Another Windows Rant

Since getting myself a Mac (two, by now), I’m becoming positively allergic to the incredible stupidities one encounters in Windows programs. Most of these are the result of the combined stupidity of the application programmer and the Windows designers. Now, for today’s example…

I’ve got this accounting program I’m not happy with. It’s expensive, full of features I don’t need and sorely lacking in those I do need. I admit I’m to blame for buying that piece of junk in the first place, but at least I enjoy myself with complaining about it all the time. Since I used to write accounting programs myself, I know what can be done, and this one is definitely not the cat’s whiskers, if you get my drift.

Back to today… calling up the monthly tax declaration view in the program, (let’s call it SPOOCS Avenger 40, so nobody can sue me for defamation), you have little buttons to show you the detail of each total amount. Clicking that button today got me absolutely nothing. Restarting the program didn’t help.

Ah, I thought, I used to have a dual monitor on this machine, but I took away the second monitor from the Dell and hooked it up to my much more deserving 20″ iMac just a couple of days ago. So the Avenger 40 probably popped up that detail view on that nonexistant monitor. Even though I’d also disabled it in Windows. Windows is totally willing to display windows on non-existing monitors. I’m sure they call it a feature. Cute.

Oh, well, dive into the registry, look for SPOOCS program settings, with the intention of wiping the location for that window (I’ve done this so many times for other Windows programs, so you get used to the maneuver). Surprise: they don’t have those settings under their company name under the key Software. Maybe I should go look for them? In a multimegabyte registry without knowing what I’m looking for? Pull the other one.

Should I reinstall the program? The chances of these SPOOCS people going to the trouble of wiping cached windows locations when I uninstall or reinstall are pretty slim, so it’s not even worth trying.

So finally, I got that second Dell monitor, hooked it up to the Windows machine, reenabled the second monitor, went into the Avenger 40 program, popped up the detail view (and sure, it opened on the second monitor), dragged it to the primary monitor and closed the program. Removed the second monitor and now I could go on with my accounting.

I can’t imagine what hoops I would have had to go through if I’d changed to a machine without a dual monitor capable graphics card or if I hadn’t had that second monitor available. (Maybe I could have plugged the primary into the secondary DVI for a moment, I guess.)

How does a Mac do this? Well, if you unplug the second monitor, the OS will move the windows from that second monitor towards the primary so you’ll see at least the edge of that window, just enough to alert you to its existence and to allow you to grab it and pull it into full view. Additionally, you can find it using Expose.