Recommended Posts

Ian W

I had originally wanted to include this in the Do you use Libraries and / or Saved Searches topic, but its size increased to the point that I felt that it warranted a new topic. Unfortunately, the poll in that topic suggested that only a scarce number of users actually use the Saved Search feature, with an even smaller number of users preferring it over Libraries.

Beta 1 Virtual Folders.png

The Saved Search (Virtual Folder) feature would most likely be used more often (or even appreciated) if Microsoft had made it more prominent within the interface like it was in the beta iterations of Windows Vista—for example, in Beta 1 there was a total of 18 different virtual folders, unlike 8 in RTM—and if the company had not removed some of its best features while developing the operating system.

Fig7.png

All Documents.pngAll Pictures and Videos.pngAlbums.png
Virtual folders were, at one time, intended to be the primary way that users would interact with files. With Windows Vista Beta 1, they replaced the links to the physical folders on the Start menu and they, perhaps equally as important, appeared prominently within the navigation pane in File Explorer. Note how in the screenshots shown above, the virtual folders in the navigation pane change depending on the type of folder displayed, with specialized virtual folders appearing for documents, music, pictures and videos, and also for their respective types of metadata.


Stacks navigation pane.png
In addition, the navigation pane listed files with metadata in groups called "stacks," which are groups of similar files. It is worth noting that every time a new keyword was added to a file, a new stack would automatically be created—and displayed within the navigation pane—to hold all files with that keyword. I will get to stacks again in a moment, but I want to focus on a level of abstraction that is not available today with virtual folders.
 

1bIttwN.gif
Users could drag and drop files into a virtual folder, which would then place the files in the corresponding physical folder; though not shown, users could also create new files from the context menu straight from within certain virtual folders which, as before, would place the new files in the virtual folder's corresponding physical folder.


Fq0Sq4u.gif
Files in virtual folders could also be arranged into groups—like today's physical and virtual folders—but a feature that is not available today is the ability to simply drag and drop files within one group to another group to modify or set properties on them. In the example shown above, dragging multiple untagged images into a group applies that group's metadata to all of those images simultaneously.
 

amrXlBe.gif
On the subject of dragging and dropping files, like the RTM version of Windows Vista (and later versions of Windows) files in beta builds could be arranged into stacks, but it was also possible to drag and drop files into these stacks to automatically modify or set properties on the files (e.g., dragging a document without an assigned author to a stack based on an author would assign that author as a property of the document). In the example shown above, this rich functionality is used to apply a single tag to an image. Like the groups functionality shown above, however, multiple files could be added to stacks to apply metadata to all of those files simultaneously. Users could, as shown, create their own stacks from the context menu to facilitate personal customization of metadata.

LvJdc8Q.gif
Stacks were not limited to modifying or setting a single property; dragging a file to an album stack, for example, could set multiple properties on the file at once, including the album artist and the album title.


Grouping stacks.png
Stacks themselves could be grouped by file properties such as names, dates, ratings, keywords, et cetera.


Microsoft's virtualized storage efforts would lead the company's Greg Sullivan to state:

Quote

We actually considered at one time not having folders. It was all going to be virtualized storage with search queries and so on. We would just completely abstract the file organization stuff from the physical folders and disk structure. But that was too much of a leap over the chasm, too confusing for users.

Microsoft's intention to provide virtualized storage to users was ultimately deemed by users to be too confusing. Users were not accustomed to the idea of virtual folders on the Start menu. While this may seem natural now—with Windows 7 and its Libraries feature—it was an idea that predated the release of Windows 7 by at least four years. The pain of this change was exacerbated by the fact that some of the virtual folders included names that were similar to the physical folders and that the same files would ultimately appear in both locations. The company significantly scaled back its plans and cut features as a result, perhaps starting with the removal of the virtual folders from the Start menu.


You may be thinking, "Who cares?" If this functionality were available today—even in newer releases of Windows such as Windows 10—users could organize and sort their files in ways that would not be dependent on folder location, in ways that would be richer, and more personal.

  • Like 7
Link to post
Share on other sites
binaryzero

This thread is just as bad as the ones that talk about technologies from XP. What's the point of this thread?


This would be a nightmare for IT pros to manage, glad it was trashed.

