Microsoft, Having A More Realistic Expectation Of Your Tasks Would Improve The User Experience

I know what to expect for many things in life. If I drive by a Dairy Queen on a hot summer evening and there are 15 people in queue, I know it will be 10 minutes or so before that delicious ice cream touches my desperate lips and tongue. If I drive by a shopping mall on Christmas Eve and there are no initial parking spots available, I know to figuratively take a patience pill before traversing such a busy mall. A mall full of shoppers too focused on getting gifts for loved ones may not be focused on other shoppers and guests around them. You get the picture, you know what to expect or you have a general idea the time involved or the potential money involvement.


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When it comes to Microsoft software, it’s sometimes difficult to gauge. For example, my personal folder (PST file) was corrupted and needed repair. Fortunately, Microsoft has a tool that sometimes addressed the issue. Unfortunately, you don’t know how long it will take. Using the Microsoft Outlook Inbox Repair Tool, I respond to ‘yes’ when prompted to fix the corruption. However, once you agree, you’re greeted with a prompt involving 8 phases of this process. First thing comes to mind, how long will each of these phases will take? Second, will this tool work and how much time will be required to determine success? Other things come to mind, is the first phase the longest or the shortest? Your expectation continuum may be in many places along the line. 

Same uncertainly with copying files. The status bar provided by Microsoft has been in operation for many a year so on one hand, you’ll be provided a rough status on the time involvement when it comes to moving or copying files. It’s designed to be an aid. However, the execution of such a status bar varies. Sometimes 20 minutes means 10 minutes and sometimes it means 2 hours. I don’t expect the status bar to provide an exact tracking of the time involved but it would be helpful if it provided one an approximate amount. Said differently, what’s the point of having a status bar if there’s much unpredictability with such a tool.

The Repair Tool did work – that’s the good news. Bad news, it took about 3 hours to complete and much more processing power and RAM were used during this repair, which meant my desktop was essentially inoperable. If I use this tool again, my expectations may be in line to what may occur. You learn by doing although I’d consider the tool much more useful if it could realistic provide me with the costs involved before I attempt to fix my PST file.

Could Microsoft focus on better estimations to provide users with a realistic expectation of what it will take to get some of these tasks executed?