Windows: Even When It’s Easy It Makes Me Grumpy

The horrible thing about my relationship with MS Windows is that you get so used to believing that so many simple things are unnecessarily hard (today's peeve: those dropdown boxes for directory/drive searches that are too small, and only go down from where it thinks you are). You get so used to doing it the hard way that you stop looking for easy ways, even when they exist (and when you finally find them it just makes you grumpier).

So, thank you Ed Bott for today's seemingly obvious Tip of the day: Instantly maximize any window:

Are you tired of trying to hit the tiny maximize/restore button in the top right corner of a window? There's an easier alternative: Double-click anywhere on the title bar. The entire title bar acts as an oversized toggle. Double-click to maximize the window; double-click again to restore the original window size.

I suppose that should teach me for smugly looking at so many of the past tips and saying “Well, of course, everyone knows that. But in fact, what I mostly feel is irritation: why wasn't this more obvious?

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8 Responses to Windows: Even When It’s Easy It Makes Me Grumpy

  1. Max says:

    What a coincidence, just this morning I was cursing the ancestors and offspring of whoever designed those vile dropdown boxes that have given me ‘itchy mouse finger.’

    I’ve given up on getting the operating system to work for me; after knowing “Alt+Tab” and Ctrl+Z/X/C/V, I’ve resolved to do virtually everything else through sleek freeware. Here’s a couple collections:

    The only problem is, the more “wow!” PC freeware I collect, the greater the disincentive to converting to Linux or Mac (even with Tiger).

    Here’s a tempting preview of some of the cool software out there:

    “Have you ever wanted to remove some Windows components like Media Player, Internet Explorer, Outlook Express, MSN Explorer, Messenger…

    How about not even to install them with Windows ?

    nLite is a GUI for permanent Windows component removal by your choice. After removal there is an option to make bootable image ready for burning on cd or testing in virtual machines. With nLite you will be able to have Windows installation which on install doesn’t include, or even contain on cd, unwanted components.”

    Die, Outlook, die!!!

  2. Jon Moyer says:

    What did you want, a flashing sign on the program bar going “Double click to maximize!!!”?

    All operating systems & interfaces have little tricks that aren’t obvious or intuitive.

    Here’s my favorite: to get directly to the task manager to kill a misbehaving app, hit Ctrl-Shift-Esc. Very handy when something’s eating up all your VM and the thrash is drivng you stark raving bonkers.

    I’m no MS apologist — I’ve been writing apps for their o/s’s for almost 20 years, believe me, I’ve cursed them with the best. But interfaces are all tweaky little things. Every now and then I get on Mom’s Mac, and want to ball peen it cuz I got NO idea what all the Macheads are talking about when they mention its oh-so-wonderful ease of use. Say wha???

  3. Michael says:

    Well, yes, flashing the bar would be good. Or a little change in color when I pass the mouse over it to tell me ‘something happens when you click here’. And, while we’re at it, a little hint message come up (with an option to turn those off, of course).

  4. mike says:

    Here’s another trick you might or might not be aware of: To minimize the selected window, click on its listing in the taskbar. To minimize a non-selected window you’ll have to click its taskbar entry twice, once to select it and again to minimize it.

    Another feature that I like is the ability to move the taskbar around. Just click on an empty spot and drag it to another side of the screen. If you drag the edge you can make it taller (wider if it’s on the side). I have my taskbar on the left side of the screen, which lets me have slightly taller windows open, lets me see the names of more windows (before they get squished too much), and forces Windows to display the date and day of the week next to the time.

    I don’t know if these are also obscure. I’ve known about them for a while, but hopefully they’ll help someone out there.

  5. Jon Moyer says:

    And…. never forget the ubiquitous right-click feature of Windows. Right clicking on the title bar will pop up a submenu that will allow you to maximize/minimize/close etc., as appropriate.

    BTW, MS claimed this right click function as one of their “innovations” when they released Win95. Typically, not true. A straight up steal from OS/2.

    One day, when I gets me own blog, I will make a long, tearful post on the day that desktop computing lost its way: when MS walked away from OS/2 under the false impression they could actually write a 32-bit OS…

  6. Omigod it works. Yeah why didn’t they tell me.

  7. mollyb says:

    I used pcs and windows for years until I couldn’t stand it any longer.
    Not had any problems with my mac crashing.

  8. Andrew says:

    If you are a keyboard junky like me, with your hands glued to it so that you avoid using the mouse except when absolutely necessary, so might like to try “Alt-Space X” to maximize your windows.

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