back to article Your app deleted all my files. And my wallpaper too!

It's been a bit of a week hasn't it? Grab yourself a biscuit and settle down for another story from a brave Register reader who was only trying to help. Welcome to On Call. Today's tale is from a reader Regomised as "Paul" and concerns his days as a programmer at a manufacturing plant in England. This was in the time of …

  1. ShadowSystems Silver badge

    Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

    I would have made myself feel better by using the ShockyStick(TM) on the twit until the batteries went dead or the user stopped twitching.

    *Sighs*

    And that's why I'm Not Allowed to use the ShockyStick(TM) any more...

    *Comical pout*

    1. Xalran

      Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

      you meant BOFH CattleProd(TM)

      1. Arthur the cat Silver badge

        Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

        I prefer the more NetHack related name "+5 enchanted Cattle Prod of Enlightenment".

        1. Anonymous Custard Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

          If it doesn't make them twitch anyway, alive or dead, then your prod is not powerful enough.

          Of course true devotees just go direct to barbeque mode...

          1. bombastic bob Silver badge
            Trollface

            Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

            barbeque mode is a bit much... "Digestive system evacuation" aka "call the janitor" mode should be sufficient...

            1. skeptical i
              Thumb Up

              Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

              Hooo, Spider Jerusalem's bowel disruptor! Set it to "prolapse". :^)

    2. aerogems Bronze badge
      Devil

      Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

      Stop twitching or set off the smoke alarms?

    3. Psmo
      Windows

      Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

      I thought that it was a ZOT-stick as used by the Usenet Oracle?

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

        I’ve always preferred “The Clue-by-Four” aka The ClueBat.

        1. oldstevo

          Re: Did you get to use the ShockyStick(TM)?

          Seriously, what is the world coming too, when no one remembers the LART??

          https://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/LART

  2. b0llchit Silver badge
    Meh

    Concepts are hard to understand

    It is hard to understand for many users that you organize files (in directories). Their mind is simply not capable of that level of abstraction. Giving those users a computer where files can be deleted is most likely the equivalent of (usually without any backup):

    # rm -rf /

    Sad, but that is reality and will probably not change. Storage in the cloud makes it actually much harder for users to understand what is happening.

    Best remedy: we need to eliminate the users. ;-)

    1. Mishak Silver badge

      Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

      rm -rf .*

      1. b0llchit Silver badge
        Joke

        Re: Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

        File not found.

        R)etry, A)bort, I)gnore, F)ail, K)illuser?

        1. Aladdin Sane

          Re: Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

          Surely K is just a really late term A?

          1. b0llchit Silver badge
            Childcatcher

            Re: Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

            Yeah, but A requires consent of the carrier. K's result is without question and instantaneous.

          2. arachnoid2

            Re: Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

            K........ is this a support operator using the memory wipe from the Man in Black?

        2. ShadowSystems Silver badge

          Re: Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

          *RiverDances on the K button*

          *StompstompstompstompSTOMP*

          Work already, damn you, WORK! =-D

          *JumpJumpJumpJump*

          MUH Hahahahahahahahahahahaha

          *Gasp, wheeze, blink, sigh*

          Damn it, that laugh lasted longer than thirty seconds. That's another entry on My Skippy's List of shit I'm no longer allowed to do.

          *Throws up hands in frustration*

          Damn that list! AAARRRGGGHHHHH!

          1. b0llchit Silver badge
            Big Brother

            Re: Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

            About time someone actually makes http://bash.org/?4281 and links it to the K key.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

              b0llchit

              "raises head above parapet"

              How about you doing it? Thought so...

              "lowers head below parapet"

        3. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Boffin

          Re: Or if you have a user who "knows what they are doing"

          R)efry, A)bscond, F)lail

    2. Joe W Silver badge

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      So they put directories on their desktop, and organise their files there. I guess that's a win for you?

      <rant>

      As a user I simply cannot be arsed to go through the weird hierarchy of directories that Windows tries to impose on me. There's the issue with my "main" user directory being on a remote computer, so I cannot access files if the network craps out _again_, there is a "local" user directory on the laptop (c:\Users\$UserName), there's the weird number of stupid directories under those two personal directories, that Windows insists on saving the documents into (seemingly at random either the local one or the one on the network drive), instead of making it easy to have a single directory tree for the projects - because Windows has (and loves) its "own word documents", "own excel files", "own presentations", etc. - which is stupid, because people need folders sorted by customer, departent and project (or a similar structure). Yes, I have all of that, living most of my life under the command line helps getting you organised, also faceplanting because you "lost" (= filed away in a stupid spot) some documentation is a good learning experience.

      </rant>

      1. TonyJ

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        The first issue re the network crapping out is down to poor IT - offline files and folders of some form or another has been a thing for a long time now. There are modern versions of it designed to work with OneDrive etc as well so it really shouldn't happen. Although I'm not a huge fan of files on demand because of this very thing but it's swings and roundabouts there in terms of less space taken up etc.

        For the second part - again, for a few years now, Office will default to your documents folder and if you choose something under it - project etc - it will remember what you last used. What's more they don't care - if you want to save everything to your root folder, desktop folder, whatever - as long as you have permissions it'll do it.

        One gotcha that still catches people out of course is opening an attachment because it'll save a temporary copy. If you forget that, edit and don't save it to a new location then you can expect to lose the changes and that is crap to be honest.

        Yup other folders under there can appear a random mess for sure but I don't think it's quite as bad as you make out.

        1. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          Sorry, but not my experience - as a relatively new (well, after about two decades of absence) windows user (new job...). Oh, you wrote "will default to your Documents folder, and choose sth. under it" - yeah, except that Excel, Word, MindManager, Visual Studio etc. believe that stuff should be organised by type rather than project, which is my gripe (My Documents, My Excel Files, My Maps, VS2017 Project Files, VS2019 Project Files....). Yes, I do make an effort to do this differently, but it is a hassle when creating new documents, which is Too Often. (and then there's Sharepoint...).

          The network stability has improved a lot in the last two years, so... yeah. That did help with some aspects. Until we are again allowed to go on business trips. Then I wish stuff was saved locally.

          And OneDrive is Frowned Upon by the Powers That Be (the IT department), govmt contractor that we are etc.

        2. GreyWolf

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          "but I don't think it's quite as bad as you make out."

          Oh yes it is.

          1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            Oh no it isn't, it is way worse.

            1. ITMA Bronze badge

              Re: Concepts are hard to understand

              Especially as Mickysoft keep trying to force people to save things where Mickysoft say to - increasingly some Mickysoft online crap line OneDrive

        3. FrankeeD

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          "One gotcha that still catches people out of course is opening an attachment because it'll save a temporary copy. If you forget that, edit and don't save it to a new location then you can expect to lose the changes and that is crap to be honest."

