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The Top 15 - Worst Features Of Windows XP
(1 - user rating)
Written by mypchell.com   
Note: Click on any image for a larger view of that particular image.

...versions of Windows, we would expect to have System Restore and Windows Messenger. There are, however, some features that were introduced with Windows XP that did not take off as Microsoft had hoped. So, for this article I wanted to list out the Worst Features Of Windows XP.


  1. Automatic Search feature of the Hardware Update Wizard



What a great idea this was. The idea behind it was to try to simplify the process of updating drivers via your Device Manager using a Automatic Search to search your computer and Windows Update for the driver. The problem, is that it almost never works.




  1. Utility Manager



According to Microsoft, (the) Utility Manager enables users to check an accessibility program's status and start or stop an accessibility program. Users with administrator-level access can designate to have the program start when Utility Manager starts.

Um…ok. The ability to start and stop an accessibility during start up is a good thing, I just don’t see how it needs it’s own “manager". This option could have easily been rolled into a different control panel item. Another Useless Feature.




  1. Active Desktop



While this feature technically is not a new Windows XP feature, the way that it is setup as compared to past versions of Windows is new. Active Desktop enables a user to use their desktop as a web page, enabling a user to get content from the Internet and display it on their desktop.

This feature is rarely used nowadays, thanks in part to the recent wave of Spyware, Viruses and other malware.




  1. The Bundled Games That Come With Windows XP



C’mon Microsoft, give us something new! While I love Minesweeper, Solitaire and Pinball, it gets old real quick. In my opinion, the Internet Games, although a cool feature, could have been scraped for a few more (New) games. Hopefully Vista will have something new.




  1. Text-to-Speech



This feature was another bomb. Very primitive sounding and extremely ackward to use.




  1. The layout of the MMC



First, I want to iterate that I am definitely not saying that the MMC is a bad feature, it is essential for administering various settings, permissions and properties of the system. With that said, the layout of the MMC is all over the place. This causes additional confusion which is completely unnecessary.




  1. Add Hardware Wizard



I don’t think that I have ever used this. Windows XP is a plug and play operating system, so with most new hardware (like mice, keyboards, cameras etc) all you do is pop in the cd that came with the hardware (if there is one) and install the software, then plug in the device and that’s it.




  1. Add New Programs



For the same reasons as #7, the “Add New Programs" is another Useless feature.




  1. The Messenger Service



This service is not related whatsoever to Windows Messenger. In my experience, all this service does is serve pop up type ads to you. Very useless (not to mention annoying).




  1. Security Flaws in IE6



IE6 was a disaster, plain and simple. Granted, back when XP came out, there was not nearly the amount of concern as there is now about Security. Still, that doesn’t change the fact that IE6 was poorly designed. Microsoft realized this, and for the first time ever, a new version of Internet Explorer (IE7) is to be released separately from a new version of Windows (in the past the only time we got a new version of IE was when there was a new version of Windows). The good news, is that it looks like Microsoft has learned from it’s mistakes of IE6. IE7 fixes a lot of the IE6 security and feature flaws.




  1. Using the Built In Search Feature



Nowadays typical hard drive sizes are anywhere from 40GB to 500GB. Mine is 300GB and if I use the search feature in Windows XP, I have to let it run for a long, long time. Definitely not very useful (Note: Thankfully MS has improved the search in Windows Vista)




  1. Windows Catalog



I have never used this, and I had to actually do some research just to figure out what the heck this is. Apparently Windows Catalog lists hardware that has been tested and is approved to work with Windows XP. Whenever I buy hardware I am at the store and the product will always list on it what it is compatible with. Nowadays, just about every single piece of hardware designed for Windows is compatible with Windows XP anyhow. So the Windows Catalog is yet another completely useless feature




  1. The New Control Panel Layout



I have not found one person who actually likes the new control panel. It is laid out in a bizarre way which makes it ackward to use. Thank goodness Microsoft allows you to switch back to classic Control Panel (note: Microsoft did redo the control panel again in Windows Vista, but thankfully once again they left the option to switch back to classic).




  1. Game Controllers in Control Panel



Although I have to admit, I am not a hardcore gamer, I had always thought that most game controllers were plug and play. So why the heck do we need this?




  1. Set Program Access and Defaults



This feature sucks. Supposedly you are to change your default programs for your internet browser, media player, java and so on. The problem is, that it doesn’t seem to do anything extra to justify its existence.

For example, if you went in to Set Program Access and Defaults and unchecked Firefox (assuming you have Firefox installed), all that happens is a uninstall window pops up asking you if you want to continue with the uninstall of Firefox. If you wanted to uninstall Firefox you could have done that with the Add/Remove Programs.

Here is another example, assuming you have Real One Player installed…if you go into the Set Programs and Defaults, and uncheck Real Player. Then if you try to open Real Player, low and behold it still works! So what exactly is the Set Programs and Defaults doing?? The answer: Nothing.

And there you have it. As with any of these types of ‘lists’, there is always some debate and disagreement.

Do you agree with my top 15 of the worst Windows XP features? Feel free to share your comments or thoughts below.




Comments (18)add comment

Forgotthename said:

I dont find the section "add new programs" usless at all. Our company uses it to deploy software packages on select users and computers depending on the group policy. Its great bc it save admins lots of time instead of manullay installing diff apps for diff users.
 
