View Poll Results: Do you think it is necessary to allways show system folders like Program Files, Windows, etc?

Voters
11. You may not vote on this poll
  • Yes

    8 72.73%
  • No

    3 27.27%
  1. paulie_iwin's Avatar
    I am pretty familiar with Windows since version 95. Lately I have realized that the trend is to make the internal storage smaller and upload your data to the cloud, which for me is easier and safer. By doing this, we won't need additional partitions and drives in the future.

    The only reason I am going to the Program Files, Program Files (x86), App data, ProgramData, Windows, etc is to completely remove software. But other than this I believe that these folders are not needed to be shown.
    My opinion is that the average user is somehow confused by them and I would prefer if they did not show up at all.

    I would also enjoy the option when uninstalling a software for it to be completely removed, including registry keys and all associated files and folders. Something like "Would you like to remove the software completely including settings and preferences? Yes/No."

    What do you think? Are you bothered by the system folders as well?

    Cheers.
    02-22-2017 05:40 AM
  2. Chazzy J's Avatar
    I think it's good to be able to find these in the File Explorer if you need them. But it does make the app menu look a little messy when you scroll down to the bottom and there's all of these folders down there that you'll never use. Would like to see these removed from the app menu...
    Laura Knotek likes this.
    02-22-2017 09:02 AM
  3. a5cent's Avatar
    I would also enjoy the option when uninstalling a software for it to be completely removed, including registry keys and all associated files and folders. Something like "Would you like to remove the software completely including settings and preferences? Yes/No.
    Yup. We all want that. MS realized the same thing a decade ago (wish they had realized it earlier).

    Unfortunately, MS can't solve those problems for Win32 desktop software (that isn't installed through Centennial and the new Windows Store), or at least not without sacrificing compatibility. There are simply too many ways Win32 software can be installed and uninstalled which MS/Windows has no control over. Many companies also use shared files that only their software uninstallers know how and when to uninstall correctly (many times they don't which is how Windows installations get littered with junk).

    That's exactly why we now have UWP apps and the Windows Store. They solve all the problems you mentioned and more.
    Laura Knotek, jmshub and aximtreo like this.
    02-22-2017 09:32 AM
  4. madcursor's Avatar
    These folders are not really a bother to anyone, but I agree that the average user does not need to see these folders. In fact, most people rarely open C: drive anyways. Most people are concerned with documents, download, etc and any external storage devices that are added.
    These folders can be hidden from the users by designating then add system folders but it's one of the "don't fix what isn't broken" things. Most problems in any system are not caused because of users accessing any of these folders. So it might just be left to personal preference, but an option would be welcome.
    A more important issue is completely removing software components and registry entries during uninstall. This will be a welcome addition and reduce the slowdown most users face in persuade, but it has to be a safe operation that doesn't accidentally cripple the system. I am sure Microsoft can develop such a tool if they wanted to, and I hope they do.
    Till then I will continue using Revo uninstaller.
    02-22-2017 09:44 AM
  5. a5cent's Avatar
    A more important issue is completely removing software components and registry entries during uninstall. This will be a welcome addition and reduce the slowdown most users face in persuade, but it has to be a safe operation that doesn't accidentally cripple the system. I am sure Microsoft can develop such a tool if they wanted to, and I hope they do.
    You might want to read the post above yours. MS can't build "such a tool" for Win32 desktop software. No uninstaller (including Revo) solves it perfectly either.

    That's exactly one of the reasons why MS built the UWP and the Windows Store. It does solve those problems.
    Laura Knotek and aximtreo like this.
    02-22-2017 10:08 AM
  6. madcursor's Avatar
    You might want to read the post above yours. MS can't build "such a tool" for Win32 desktop software. No uninstaller (including Revo) solves it perfectly either.

    That's exactly one of the reasons why MS built the UWP and the Windows Store. It does solve those problems.
    I did read it and I actually I agree with that post, but I don't agree that Microsoft can't build such a program. There are difficulties in doing something like that as explained in that post and it may not work 100% of the time, but that is no excuse. Tools like Revo are by no mature perfect, but do a great job removing obsolete files by recording disk activity by installers and work well most of the time. If they can do it, so can Microsoft, they just choose to not build tools supporting an API they are trying to move away from.
    But Win32 is still the dominant API used by windows programs, there is still a lot of demand for such a solution and it is always better to use a tool made by Microsoft instead of third party system tools.
    02-22-2017 11:30 AM
  7. a5cent's Avatar
    it may not work 100% of the time, but that is no excuse. Tools like Revo are by no mature perfect, but do a great job removing obsolete files by recording disk activity by installers and work well most of the time. If they can do it, so can Microsoft.
    That's exactly it. Revo can't do it, and neither can MS.