          I was an academic librarian for years and students losing temporary files was a constant problem. They would log into a library computer, download a project they were working on, spend an hour working on it, save it, and then discover that they couldn't find the edited document because they'd been working on the temporary file.

          Usually, if the student could remember which computer they were working on, IT could recover the document, but it was always stressful for everyone. For many students it was their first encounter with networked computers and not always a happy one.

          1. John 110

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            When I first got my IT support job (sole computer literate person in a diagnostic Microbiology lab with a university component), I was asked to give our Honours students a brief talk on how to use a computer and especially Word for Windows. (at the time, we had three Windows 3.11 pcs for the use of 6 students and some staff).

            I chose instead to do a talk on file handling and how not to lose your work when you take a floppy out of the drive before Word was ready to let you.

            I decided to do this after I checked the pcs after a couple of weeks of a new term and found all sorts of crap on the root of C:, in spite of everyone having a network login and storage space to themselves. I also had to separate two guys fighting over a machine which had somebody's files on root.

            The ones who paid attention never came to me with corrupted files on floppy, the guys who fell asleep -- well...

          2. Sub 20 Pilot

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            It has been a very long time since computers were there to make one's life or job easier. They are only there to prise money out of the user and to make billions for the arseholes who run the companies.

            1. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

              Re: Concepts are hard to understand

              Even this can be a subject for a far right rant, huh?

        4. Sub 20 Pilot

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          I disagree. The windows folder system is a fucking mess. There are loads of named folders and directories, some inaccessible, some randomly so. Even worse, most programs save to these standard folders randomly whatever you set as default. Always has done since Win 95.

          I have my own folder structure for my business, my personal stuff and more importantly, for a first response team for whom I deal with IT stuff.

          I have looked at dozens of backup utilities over the last 20 years and all default to backup up windows folders, which you can not remove. Followed by a hit or miss way of adding non windows sanctioned folders. No good for what I need and to be honest, this is not an edgy unique set of circumstances.

          It may not be relevant but to have everything in a set of folders the same as every PC in the bloody universe just makes the whole thing so much easier to target.

          Why the fuck would I want all my critical work dumped into random 'my files' my documents' ' my pictures' etc. nonsense, on the C drive when it makes sense to put all files related to one job in one folder on a different drive. Anyone trying to find shit will target those folders so would it not make sense to dump them and make users create their own folder structure. Also the non OS drive location can be taken out and put back into another system if there is a major problem.

          Is it just me who thinks this is a problem, if so I need to find a planet with intelligent life on it.

          Stop pandering to the fuckwittedly dense and let the partially sensible people have a go.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            I've never had any problem moving those locations (right click, location tab) to where I want them. But then I know where to find them to start with.

            My home office files are on a separate drive. Partitioned with my sets of folders (T:|) My wife's (her initial:) family stuff (F:\) Photos(P:\) etc. etc.

            And all the software seems happy to default to saving in these locations - though again it's a matter of knowing how to find the right settings' locations.

          2. Great Southern Land

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            No, you're not the only one who thinks it's a problem.

            My experience with a Government network shows that people save their files to the desktop because that's the default setting and they don't realise it until it's too late. Luckily, the desktop usually pointed to a folder on their network storage, not the C:\ equivalent.

            But it's not just the "My......" folders that are crazy. Anyone ever gone looking for something in the AppData folders? Why the hell does Microsoft need multiple levels of folders here?

            Another bugbear I have is OneDrive. Windows decided one day that it had the right to move everything in the \Users\XXXXX\My Documents folder from the local hard disk to OneDrive without my knowledge or permission. (Technically illegal under Australian legislation)

            My answer was to partition the hard disk and create a separate drive for files. It may be a slight pain always having to select F: drive to get at them, but it's less hassle in the long run.

            1. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

              Re: Concepts are hard to understand

              --My experience with a Government network shows that people save their files to the desktop because that's the default setting--

              Its not just that. A lot of software will recommend dumping the installer onto the desktop.

          3. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            I realised long ago that the Windows tyranny of folders (or directories as they were known in my young days) was "double plus non-good". I think it was about the fourth time Windows crapped out (this wsa W95 or W98) and I started to partition my hard drive so MY STUFF (TM) wouldn't be wiped when I had to do a re-install. These days I have two SSDs in my main laptop one (120GB) has Windows 7 on it, the other (1TB) has all my stuff on it.

            I back up both, but the OS one is cloned to a second 120GB SSD. Any problems (say I stupidly install what I thought was useful s/w - woops) and its a few minutes to swap SSDs then about 20 minutes to clone the now backup one.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Concepts are hard to understand

              Pretty much what i do with my desktops.

              The laptop is a sore point. Long conversation with Dell before I bought it. Yes there will be space inside the chassis for a second HDD and a connection for it....

              It had neither . I complained, they apologised but did nothing. That was my last ever Dell. (Last PC was also Dell.Latest PC is Chillblast btw).

              And the laptop's SSD began to fail just after warranty ended. Laptop's performance was slower than I expected too, quite sluggish for an i7- which is relevant. Bought a larger Samsung SSD as a replacement. Suddenly the laptop performance was much better too, no more sluggishness! (Told you it was relevant). Still not going to buy Dell ever again

        5. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          > offline files and folders of some form or another has been a thing for a long time now.

          But you know, there is a bug introduced in Win10 20H1, where offline folders starts running wild, especially in DFS-N environments. Actual bug: It tries to use offline folders for shares where that is specifically disabled to prevent those known problems. No problem with 1909. Workaround: Nuke offline folders with GPO for all clients (no, do NOT disable the service, causes bigger problems). Fix: As far as I can see fixed in Windows 11 insider build 22000.526 and released to normal Win11 users the month after. Mentioned at the bottom...

          1. Adrian 4 Silver badge

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            I worry when I see such detailed bugs and workarounds. Imagine going to all that trouble for a microsoft product. Just bin it already.

        6. T. F. M. Reader Silver badge

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          One gotcha that still catches people out of course is opening an attachment

          Another gotcha that catches me out every time is printing from something like Office.

          Open a file, maybe look at the contents for a bit, hit print, try to close the file, get a "Save changes?" prompt, panic: what the HELL have I changed and should I save the modified version or keep the old one?!?!?

          Why printing is considered logically equivalent to editing is beyond me.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Devil

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            Why printing is considered logically equivalent to editing is beyond me.

            For DNS changes we get sent Excel files with the appropriate data (and some more like port and patch panel numbers, for other departments to use). You CAN NOT COPY from Excel unless you enable edit mode. I am NOT going to change the data in that file. I explicitly do NOT want to do so, on purpose or accidentally. For us, the data is READ-ONLY, so why the bloody fsck is Microsoft forcing me to enable changing it? I just want to copy-paste the address and FQDN from that sheet to the DNS admin tool.

