Windows Vista Keyboard Annoyances

Posted December 12th, 2006 by kyle

Vista adds some neat new behaviors for mouse users, but keyboard users seem to have taken a back seat. Just a few annoyances I noticed after using Vista for a few hours:

#1: Vista adds a new “message box on steroids” called the task dialog. It adds some sorely-needed features, but unfortunately, one handy Windows feature (common to message boxes and dialogs containing only buttons and labels) that it doesn’t implement is the capability to make a selection via a mnemonic letter without using the Alt key. For instance, the UAC dialogs are task dialogs and have choices like Allow or Continue, but you must press Alt+A or Alt+C to select those choices rather than A or C by itself.

#2: Too many tab stops to navigate panes in Windows Explorer (4 in XP vs. 8 in Vista), and the tab order is not intuitive (for instance, the list view precedes the column headers). Dedicated keys to jump directly to each pane are sorely needed.

#3: When launching an application from an Explorer view and a UAC prompt is displayed, when returning to the Explorer view, the keyboard focus is lost and you must tab 6 times to get focus back to the file list view.

#4: More steps to log off. Windows Vista: Windows, Right, Right, Right, L. Windows XP: Windows, L, Enter.

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4 Comments on “Windows Vista Keyboard Annoyances”

  1. Lex Says:

    Well said. I can’t believe this isn’t headline news — keyboard users are generally power users and these changes have frustrated me beyond belief.

  2. Greg Says:

    Adding a few:

    #5: Focus behavior is wacky. Adding to the afore mentioned tab order in explorer, is the way it resets its focus often. When focus is on the file pane and the window is minimized/restored the focus is not retained. Resets to default tab order.

    #6: The fancy menu like toolbar thingy traps focus as well. If you make a selection in it with the mouse, the focus does not restore to the file pane as you would expect.

    #7: This one was the case in xp as well, but no shortcut to activate window demanding attention (the taskbar flashing orange) has always bothered me. See KDE Ctrl+Alt+A for a good implementation. On another note, kde in general and kwin specifically are amazing examples of flexible ui interaction. Everything can be scripted and configured to exactly the behavior you want.

  3. Susan Gustin Says:

    Where can I get help from this annoynance. I have called Dell three times and they suggest Microsoft.

    For examble I get lots of pop up boxes. I have a major problem with the letter b. It sends the curser elsewhere, starts the type over to the right side or deletes all the time. That last one is a killer. My daughter needs to type a paper and I hate to thing of it.

  4. kyle Says:

    It sounds like you may have a virus or other evil malware on your computer. Try performing a security scan or installing/updating the security software on your PC.