Saturday, July 18, 2009

Apostrophe to Microsoft Windows, Upon the Occasion of a Routine File Copy


Oh Microsoft Windows, what senseless little factoids won't you narrate for me, your end-user? Here, you dutifully inform me, as you have countless times before, that you are calculating the time required to copy the files, lest I am tempted to think you're doing nothing operating-system-y for me. The status note is as welcome as it is informative as it is pragmatically beneficial, which is to say, not at all. None. Nada.

Now, were it the case that this narrated calculation were prelude to one of your charming confirmation prompts -- something along the lines of a dialogue asking me "This copy will take precisely 3 minutes 19 seconds to complete. Do you have 3:19 to spare for this, or would you prefer to do it later?" followed by several confirming dialogues -- "You've chosen to go forward with this copy operation. Are you sure? (Yes/No/Cancel*)", followed closely by something along the lines of "Are you sure you're sure? (Yes/No/Cancel*)" and "Really? (Yes/No/Cancel*)" -- were this dialogue the opening that familiar sort of tedious, repetitive, intrusive, condescending, throw-the-goddamn-laptop-off-the-nearest-high-rise colloquy, it might claim some small utility. But no. It's just a superfluous self-report from you, Microsoft Windows, that stands wholly innocent of any nameable pragmatic "cash value."

Of course, I don't mean to suggest the highlighted dialogue leads to nothing. That would be ridiculous! It leads to dialogues such as this one:


Fascinating! Fascinating, that is, in the way that all potentially pertinent and yet certainly false statements are. Or do I overstate the matter? Has anyone ever checked these time estimates against a clock to gauge their accuracy? Has the accuracy or inaccuracy of these times ever made a concrete difference to anyone's use of a computer machine? I mean, I don't mind being told which file is being copied -- and yes, you parasites, I do rightfully own the MP3 shown -- but I'd rather skip the meaningless fabrications as to the time it will take.

I should end this on an positive and forward-looking note.* Microsoft Windows, thank you for "keeping me in the loop."*

* Whatever the hell that means.

1 comment:

Zennalathas said...

You can actually get programs that replace this part of Explorer. I find that it speeds up file transfers (I'm using a program called TeraCopy). But as for the time estimates, none of the programs are going to be able to actually tell how long a file will take to copy, just how long it will take at the current transfer speed. That transfer speed changes depending on the size of your file being transferred and the amount of files being transferred (if you're transferring a lot of tiny files, the hard drive's needle has to raise off of the disc platter more often so your transfer speed becomes constrained by the hard drive's speed - which is slow). Better file managers will help keep the transfer speeds per file constant, but nothing's really going to help on a software level if you're transferring hundreds of tiny files. You can always splurge on a faster hard drive.