            (for a whole bunch of addresses in one go we have a different procedure, but this is for a single addition or change)

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Concepts are hard to understand

              The Excel Lock and Protect thing strikes me as being fairly surreal.

              By default everything is locked. Except that in practical terms nothing is locked. Not until you set "Protect" as well.

              So to actually protect, say, a formula, you have to unlock everything else and then protect the document. With a concomitant risk of forgetting one of those stages and sitting scratching your head wondering why the thing can't be edited where you need to /be protected from changes where they mustn't be changed..

              Who thought that this made sense?

            2. midgepad

              Have you tried opening those files in

              Libre Office instead?

              1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                FAIL

                Re: Have you tried opening those files in

                This is my fscking work laptop. If I had any say in that I'd be using Linux as all the systems we're adminning are either Linux or VMS systems, and on that end there's no need to deal with Windows. At all.

                But we get a one size fits no-one laptop, that the Word/Excel/Powerpoint brigade of penpushers can use too, and as I already mentioned, it's out of the question that anyone would be able to install anything but the blessed (and authorised) tools on their lappie. And since we already have Office365 or something, with all the bells, whistles, gongs, dancing clowns and hidden trap doors, LibreOffice is Not An Option.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            In word, etc printing is editing as the document is then reformatted for the page size of the printer. I've tried to explain this to my Lawyer daughter of several occasions as she is working on shared documents where each lawyer has a different default printer. They waste hours reformatting the document inserting manual page breaks then send it to someone with a different printer defined, word re paginates on that basis and suddenly there are unwanted empty pages. That lawyer then re-formats the document using manual breaks again and sends it back.

            She has been moaning about this for several years but cannot understand that the resolution is at everyone uses defines the printer as a PDF device and you can work together happily and even then print the PDF'd document on any printer.

            1. Terry 6 Silver badge

              Re: Concepts are hard to understand

              That's a good tip. I thought you were going to talk in terms of master pages and formatting with page styles' rules. (Stuff I've heard of but never needed to get a handle on).

        7. cosmodrome

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          This certainly works. If you're using Microsoft Office for everything. In which case you should not be trusted with a file system at all and be banned to "the cloud" instead.

      2. Pascal Monett Silver badge
        Flame

        I so agree with you. Especially when it comes to laptops, which are often delivered with a single partition for OS and data. So, when the inevitable Windows crash happens and you have to reinstall Windows, it wipes the disk and your data with it.

        Once upon a time I insisted on having two HDDs, one for the OS, one for the data (and swap file). Nowadays, with SSDs and their size, a single disk is enough, but I still insist on a data partition and I install all my programs and put all my files there.

        That way, when Borkzilla borks again, at least I can reinstall Windows without losing any actually important stuff.

        Icon because Borkzilla still hasn't understood this.

        1. TonyJ

          Or you could back things up or use a cloud provider such as OneDrive - or my own personal choice Seafile as it never leaves my control. Which you should be doing anyway because drives do fail.

          Even then, if Windows is borked you can usually still get into the partition during the setup phase or a new installation to move files and folders. Bit of a faff but can be done.

          1. Down not across Silver badge

            i don't do Windows (apart from having to use it on company laptops) and probably self inflicted but after using OneDrive for backing up files it seemed to default Office to saving everything to OneDrive instead of locally.

            Its the thing that I really hate about Windose is when it or parts of it think they know better and make arbitrary decisions without asking if that is what I want. Alternatively it may of course ask repeatedly about pointless things...

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              It's not for your benefit, it's for MS's

              The reason is purely self-serving; Microsoft wants people to use OneDrive rather than storing locally, so of course they're going to "nudge" people towards what they want with "helpful" pre-defined decisions like that.

              Any benefit of the doubt on this or similar counts for MS disappeared several years ago when they started force-upgrading Windows 7 and 8 machines to Windows 10 because that's what *they* wanted people to do. They disregarded personal choices, asked people again and again, frequently ignored them and went ahead anyway, overriding tools intended to stop that (i.e. designed to enforce those choices in the face of MS's "won't take no for an answer"), changed the universally-accepted behaviour of the "close" button from including "and cancel" to "and accept" and used tactics that saw even bland, mainstream IT publications compare their techniques to malware.

              This, of course, was after MS's attempt to sell themselves on privacy- contrasting themselves with Google- had failed, and they did a complete volte-face with the spyware-loaded Windows 10.

              Nothing but contempt for them.

            2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "Alternatively it may of course ask repeatedly about pointless things..."

              Like every time I want to edit an Excel file from a Network share and it opens by default in read only mode every time. And warns, every time, me that opening "files of this type from the internet" can be dangerous and do I really want to do it. Yes, actually, I do want to do it. It's my file, I created it and saved it on my network share on my LAN on my server, thank you very much!!!! Windows seems to have no actual, practical concept of file ownership.

              Strangely, if a open "a file of this type" that is really and genuinely "from the internet", ie on OneDrive, it doesn't seem to have a problem and lets me edit it without warning.

              1. TonyJ

                Check out trusted locations. It will help you solve this problem.

          2. This post has been deleted by its author

          3. Sub 20 Pilot

            I take it you have never had to work in a foreign country, in remote areas where an online connection is either impossible or achieived only via a SIM running at a few kb a second if at all, at a high cost.

            There has NEVER been a time in which I thought it was a good idea to have all my files on someone else's computer, probably in a different country with no means of support or access if there was a problem. The only person affected financially when this goes wrong is me. It costs the provider nothing and there is no means of recouping my financial loss against them due to their T & C's.

            Why is it so difficult to accept that people should have their files locally. Yes, back up to the 'cloud' if you want but DO NOT force everyone into having to store everything there.

            We do not all live in the middle of silicon valley or London.

            1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

              "Why is it so difficult to accept that people should have their files locally. Yes, back up to the 'cloud' if you want but DO NOT force everyone into having to store everything there."

              Because that makes it more difficult for MS or the TLAs to rifle through your files.

              1. Terry 6 Silver badge

                And to sell us more space when we find that the free offering is full to the gills (probably with stuff that we don't actually even need).

          4. Stoneshop Silver badge
            Holmes

            My only invorvement with Windows

            is through my company laptop, and THEY set up what goes where, what backup tool and regime are used and more such trivia, so saying "you should just use $this, $that or $theother program, and change settings $foo, $bar and $baz" just don't apply since that kind of frivolity is VERBOTEN.

          5. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

            That, on the surface, appears great. Quick question: how long does it take to download a terabyte after you disk is borked?

