Linked by Thom Holwerda on Sun 3rd Apr 2011 11:06 UTC, submitted by Debjit
Windows Yes, the Windows 8 rumour mill is really spinning up now. This time around though, they're not really rumours, since the information is coming from Rafael Rivera and Paul Thurrott, long-time Microsoft enthusiasts with loads of insider access. They've got a bunch of screenshots showing a work in progress of... A ribbon in Explorer. And yes, it looks just as bad as it sounds.
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Give me back my XPlorer
by Moochman on Sun 3rd Apr 2011 13:59 UTC
Moochman
Member since:
2005-07-06

I must take issue with your opinion that the Explorer in Windows 7 is an improvement over that of Windows XP. On the contrary, it has become a bloated, unnavigable mess that just so happens to have a few nice features (favorites, previews, thumbnails). Sure, Explorer in XP wasn't as pretty as in 7, and it certainly had its faults, but by and large (when you turned off the "Simple folder view" and turned on the status bar) it was a pleasure to use. Of course I never realized how nice it was until I moved to Windows Vista/7....

A few examples of what is still broken:

-When I have a folder selected on the left-hand side and I try to right-click a file on the right-hand side, it shows me the context menu for the left-hand-side folder--while visually for all intents and purposes looking as if I have selected the right-hand-side file. This leads to lovely scenarios born of this confusion, for instance if I try to delete I suddenly realize I am deleting the whole "C:" drive!

-The default settings are all wrong. The folders in the folder pane (left side) are all collapsed by default and when you navigate through folders on the right-side, your current place in the hierarchy is not reflected in the folder pane on the left side. This is fixable by changing a couple of little-known settings within Folder Options (see here:)

http://www.7tutorials.com/how-improve-windows-explorer-using-folder...

but even then, it ceases to work when navigating hidden folders (for instance anything within the C:\Users\username\AppData folder). The folder navigation pane used to "just work", but with Vista/7, Microsoft messed it up.

-The old menu bar and status bar are still available, and contain features that overlap with the "new" UI, so enabling them just duplicates functionality while taking up screen real estate. The menus still offer a more comprehensive selection of options, though, and the old status bar actually takes up a lot less real estate than the new one, but it's completely unskinned and fugly. Shouldn't they have integrated the old features and eliminated all the cruft by now?

-Libraries suck. When you drag something to a library, which of the subfolders of that library does it really go into? It's a mystery. I'd estimate that 95% of users have no idea how libraries work and just get confused when they see that for every library folder, there is another folder with a duplicate name inside of it. (Pictures->Pictures, Documents->Documents etc.) So for the vast majority of users, the library folders are just confusing and have no advantage over simply showing the folders that are *actually* present inside the home folder. As for me, most of the time they just get in the way. They take up vertical space in the folder pane (they are always expanded by default), blocking me from seeing the *actual* folders I am interested in, and they make navigating within the "Open file" dialog's drop-down file list a PITA.

-Certain actions are inexplicably only shown on the toolbar in certain contexts. Prime example: "Map network drive" is only available when "Computer" is selected. Not when "Network" is selected. And not when you're already looking right at the network folder you want to map. How intuitive is that?

/OT

As for the ribbon, I'm not entirely opposed to it. Fact is that Explorer gets more new features in every new version (e.g. Libraries, smart searches); maybe the ribbon will help new users navigate them. Just think about the amount of functionality that is currently all done in context menus, and think about the fact that not everyone uses them....

MS should think long and hard about those dynamic ribbon tabs though. Take a look at this picture:

http://static.withinwindows.com/2011/04/win8_ribbon_031.jpg

Why have two extra sets of tabs for "Library Tools" and "Picture Tools", when each has just one sub-tab called "Manage"?? It's horribly confusing. Just add two *normal*, but dynamically appearing tabs called "Libraries" and "Pictures" and be done with it.

This misappropriation of good UI reminds me of the monstrosity that is the Office 2010 File menu. They took a perfectly good concept, the Office 2007 menu, and used it the wrong way, making it needlessly cover up the whole screen (blocking the view of the current document) and eliminating its most useful feature, the Recent files list that was shown by default.

