10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

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many annoyed with computer   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right NowWe make do with Windows, but it isn’t perfect. In fact, Windows computers can be extremely annoying. They’re full of all sorts of annoying features that just get in our way and slow us down, distracting us from getting work done or doing whatever else we want to do. We’ll help you disable some of the worst Windows annoyances.

Many of these features exist for good reason and are useful to some people. However, for many people, these features just get in our ways. Disabling them gets Windows out of our way, making using a Windows computer a less annoying experience.

Delete Confirmation

Windows 7 asks for confirmation every time you delete a file. If you frequently delete files, this can be obnoxious. You can always get back accidentally-deleted files by restoring them from the recycle bin or using the undo option in Windows Explorer, anyway.

To disable delete confirmation, right-click the Recycle Bin icon on your desktop and select Properties. Uncheck the Display delete confirmation dialog option.

disable delete confirmation   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Caps Lock

Does anyone actually use the Caps Lock key for anything? The only time most people press the Caps Lock key is by accident, resulting in accidentally capitalized text and backspacing.

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Luckily, you can actually disable the Caps Lock key in Windows by changing a setting in the Windows Registry. Download the disable_caps_lock.reg file, double-click it, and you won’t have a Caps Lock key anymore. (When you press the key on your keyboard, nothing will happen.)

Multiple Clicks To Activate a Window From The Taskbar

Windows 7’s taskbar is an improvement from the classic Windows taskbar, but it’s a step back in one way. When you have multiple windows open for the same program, clicking the taskbar icon will open a thumbnail list of the windows you have open. You’ll need to click a second time to activate a program’s window. In other words, it takes two clicks to restore a window you were using instead of a single click.

You can speed things up, making a single click on the taskbar icon restore the window you were last using. (You can continue clicking it to cycle through the other open windows.)

This also requires a registry hack. Press the Windows key, type regedit, and press Enter to open the registry editor.

Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced

Right-click in the right pane, create a new DWORD value, and name it LastActiveClick. Double-click the LastActiveClick setting and change its value to 1. (You’ll have to log out and log back in after doing this.)

lastactiveclick registry setting   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Windows Update Restart Prompts

After Windows installs updated automatically, it will prompt you to restart every 4 hours. (Windows 8 actually doesn’t harass you like previous versions of Windows do, but that’s a cold comfort if you’re still using Windows 7.)

Many tweaks people recommend to disable this pestering pop-up don’t seem to work properly. One sure-fire solution is to set Windows Update to “Download updates but let me choose whether to install them”. When you’re ready to install updates, you can tell Windows to download the updates, and then you can restart your computer. Windows will wait patiently until you allow it to install updates, so you can only install updates when you’re ready to restart, not when you’re in the middle of working.

To access this setting, open the Windows Update control panel and click Change settings in the sidebar.

windows update let me choose   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Windows Sounds

By default, Windows enables a lot of obnoxious sounds. Some people may like this, but other people would rather enjoy their music or silence in peace.

You can disable these sounds by right-clicking the speaker icon in your system tray and selecting Sounds. Select No Sounds in the Sound Scheme box to disable all sounds. You can also change or disable individual sounds from here, if you like.

disable windows sounds   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Action Center Messages

Windows’ Action Center messages can be useful – for example, they alert people who don’t have an antivirus. However, the Action Center also provides other messages that may not be as useful. For example, it shows a message prompting you to enable Windows Backup. If you’re using another backup solution, this is annoying.

To disable such messages, open the action center by clicking the flag icon in your system tray and selecting Open Action Center. Click Change Action Center settings in the sidebar and uncheck the types of notifications you don’t want to receive.

disable action center messages   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Aero Shake

When you grab a window’s title bar and shake it around on your screen, Aero Shake minimizes other active Windows. This can be annoying if you only ever accidentally use this feature.

This also requires a registry hack to disable. Download the Disable_Aero_Shake.reg file and run it to prevent this from happening in the future.

Sticky Keys

Sticky Keys is a useful accessibility feature for some people. However, for most of us, Sticky Keys just gets in the way when we enable it by accident. When you tap the left Shift key five times, the Sticky Keys pop-up will appear. Click the “Go to the Ease of Access Center to disable the keyboard shortcut” option when the pop-up appears.

sticky keys popup   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Uncheck the “Turn on Sticky Keys when SHIFT is pressed five times” option. The pop-up won’t appear in the future. (If the pop-up doesn’t appear at all for you, congratulations – you already have Sticky Keys disabled.)

disable sticky keys4   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Filter Keys

Filter Keys works similarly to Sticky Keys. It appears when you hold down the right Shift key for 8 seconds. Once you do, you’ll see the Filter Keys pop-up.

filter keys pop up   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

You can then disable Filter Keys in the same way you disabled Sticky Keys.

disable filter keys   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Cluttered Context Menus

Programs love adding context menu items, but your context menus can become longer and longer the more programs you install. To clean things up, you can uninstall some programs – or disable the context menu entries without uninstalling the programs.

