Task Manager may display a startup entry with a blank program icon and the name ‘Program’. What is this?
While this can look malicious or suspicious, typically it’s the result of a mistake. When a program registers itself as a startup program, it may not enclose one or more values in double quotes correctly. Thus, if a program path is supposed to be ‘C:\Program Files\Starcheat\starcheat.exe‘, the developer may have mistakenly not enclosed the path correctly. Windows will read a space as the end of the value, therefore it becomes C:\Program.
View Offending File Path
If you want to view the path causing this, simply right click on the header of the task manager startup entries and show the ‘Command line’ option. ‘Startup type’ is useful to show as well.
From here, you will now be able to see the broken path and navigate there yourself.
As you can see, in this instance the value is not enclosed correctly, leading to this error.
You can then potentially remove the startup entry entirely or laugh at the developer’s incompetence.
You should always verify any files you download/run from strangers on the internet.
Since .reg files are basically .txt files containing paths of where to insert registry entries, you can easily open any of the downloaded files in a text editor and verify the contents are benign for yourself.
Now I don’t hate Windows by any means, and I use it as a daily driver myself, and that being said, I want what’s best for its development and future. It can only get better through criticism imo.
I keep seeing articles about Windows 11, so I collected some thoughts here for consideration.
In my last post about Windows 11, I pointed out that Windows 10 should have been iterated upon instead of Windows 11 being released. That post includes a few reasons I won’t mention again here including the taskbar button being moved to the center and destroying a key UX design feature that Windows themselves must have forgotten they implemented so long ago.
Let’s talk instead about more bad things about the OS that have come to light.
As usual, the new release of Microsoft’s major operating system has lots of bugs.
This is why I still recommend waiting for a while after release to upgrade, even if you like the new look of Windows 11.
When asked about the performance issues of the OS, Microsoft had this to say:
While they are aware Windows 11 is slow – this is a key reason I’m choosing to stay on Windows 10 for now. It took a long time for Windows 10 to get to a reasonably stable version, and I’m expecting the same for Windows 11. Give it a year or two and then see where it is.
Default apps settings
Surprise again, Microsoft is making it harder to change your web browser away from Edge. In Windows 11, you must change every file protocol related to html documents, links, and other web related entries as opposed to having a simple “Web Browser” option like in Windows 10. This is anti-consumer and doesn’t make using the OS easier at all.
Context menu options that before were one click away are now hidden for “ease of use”. This may or may not be preferred by some though, I can see users who don’t typically need the extra context menu options being more encouraged to right click and use the simplified menu.
Personally I don’t find the widgets they have interesting or useful in the slightest, and the widget pull out goes halfway across the screen, so it’s almost useless for multitasking. There are no community or custom widgets, so you are stuck with what Microsoft decides to develop. If I know them, they may release one or two more before forgetting about the feature entirely or disbanding the division of developers that work on it.
No option to choose different App Icon sizes and end less customization options available in tiles grid
No App Folders
No option for Named Groups
No way to resize start menu
No option for full screen start menu
No show more apps option (Current view displays only 18 apps without scrolling)
Ability to remove pinned apps and show all apps view only
Usability – Not mouse friendly, lot of mouse travel for every action. No way to remove recommended section, app and all apps buttons are far away from reach. Also you need additional click to reach All Apps. Even for touch users it is very difficult to reach new start menu or apps in two handed mode.
No refresh option in context menu, there are many instance where explorer fails to auto refresh.
Context menu is missing many options like shortcut, send to, share with, restore previous version and 3rd party customizations (Windows has poor history of developers embracing new platform features, so not sure when Devs will add these to new menu)
Quick access toolbar has been removed. So no option to pin my favorite commands like copy path
When “Turn off the store application” and “Disable all apps from Microsoft store” group policies are configured, basic windows apps like notepad, mspaint, etc will not work. This also blocks users from launching cmd or powershell from Windows + X menu
To sum things up, Windows 11 is having some issues, as is expected of a needless full OS upgrade for feature removing UX and UI changes. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
When Windows 10 came out, it was supposed to usher in a new standard of operating under the Microsoft family. The start menu was brought all the way back in comparison with Windows 8.1, and they finally fixed a number of graphical issues users were having.
The rebrand to Windows 10 was for the numerous changes they’d done to the operating system, back then.
So what changes to instigate a new OS now?
A New Name Means Distance from Old Identity
Changing a name is a great way to distance a person, place, or thing from old actions or non applicable qualities that exist currently. It’s a way to signal change, that something is not the same as before.
Microsoft and other corporations use this strategy often to create positive attention for their brand or distance themselves from negative attention.
And Windows 10 has had a lot of negative attention:
Really, that’s the most important thing, isn’t it? Are the changes any good?
Unless you want a bunch of features you could already achieve in Windows 10 with more bloat, more integrated applications, less customization, and more restrictions on which hardware you can install it on.
Wouldn’t it be great if you could already do that in Windows 10?
Oh wait. You can.
This is what my desktop looks like currently on 21H1. I also have a custom dark theme installed to properly theme some of the discrepancies out of the OS like the Task Manager, the dialogue options, and even Notepad.
Using TaskbarX, SecureUXTheme, and a few other dependencies, you can already create what I believe to be a better look than what Windows 11 delivers out of the box.
Changing UX Design
Notice that the start button is on the bottom left in the image above. Now look at a picture of the new Windows 11 taskbar:
The start button has moved to the center with the other icons.
THIS IS BAD UX DESIGN.
Because when a button is on an edge that you can move your mouse against, it has an infinite width. If you drag your mouse against the left edge of your (leftmost) monitor, it cannot move outside the screen and thus any button on the edge of the screen would be easier to quickly whip the mouse over and click.
In the same way, when a button is in a corner such as the start button was in most previous versions of Windows, it is much easier to drag your mouse to the corner quickly without aiming at all, as two sides have infinite width. This makes it extremely efficient to locate the start button, no matter the cursor location.
However, by moving the start button to the center of the taskbar, Microsoft eliminates that smart UX choice they made all those years ago.
Perhaps Microsoft will realize this and provide an option to restore the default alignment in a later update. As of 8/2/2021, this is not possible.
The main concern for me as Microsoft continually whips around GUI updates is… how has Windows fundamentally changed since the last big update? And how are they fixing the small issues that continue to plague normal operations throughout the working day? Well, the answers to both of those questions are pretty disappointing.
A) It hasn’t changed that much, so don’t expect to notice much difference
B) They haven’t fixed that much, so don’t expect to notice much difference
And that’s where we are. Another graphical change to an OS in an era where to this day, on the latest Windows build, you can open command prompt and hold F11 down to see the old Windows 7 UI underneath for a split second as the GUI is overwritten with the new theme.
Progress Is Not Bad
But there has to be progress. Windows 11 is completely unnecessary for what they are bringing to the table in the new versions. In a perfect world, maybe Windows 10 would have been rebranded to “Windows” with thematic naming to keep versions clear, saved the sweeping UI upgrades until AFTER THEY’VE FINISHED THE EXISTING DARK THEME FOR THEIR CURRENT OS, and maybe don’t make yet another “Settings” app before the old Control Panel is even removed.
I’ll say it again, I would love for Microsoft to be innovating here, but where is it? What can be achieved on Windows 11 that can’t already be accomplished on existing hardware and software?