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          And for better operating systems, put /home on a separate partition. And /usr/local. And for good measure, /opt.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Which, if you're running a server with a trained admin, makes sense. If you're running a laptop with a nontrained person, it's a mess. If you reserve space for each of those things separately, but you still only have one disk, you're just creating new limits for how much data in each category the user can have. Users who don't know that happened will get confused about why they can't install some software when they have a hundred gigabytes free on their storage or why, when they were low and decided to uninstall unneeded software, it didn't get better. Even for a user who set all this up and knows what's going on, it can be annoying if there's limited disk space because reallocating between those partitions isn't a simple, risk-free process.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              A non-trained person is unlikely to be reinstalling their laptop OS. If someone trained does do a reinstall for the user they're not going to be happy finding it was on a single partition. You have a point about allocating space. That's why the canny installer does the partitioning under lvm2.

              For and server (and, in fact for my laptop) there's also a partition for /srv.

              1. doublelayer Silver badge

                "A non-trained person is unlikely to be reinstalling their laptop OS."

                They don't have to. On literally every commonly-used consumer OS, the primary storage is treated as a single unit. If you are low on storage, you could delete some personal files or uninstall some software to free up storage, with the free storage being usable for either. You do not need to reinstall the OS to be in that situation. A user who does that on Windows, Mac OS, IOS, and Android is unlikely to accept Linux if they think they have to do it all separately.

                "If someone trained does do a reinstall for the user they're not going to be happy finding it was on a single partition."

                Not necessarily. In my opinion, a lot of systems for personal use should use a single partition. Programs are data, just like your documents. They're stored in different directories to keep them organized. That's good enough. There are many reasons to have separate partitions for servers, most of which don't apply at all to a personal machine. You can also have as many extra disks or partitions as you like with software on them if doing that has a benefit to you. Windows and Linux make it really easy to point to installed software that's on a different disk, even if it's not mounted at a typical path for binaries. Even if you know what you're doing, there's not a lot of benefit to having separate partitions for different parts of your root filesystem when they're all sharing a disk and all have to be present for your system to work.

                A note, this doesn't necessarily extend to all parts of the system. Having /var on a separate partition to deal with something that doesn't handle it correctly makes sense. Having /home on a separate partition so it's easy to share between multiple booted OSes or persist after large changes does too. In both cases, it's a thing that is useful to a user who understands why they're doing it and can configure it themselves.

                Take the placement of /home on a different partition. I've just explained two reasons you might want to do it. If you're going to make any big changes to your root filesystem, having /home partitioned insulates it from damage. You can install a new OS without having to move anything. However, you could always do what everyone else does: back up your home directory, reinstall the OS, and copy your files back. You should be backing up already, so it's not quite as bad as it seems if /home ends up sharing. Many of my systems do have /home on a different partition, but often because it's loading from a network FS or external disk. On the self-contained system that uses one internal disk with one OS on it, I have kept /home on the same filesystem so I can use the available space for whatever kind of data I want.

                1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                  Partitioning

                  On the self-contained system that uses one internal disk with one OS on it, I have kept /home on the same filesystem so I can use the available space for whatever kind of data I want.

                  On every laptop I've used I always had /home on a separate partition, and just NEVER have I run out of space on / or /usr due to stuff happening there. Occasionally I get a bit low on /home, but with 150GB of music (available on the server too, to copy back when at home again) I have a bit of leeway in the disk space department. And large USB sticks are cheap.

                  One server's /var/spool ran out of inodes once. That required a fair bit of stashing files elsewhere, then reformatting to xfs.

                  1. doublelayer Silver badge

                    Re: Partitioning

                    "On every laptop I've used I always had /home on a separate partition, and just NEVER have I run out of space on / or /usr due to stuff happening there."

                    Yes, that's probably the most normal situation. After all, you're unlikely to suddenly decide you need tens of gigabytes new software one day. However, if you ever did, the partition situation could make it hard to install that. If you kept a bunch of space around for the case where you did, then you're unnecessarily restricting the space available for /home.

                    In my case, on the systems where /home is sharing with /usr, I don't pretend my usage is normal. I have an old device with a 128 GB drive which is used for a bunch of random, at times experimental purposes. I decided to test out the Gitlab CE software by installing it on that (for those who haven't done this, it brings its own Nginx version, a bunch of Ruby libraries, is rather large in itself, and is designed to store data outside the home directories). When I was done experimenting with that, I removed it. Having one partition gave me the flexibility to do that without repartitioning either time. You don't have to do that, and if you don't or have a larger disk (I got the laptop for free from a user who wanted it junked), you probably won't encounter the situation very often.

                    That said, try explaining to a standard user why they should do that. Not with the separate disks situation, not with a server, just a standard user with a single disk that all the partitions are going to go on, a user who already backs up their data. What benefits can this provide that justifies the extra complexity, complexity that is absent on lots of other systems and optional here? The best reasons I've heard that apply here are as follows:

                    If /home is separate, you don't have to replace it when you reinstall. This assumes that you'll be reinstalling a lot, which they probably won't, and it also assumes that every installation will be smart enough to figure this out, not repartition, not create a new partition for /home, and correctly mount it later on (this last one is mostly an editing of fstab if it doesn't, but if you have to manually reconfigure your filesystems and don't get anything out of it, maybe not so useful). A correllary to this argument is that it's harder to trash the /home partition. The user can point out that the chances of breaking their home directory are already quite low, most likely ways will use the filesystem instead of the partition and won't care where the home directory is, and that they have backups to deal with both.

                    There are lots of good arguments for keeping /home on a different partition. In each case I can think of, it's a case where, if you ask "Why do you have it partitioned this way", the user will have a specific set of benefits that doing so provides them and that they know about. It's possible that there has always been a clear benefit that keeping the partitions separate provides, even when a user isn't doing it to implement a desired feature, but if there is, I do not understand it. I would welcome learning that lesson, but it should be better than "We do it this way because most Unix servers do it this way and, even though they have lots of reasons that don't apply to this, we must follow them".

                    1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                      Re: Partitioning

                      a user who already backs up their data

                      And I am Florence Nightingale. If they do, it's on to an USB stick at best. Which will get overwritten with the ISO to reinstall their system.

                      This assumes that you'll be reinstalling a lot, which they probably won't

                      I've been using a separate /home since starting using Linux, now about 25 years ago. Having to reinstall because of any reason between 'something irreversably broke' and 'moving to another distro' just came with the territory. And even with the disk sizes back then you just put /home, /var and /usr on separate partitions, even if that would keep you from using the free space in one to fix a shortage in another.

                      Nowadays, disk is cheap, effort is not. Over the last ten years at least I haven't had to reinstall a borked OS, although I did a few reinstalls for other reasons. And even with backups already made, not having to touch /home saves time and effort. Experimental systems with small disks may be a different matter, but I have sufficient spare disks around that were replaced by SSDs that I could fit 320G or more in any laptop with a smaller disk, and there's even a surplus 600G SSD for that.