Read our guide to disabling context menu entries for instructions.

ccleaner disable a context menu entry   10 Windows Annoyances You Could Rid Yourself Of Right Now

Are there any other Windows annoyances you disable? Share your favorite tips in the comments!

Image Credit: Man looking at computer in desperation via Shutterstock

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42 Comments -

Anonymous

This was a great article. I already disabled the sounds and the sticky keys and the delete confirmation. Thank you. And you are right, these annoyances just get in the way and are a hassle by slowing you down.

Richard Steven Hack

Not to be a troll, but the biggest Windows annoyance I have is…Windows. LOL

That’s why I run Linux. (Not that it’s perfect, either.)

Actually since I don’t use Windows much except for client support, I haven’t run into many annoyances in Windows 7. XP was LOADED with annoyances. As 7 and now 8 take over, hopefully those will go away eventually.

The biggest annoyances in most OS is when they attempt to be either “helpful” or “informative.” While both are worthy goals, most of the time they fail miserably. They either take an action because they ASSUME you want to do something which you then have to counter-act, or they pop messages that tell you what you should already know or don’t give a damn about.

This is why system programmers should not be allowed to DESIGN systems. They’re utterly incompetent at it.

dragonmouth

“This is why system programmers should not be allowed to DESIGN systems. They’re utterly incompetent at it.”

I resemble that remark! /grin/

I think your definition of a “system programmer” may be a little awry. From what I know of “system programmers” they are concerned with inner workings of the O/S kernel. They do not DESIGN systems. That is left to the “system analysts”. Application programmers are the ones that develop all those little “helpful” and/or “informative” applications that you so dearly love. They are the ones that make everything “user friendly”.

Djordje Djoric

They’re not doing it because they really want to, it’s because they HAVE to. Just rename “user friendly” to “ignorant friendly” and you will understand why they do it and you can then make peace with it so you can continue with your lives undisturbed :D

dragonmouth

After 35 years in the business I understand very well. That is why I put “user friendly” in quotes.

Unknown …

Whenever I install windows, delete confirmation and Sounds are the first things to go and except action center messages I’ve no problem with anything else.

Anestis Kozakis

Caps Lock comes in useful for me a lot. Much better than continually holding down the SHIFT key.

Shaun Campbell

Google Chrome for me, thanks.

Mike Case

None of these have anything (directly) to do with a browser. Chrome (while it is a wonderful browser) doesn’t change any of that.

Unless you’re talking Chrome OS, in which case I withdraw this comment.

Lint Hasenpfeffer

What should be added is the win 7 snap to full screen on drag to edge thing.

Gilberto Ledgard

The biggest annoyance in Windows is Norton

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Then don’t run it.

Gilberto Ledgard

I uninstall it in the first boot of every Windows I install.

Doc

“After Windows installs updated automatically, it will prompt you to restart every 4 hours. (Windows 8 actually doesn’t harass you like previous versions of Windows do, but that’s a cold comfort if you’re still using Windows 7.)”

Windows 8 WILL automatically restart your PC after a period of time (24 hrs, IIRC): According to Microsoft,

“Will I be asked before my PC restarts after an update, or will it restart automatically?

We’ll let you know if you need to restart your PC to finish installing updates, and you’ll have the choice to restart right away or postpone the restart. If you’re away from your PC for an extended period of time, Windows will automatically restart your PC to finish installing updates.”

Kieran Colfer

UAC is another annoyance – all the “do you want to allow this program to make changes to your computer” dialogs that keep popping up – if you didn’t want the program to do stuff, you probably wouldn’t have double-clicked on it would you? IS easy enough to turn off though: http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/disable-user-account-control-uac-the-easy-way-on-windows-vista/.

The other thing that irritates me is on shutdown, the “Waiting for Task Host” window that always pops up on win7, which never actually has anything listed that it is waiting to shut down. So, to shut down, you have to click “shut down”, wait for that to pop up, then click “force close” , and then click “ok” to force close some invisible program. Is there any way to change the time-out on that task host window so it just kills whatever it needs to kill without you needing to hit 2 buttons?

Lisa Santika Onggrid

I’m annoyed by UAC, but I never feel it’s safe enough to shut it down completely. So far, the best I can do is not to grit my teeth everytime I’m asked to ‘confirm’ my actions. It’s much better if it provides exclusion list.

Nikola Katsarov

Why to disable Caps lock… why not use it for something else? Not sure for what or how… but it can :)

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Google EnsoLauncher.

Catherine McCrum

Oh, I can’t wait to get home from work to “TWEAK” my computer. Shared computer and the caps lock feature is a source of frustration between my Hubby & I.

Jeff

funny story about caps lock. My wife somehow learned to type using caps lock instead of shift. So every time she types a capital letter its caps on hit the letter than caps off. She’s quick at it and says it’s not worth switching now. So I probably won’t be disabling it. :)

Lisa Santika Onggrid

My condition is similar to your wife’s. I rarely use Shift because I’m used to use Caps Lock all the time. By the time I know the proper way to capitalize letters is by hitting Shift, Caps Lock has remained in my muscle memory.

