Bits from Bill

Technology thoughts leaking from the brain of "Bill Pytlovany"

Monday, August 13, 2007

Where Did I Save That File?

I spent the weekend with a friends Vista based laptop, cleaning up the results of a Trojan horse that infected his computer. About every five minutes his browser would open a few dozen sessions trying to go to a web site, s2.truth-is-out-there. The reason for my post isn’t to complain about Vista security and why Defender didn’t detect things like the Trojan “mgrs.exe” found by WinPatrol. I really want to like Vista but I found exploring for various files to be annoying.

A long time ago, Bill Gates talked his vision of making Windows “document centric”. While I didn’t agree with Bill, it was suppose to be the solution to one of the big problems with casual computer users; “Where did I save that file”?

The new Explorer in Vista really hasn’t solved the problem of “Where Did I Save That File”. For the most part, only folder names were changed.
Instead of “Documents and Settings”, Vista has a root folder called “Users”.
Instead of “My Documents”, it’s just “Documents”.
The “My” has been removed from other user folders like Music, Pictures, Downloads and they have been given special placement in the Users folder.
“If” and only if an application developer paid attention to the rules, these changes won’t break their programs

File type extensions continued to be hidden by default. I’m not sure why Microsoft considers a “dot” followed by a semi-descriptive extension so confusing. What I found confusing is trying to find how to change this option so I could see file extensions. Under “Organize”, I finally found “Folder and Search Options”. Using the new Search command line in Vista would be much easier with extensions displayed, instead of just little file type icons.

So far Vista has been taking a lot of heat but most of us reluctant to upgrade have been nice. The only people really evangelizing Vista are the authors of Vista books or those who have something to gain by it. I have the most respect for the online helpers and MVP’s who upgraded to Vista so they could help others in need. Most have learned to like Vista but I don’t hear them encouraging others to upgrade. I really want to be more helpful too, and I really want to like Vista but it ain’t happenin’ yet.

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Blogger Corrine said...

Its easy to change the setting to display file type extensions. That is the setting I use and when I type in the search box, both the extension and file type icon show in the search results. In addition, the search results are sorted by Program Files, Documents, Communications, etc.

The fastest way to change the setting to show file type extensions is to click the Start Orb, type "folder options" in the search box.

Click the resultant "folder options" linked at the top of the search results under Programs.

Click the View tab, and then, under Advanced settings, clear the Hide extensions for known file types check box, and then click OK.

Is that simple. :)

(P.S. Upgrade to Windows Vista!)

10:16 PM  
Blogger google_no_spam said...

I've been using Vista Business since last November when it was released to Campus Agreement subscribers. I concur with Bill. Vista is nothing special. The only reason I use Vista is so that I'm prepared to meet the demand of users when I have to start supporting it (spring 08). Otherwise I favor XP.

I have an opinion on the hidden extension thing. I believe Microsoft's logic behind not showing it in XP was to prevent users from renaming a file and blowing away the extension in the process, which would break the association and cause the user grief. This thought might have some truth to it since Vista protects the extension somewhat when you do a rename with the extensions visible.

10:02 AM  
Blogger CDixonM said...


I am one of the folks who got "updated" on the sly by Microsoft. I had AU set up to "Notify" only, but I got all of the XP WU file updated anyway, without permission. My question is, why no warning from Scotty?


1:40 PM  
Blogger Bill Pytlovany said...

Well, WinPatrols role isn't to notify you if any file on your system changes. If it did, Scotty would drive you nuts.

In this case, the files changes by Microsoft are part of their update mechanism so they aren't files that would run at startup. They only run as part of Windows update procedures.

Nothing can really stop Microsoft from changing something in Windows is they really want to but if they this was certainly unexpected and what I consider a inproper use of their control. I will be looking at adding new features to WinPatrol to review their update mechanism.

2:30 PM  

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