                      My gf started using Linux some seven years ago, and wanted to do so by trying out a few user-friendly distros. That's a clear reason for having a separate /home, and even after settling on one the benefits have outweighed the downside. Also, none of them were ones I was using, so I told her that fixing things would be 90% up to her. She now supports newbies moving to Mint, and if there's one class of users that are prone to blowing up their Linux installs it's the ones starting fresh today. "I'm not using Python, so I deinstalled it". Bravo, you have also removed your software manager. "Do you have /home on a separate partition? Then just reinstall, and tell the installer there's a /home already that shouldn't be formatted."

                      1. This post has been deleted by its author

                      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

                        Re: Partitioning

                        And on Windows systems, if the partition with Windows and other programmes gets too cramped, and if there is adequate total HDD space resizing partitions is relatively easy. Though not so much with the Windows built-in control,which is remarkable stupid- It's good for carving a new partition out, but not for resizing-when you shrink a partition from the left it won't let you expand the adjacent partition to its right,where the space is ( or is it the other way round - I forget). But there are plenty of reliable partitioning programmes around. AOMEI partition assistant (free) has done sterling work for me over the years. I've always tested a new programme on a partition, or a spare drive, that hasn't anything important on it/when I get a new system before I copy the data to it. I have plenty of old HDDs that I can play with- and a few I stick into new systems as backup drives or simply to make copying data over easier. Current PC has my old 2Tb HDD in it just for messing about with, dumping stuff to temporarily etc.

                      3. doublelayer Silver badge

                        Re: Partitioning

                        Me: "a user who already backs up their data"

                        Reply: "And I am Florence Nightingale. If they do, it's on to an USB stick at best. Which will get overwritten with the ISO to reinstall their system."

                        Granted, but this isn't really a solution to that problem. Failing to back up is a problem in lots of cases, and reinstalling the OS is the simplest of them--the data's still there and you can back it up just for that case even if your routine backup option is lacking. This argument is a lot like if I said "Never use SSDs, only mechanical disks, because most SSDs will immediately remove data when it's deleted but mechanical disks won't so you can use undelete tools much more reliably". It's technically correct, but there are advantages to the alternative, and if people are relying on that relatively fragile protection instead of properly managing their data, it's just a matter of time before it backfires.

                        The rest of your examples are good ones but fall into the category I previously mentioned where you are doing it for a specific goal, readily understood by the user, and requiring some technical skill to use.

                        1. Stoneshop Silver badge

                          Re: Partitioning

                          Granted, but this isn't really a solution to that problem. Failing to back up is a problem in lots of cases, and reinstalling the OS is the simplest of them--the data's still there and you can back it up just for that case even if your routine backup option is lacking.

                          OK, now tell a newbie via instructions on a forum, who's just hosed their OS, /home (on that same partition) may or may not still be intact and likely not backed up recently, if at all:

                          0 - boot off live/install stick

                          1 - make a backup of what's still there to some external disk or another USB stick. Verify it's readable and has the stuff they say should be on it.

                          2 - reinstall from said ISO

                          3 - restore backup. Verify it all ended up where it should have gone.

                          Compare with:

                          0 - boot off live/install stick

                          1 - try to get newbie to unhose install.

                          2 - when failing revert to the steps above.

                          or:

                          0 - boot off live/install stick

                          1 - verify /home is there and unhosed (in some cases it is, but then you're probably in hardware failure territory anyway, and that at least is a different situation)

                          2 - let user copy it elsewhere just in case

                          3 - reinstall

                          I've seen enough of this shit, even in recent years with user-friendly installers and live ISOs, that I fail to see the advantage of putting OS and /home on a single partition.

                2. Dave314159ggggdffsdds Silver badge

                  Jesus, you're so far behind the times you must be reading this on a CRT. Modern OS handle all those things for you. It's only *nix that gives users a chance to f-it-ubar in the ways you're suggesting and even praising.

                  Windows and MacOS will both perfectly happy do a fresh reinstall, or install a new version, without needing to take special steps to protect your personal files.

                  1. Stoneshop Silver badge
                    FAIL

                    Windows and MacOS will both perfectly happy do a fresh reinstall

                    or install a new version, without needing to take special steps to protect your personal files.

                    If you are using OneDrive or its Apple equivalent. Not all people have that, want that or allow that.

          2. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

            You can do this for fixed systems where all needed functions are known beforehand. As for desktops: Nope. You can never ever plan so far ahead to match all scenarios with one perfect way to partition the space.

            The only thing I recommend / insist: Install games on your second drive/SSD, never on C: - just change the letter where it wants to install to. They got so unbelievable big. For the rest: Too much for most users. The better ones know how to get their picture collection from their vacations to a different drive, and that's it.

        3. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. An_Old_Dog Bronze badge

          Remember the WIndows Registry, living on C:

          "at least I can reinstall Windows without losing any actually important stuff."

          You DID lose "actually important stuff"!

          You lost the Registry settings, which lived on your C: drive, for probably all of your apps.

          You will have to waste time re-configuring each app.

          You may also have to re-install some apps if they won't start correctly with their registry entries missing.

          That said, keeping user data on a separate drive or partition is a very good idea.

        5. LybsterRoy Bronze badge

          I've upvoted you but 2 SSDs are still better. Its a lot faster to physically swap a SSD than reinstall Windows.

        6. phuzz Silver badge

          Microsoft understood this was a problem ages ago, which is why My Docs/My Pics etc. all allow you to redirect the folder to another location. Works seamlessly, and I've been using it since at least Vista.

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            It does, but requires a certain knowledge of its convoluted method. Whether that's a good or bad thing is a matter for discussion.

      3. b0llchit Silver badge

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        The "windows" way is not the "right" way. On one hand you have some abstract concepts of storage and then you have an implementation (mapping of concepts).

        The translation from abstract to practical is most often done by people who understand the concepts at a deeper level (the computer level), often the programmers, and those are the worst translators for "ordinary" people. That is why folders and the recycle bin were intoduced, to make is more clear in familiar layman's terms.

        However, hiding complexity in familiar terminology is a very bad strategy. You have to deal with complexity. That is why we have specialists in interaction design.

      4. big_D Silver badge

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        It is actually in our company IT policy, that we are not allowed to store business relevant data on the local drive, all data has to be stored on the network, where it will be automatically backed up.

        Working in home office, I sometimes make a working copy locally, if it is a big file, but generally, I just work off the network drives.

        If we break the policy and the PC is stolen or the drive is corrupted and we lose business critical files, it is a minimum of a written warning for breach of company policy.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          Off-net working must be a tad difficult. Encrypt the drive and sync the files to remote.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            I suspoect his company doesn't understand encryption. Must be consulted by Pritti Patel.

            1. big_D Silver badge

              Re: Concepts are hard to understand

              No problems with encryption, all drives are encrypted and USB drives for transferring data have to password encrypted as well.

              But, if the data is lost due to the employee storing it only on their laptop and it get lost, stolen or damaged, it is a disciplinary offence.

