Thursday, April 21, 2011

The weird and wonderfully changeable Windows 7 status bar

I've been reading a lot of conflicting information about what the "status bar" in Windows 7 does and does not show.

For those that don't know, the "status bar" is the banner that shows at the bottom of your Windows Explorer windows.  (If you have it enabled, that is.)  It's intended to give you quick details about the file or folder that is currently in focus.

(Note I said Windows Explorer, not Internet Explorer.)

Anyway, in XP, the status bar typically gave you fixed information.  One of these was the file size.

For whatever reason, Windows 7 does and doesn't give you the same information.

It doesn't in the sense that the attributes shown in the status bar change according to file type.  All files show an icon for the creating/assigned program, and the file name, which is redundant.

After that, you get different tags.  The current folder gives "offline status" and "offline availability".  A text file gives "date modified", "size", and "date created" in addition to offline availability.  A ZIP is the same, without the offline info.  JPG gives "date taken", "tags", and "rating", and a PDF coughs up "title", "subject" and "rating".

So nominally you don't get the same info as XP.

However, if you happen to expand your window size - making it wider - voila!  additional "missing" tags appear!  Our poor PDF, which had only a few attributes before, actually has 18 status tags available, including the oft-wished-for "Size" attribute.

But how to make them visible on a not-so-widescreen window?  Grab the top border of the status bar and drag up.  It will expand vertically, and the tags will collapse into a smaller horizontal space.

This will make things look kind of gay, because the program icon also expands - possibly to gargantuan proportions - making it look stupid.

But hey, at least the file size attribute is there for the viewing - even if W7 is too dumb to always show it to you.  I guess it's more important that you spend time tagging, titling and rating all of your painstakingly-named-and-organized PDF files.

Hey - somebody, out there - make a W7 plug-in that lets you re-organize and show/hide specific attributes in the Explorer status bar.  Please?

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