5 features of Windows that need defenestrating -- including IE

Defenestrating? Pretentious? Moi?! How could you?!

Don't get me wrong, I love Windows. A fanboy I am not -- I'll quite happily pick holes in Microsoft's operating system -- but for the most part I do love it. While I have a great deal of time for Windows, it doesn’t mean there isn't room for improvement. By this I don’t mean that Microsoft needs to bring back the Start menu or start copying features from OS X or Linux, rather that it's time to have spring cleaning. In just over a week, Windows XP will be consigned to the OS graveyard, but what about Windows 8.1? The latest version of Windows doesn't need to be killed, but there are lots of features that need to be put out of their misery.

So, here I stand, bolt gun in hand, ready to administer swift and ruthless justice to those elements of Windows that are just pointless, that have outstayed their welcome, or have been done so much better by someone else. It's not just a rock star who can throw things out of windows, you see.

1. Paint

It's almost too easy a target, but there is just no reason for the existence of Paint. It can be used for no level of artist work (unless you're one of those odd people with far too much time on their hands who like to post YouTube videos demonstrating how to replicate the Mona Lisa in Paint in a mere 86 hours) -- it's not even useful for screenshots as the Snipping Tool is available for anyone unwilling to investigate the plethora of more powerful alternatives. This is a good opportunity to plug Paint.net a surprisingly powerful little image editor which actually started life at Microsoft. It broke free and evolved into something wonderful -- perfect for quick and dirty day-to-day editing.

2. Compatibility mode

Be decisive. What do you want to use -- an old app or the latest version of Windows? Pick your side and stick with it... none of this halfway house stuff for ancient apps that really should be moved on from. OK? Oh, alright, a slight concession. If you have an old app that you really, really, really can’t live without, set up a virtual machine and keep it separate from everything else. But honestly, you should be able to find an alternative. Decide which decade you want to live in, and act accordingly.

3. Disk Defragmenter

Seriously, who bothers with defragging these days? Things have improved a little over the years, but the offering found in Windows is still so slow, cumbersome and limited compared to other tools that are out there, it's hardly worth bothering with even if you do feel that way inclined. There's a move towards SSDs these days and -- although there is ongoing, tedious debate about it -- it's not really a good idea, or even worth, defragging them. Another one to consign to the history books.

4. Internet Explorer

A controversial choice? No. Internet Explorer is a fat, behemoth of a beast struggling to catch up with the browsers that overtook it in terms of features, power and security years ago. There have been at least two historical instance of Internet Explorer causing a stink, and each time it managed to escape execution. The early days of IE's integration into Windows upset many people, but it was allowed to stay. In later years, Microsoft was forced to offer users a choice of browsers -- this was the right move, but it didn’t go anywhere near far enough. Internet Explorer is a relic from times gone by. It is under-powered, limited and lacks support for the kind of basic extensions we just expect to find elsewhere. It is a lazy browser that offers the bare minimum and nothing more. Users shouldn't have to settle for this -- there's plenty of choice out there and Internet Explorer being the default browser just gets in the way of enabling the discovery of alternatives. Kill it. Kill it with fire.

5. WordPad

Sure, it's come a fair way since the days of Write, but WordPad is still fairly pointless. Sure, it can be used to view Word documents, but why not just build in a file viewer -- remember the likes of QuickView Pro? Yeah, it's arguably more powerful than Notepad (although I'd argue that Notepad is infinitely more useful), but damn it's limited. It's a half-hearted effort, and you can’t help but feel that Microsoft shouldn’t have bothered. Just for the space-hungry interface it deserves to be dragged through the streets and shot at dawn.

I could go on, but I'd be in danger of talking myself out of liking Windows. I realize that the answer to my dislike of many of the features I have singled out would be to ignore them; but that's not the point. These are the very features that are holding Windows back. It needs to break free from the shackles of the past and become something new and exciting. Forget fancy new interface changes -- built in tools matter more.

How about you? Are there any features of Windows that you would condemn to Room 101?

Image Credit: Joyce Vincent / Shutterstock

 

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