      5. Adam JC

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        "As a user I simply cannot be arsed to go through the weird hierarchy of directories that Windows tries to impose on me. There's the issue with my "main" user directory being on a remote computer, so I cannot access files if the network craps out _again_,"

        FYI, F5 on the keyboard brings them all back in <1 second :-) Redirected Desktop/Documents/Downloads has been a default setup for us for nigh on 9 years. Makes crypto infections easier to recover from and includes everyone's files in the backups for when things go walkies.

        1. Stoneshop Silver badge
          Holmes

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          F5 on the keyboard brings them all back in <1 second

          Not even when I was working at the office. At best several seconds, and up to multiple minutes. At home I've nearly always needed rebooting to get Direct Access to get its shit together, which even with a fast-enough network and a laptop with an NVMe drive takes several minutes, and occasionally two or three iterations. One day I had to work via a 4G MiFi, and reboots were 'Go make a cup of coffee again, the thermos is empty'.

      6. J.G.Harston Silver badge

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        I've thrashed Windows into usability organising my home directory into categories of things I want stuff sorted into, and similarly, with a bit more efforted, I've cattle-prodded it into organising my applications into similar categories, so instead of a sinfgle programs directiory with mumbly-thousand subdirectories, I have apps/internet, apps/office, apps/dtp. apps/programming, apps/graphics, etc etc

        Windows fights hard to impose it's "single pile of crap" model on me, but I fight back harder.

        1. GreyWolf

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          Rorke's Drift, friend, that's where you are.

          Meanwhile, up on the ridge overlooking your position, Windows has ten thousand warriors with spears, just longing for a chance to wipe you out.

          1. Kubla Cant Silver badge

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            But the Brits won at Rorke's Drift. Isandlwana on the same day is where they got wiped out.

      7. Claverhouse Silver badge

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        Recall the nauseatingly twee folders of early Windows named 'My Music', 'My Documents', 'My Pictures' et al...

        So simultaneously condescending and presumptuous it was amazing Microsoft didn't substitute Our for My...

        1. b0llchit Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          The "My ..." moniker is interpreted differently depending who is looking.

          Microsoft has probably always seen the "My" terminology as "owned by Microsoft" and they see themselves as the real owners of everything you put in there. And you know how fond Microsoft is of sharing... Therefore, "Our" was never an option.

        2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          "it was amazing Microsoft didn't substitute Our for My"

          That would just have been too blatant.

      8. Kubla Cant Silver badge

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        the weird hierarchy of directories that Windows tries to impose on me

        Names like "My Documents" that are actually $HOME\Documents. But if you want to see $HOME you have to navigate via My Computer\C:\Users\ or something. Something called "Libraries". Shortcuts that look like indirection but aren't really because they don't work that way for most applications. Symlinks that really are indirection, but you can't create them on the work machine because for some incomprehensible reason that requires admin rights.

        I recently moved a friend's account on to a new machine. Both computers were running Windows 10. As a vital part of his work, he daily transfers lots of pictured from his phone and uses them on a web site. On the old computer, he connected the phone and the pictures were copied to his Pictures folder, where he could easily find them in a File->Open dialog. Now Windows decides to put them in something called "Photos", that looks like a directory but isn't visible to the dialog, so he's stuffed. I try to explain that he could find the pictures by searching drive C:, but there's a lot of data on there, and why should he?

      9. Gene Cash Silver badge

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        And in addition to putting stuff in shit and unexpected places, Windows file search is somehow horribly broken.

        I can fire up a Cygwin window and run a "find" and find the file before Windows is even a quarter of the way through its search.

        1. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          You don't need cygwin for THAT. Open CMD, and then:

          dir *filespec* /b /s /a

          Works since dos 3.x I think.

          You are too stuck in your "I must force unix on everything" way.

          1. Stoneshop Silver badge
            FAIL

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            'find' offers options that are astronomical distances beyond what a mere dir can achieve.

        2. DropBear

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          Noooooo nonono. What you do is install the free Agent Ransack. And never have an issue finding anything ever again, ever.

      10. bombastic bob Silver badge
        Devil

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        So they put directories on their desktop, and organise their files there. I guess that's a win for you?

        bad habits dating back to Windows 3.x days? (I also saw some '9x users doing that sort of thing a LOT, back in the day, usually $BOSS or $EXECUTIVE)

        that's [a] winDOZE for you

        (bad PUN-ishment was invading my brain, had to let it out...)

    3. John Robson Silver badge

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      I've said this before, but I've done that on a production system...

      I blame my manager - we were short on hardware and so I ended up doing chroot development on the production build server.

      I meant to clean up the chroot jail, but accidentally typed rm -rf /bin /usr /etc instead of the same without the / in front of each...

    4. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      In early Unix setup at work a user did that - the system manager had not got the hang of users and groups by then, but he did alias the command so it checked it was in the /user (IIRC) tree before going ahead.

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      You don't understand the one heap filing system. "I know exactly where it is. It's in that heap." Stuff is far harder to find when there are multiple heaps to rummage through.

      1. b0llchit Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        Do bits get compressed when they are at the bottom of the heap or do they simply vanish through bitrot? The weight at the bottom must be crushing after a while.

      2. Martin Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        When I was a student, the best piece of advice I ever had was "Make sure you have a good piling system on your desk."

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Concepts are hard to understand

          And if the pile's heavy enough, another good piling system to support the desk.

          1. ITMA Bronze badge
            Trollface

            Re: Concepts are hard to understand

            And for everything else use Anusol.

    6. Howard Sway Silver badge

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      And then there was the problem that for most office staff, the words file and folder meant pretty much exactly the same thing, apart from perhaps the particular piece of stationery used to hold each collection of sheets of paper.

      1. nintendoeats Silver badge

        Re: Concepts are hard to understand

        Oh, did your office staff learn computing on a UNIX system?

    7. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      Years'n'years ago (ok, the 00s), I set up a small suite of shared computers. They were shared with the same logon, so to prevent them being trashed into unusability by multiple users dopping crap everywhere, I did the computer equivalent of shared office furniture - on power on, the USER\Desktop folder was deleted and recreated from a pre-configured DEFAULT\Desktop folder with a shortcut link to a folder of user directories.

      Of course, piles of complaints about files disappearing. Somebody on site disabled the startup setup, resulting in exactly what I expected, the desktop full of dozens of different people's crap, and all the links to applications lost amongst the crowd. Oh well, if they *like* working in a pigsty, that's their life.

    8. zuckzuckgo Bronze badge
      Terminator

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      > Best remedy: we need to eliminate the users. ;-)

      And when the AI's finally take over, we will all be users.

    9. ITMA Bronze badge

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      I know users who have yet to grasp the concept that you can create folders and subfolders to store and organise emails in....

    10. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Concepts are hard to understand

      Good point.