Link to post
Share on other sites
WinMacLin Guy

Wow very interesting post. The virtual folders seems like a combination of Apple's tag system in OS X and smart searches with more advanced features. I do like the idea of creating virtual folders with criteria that allows them dynamically capture your files as opposed to you having to organize them, but I can see how it might have been confusing to regular users who are familiar with the concept of fixed folders. Still it might have been a neat feature to keep around for more advanced.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
LimeMaster
17 hours ago, Jared- said:

This thread is just as bad as the ones that talk about technologies from XP. What's the point of this thread?


This would be a nightmare for IT pros to manage, glad it was trashed.

It's a good post for those interested in Windows and its feature developments. Though it's clear that you are not interested, which is a shame, but I understand that everyone is different.

Edited by LimeMaster
  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
chrisj1968

I always liked the design of Vista. the look was easy on the eyes, the icons were "spot on". The Layout was better than what we have now.

  • Like 4
Link to post
Share on other sites
The Evil Overlord
19 minutes ago, chrisj1968 said:

I always liked the design of Vista. the look was easy on the eyes, the icons were "spot on". The Layout was better than what we have now.

True, 7 kept a lot from vista, but it dumped a lot too,

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
Vince800

Thanks Ian for another brilliant Vista thread. Vista was my favourite OS right between it being released & 10 coming out, at which point it's too far out of support by third parties to be particularly useful any more (AMD drivers for one thing).

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 2 months later...
Ian W

I realize that this is a few months old, but I wanted to follow up on the functionality in the Beta versions. There used to be a self-guided tour for the functionality before Windows Vista was released to manufacturing and I wanted to post the material here for reference. The portions that are perhaps the most significant are written in bold text.
 

Quote

Exploring the New Storage Functionality
 

1. From the Start Menu, open the Document Explorer. Copy no more than 1000 files (not including e-mail messages) to the Document Explorer. Close the Explorer and wait about 15 minutes for the PC to fully index that content. You can check the status of the indexer by clicking the magnifying glass icon in the system tray.
 

2. After the indexer displays idle in the status, re-open the Document Explorer.
 

3. The default view is the All Documents view. Windows Vista can show you all your documents regardless of their physical location on the hard disk.
 

4. Click the blue Authors folder. These new blue folders are called Virtual Folders and are simply saved searched (queries). Note that your documents are placed into stacks according to author.
 

5. Click the Keywords Virtual Folder, and then click the Type Virtual Folder. Doing this gives you many different ways to look at the same content.
 

6. Drill into any of your stacks and select a Microsoft Office PowerPoint presentation. When you select it, notice all the information it gives you about the file.
 

7. Along the top of the window is the Command Bar. This bar has a series of available content-specific tasks. One of the controls on the Command Bar is the slider control, which lets you quickly switch between different views (e.g., Details view, Icon view).
 

8. Some of your Microsoft Word documents or Microsoft Excel spreadsheets may feature Live Icons or live snapshots of the first page of those items. If you do not see Live Icons for those items, you need to open them up in Word or Excel, go to the File menu, choose Properties, and make sure the Save Preview Picture check box is selected. You should then see a Live Icon of that item.
 

9. Select another document, and in the preview pane, select keyword and add your own keyword to that document. Briefly wait, and that keyword will then show up within the expanded Keyword Virtual Folder within the Navigation Pane.
 

10. Keeping the Keyword Virtual Folder open, select the All Documents Virtual Folder. Multi-select a group of documents. Drag those documents on the Custom Keyword (the one that you just created) node found within the Keyword Virtual Folder. This adds that keyword to those documents.
 

11. Create more keywords by repeating the previous steps. You can add multiple properties to the same document either by dragging it onto a node within the Keyword Virtual Folder or by manually typing it into the Preview Pane.
 

12. Click the All Document Virtual Folder. See the column header controls available to you in the pane viewing area in the window. Hover over the keyword column header until a drop-down arrow appears. This control lets you group, stack, or filter by keyword.
 

13. Notice the Quick Search Box in the top right corner of the Explorer. This lets you quickly filter content in any view, based on any of the displayed properties found on the column header (such as name, author, or keyword). In Beta 2, this will also be a full-text search mechanism.
 

