Coffeehouse Thread

32 posts

What's wrong with Windows

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  • Charles

    There really is no good reason to not allow users running under restricted privlege to view the system clock and calendar.

    In general, I think we need to get away from the IT mindset when it comes to our personal operating systems like XP Home and Pro, etc. The average user just doesn't get Admin, Power User, etc. In fact, most users run as Admin since that is the default context. This is a security risk.

    Reboots after install/modification are a bummer. End of story.

    The process viewer in Task Manager is not very useful to the average user. In some cases, even the most experienced users have a hard time determining what a running process named svchost, for example, actually means; it could be anything! And I don't like that from a privacy perspective. Hey, I'm paranoid. What can I say?

    Love Longhorn.

  • stephbu

    Charles wrote:

    The process viewer in Task Manager is not very useful to the average user.


    Even showing some of the VERSIONINFO attributes would help make it a little less cryptic - still doesn't get around things like SVCHOST though.

    Even with ProcExp it is a little bit of work to make sure you inhume the right processes.

  • Charles

    It's a hard problem to solve, but we will. I have a good feeling about the Task Manager in Longhorn...

  • SKG

    I sort of feel the same with regards to Task Manager. After trying to track down pop ups for friends & family, I need to know exactly is was is running what on a user(s) machine. If I see more than 5 "svchost" running, I start to get alarmed. I guess I'm paranoid also...

    Can some one give me a clearer picture of the what might be running in these processes?

  • CumpsD

    SKG wrote:

    I sort of feel the same with regards to Task Manager. After trying to track down pop ups for friends & family, I need to know exactly is was is running what on a user(s) machine. If I see more than 5 "svchost" running, I start to get alarmed. I guess I'm paranoid also...

    Can some one give me a clearer picture of the what might be running in these processes?



    This might help:

    http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=kb;en-us;250320

  • JerryP

    There are some things missing - realy. One I can tell you right now is a message - a simple message that says "Windows has completed the boot process - all systems up and running."

    Or before installation of Windows, its not about installing my mothers PC, or reinstall my kids one, its about installing some 1000 PCs. What happend to winnt.exe in Longhorn - is it just not ready - or a bad sign ?

    anyhow, I am exited about whats going on there at Microsoft, feels like your getting more communicative than the Linux community Smiley keep going !
     

  • twoelfer

    what i hate is the tendency to bring out more versions (of windows) then are actually needed. for example, there is really no reason to have a 'home' and a 'professional' edition of xp.

    multiple versions of (more or less) the same stuff only makes ISVs phone support more complicated. having to know w95, 98, me, 98se, w2k, nt and xp really is enough. i don't see what value another different xp home / xp pro version has. 

    btw: having to test against all of these platforms isn't making life easier also.

    (infact, i don't even see why there needs to be a different 'server' version of windows, but so be it.)

    however: i hope there will be only _one_ version of longhorn coming our ways...

    WM_CHEERS
    thomas woelfer

  • twoelfer

    ... and of course it really would be nice to have an ssh client in the base os for those of us that don't live in a microsoft-only world. Smiley

    WM_THX
    thomas woelfer

  • jkwuc89

    The registry!!!  I attended the first Windows NT PDC in San Francisco where the registry was introduced in an effort to eliminate the proliferation of INI files.  Now, the movement seems to be back towards XCOPY deployment which means, don't use the registry.  Over the lifetime of a Windows install (which unfortunately, does not usually match the lifetime of the PC where it is running), the registry gets all clogged up with orphaned entries and junk left behind by applications that do not clean up after themselves when you do the uninstall.  Visual Studio and Office are probably the two biggest culprits.

    I would LOVE to be able to reinstall Windows and have my install of Office or Visual Studio just work without having to reinstall them.  Or, when I get a new PC, I would LOVE to be able to simply copy the Office and Visual Studio directories to my new PC and have them just work.  There are apps out there today that do this.  Examples:  Eclipse, Borland JBuilder, Paint Shop Pro 7.

    Scanning the registry for my settings, exporting them, then importing them in a new Windows install or on a new PC is just PAINFUL.

    Also, hunting down the "Run" locations in the registry to rid myself of apps that want to autostart but don't use the Startup group in the Start menu is also a pain.  If you don't get rid of the registry, PLEASE get rid of these Run locations.  Force apps who want to auto start to put a shortcut in the Startup group.  If I want to rid myself of them, all I have to do is delete the shortcut.

  • ghos

    I think the registry has been both a good thing and a bad thing.  All the ini files littered all over the place truly was messy.  However the registry now just collects a lot of the mess all in one place.  Registry cleaners help, but often the results are not entirely clear enough that you should delete what is found.  So I don't mind the registry, just wish it worked a whole lot better.

    The previous post mentioned startup issues and I agree that often programs set themselves to start when the pc does and don't even ask.  We need to be given the power of choice.
    But there is one thing the previous poster missed in regards to locating startup programs besides the startup folder.  If you go to Run... and type "msconfig" without the quotes, you can goto the Startup tab and uncheck programs you don't want to startup with the pc.  Its often cryptic, but better than fishing through the registry.

