How To Fix the 10 Biggest Windows Annoyances

By Lowell Heddings on November 4th, 2010

Let’s face it: Windows can be seriously annoying sometimes, but thankfully there’s also usually a workaround or third-party utility that fixes the issue. We’ve rounded up the ten things that annoy us most, along with how to fix them.

Note: this article was originally published a year ago, but we figured we’d add some more annoyances to the list and feature it again.

Messy Windows Context Menus, and How to Clean Them Up

One of the most irritating things about Windows is the context menu clutter that you have to deal with once you install a bunch of applications. It seems like every application is fighting for a piece of your context menu, and it’s not like you even use half of them.

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Thankfully cleaning them up is possible, though it will require you rolling up your sleeves a bit. We’ve got the entire process covered, from the registry hack method to using freeware tools to do the job.

How to Clean Up Your Messy Windows Context Menu

How to Clean Up Your Messy Internet Explorer Context Menu

Stop Windows Update from Automatically Restarting Your PC

If you like to keep your applications open and running on your screen, you’ve probably come back to your PC and noticed that Windows Update had rebooted you, losing everything that was open on your screen. Sure, you can temporarily disable the automatic reboot if you happen to be sitting in front of the PC, but what happens when you were away when it popped up?

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That’s not the only annoyance, but you can stop Windows Update from hijacking the sleep button if you need to.

Prevent Windows Update from Forcibly Rebooting Your Computer

How to Stop Windows from Shutting Down or Rebooting

Disable Irritating Windows Sounds, Like that Explorer Click Sound

The default Windows settings enable this click click click click sound for anytime you are browsing around the filesystem, and the same thing in Internet Explorer when you click on a link. It’s extremely annoying, but the fix is a simple one.

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Turn Off Windows Explorer Click Sounds in Windows 7 or Vista

Typing Your Password to Login Every Single Day

Nobody wants to admit it, but unless you encrypt your files, using a password on your PC won’t stop any tech-savvy person from getting into your data—all you have to do is use the System Rescue CD to change the password, or you can even use an Ubuntu Live CD to access files off a Windows PC.

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So if you’re tired of logging into your Windows PC, just make it login automatically instead.

Make Windows 7 or Vista Log On Automatically 

Disable the Caps Lock Key

The Caps Lock Key is something that most people will probably never need. Sure, you can always Map Any Key to Any Key and turn it into something more useful, like a Ctrl key for that Lenovo notebook with the awkwardly placed Fn key, or you can just disable it outright. Either way, up to you.

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Disable Caps Lock Key in Windows 7 or Vista

Map Any Key to Any Key on Windows 7 / XP / Vista

Finally Get Rid of Internet Explorer (Windows 7 Only)

About half of the people reading this article in Internet Explorer will be scratching their head right now and thinking… “what?” The other half using Firefox or Chrome will be thrilled that you can now delete Internet Explorer in Windows 7. It’s easy.

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Uninstall, Disable, or Delete Internet Explorer 8 from Windows 7

Get Rid of Sticky and Filter Keys

It’s great that Microsoft builds in accessibility features to help those that need it. For the rest of us, they are really irritating and need to be disabled.

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Disable the Irritating Sticky / Filter Keys Popup Dialogs

Disable Aero Snap, Aero Shake, or Aero Peek

All the new Aero features in Windows 7 are absolutely great, and I recommend that you learn how to use them.

But… if you are tired of windows snapping to the side of the screen or everything else minimizing when you move a window around, you can easily disable one or all of the features.

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Disable Aero Snap (the Mouse Drag Window Arranging Feature in Windows 7)

Disable Aero Shake in Windows 7

Make Aero Peek Display Instantly (or Disable it) in Windows 7

Disable Program Compatibility Assistant

This dialog can be seriously annoying when you are trying to install software—it pops up asking if you really installed the application correctly, even though 99% of the time the application installed just fine. It’s extremely annoying, but we can disable it.

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Disable Program Compatibility Assistant in Windows 7 and Vista

Fix Problems with the Taskbar Not Auto-Hiding Like it Should

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If you’ve had a problem where the taskbar just refuses to auto-hide even though you have the option enabled, you can read through this list of tips for some solutions to help fix the problem.

Fixing When the Windows Taskbar Refuses to Auto-Hide Correctly

Windows 7 Start Menu Search Slowing Down

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If you’ve got loads of files on your PC, you’ll find that the Windows 7 Start Menu search box starts returning results a lot slower than you’d like. Here’s how to speed it up.

Make Windows 7 Start Menu Search Find Your Applications Faster

Make the “New” Menu Open Faster

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If you’ve ever used the New menu from the Windows context menu, you’ve probably noticed that it’s not always as fast as it could be. Here’s how to make it faster by cleaning it up.

Cleanup & Make the Windows Context Menu’s “New” Folder Open Faster

How to Get Rid of Windows Defender (if You Don’t Need It)

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If you’re already running a full anti-malware suite, you might not even realize that Windows Defender is already installed with Windows, and is probably wasting precious resources. Here’s how to get rid of it.

How To Uninstall, Disable, and Remove Windows Defender. Also, How Turn it Off

Make User Account Control (UAC) Less Annoying

What Windows annoyance list would be complete without a way to disable those irritating User Account Control popup dialogs? There’s really no need to describe it, you already know how annoying they are.

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Disabling them is just as easy, but what you might not know is that you can actually create shortcuts that bypass the UAC prompts instead of just disabling it entirely, though either way is up to you.

Disable User Account Control (UAC) the Easy Way on Win 7 or Vista

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 11/4/10
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