14. The same features are also available in the Photos and Music Explorers.

There was also additional drag-and-drop functionality intended—depicted in the screenshot below—including the ability to drag a folder onto a target virtual folder to set properties on files. The following table illustrates what could occur when dragging various objects onto other objects. Note that labels refer to what are now known as keywords.

Windows Vista Drag and Drop Operations.png
 

  • Like 2
Link to post
Share on other sites
LimeMaster

Nice post! It's always sad to hear a feature being cut from the final build.

  • Like 1
Link to post
Share on other sites
This topic is now closed to further replies.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

  • Similar Content

    • By Abhay V
      Google rolling out dark theme for Search on the desktop for some users
      by Abhay Venkatesh



      Google seems to be rolling out a new dark mode for Search on the desktop for some users. A new pop-up message suggesting that “Dark theme is now available has begun showing up for people, based on user posts on Twitter, which was corroborated by folks over at 9to5Google as well. The feature seems to also be showing up for users when accessing Google Search from the desktop in Incognito mode.

      The prompt reportedly redirects users to a setting that lets them choose between light, dark, or system theme. This means that the search engine will adapt to the system theme settings on Windows and macOS, making it a much more streamlined option for those that prefer to switch between themes regularly. However, it is not clear if the rollout is part of an A/B test or an actual staggered release since the feature supposedly gets disabled for some users after a page refresh or when users navigate to image search.

      This isn’t the first time that users have been able to spot dark mode for Search on the web. Back in May last year, the company was testing the theming option on mobile browsers via a hidden flag. Early this year, there were reports of a randomized test with an experience similar to what users are reporting today.

      As for the theming option itself, the company is keeping the experience in line with its mobile apps, which means that the UI adapts a dark grey background color with white text. From the screenshots posted by users, it does not look like there are too many rough edges, although, the theme is applicable only to a few pages.

      The addition of a dark theme for Search on the web will be a welcome addition for those that prefer the theming option, especially when working in dimly lit environments. It will be interesting to see if the Mountain View company expands the rollout of the feature soon or if this is another toe dip in the water to gauge reception from users.

    • By indospot
      Patch Tuesday: Here's what's new for Windows 7 and 8.1 this month
      by João Carrasqueira



      Today is the second Tuesday of February, and that means it's also the second patch Tuesday of 2021. As tradition mandates, Microsoft is rolling out a series of cumulative and security updates for all supported versions of Windows, including many versions of Windows 10, as well as Windows 8.1 and, for ESU customers, Windows 7.

      As usual, there are two sets of updates for the operating systems, one monthly rollup and one security-only update. The former rolls out to most users automatically, and it can contain non-essential fixes and changes; while the latter has to be downloaded manually and only includes security patches.

      Or, at least, that's usually the case. This month, all the updates contian the same changes for both Windows 8.1 and Windows 7. For Windows 8.1, this month's rollup update is KB4601384 and it can be downloaded manually here. Here's what's new:

      THere's a single known issue, and it's the same one we've been seeing for months now:

      Symptom Workaround Certain operations, such as rename, that you perform on files or folders that are on a Cluster Shared Volume (CSV) may fail with the error, “STATUS_BAD_IMPERSONATION_LEVEL (0xC00000A5)”. This occurs when you perform the operation on a CSV owner node from a process that doesn’t have administrator privilege. Do one of the following:

      Perform the operation from a process that has administrator privilege. Perform the operation from a node that doesn’t have CSV ownership. Microsoft is working on a resolution and will provide an update in an upcoming release.

      As for the security-only update, it's KB4601349, and you can download it manually here. It includes the same exact changes and known issue as the update above.

      Turning over to Windows 7, as a reminder, you'll need to be paying for extended security updates for your organization to get these updates. If you are, the monthly rollup update is KB4601347 and you can download it manually here. It includes the same changes as the updates above, as well as the same known issue.

      Finally, the security-only update for Windows 7 is KB4601363, and you can download it manually here. It includes all the same changes and has the same issue as all the other updates.

      As mentioned above, the monthly rollup updates are usually installed automatically, but you may prefer downloading and installing them manually. With the security-only updates, you have no choice but to do it manually. Since this month's updates are the same, you should be fine getting the automatic updates from Windows Update.