Anonymous

Great article! Used a few of these tricks, and am noticing the benefits already! (Y)

Akhil Kumar

For me the windows installation thing that comes up at the shut down button is the most annoying. Hopefully this will be helpful to someone(it’s applicable for win 7 too): http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/stop-windows-update-from-hijacking-the-sleep-button/

harley bellwood

I wish I had of known about the recycle bin confirmation turn off years ago. Great tips.

DA

Some of these things aren’t really that bothersome to me.. what REALLY annoys me and I disable on every computer we buy is the sync tab opening up with Windows Media Player, there’s a service it’s called Portable Device Enumerator Service, I searched online and that disables that function. Why on earth would I want to sync all my media to every flash drive I plug in? It’s like the clip.. hey you wanna do this? OH OH maybe you wanna do this? NO! Also, I set every media type to “Ask me every time” in the Auto Play options. But the most annoying is that Windows Media Player sync function. I just don’t like how it handles stuff, one time I did try it and it screwed up so many songs, I guess it was trying to do that thing that iTunes does for iPods, but it chopped off several seconds from the beginning of so many songs. Maybe there is a setting so that it copies straight, but I’d rather copy and paste just what I want and be in control. It should be as simple as copy and pasting files, why do all that weird stuff?
I do like how now Windows 7 has a ton of file attributes, it lets you add artist info and such right in Explorer, and WMP also can get info online and add it for you (again, I only do this manually because it thought a video game soundtrack was Aerosmith) but I check them against the CD I copy just to make sure.

Ron Lister

All this time I never knew about the Aero shake window thing. I guess It doesn’t annoy me so far but can’t imagin a use for it either. Oh well it can stay for now. Nice article by the way.

Junil Maharjan

The most annoying feature would be the sticky keys.

Lisa Santika Onggrid

Due to my nasty habit back when I learnt how to use computer, I still use CapsLock. More frequently than Shift, even. I try my best to quit this, but habit dies hard.

I use ‘no sound’ almost all the time. It’s not cool when you surprised the entire class with loud ‘ding!’ accidentally. In rare times I actually want sounds, I put together a sound scheme from various game SFX (example:inn theme for shut down)

Dave Johnson

These are great! Disabling multiple clicks to restore a window from the taskbar is awesome. However, it still does not allow you to minimize the same windows one by one after you’ve restored them. You can do this if only one window is open (e.g. you click it once and it restores, click it again and it minimizes). Anyone know how to implement this when multiple windows of the same program are open? Thanks!

Erin

I use sticky keys all the time. I can only type with one hand, so for me, hitting the shift key and then a letter to capitalize it is easier than hitting the shift key and letter simultaneously. It’s actually very useful.

Chubonga

I just tried the Aero Shake. I am now deeply entertained for the moment!

Keith Swartz

Great read! Thanks!

Focus

Thee worst annoyance must be when a background process finishes and then pops up a messagebox or a form in front of everything else and hijacks the focus.
Eg:
You know that Program X takes a while to start up, so while it’s loading, you quickly want to reply to an email or send an IM.
Then, while your busy typing, Program X finishes its loading process and pops up its login form. Now you’re suddenly typing in a Username textbox!!!

Alison Gent

Well that was actually helpfull…Thank you.

Clint Norwood

That reg file above also has the ability to change the caps lock into a shift key.
That seems even more helpful.

Nevzat Akkaya

Ah, Windows we neither can do with it, nor without it :)

Lore Franssen

I have also turned off file deletion confirmation, but remember to be careful when deleting from removable media, as this is always permanently deleted.

Martin

Caps Lock does not work for me. Windows 7 ???

Stephanie Staker

Chris, I tweeted your post and “liked” it on FB with the caveat to be careful with registry hacks. It is easy to make a mistake in typing or whatever so I am a chicken when it comes to registry stuff. Also, I have a Dell monitor and an Acer PC. When I accidentally hit the Caps Lock key (or turn off Num Lock), I get an icon that is huge and hard to miss in the middle of the screen. Is this a unique thing with my setup or what? Thanks!

Shirl

The most annoying thing I’ve found in windows is when I try to open a file and I get that yellow box that asks me if I want to “open” “save” or “cancel” . When I’m in my work program if I am looking at a patient file, each page is a file so I constantly have to click ‘OPEN” and then if it’s the wrong page I have to close it, and start again for the next page. REALLY ANNOYING! Miraculously, I managed to disable it once but somehow it came back. Now, I have another laptop that runs Windows 8 and it’s even worse because after opening a document file, I have to go find the upper left hand corner and right click to close it. If anyone has a way to change this I’d really like to know.

Nomad

Disable the CapsLock key?? It’s a very useful button. Who will want to disable it. I use it for many purposes daily.

Flip Wilson

I’ve found the best way to deal with windows is install Linux…