Microsoft Vista 2007 – Guys – It’s the Little Things

I’ve been enjoying my experience with Vista on my Lenovo X60 over the holidays.  It’s stable, fast, and mostly behaves as expected.  I’ve only had two required reboots in 10 days, which I view as a major victory.

But – Vista has more than it’s share of stupid little oversights.  For example, the Calculator app.  Microsoft has included a Calculator in every version of Windows that I can remember.  I extremely good at doing simple math in my head so I don’t keep a calculator on my desk, but I occasionally need a mildly advanced calculator to figure things out.  While I could run Excel, that seems stupid (ok – it is stupid) for the type of math problems I need a calculator for.

I figured the Vista Calculator would be a nifty little upgrade.  Wrong.  It’s still the extremely lame Calculator that shipped with the last few versions of Windows – going back I think to Windows 3.1.  Yeah – it has a scientific calculator – but I still find myself going to Google to do simple math transformations (what’s up with that?)

I poked around a little and found that there is actually a Microsoft Calculator Plus (yes – that’s its actual name) available for a free download.  After fighting through the Windows Genuine Advantage thing (first time on this machine – in Firefox – erg) I downloaded Microsoft Calculator Plus.  Copyright 2004!  Exactly the same, except for the additional Conversion menu which is extensive and nice.  It created a new directory for it, didn’t replace my old Calculator, and created a new menu item. Yuck.

Why oh why would Microsoft ship Calculator with Vista instead of Calculator Plus?  And – why not put one person on it to spruce it up a little.  One of my mottos for 2007 is “guys – it’s the little things.”

  • Brad,

    It has to do mainly with the cost of localization. Every app that ships in box in Windows has to be made available for all zillion languages that Vista ships in. Releasing as powertoy allows them to ship in few languages (the Calc Plus is US english only)

    The other reason is cost/value justification – for most (non-power) users the current calculator is good enough.


  • Brad,
    It’s fascinating to notice how often you see the calculator application on people’s screens!
    To be honest I tend to use the calculator built into the Google search box, try typing 100.127^54*3 and see what happens. It also does unit and currency conversions. Very handy.

  • Google calculator users may be interested in a keyboard interface I wrote for the Google calculator.

    To give it a try, please go to my web site:

    and click on the “Google Calc.” menu option.



  • I prefer windows xp:)