Why all the fuss over Windows Explorer?
In the latest part of our bid to convert a Mac user to Windows 7, Chris Brennan compares Finder to Explorer and wonders what all the fuss is about
The Finder on the Mac seems much maligned by many Windows users and I have to admit I’m not sure why. Since using Windows 7 I’ve found the methods of storing and finding files much the same. The Finder and Explorer windows look strikingly similar and can be viewed in much the same way.
After using the Windows Explorer I’m not really convinced it’s necessarily better than the Finder, but as I’ve already said that may well be because I’m more used to the Mac way of doing things. I have to admit that the smart folders of OSX are a much better solution than libraries in Windows 7. Unless I’m missing something (and there’s a rather large chance I am) they’re not as flexible.
I have a smart folder on my Mac desktop that has all the .jpg files I’ve opened in the last month and one that has all the PDF files with Invoice in the name that are created between April 2009 and 2010. As far as I can tell I can’t have a library that does the same. If I’m wrong I’m sure you’ll point it out in the comments.
The search box in Windows Explorer also seems much slower than the results provided by the search box in the Start Menu, which doesn’t seem right. For instance, if I go to the Start Menu and type [email protected] I get all the most recent emails I’ve sent to Tim and documents that contain that address almost instantaneously, If I do the same with the search box in Windows Explorer the search takes much longer. The two search boxes should surely be equal surely?
There are some elements of Windows 7 that really don’t make any sense to me at all. The control panel window in my setup at least, has 51 separate entries. A couple of those are for installations I’ve performed: QuickTime and MobileMe. However, that still makes for a window that has 49 items.
Obviously, Microsoft has thought about this and come up with the category view, but I’m not sure it truly makes things clearer for the user. There’s inconsistency too, when you click any of the control panel items – some open a new window, some take you forward like a browser would and finally some take you to a different style of window altogether.
I also received a number of ‘The page failed to load’ errors when clicking the various control panels. This, I’m going to guess isn’t indicative of normal service, but it hasn’t made my experience in this area a particularly positive one.
I’d be the first to say that my problems with Explorer are mostly trivial rather than serious concerns, but the deeper I go into the Windows system the more I find that feels odd to me. Perhaps, I’ve become so ingrained to the Mac way of doing things that I’ve grown accustomed to the inconsistencies of that OS, but that doesn’t mean that Windows 7 doesn’t have its share of weird and not so wonderful design flaws.
Click here to read the rest of Chris Brennan’s blog on converting from Mac to Windows 7