    Take any software package where some files are used by multiple programs and where some registry entries are also shared (like Adobe CC). In that scenario you can monitor disk activity all you like... it's impossible for any cleanup utility to know when it's safe to remove a shared file or registry entry. That's ONLY ONE very simple scenario where every cleanup tool falls on its face. There are MANY MORE.

    For a mass market product like Windows, if only 0.001% of daily installs/uninstalls work incorrectly, that's still hundreds of thousands of daily failures, which results in bloat, OS rot, and potential errors (which for businesses means lost money). That's completely unacceptable for an officially sanctioned "solution".

    If it was possible to solve this problem in the way you suggest, and MS considered it "good enough", MS would have solved it a decade ago. It's been a well understood problem for much longer than that. It has not been solved precisely because there is no such solution that works in a reliable enough way.

    If you disagree with this then you are simply wrong.

    A more reliable solution for Win32 software, and the one MS actually provides, is the ability to create System Snapshots. That works reliably, but it requires far too much planning and discipline to use effectively, making it almost worthless for most consumers.

    Providing an API to handle Win32 software install/uninstall is a good idea. Of course, for consumers, a new API is only as useful as the number of developers that use it. But guess what? That API already exists! That API is part of the Windows Store! You can even get Win32 software to use that API. The tool that helps developers do so is called the Desktop Bridge (project Centennial).

    Anyway, you don't really want what you think you want (or at least you shouldn't). We already have a 100% reliable API based solution for this problem. More developers just have to start using it.
    02-22-2017 06:19 PM
  8. aximtreo's Avatar
    Does anyone remember a program called Total Commander. It was a really good Win Explorer app that allowed you to show or not show hidden files. Not sure what happened to the app or if it would be appropriate for today's file system but it worked at the time.
    02-22-2017 06:48 PM
  9. madcursor's Avatar
    That's exactly it. Revo can't do it, and neither can MS.

    Take any software package where some files are used by multiple programs and where some registry entries are also shared (like Adobe CC). In that scenario you can monitor disk activity all you like... it's impossible for any cleanup utility to know when it's safe to remove a shared file or registry entry. That's ONLY ONE very simple scenario where every cleanup tool falls on its face. There are MANY MORE.

    For a mass market product like Windows, if only 0.001% of daily installs/uninstalls work incorrectly, that's still hundreds of thousands of daily failures, which results in bloat, OS rot, and potential errors (which for businesses means lost money). That's completely unacceptable for an officially sanctioned "solution".

    If it was possible to solve this problem in the way you suggest, and MS considered it "good enough", MS would have solved it a decade ago. It's been a well understood problem for much longer than that. It has not been solved precisely because there is no such solution that works in a reliable enough way.

    If you disagree with this then you are simply wrong.

    A more reliable solution for Win32 software, and the one MS actually provides, is the ability to create System Snapshots. That works reliably, but it requires far too much planning and discipline to use effectively, making it almost worthless for most consumers.

    Providing an API to handle Win32 software install/uninstall is a good idea. Of course, for consumers, a new API is only as useful as the number of developers that use it. But guess what? That API already exists! That API is part of the Windows Store! You can even get Win32 software to use that API. The tool that helps developers do so is called the Desktop Bridge (project Centennial).

    Anyway, you don't really want what you think you want (or at least you shouldn't). We already have a 100% reliable API based solution for this problem. More developers just have to start using it.
    You have probably never used Revo or similar software, but if you do, you will see they do a good enough job. I haven't used Adobe CC, but I have used MATLAB, LABVIEW, Visual Studio, Eclipse, many different productivity suites and a lot of games. None of them caused me any issues when uninstalled with Revo. Let me repeat what I wrote in my previous post and agree with you that NO SOFTWARE WILL WORK WELL 100% in such complex matters, but at least Revo (I haven't used any others, but hear good things about others too) works well for most scenarios.

    I do not disagree with you on any technical point you made. While you are right from the point of view of someone who knows a lot about how windows works, I think you fail to see the problem from a layman's point of view. This is where I disagree. Of course uninstallers don't work reliably for all the software, but they have been developed well enough that they work reliably on the most common programs.