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November 08, 2006
Votes: +1

natas said:

i agree with this 100%
 
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December 18, 2006
Votes: +1

ZoomZoom said:

Great article! Added it to my blog! My viewers will love your site including this awesome article. smilies/grin.gif

http://www.zoominwheelchairs.com
 
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January 08, 2007
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Dave_231 said:

i find the Joystick feature useful when i need to Calibrate the joystick.

 
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January 11, 2007
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Victor said:

Yes, those are worthless features. Now, how can we disable them?
 
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January 19, 2007
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ZoominWheelchairs said:

Thank you very much also! I admire your comments about my blog and my articles. And yes, you are right I am under 18. I'm 16 to be exact. And love writting articles and theories about things. And I will be sure to follow up on your new article as soon as I have free time! Because your list on your website is something that I have never seen before and quite impressive too. smilies/smiley.gif Thanks again! Great looking site also!

Brandon
 
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January 20, 2007
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Lawrenceguy said:

One thing I find exceptionally irritating is the fact that when you hit the power button/shutdown/restart without closing running apps, Windows decides to show you that it is counting down to end a task which is inevitably going to be ended anyways (since shutdown is irreversible once started)... slightly redundant, in my opinion.

Gladly, I know how to disable that smilies/grin.gif
 
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February 11, 2007
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Chuck said:

Obviously you don't game much. There's many situations (Custom hardware anyone?) where you still need to access and calibrate your control system. This feature, be it useless to the average user, is a must for hardcore gamers and people who love their simulation programs.
 
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March 02, 2007
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toshaluciouslips said:

They are useless programs.. how do we delete them?
 
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March 11, 2007
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Annie Carrigan said:

i need help with reinstalling windows xp i lost my number for it. can anyone help me with this problem. thanks a bunch.
 
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March 20, 2007
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shawn said:

I have never been able to get Active Desktop to display any web content since XP came out on our business (xp pro) systems! It worked fine on win98se and win2k pro. the only computer out of 50 in our operation that shows the web content on the desktop via acitve desktop (we like to have radar weather up for our ski business) was the one unit that was win2k pro and I upgraded it rather then a clean install.

anyone know why it doesn't show web content as one would execpt?
 
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May 23, 2007
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Dennis Paloma Sulit said:

It is really a very awkward portion of XP!!! I can't seem to figure out what to do when I first saw it. Then I was surprised to know that there is this feature at the left hand side of that window which would allow you to switch back to classic which is truly clear and simple.
 
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July 24, 2007
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aegis said:

the times the automatic search has worked proves it has some usefulness.

the utility manager is good for when... maybe you can't navigate through the control panel to control accessibility? you can start it at any time with winkey U, even before login

active desktop is made of pure and utter fail.

the bundled games that come with windows xp...work fine... you're paying for an operating system; the added games are just a bonus.

text-to-speech is just an API, Microsoft SAM is just a sample voice, and the Speech interface is just a test and config panel. the built-in text-to-speech makes programming and interfacing with voices much simpler than writing your own engine.

the MMC is perfectly organized for someone who is mass-administrating a network, and most home users don't even know about it... it is tailored to those running an enterprise network.

the add-hardware wizard is useful for the rare non-PNP hardware, especially with the drivers built into windows working when you don't have a CD.

add new programs helps administrators

the messenger service is also for a large network; it allows delivery of administrative messages

security flaws in IE 6... are because IE is made of fail.


might you change the title to "Things on Windows XP I don't use (properly)." ?

 
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December 15, 2007
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maria yo said:

I think that one of the worst WinXP features is the fact that when you open the task administrator or whatever its name is (ctrl alt delete), you just read a bunch of senseless letters like "csrs.exe" or "msfwsvc.exe". I mean, what the heck is that? Unless you know your computer like the palm of your hand, you won't have any idea what that means. Fortunately, microsoft has apparently solved this issue in their windows vista, by adding another column that says what program it is. Thank God!
 
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December 22, 2007
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RayLike said:

"Game Controllers" it's very useful. You are wrong on this one.
 
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February 09, 2008
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kaushik said:

You whine when some features are missing, and again you whine when you get extra features. If you don't like it, don't use. You can say a feature is bad only if Windows force you to use it, like the UAC in Vista. None of the features you mentioned hinders the usage of your computer in any way. These are some extra features that be better there than not. Some of these features are actually useful.

1. Active desktop- do you even know what that is for? If you think that's useless then read this

2. Games - I love solitare and minesweeper, thank you.

3. Layout of MMC - what's wrong with that? Please suggest a better layout.

4. Security flaws in IE6 - That's a feature??? Wow! this is the first time I've heard that security flaws are actually OS "features".

5. Search feature - an OS without search is unheard of.

@aegis (comments above) has already said the rest.
 
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April 15, 2008
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Mikey said:

The new control panel obviously takes more time to work through, especially if you know where you want to go to. But sometimes you come home from work and ure too tired to sit, stare and ponder what control panel item you really want!! Why not simply use the simple and easy User accounts...sound, speech and audio devices...network and internet connections... smilies/cheesy.gif
 
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February 03, 2009
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Ghoster said:

This is a good article ... Windows XP definetly needs to improve ... some functions are really useful, but others are stupid ... I agree ...
 
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October 04, 2009
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