Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Windows Downgrade: Old Really Is Gold!

Last month, my work laptop got severely infected with virus from a pen-drive that belonged to one of my kiddie customers at store. After spending more than a day in trying all possible ways to remove the virus manually, I realized that I would have to go for a complete format-reinstall.

Sighhhhh! That meant one more unproductive and eye-strenuous day of continuous long hours with the laptop. I didn't look forward to it, though Dad was very pleased. This is his laptop actually, and I'd been holding off this format-reinstall for over 2 years. He was glad I couldn't hold it off any longer.

So I backed up all the data and then thought maybe I should try an upgraded version of Windows finally. This laptop came with Windows Vista and I never bothered to change it in all these years. On Dad's persuasion, I installed Windows 7 on it this time.

First thing I noticed after the installation... I had at least 3 GB less free space in the hard drive partition, as compared to a Vista installation. I said to myself - "Okay, it's just 3GB. That doesn't amount to much these days. Small price to pay for the extra features that I'll get with Windows 7."

So I decided to look for those promising "extra features". I spent that entire day exploring the Operating System in depth, setting it up to my liking, and checking out what new stuff it brought to the table.

I did find one new feature that I really liked - the Desktop Utility called "Snipping Tool". Up until now, I had been taking screenshots by using the "Prnt Scrn" button on the keyboard and then cropping the required screen area in Photoshop. But with the "Snipping Tool", I could simply drag my mouse around the required area and save it as an image file. It was very cool.

So I thought to myself - "Maybe I'll upgrade my PC at home to Windows 7 too." (I'm still running XP on it!)

Alas... it wasn't meant to happen! My relationship with Windows 7 couldn't last for more than a few hours!

Why?

Because of these Desktop Toolbars!




You see those toolbars on the top of the first image and on the left of the second? They were the "deal breakers" with Windows 7.

I have been using these toolbars since 2001. (I had Windows ME back then.) The one on the top has all the icons from the "My Computer" folder. All the immovable drives show up here, as well as any removable storage devices connected to the computer at any time. The one on the left has shortcuts for all my frequently used folders, files and programs.

These toolbars make ALL these things just one-click away. LITERALLY ONE-CLICK AWAY! I could have any number of windows/applications/files open... I just need to move my mouse to the specific edge of the screen (top or left) and then click on the required icon. (Both the toolbars are set to "Always on top" and "Auto Hide".) Not only that, but they also leave my desktop totally uncluttered from icons. So you can actually SEE the wallpaper I've set on it!

These toolbars have been just classic. Revolutionary, even! They completely changed the way I worked on my computer, ever since I came to know about them in 2001! I have owned and used so many different computers in the last 14 years, but these toolbars have ALWAYS been there, making life that little bit easier for me.

Unfortunately, this Desktop Toolbar feature has been discontinued by Microsoft after Vista. There is no way you can get these toolbars back. Sure, there are other "dockable gadgets" available now, mostly third-party, but none of them are as sleek, unobtrusive and easy-to-use as this. :(

I realized that I could live without the 3GB disk space, but I couldn't live without my precious desktop toolbars! Windows 7 had to go.

And what about that "Snipping Tool"?

LOL! You won't believe this, but it was there in Vista all along... hidden in the Accessories folder of the Start Menu! Talk about having your cake and eating it too! :D


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18 comments:

Rajlakshmi said...

Install windows 8 and you will think windows 7 is the best thing that ever happened :) I loved Vista, maybe because I had spent a lot of my time on it.

Laurel Regan said...

I tend to be the opposite way - I love the changes that a new operating system or piece of software brings! I just updated my laptop to Windows 10, and really like it. I guess I get bored quickly, LOL!

Kathy Combs said...

I use Windows 7 and like it. Soon there is to be a promised new upgrade to windows 10. I am wondering when and if that will happen. We will see.

Shilpa Garg said...

I can relate to this post! We are so attached to our comforts and old way of things. I feel the same for my Blog's template. So many people have suggested me to change it, but I change to something new for a few hours and get back to my old and beautiful blog theme! I like Windows 7 and am looking forward to Windows 10. I was looking forward to some feedback on Windows 10, and just saw that Laurel likes it, so will change to the newer version when I have a good internet speed :D

Pooja Mahimkar said...

Can you believe I never knew about the snipping tool!? :P

Parul said...

I loved XP but I adapt quickly so I am doing okay with Win 7 as well. But I agree to your point. Sometimes, we get used to doing things one way and then when it changes, well we are stuck. Happens with all of us I guess.

Chicky said...

Hahaha! Raji, one of my customers brought her tablet PC to my store once for troubleshooting. It had Windows 8 installed on it. I got to spend enough time on it to realize that Windows 8 was a big pain in the ass! :P

Chicky said...

Oh wow Laurel! You're the second person I know of who has given a "plus one" to Windows 10! Most are wishing they never upgraded!

Chicky said...

Kathy, Windows 7 wasn't really that bad! I would have stuck with it if only I'd found a way to get my toolbars back. Don't know about Windows 10 though... seeing mixed reviews for it.

Chicky said...

LOL! Shilpa, the orange template suits you. Just go with whatever you like... it is your blog after all! :D

Chicky said...

Hahaha! Pooja, even I had no idea about it until I installed Windows 7! :D

Chicky said...

Oh I love XP too, Parul! Definitely more than Vista! In fact, after deciding to get rid of Windows 7, I was planning to install XP on this laptop, but my internet was so bad, I wasn't able to download all the drivers for XP! :(

Abhiroop Banerjee said...

I'm so old school I still look at XP as the 'new one'. Windows 95 & 98 are objects of affectionate nostalgia, Windows 7 is grudgingly made space for and simply remain in denial of anything later. Windows 8? Ha ha. 10? What rubbish, no such thing!

PS I was ambushed with Windows 7 last year because the computer repair shop I had to take my PC for repairs didn't even have XP. Donkeys. I've had the damn thing for almost a year and it still feels like I'm using somebody else's computer.

Chicky said...

You forgot Windows ME, Abhiroop. That was also quite stable, except when the mouse stopped working, in which case we had to do a format reinstall.
You haven't got used to Windows 7 even after a year? That's surprising.

Abhiroop Banerjee said...

Yikes! Some stability, that! :D

Oh yes, Windows ME was big news back then. The year 2000 was full of new products and a new Windows version was among the most talked about things for a while among us teens. The thing is I never really used Windows ME, Kaddu. I didn't own a PC, neither did most of my friends, internet cafes skipped it and so did school computer room.

I've gotten used to it, but I don't see anything special in Windows 7. Not one feature in the GUI that makes it better than XP. But I definitely appreciate the stability. It's pretty a robust OS, that way. Maybe I should just get an XP skin.

Chicky said...

Hehehe!
Oh yes, ME was no good for networked computers. Windows 7 seemed okay to me, except for those missing toolbars. Is it possible to cloak it up with an XP skin? I've never heard of skins for the OS!

Abhiroop Banerjee said...

I remember using a Vista skin on XP in 2007, 08(?). Pretty decent simulation actually. I had to get a skin because my institute had switched to Vista and I was having trouble keeping up in class. Why didn't I just get Vista? I didn't want to until I was clear that the new OS was as stable and as widely accepted as its predecessor. Turns out I was right in ignoring it. Vista bombed.

Chicky said...

I have been forced to use Vista for the last 2 years. I've finally managed to set it up to my liking (more-or-less). Windows Explorer is too slow in Vista and copying files can be a real pain. Search didn't work until the recent format-reinstall. Rest all seems okay.

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