.
--- Have a tech question? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Read more about US Technology