    That is usually good enough for the average user who don't usually pay attention while installing new software and definitely don't use Adobe CC. And since this thread was originally about suggested improvements for those users, I do think they will find such addition useful. They don't have enough knowledge or motivation to learn how windows actually works or manage carefully what is installed. They will usually just use the included applications, add one or two additional ones, unwittingly install adware while browsing and then complain about how slow windows is compared to the Macbook their friend uses. For them, such a tool will greatly improve their perception of windows, even if it is effective only most of the time. And as far as businesses and power users are concerned, who do use software complex enough to cause problems, they usually handle system management themselves anyways using second or third party tools.

    Also I think you misunderstand that I recommend such tools. These are tools that can potentially cause irreparable damage to a system of improperly used and so should always be used by someone who knows what they are doing. I understand that risk when I use them. But if Microsoft can make a simpler version of such tool(which surely they can, but its probably a business decision not to do so) that takes a cautious approach to cleaning the system, even if it is less effective, that will definitely help the average Joe and increase his confidence in windows' performance.

    But as you pointed out, Microsoft has already decided to not build such a tool and promote UWP, which is actually a good long term solution. It makes good business sense to do so, I just hope they manage to convince developers to jump on quickly.
    a5cent likes this.
    02-22-2017 11:54 PM
  10. madcursor's Avatar
    Does anyone remember a program called Total Commander. It was a really good Win Explorer app that allowed you to show or not show hidden files. Not sure what happened to the app or if it would be appropriate for today's file system but it worked at the time.
    Total commander is still available and still very much relevant. For me, as long as windows doesn't implement tabbed interface in the file manager, this is a must have ☺
    aximtreo likes this.
    02-23-2017 12:07 AM
  11. a5cent's Avatar
    For them, such a tool will greatly improve their perception of windows, even if it is effective only most of the time.
    Okay. I now understand what you are saying.

    However, I'm not inventing the reason why MS has opted not to provide such a solution. I've been told on at least two occasions by MS' developers that the unreliability of such a solution is why MS chose not to pursue it.

    But you are also right. How reliable a solution must be for it to be worthwhile is certainly a subjective matter. That subjective issue is the only thing we disagree on.
    02-23-2017 12:55 AM
  12. paulie_iwin's Avatar
    Quick question from my side since we got into the uninstall issue.
    Does the same thing happen in Linux or Mac OS? Removing a software leaves some files in the system?
    Thanks!
    02-23-2017 12:57 AM
  13. madcursor's Avatar
    Okay. I now understand what you are saying.

    However, I'm not inventing the reason why MS has opted not to provide such a solution. I've been told on at least two occasions by MS' developers that the unreliability of such a solution is why MS chose not to pursue it.

    But you are also right. How reliable a solution must be for it to be worthwhile is certainly a subjective matter. That subjective issue is the only thing we disagree on.
    You are right. I understand it wouldn't make sense for Microsoft to add unreliable tools into their flagship product. It is just a matter of perception and needs of different users, which by definition is subjective.
    I perhaps was not able to explain my reasoning properly earlier, but I am glad we understand each other now.
    a5cent likes this.
    02-23-2017 01:49 AM
  14. madcursor's Avatar
    Quick question from my side since we got into the uninstall issue.
    Does the same thing happen in Linux or Mac OS? Removing a software leaves some files in the system?
    Thanks!
    This problem can never be completely eliminated, only reduced sure to practical reasons.
    I can't speak for Mac OS, but Linux manages this much better, mainly because most of the software is downloaded and installed through a repository maintained by the OS developers(kind of like an app store) and there is a tighter monitoring and control over what is installed or removed. But this also results in less software availability compared to windows.
    02-23-2017 01:58 AM
  15. TechFreak1's Avatar
    Personally I would have it set that only for administrators or users with admin priveleges or elevated priveleges are able to access system folders. "Standard users" (I always wondered where Microsoft derived the term - Standard User from lol). would not be able to access these folders. Guest users would be locked down to just store apps and with additional restrictions suchas purchasing apps and what not.

    That in my opinion is the best way as opposed to a blanket access for users of a particular category (this can be done but it's not simple for most people to implement for local accounts).

    A user with "standard priveleges" can circumvent the restraints in place if they know what they are doing.
    02-23-2017 07:08 AM
  16. LuxuryTouringZone's Avatar
    Yes, I'd like to see system files and folders in case I need to deal with them.
    02-23-2017 07:47 PM

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