      It is hard for me to always know exactly "where" the file might actually exist and what is simply an alias, pointer, or extra directory where an app or OS decides to squirrel something away.

      So if that is the "concept", yeah I have trouble. Most of us users would be glad to be not included. Is there a check box for that?

  3. Joe W Silver badge

    Guilty.

    This user was one of those users that used their desktop as a dump for all those important files.

    Oh, $(deity)! If I had a penny every time this causes problems I'd have about enough for a beer... maybe.

    Seriously, I guess we have all been there. It is not so much "the important files" as more of "the stuff you still need to work on and then sort away" - at least that is the case for me. It also makes it easier to drag and drop to *shudder* Sharepoint - which I have to use because I did something Very Bad And Frowned Upon in a past incarnation, I guess. To be fair: the desktop was created for that, as a space to organise stuff, to place files and documents. It is called the Desktop after all! And just like some people have a clean desk you could eat from, others have a desk you literally could prepare a four course meal from because there's enough stuff on it, soil has begun to form, civilisations sprouting up, etc.

    Yeah, I clean up my desktop (both the Windows and the hardware one) more or less regularly-ish. And yes, there are folders in the "official, since this is stuff we bother to take a backup of" directories to which all of the really important stuff gets filed away (though the desktop-folder is actually backed up as well, as far as I can tell from the documentation, since it resides under your "Users/$(UserName)" personal folder - I'm just a user in this case, so... yeah... it'll work out, I guess).

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Guilty.

      The company I joined from uni, a well-known engineering company, had a clear desk policy. "Clear desk" in that there should be nothing on your desk outwith working hours; all paperwork had to be stored in secure cabinets. If security found anything unsecured it would be removed and you had to explain your actions to management to get it back. I should add that this was back in the 70's so no desktop computers, etc - we had access to the mainframe via a local TTY terminal. My first manager there also went a step further in that you only needed two filing trays on your desk: one for him (or others) to put incoming work, and one as a temporary store for filing.

      A key idea was no "pending" (or WIP) tray. Everything was either in your in-tray, you were working on it, or it was filed. A desk diary was an essential element - if you passed a query or task onto somebody else, your paperwork was filed and you put a note in your diary to remind you to follow up (as necessary).

      It's a way of working that has stayed with me (even in "retirement") - both with my physical desktop, that nowadays is occupied with my laptop and associated peripherals, and my computer desktop. The latter is usually clear except for temporary files; it's my default location for file transfers (that aren't just being dragged between folders) and first saves of newly created files (e.g. pdf or exports) - few things stay there for more than an hour.

      Anonymous because I'm a grumpy, private old git :o)

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Guilty.

        My e-mail In-box is the same. I treat that as my "In Tray" in that I am either working on it or have still to work on it. Once it is dealt with, it's filed away in a personal folder (yeah, I know, but I'm willing to take the risk) stored locally (yeah, I know, etc.) or deleted.

        The major benefit is that when I open my e-mail, I've got a couple or at the most a few e-mails sitting there and I don't suffer e-mail overload like my colleagues do.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Guilty.

          It's the filing bit that's time-consuming. In this day and age we should be able to automate most of that. The rules of my ideal email client would be:

          1. In-tray is where newly arrived emails are kept prior to being opened. The only way in which an email gets into it is via email delivery. When an email is opened for the first time it is removed from the tray and cannot be returned to it. It is not a place to store emails between opening and deciding what to do with them, nor for long term storage.

          2. Deleted is a place where emails go to die. It also is not a place to store emails between opening and deciding what to do with them, nor for long term storage. It only exists because of the possibility of second thoughts about deleting something. Emails in it will be finally removed on the basis of some rules - time based, maximum content count or whatever.

          3. All other emails in the system are handled on the principle that the basic unit is the thread. A singleton email, sent or received, is simply the first email in a new thread.

          4. When an email from the in-tray is opened it is immediately put into its thread, newly created if there is no existing thread, and presented to the user in that context. The client can have a separate pane for this or the pane which was displaying the in-tray can switch to showing the thread. (An unfortunate trend I've noticed recently is that email from Mac users often comes without an In-reply-to field so this might require work on the user's part.)

          5. Threads are filed in folders (or other terminology of choice). Folders can have sub-folders to any depth.

          6. The user may set rules for assigning threads to folders. Typically they may be on the basis of the correspondent(s) in the thread such as the actual email address, the domain of the email address, membership of some group or mailing list in the address book.

          7. When the user has finished with an email there will be several options. Some, such as deletion will be a manual choice. If the thread is already in a folder it stays there. Otherwise the user can allocate a new folder, perhaps adding a new rule.

          8. Finally, information in emails is likely to be relevant to some project. It should be possible to surface email folders to some icon on the desk-top which can then be opened in read-only form in the context of the project.

          But does anyone know of an email client that gets anywhere near this?

      2. keithpeter Silver badge
        Windows

        Re: Guilty.

        I use the Noguchi Yukio filing system, both physically and on the computer. Kind of works for me.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Guilty.

          I used something similar many years ago at work (when almost everything in the office was still paper-based). My daily storage was a standard four drawer filing cabinet; each drawer had a theme (along the lines of general admin, project admin, general info and technical info). During the slack period between Christmas and New Year I'd go through each drawer and move everything I didn't think I'd need any longer into an archive box (one of the larger ones that was about the size of a filing cabinet drawer). I'd mark the current year on it and a clear note to destroy after (a date 7 years ahead). That box would sit on the bottom shelf of the bookcase behind me - until the next year when it would be sent to the company archive and be replaced with the new one.

          If I needed anything from that box during the year it sat behind me, that would be replaced in my filing cabinet as, clearly, I was wrong thinking I no longer needed it. I reckoned that if I hadn't needed anything for a full year, it could safely go into the archives. During my years working there, I never needed to visit the archives to retrieve anything of mine.

          I don't work quite that way with computer files but routinely trawl my "Documents" folder of stuff that can be moved to my two archive drives (one immediately accessible and one locked in a safe). Each year, around Christmas, I update a third archive drive - that one is even less accessible. It's meant I've never had to rely on an external drive for local storage - the increasing affordability of internal HDDs, and now SSDs, has kept abreast of the ever increasing file sizes.

          PS The same anonymous grumpy old git :o)

      3. Flocke Kroes Silver badge

        Re: Clearly someone who understands ...

        Whether they admit it or not, most people use the "Now or Never" filing system to organise their projects. The system is workable - as long as you do not convince your self that you are using some more complicated priority based system.

        ["Just do it" themed clothing is popular at my gym. One young lady has an excellent hoodie with "Just do it later".]

      4. BenDwire Silver badge
        Pint

        Re: Guilty.

        Anonymous because I'm a grumpy, private old git :o)

        Most of us would identify with being a grumpy, private old git too. Giving yourself a unique handle would at least allow us to know which one we were communicating with!

