Saturday, March 14, 2009

Windows 7 Beta - annoying bugs

The beta of Windows 7 seems to be doing pretty fine so far, and the upcoming RC fixes a lot of bugs.
However, from what I've seen of the interim pre-RC builds, two bugs that annoy me the most don't seem to be fixed.
I've sent feedback reports earlier, but since they've not been fixed so far, bringing them out for public view and discussion just might help to fix it before public release (which is a good thing, negative buzz is better BEFORE release, than after, by when positive buzz really must overtake the negative).

The below reports are copy-pasted text:

In brief:
Browsing network shares is problematic, when these shares reside on a Linux-based SMB server.

How to reproduce:
Open the 'Run' dialog box, or MyComputer, and enter network path (eg: \\SMBSRV ).
Enter login and password, of a user that has rights to access the SMB server.
Now you can see all visible shares.
Click on any share - this will now make you wait for almost 45 seconds, while a green progress bar proceeds slowly ahead in the address bar.
Eventually the contents of the share appear, and you can use the files and folders as usual.

User Experience:
The long wait for viewing contents, happens frequently, almost every few minutes, and happens multiple times in a row. This happens when using Windows Explorer, or 3rd party file management tools, or during file operations by apps (Word, WMP, WinZIP,etc.). The only thing to do during such times seems to be to stop whatever I was doing for a few minutes and then continue.

Further Details:
The SMB server is running a fully updated CentOS (Linux).
I'd assume the shares are configured well, because I can access and use the same SMB shares perfectly well on Windows Vista and Windows XP, on the same PC.
Some others at my workplace don't seem to have the issue I mention on their installations of Windows 7 Beta, possibly because of different hardware.
The hardware used in this case is an Intel C2D processor, nVidia nForce 630i/7100 Motherboard, 2 GB DDR2 800MHz RAM. The NIC is detected as a generic Marvell Yukon 88E8056-based Gigabit Ethernet controller.
Drivers are usually updated quite frequently.
Network sharing seems to work fine in general with the same PC in question, while using using SMB shares residing on other Windows-based computers.


In brief:
IE's 'Save As' file dialog box stops responding when trying to save.

How to reproduce:
Open Internet Explorer - open atleast 5 webpages in tabs - then open another tab with a webpage that has a lot of images or thumbnails.
Now, right-click on any image and click 'Save Picture As'. (or try to save the entire page)
In the 'Save As' dialog box that appears, navigate to any location (or Desktop folder).
Create a new folder, rename it, F5 to refresh view, then double-click on the newly created folder.
The logical next step is to click the 'Save' button and be done with it...
but the Save button is 'passive' and unclickable!

User Experience:
While the save button is unclickable, the Cancel button looks clickable, but clicking on it does nothing. Such cases usually bring up a "Not Responding" suffix on the title bar, but in this case nothing like that happens. The result is that I need to forcibly 'End Task' the IE window from task manager. Starting IE again, I am offered a choice of restoring open tabs, which brings back the pages I was visiting earlier, but the above bug will get replayed again if I try to save anything.

Further Details:
This seems to happen regardless of whether the Adobe Flash plugin is installed or not.
This happens to me on all the computers on which I have Windows 7 Beta1 installed.
This happens in the first few days, even before I start installing any 3rd party apps.
Beyond the first 2 weeks (i.e., after I start installing 3rd party apps, all new and compatible), the above problem loses its regularity, and happens off and on, not always. My attempts at trying to find which installed app seemingly fixes the issue, have been inconclusive so far.

Strange behaviour:
The above problem loses its severity when using 3rd party browsers - here's what happens on Opera, Firefox, K-Meleon, and Chrome:
- try saving page/image, it works 99% of the time
- once in a while the 'Save As' dialog box still freezes up
- the 'Cancel' button remains usable
- click the Cancel button once
- Voila! The 'Save As' dialog box comes back to life!
- now I can save files just fine, like always.
- but this kind of (strangely) mitigating solution does not work with IE, IE is still effectively crashed, if you call up a 'Save As' dialog box when a number of tabs are open.

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