MS has a lot of great ideas, but there seems to be this problem where in each successive release, the once-great designs fall victim to feature bloat....

Edited 2011-04-03 14:12 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Give me back my XPlorer
by Drumhellar on Sun 3rd Apr 2011 15:23 in reply to "Give me back my XPlorer"
Drumhellar Member since:
2005-07-12

Regarding dragging into libraries, the target folder isn't a mystery at all. When you configure a library, one folder is designated the default, so copying files to a library, or creating new files happen in that default folder.

The libraries folder also only shows the duplicate folder names when you sort by location. Sorting different ways displays as normal files. This behavior is okay, though, when you actually use Libraries more extensively than what the default settings present itself as.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Give me back my XPlorer
by Moochman on Sun 3rd Apr 2011 15:41 in reply to "RE: Give me back my XPlorer"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

Regarding dragging into libraries, the target folder isn't a mystery at all. When you configure a library, one folder is designated the default, so copying files to a library, or creating new files happen in that default folder.

I seemed to recall that this was configurable. However it still doesn't change the fact that there is no indication at the time of copying as to where it's going, and it remains a mystery for anyone who has never explored the configuration options.

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Give me back my XPlorer
by nt_jerkface on Sun 3rd Apr 2011 22:39 in reply to "Give me back my XPlorer"
nt_jerkface Member since:
2009-08-26

I think they have ran out of ideas with explorer and have made it worse since XP.

What I don't like is how they arbitrarily hide information in an attempt to simplify the interface.

It's still usable but explorer and windows media player are both cases where they should have left the original interface alone. WMP should only be used as an example of how not to design an interface.

Reply Parent Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

search much?

One thing that explorer does about an infinity times (yes I know that is a nonsense term) better than XP explorer is search.... even with all the indexed search tools that came out in the waining years of XP.

Reply Parent Score: 2

Soulbender Member since:
2005-08-18

I'm glad I'm not the only one who thinks that WMP is a disaster. Speaking of media players, on those occasions that I have to use Windows I have a really hard time finding a good audio player. WMP is obviously out of the question. QMP used to be good but recent versions is just a gigantic "WTF?" and there seems to be about a billion awfull iTunes wannabees. The only one I find even remotely usable is Foobar 2000 and it's not even that good.

Reply Parent Score: 2

modmans2ndcoming Member since:
2005-11-09

(Win 7) I just tried the select a folder on the left and right click a file on the right and I am not seeing the behavior you describe.

Reply Parent Score: 3

RE[2]: Give me back my XPlorer
by Moochman on Sun 3rd Apr 2011 23:58 in reply to "RE: Give me back my XPlorer"
Moochman Member since:
2005-07-06

I just discovered that it only seems to happen when you right-click the white space to the right of the file name. This area is highlighted on mouse hover and left-clicking it works fine too, so this is clearly a bug.

Edited 2011-04-04 00:10 UTC

Reply Parent Score: 2

RE: Give me back my XPlorer
by Aankhen on Mon 4th Apr 2011 07:45 in reply to "Give me back my XPlorer"
Aankhen Member since:
2010-01-13

I like some things about the W7 Explorer, but I have my gripes too:

* It no longer shows the folder in the title bar. There is simply a gigantic chunk of blank space at the top of the window. Where does it come from? What does it want from us? Is it hostile?

* The “Links” pane was useful in Vista as a quick way for me to access some of my most frequently-used folders. Come Windows 7, and the corresponding “Favorites” window is no longer anchored in place; if I want to actually use it, I have to first scroll up through the five screens’ worth of folders I have open in the left pane. Thanks, guys!

* Grouping is nigh-useless now. I like to group files by type. In Vista, you could use the label of a group to perform actions on the entire group (by bringing up the context menu, dragging it, etc.). In 7, if you’ve selected a group using the label, tough! You have to deselect it then reselect the actual files.

* I also wish that I could see the disk statistics at the bottom of the window like in XP… I’m not sure why disk space is suddenly irrelevant just because we have more of it.

Reply Parent Score: 2