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Bug of the moment 2011-01-09

Windows Server 2008 R2 and Windows 7

One of the annoyances of Microsoft Exchange 2003 was its anaemic Message Tracking Center. Naturally, therefore, with Exchange 2007, Microsoft were compelled to make it worse. By Exchange 2010, the Troubleshooting Assistant still has no means to export the list of tracking results. You still have no means to filter the results by domain name or any other use of wildcards. There is still no calendar dropdown, and still no means to specify a useful date range such as “Today” (00:00 to 23:59, not 00:00 to the present time, so that refresh works) or “Last 24 hours”.

Microsoft seem to want you to use their newfangled command line, which is why they explain how you could accomplish the same search using a proprietary command. I haven’t looked this up yet, but I hope that unlike the cheap on/off nature of their graphical interface, the command line supports comprehensive filtering as demonstrated clearly with Thunderbird’s filter window:

The real irony though, is that the graphical interface generates commands that do not work:

View complete screenshot

I am guessing that the Exchange Troubleshooting Assistant and Exchange Management Shell don’t share the same locale, explaining why the GUI part generates dates in UK format, and the shell part chokes to death unless you give it dates in US format. I would have expected both to work in yyyy-mm-dd hh:mm:ss just like SQL. In fact, this is one of many cases where, if I really did need to filter anything using hand-typed instructions, I would much rather be able to use SQL. I would love to be able to process both mailboxes and mail queues using SQL or SQL-like notation, such as DELETE FROM mail WHERE sender = 'goaway@isuck.tld'; or UPDATE mail SET folder = 'INBOX.Sorted.Initrode' WHERE folder = 'INBOX' AND sender LIKE '%@initrode.com'; – this would work on both SMTP mail queues and on personal mailboxes. I wonder whether there’s any limit to the number of places where SQL could provide a friendly and flexible query and modification syntax.

Another little gem from Exchange 2010; where would I begin with this:

The changes made to the Message Tracking Center remind me also of the changes made to the Event Viewer. Somehow, something as obvious as Create filter based on this event got missed out, and then you have the abomination that is the Event sources field in the filter dialog:

Pressing Escape closes the whole dialog instead of the dropdown, which is a schoolboy error. Manual entry of sources into the text box—e.g. typing “ACPI” into the text field instead of ticking it in the list—does not work and anything typed is discarded, yet meaningful keyboard operation of the dropdown is impossible. How, by Windows 2008 R2, can we still not have a useful multi-select control available for use? Why did Microsoft even bother making it a combo box if you’re banned from manually entering a category name? The keywords field below it does at least make the text box read-only, without explaining why it’s necessary in the first place, given that you’re compelled to use the dropdown. How long must we wait before Microsoft have anything resembling a useful common controls library?

Of the many things with Windows 7 that irritate me, including the perpetual failure to implement proper scroll wheel behaviour (Yuri Kobets informs me that Tordex Wheel 1.0 works fine in both 32-bit and 64-bit Windows 7 despite only being intended for 2000 and XP), is the inability to mark a program for launch upon login. Since Microsoft ripped off Apple’s Dock (which came from NeXT, who may or may not have ripped off the RISC OS Icon Bar), how did they fail to include such a simple and obvious feature:

Open at Login context menu in the OS X Dock

I very much like being able to have all my programs come up when I login in, and I very much don’t like having to screw around adding shortcuts to a program group in order to arrange for this to occur. I would have also appreciated it if Microsoft had also made file type modification sane instead of impossible, but fortunately I know how to modify types manually using the Registry Editor. Also, restricted users cannot install fonts in Windows 7, which I find utterly unforgivable. Microsoft’s butthurt over the orignal Xbox hacks is no excuse.

The taskbar grouping context menu has been excised; this is no longer possible, at least, not with the default Dock^Wtaskbar behaviour:

In XP, right-click has useful options for a grouped button

Apparently, this is called “progress”.

Posted 9th January 2011 – Comments and questions?