    • By Abhay V
      Alphabet announces Q4 2020 earnings with $56.9B in revenue
      by Abhay Venkatesh



      Google’s parent company Alphabet today announced its earnings for the fourth quarter of 2020 ending December 31, 2020. The company reported revenues of $56.898 billion, a 23% increase from the same quarter last year. The company made $182.527 billion in revenue for fiscal year 2020, up form $161,857 billion in 2019.

      Unsurprisingly, the largest chunk of its quarterly revenues came from Google, which accounted for $52.873 billion, increasing by a little more than 22% over the same quarter last year. This includes Google Search, YouTube advertising, and other services. Google cloud too saw strong growth, growing to $3.831B in Q4, up from $2.614B last quarter.

      Our strong fourth quarter performance, with revenues of $56.9 billion, was driven by Search and YouTube, as consumer and business activity recovered from earlier in the year”, said Ruth Porat, CFO of Google and Alphabet in a prepared statement. “Google Cloud revenues were $13.1 billion for 2020, with significant ongoing momentum, and we remain focused on delivering value across the growth opportunities we see.”

      As for Alphabet’s other revenue streams, the “Other bets” section brought in $196 million, up from $172 million in the same quarter last year. However, the “Hedging gains” business line accounted for a $2 million loss, dropping by close to $93 million over the same quarter last year.

      Overall operating income for Alphabet stood at $15.651 billion, up from $9.266 billion last year. The total net income for the firm was $15.227 billion, for $22.30 diluted earnings per share.

      Sudar Pichai, CEO of Google and Alphabet, said:

      As for fiscal year figures, the company saw close to 46% growth in its cloud business, reporting $13.059B in revenue for 2020. Google services brought in $168.635B. The Other bets business almost flatlined, losing $2 million, whereas the “Hedging gains” line item lost $279 million, bringing in $176 million in 2020. Operating income stood at $41.224B for the year.

    • By Copernic
      Everything 1.4.1.1005
      by Razvan Serea



      "Everything" is search engine that locates files and folders by filename instantly for Windows. Unlike Windows search "Everything" initially displays every file and folder on your computer (hence the name "Everything"). You type in a search filter to limit what files and folders are displayed.

      "Everything" only indexes file and folder names and generally takes a few seconds to build its database. A fresh install of Windows 10 (about 120,000 files) will take about 1 second to index. 1,000,000 files will take about 1 minute.

      "Everything" will run on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 . NTFS indexing requires the Everything service or running "Everything" as administrator.

      Everything 1.4.1.1005 changelog:

      updated localization "Everything" is Freeware. If you use "Everything" in a commercial environment and find it useful a donation would be appreciated.

      Download: Everything 1.4.1.1005 32-bit | Portable | ~1.0 MB (Freeware)
      Download: Everything 1.4.1.1005 64-bit | Portable
      Download: Lite 32-bit | Lite 64-bit
      View: Everything Website

      Get alerted to all of our Software updates on Twitter at @NeowinSoftware

    • By Copernic
      Everything 1.4.1 Build 1004
      by Razvan Serea



      "Everything" is search engine that locates files and folders by filename instantly for Windows. Unlike Windows search "Everything" initially displays every file and folder on your computer (hence the name "Everything"). You type in a search filter to limit what files and folders are displayed.

      "Everything" only indexes file and folder names and generally takes a few seconds to build its database. A fresh install of Windows 10 (about 120,000 files) will take about 1 second to index. 1,000,000 files will take about 1 minute.

      "Everything" will run on Windows XP, Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8 and Windows 10 . NTFS indexing requires the Everything service or running "Everything" as administrator.

      Everything 1.4.1.1004 changelog:

      added to http server "Everything" is Freeware. If you use "Everything" in a commercial environment and find it useful a donation would be appreciated.

      Download: Everything 1.4.1.1004 32-bit | Portable | ~1.0 MB (Freeware)
      Download: Everything 1.4.1.1004 64-bit | Portable
      Download: Lite 32-bit | Lite 64-bit
      View: Everything Website

      Get alerted to all of our Software updates on Twitter at @NeowinSoftware