Friday, November 25, 2016

What Windows should do

I just bought a new computer. It has Windows 10 installed on it. Windows has come a long way. It has a voice assistant now (Cortana). Its features are a bit more automated and they are supposed to be easier to find. I say 'supposed to be' because I still have clients who keep telling me that Windows has gotten harder to figure out, not easier.

Of course part of the problem is that Microsoft decided to change the way the features are accessed somewhat, which really threw the computer challenged users for a loop. But back to my story.

The new computer has two hard drives. One is a smaller capacity SSD, or solid state drive - meaning no moving parts, and considerably faster. The other is a standard disk-based hard drive of very large capacity. When the store sets it up, they put Windows and all the necessary drivers on the smaller, faster SSD drive, which is what you want. Then they turn it over to you. By default, Windows expects you to install your new programs and your created files, in libraries, on that same drive. But anyone with any sense is going to realize that putting everything on the small, fast drive is going to fill it very quickly, and render the other, much bigger drive irrelevant.

Which is why most dual drive computer owners will, as one of the first things they do with their new computer, is to set things up to store everything from here on in (new programs and all data files) on the big hard drive. Games possibly being the exception, for speed. If only it were easy. I tried following online instructions to tweak Windows to put any new program on the bigger hard drive, but these instructions were incomplete at best. Some new programs were still confused on where to go, others wanted no part of being installed on any drive other than the same one Windows is on. Then I tried moving my Documents, Music, Pictures and Video libraries to the bigger drive. That didn't go well either. I had to covertly create new folders on the big drive and make them part of the library structure, which only cooperated fully while resident on the original Windows drive (C:). A complete pain in the ass, and I reckon not something a typical user would figure out on their own.

So I ask you, Microsoft, what the heck? When Windows wakes up post-install to find that it is living on a computer with a small, fast SSD drive, co-habitating with a huge, slower disk drive, why can't it figure out that the user might want to limit what gets put on the smaller drive and offer to work with the bigger drive for everything but system files from here out? It's a logical thing to offer, and a relatively easy concept to explain to the user:

"Windows has detected that it is installed on a smaller SSD drive (C:) and that this computer also has a much larger drive (D:). Windows recommends that you install all future programs on D: and that you move your libraries to D: as well. Would you like Windows to do that for you?"

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