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Case Study 4 - Explorer page 1

Explorer is so dumb that I decided that it would get a page all to itself for its non-file-system-related tasks.

Windows XP now implements taskbar grouping. Being a new feature to Windows as it is, it stands even less chance of working right than normal. Here it thinks that Access belongs to Explorer:

And then decides to give it an Explorer icon to try to fool me:

Now it has not only done it again, but also stolen an icon off a gaim window for one of the Explorer windows:

In the next picture, the taskbar button title has forgotten to update after I checked my Webmail inbox and got an extra message. Strangely, the tooltip is correct.

The following picture shows me opening a context menu on a Start menu item, only to have the entire lot disappear behind the taskbar. Argh.

Worse, here, I have tried to access Administrative Tools from Explorer, with a decidedly dodgy LinkSys CD in the drive. For some reason, listing the administrative tools involves refreshing the taskbar and scanning my CD drive.

As you can see, the CD was playing up, so the taskbar and Start menu have locked up and are now just floating dead on my screen.

In the next picture, I had tried to open a shortcut on the Start menu that referenced an offline network volume. After dismissing an error message, an empty submenu was left on the screen.

The Control Panel of a brand new Windows 2000 install: Explorer was acting up right from the moment it was installed. Excellent.

David Joffe experienced the same problem, demonstrating that it was not just me this time either.

When you select multiple taskbar buttons with ctrl-click and then close all the windows (right-click, Close), Windows 2000 often forgets to readjust the taskbar layout to make use of all the free space:

The following bug crops up on me routinely all day and night, for no good reason:

The taskbar is always meant to float above application windows, but routinely falls below that of the frontmost process. Aside from looking odd, it stops all the system tray icon tooltips from appearing (since the taskbar is now a background window) until you first bring it back to the top!

Finally, XP introduced a feature that hides unused tray icons. As well as being a cop out over telling vendors to stop shipping all that crap and users to can all the rest, it seems to be blithely unaware of exactly who owns any of the icons in the first place:

I really have no idea.