  • Estaban

    I'm glad to see a trend towards separating the space between the OS and applications.  Long time ago, back when VAX VMS (screw this OpenVMS stuff) was in its prime, apps were installed in their own spaces (shades of XCOPY deployment) and the OS was left alone with only the vendor (DEC) to manage it.  Made for a far more stable environment.

    I understand some of the rationale why the registry was born, all of those .INI files were a mess.  However, the bigger sin with that approach was the trashing of the OS directories by application installers.  Hopefully with assemblies and such the future direction, we will again enforce separation in the interests of stability and predictability of what should be in the system areas.

  • Charles

    Determing the exact process that's hosted by the svchost process (Service Host Process) can be quite difficult if not impossible to achieve with Task Manager alone. There are third party applications out there that advertise the ability to do this. I have not used them so I can't comment intelligently on them. The Windows team is aware of the shortcomings of Task Manager and you can bet the next version of TM will address this concern.
    What other features would you like to see in the next version of Task Manager?  

  • RedShift

    It's normal you have alot of svchost.exe processes running.
    If you want to know what they all do, open up services.msc. You'll see that alot of services are started by svchost.exe, for example connectivity managers etc...

    Don't be alamered, only if there are really _alot_, then panic Big Smile

  • Charles

    There will also be processes running that are not hosted in a svchost that you may want to know about. For example, what's mdm.exe? Or point32.exe? Today, Task Manager will not help you to answer these questions. But, of course, a little digging around the Internet will certainly help! The point here is that Task Manager hasn't really evolved much since Windows 2000. Come Longhorn, it will be a vastly improved application and many of these concerns will vanish.

  • Manip

    This is a basic list of things I think need addressing in windows.

    - Re-Definition of privileged Vs. Non-Privileged access.
    [Meaning, a user can change all the desktop settings without any privilege escalation by default. And all personal settings]
    - Registry data has an 'owner'. That means, an application 'owns' the data and if the application no longer exists it can be deleted.
    [Like the user owns a file paradigm, it would at least give reg cleaning tools a hope-in-hell]
    - Stop one process from being able to stop/interrupt another process.
    [Create a new process execution privilege, and stop normal processes from stopping others. So you place your anti-virus software into this privileged set.]
    - Remove LanMan hashes!
    [Turn them off by default]
    - Stop everything and its brother dumping stuff into the windows directory.
    [dlls can be used from the software's local folder so make them, force them to stop loading up the windows folder with dlls that don't help any other applications]
    - Fix the search
    [The search in XP is one of the worst I've used, 2k fine, ME fine, 95 fine... What is wrong with you guys? I mean I do a search for a string in all folders and yet it decides it's not a good idea to search file type X for the file?! Also why only the first layer sub-folder.. when I select 'search sub-folders' I expect all of them to be searched even if it takes all night. ]

  • Shawn

    The biggest thing I have against Windows (and I'm using XP Pro ATM) is the way it handles memory.  I've got over a 1GB of ram but most of my apps still write to the swap file even though there's plenty of physical memory left.  Unfortunately, this is a real problem with .NET apps.  I know this is largely a problem with the developer that wrote the application but I'd still like to have the ability to tell certain apps to stay in memory regardless. 

    Waiting for some of my favorite apps (usually written in .NET) to arise from out of the the swap file after I've minimized them is really annoying.  If I'm willing to pay for extra memory, why not tell Windows to use it?  This even occurs with Windows Explorer if you have it minizied and several other apps open.  I never really noticed this problem until I started using Linux.

    The comments about Task Manager are spot on too.  I usually pull up "tasklist /svc" just to get a better idea of what's really running on the  machine.  Why does SVCHHOST get to mask everything it runs?

  • N1UGLham

    Perhaps what I'm thinking of would be more suited for Longhorn Powertoys, but I think a useful feature would be a online library that could identify processes.  Right-click on a process and have as much information about it as possible sent to the database to attempt to identify them.

  • joehack

    I have a couple comments on this questions:

    1. The registry is hell. Why should someone want to store the application parameters in the same place as the ones from the os?

    2. On a well designed system, MSI would not be required. The concept of installing software is copying files from place A to B and maybe configure the application after the installation. MSI tries to handle some of the short comings of Windows.

    3. DLL hell. An application comes with it's components. If it requires system components is special version, they can be installed in the application directory. Some applications provoke the question what is the application and what is the os.

    4. Default user rights. I see no needs for users to have wright access to any other directory than the home dir and (if available) network shares.

    5. In my opinion, Windows is far away from being 'enterprise compatible'. It is still designed as single user system with a network add on. Things like software rollout etc. are not handled very well.

    6. Windows is intransparent (again my opinion). The core system does sometimes somethings. The taskmanager often shows system running at 100%. This is not very helpful. Unix is very modular. It shows each component that is involved. This makes patching also a little bit easier.

    Joe

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