        Despite the fact that the working week is an outmoded concept to you, It's Friday. Have a beer.

        1. b0llchit Silver badge
          Thumb Up

          Re: Guilty.

          Most of us would identify with being a grumpy, private old git too.

          Does El Reg have any accessible demographics to support this statement?

          Hey, El Reg, we need a questionnaire ASAP to determine grumpy-ness and old git-ness here on the forum. Additionally, new Reg standards should be defined to scale the parameters to the proper dimensions.

          1. DropBear
            Facepalm

            Re: Guilty.

            Maxed and... uh... well, by any metric of "how many years since xxx came out": also maxed...

      5. Potty Professor Bronze badge
        Boffin

        Re: Guilty.

        Back in the late 70s, I worked in an office with a "Clean desk" policy, Every afternoon, I had to waste several minutes shovelling everything from my desk into the top drawer, and every morning I had to spend even more time extricating, sorting, and arranging those same reference papers into some sort of logical order on the desk before I could start work. I found a toughened glass sheet that almost fitted the desk, and arranged my reference documents under it, so I didn't need to file them away. I was summoned to the Mangler's office to be chided about leaving "Company Sensitive" documents on show, but I pointed out that most of the papers were things like conversion tables, and the only sensitive information was a single sheet of A4 with a list of the internal phone extensions of people with whom I dealt on a daily basis, and everybody in the company had those numbers in their copy of the Internal Phone Directory anyway. I also pointed out that by keeping my papers under glass, I saved myself at least twenty minutes every day, and probably worked more efficiently during the rest of the day because everything was at my fingertips, so I didn't have to go searching for it in the drawer(s). I was grudgingly allowed to keep my glass desktop, along with the papers under it, and within weeks, every desk in the office was similarly accoutred. Then I changed departments, and was issued with my own computer, on which I could display my reference documents on the desktop.

  4. GlenP Silver badge

    Even Worse

    This user was one of those users that used their desktop as a dump for all those important files.

    We genuinely had a user who deliberately stored important files in the recycle bin! She reckoned pressing delete was easier than moving them to a desktop folder.

    As this was back in the days of relatively small HDs on PCs she was most upset when we had to run a disk clean-up and defrag to recover some space and all her files disappeared. Fortunately there were copies of the most critical ones on the server drives (where they should all have been) as I had to explain that no, there was no way we could recover them.

    1. TonyJ

      Re: Even Worse

      Used to see that in Outlook. Important emails in the deleted items folder!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Even Worse

        Presumably having remembered to untick the option to 'empty the deleted items folder' when exiting...

        1. TonyJ

          Re: Even Worse

          Indeed. But what an accident waiting to happen!

        2. Mr Humbug

          Re: Even Worse

          That option was (and still is) off by default. And keeping all the messages that you've dealt with but might want to refer to later in your recycle bin folder was common at this place a few years ago. I stopped it by creating folder policies to delete recycle bin items more than 30 days old.

          I even told them about the change before I made it (I'm far too soft on them).

          1. Strahd Ivarius Silver badge

            Re: Even Worse

            and they promptly put your mail in the recycle bin...

      2. John 110
        Mushroom

        Re: Even Worse

        Oh, did you know our infection control nurse? When she complained that her email "was full", the office manager solved the problem by emptying her trash folder. Cue screams of anguish and a sheepish call to Computer Services (who did restore the stuff, but kept it for a week without giving it back)

        I'd like to think that IC nurse (who knew nothing) and office manager (who thought she knew everything) learned a lesson, but realistically I had to accept that they didn't.

      3. doublelayer Silver badge

        Re: Even Worse

        "Used to see that in Outlook. Important emails in the deleted items folder!"

        I've definitely seen that, and I kind of understand the philosophy depending on how they do it. In many organizations, emails are kept around for longer than they're really needed for a paper trail or similar. The important ones should be filed separately, but there's a case for general archives of emails which aren't being used, might not be needed, but shouldn't be deleted. I think some of the aggressive deletion policies are due to the historical email systems when disk space was a lot more expensive. As things currently stand, if I want to waste five gigabytes of disk space storing a hundred thousand messages I probably won't read again, it's kind of small. I have a Windows XP virtual machine on a backup drive that I haven't used for a decade that's larger than that.

        The problem with work emails especially is that there's somewhere between a lot and a complete flood of incoming email, so people can't always spend the time rigorously categorizing each piece of mail they're pretty sure they don't need. That makes it harder to find stuff later, but the time efficiency calculation can make that the faster choice anyway.

        1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          Re: Even Worse

          "people can't always spend the time rigorously categorizing each piece of mail they're pretty sure they don't need"

          Like I said elsewhere, a good email client should be able to automate a lot of that. If only such a thing existed.

          1. doublelayer Silver badge

            Re: Even Worse

            The problem is that it really can't. Email clients can easily categorize by such things as sender, recipient(s), thread (subject line, in reply to, or checking for copies of previous messages), dates, and if they're willing to add even more storage, some keyword database for message contents. That's great, but it's also what I can quite easily do from the client's advanced search controls. I don't need the client to categorize my archives by sender because it's pretty easy for me to do that manually if it comes to that. The categorization that could be needed is more advanced processing of the message content to link related messages together. For example, if I am included on thread A about something, then start thread B about the same thing but with different people, and later am involved in thread C which reports a problem with the thing implemented by thread B, those things are related in my mind but will not be linked in the software. The intelligence to identify that link is usually absent, and if you try to build it in you end up with all the standard language processing problems and likely won't get useful results. If the messages were crucial and required frequent cross-referencing, I would perform that organization manually, thus having the certainty that I've done it correctly and in a way I can quickly navigate. When you consider that, at least in my example, all the effort spent on this autocategorization is for messages the user is keeping around because space is cheap and with the expectation that they will be unneeded, it is often not worth it.

            1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

              Re: Even Worse

              "For example, if I am included on thread A about something, then start thread B about the same thing but with different people, and later am involved in thread C which reports a problem with the thing implemented by thread B, those things are related in my mind but will not be linked in the software."

              You're going to have to do some work but after you've told it what to do it should keep doing that. Say you create a folder, let's call it A-stuff and move thread A into it. When you start thread B you can manually file it in A-stuff. Likewise thread C. What then happens if you open an incoming message in thread A? Your context changes to show you all the threads in folder A-stuff so if need be you can quickly click on a message in one of the other threads in there if you need to check on something. What if you then get a message from fred whose only other messages are in some of these threads but which isn't immediately connected to any thread? It might be unrelated but just in case it is the program could off the option "File in A-stuff?" for you accept or decline. Then there's the incoming message which has the exact same subject header as thread B but no appropriate header lines to link it in - as I said elsewhere, something I've started seeing from a couple of Mac users recently. The program could prompt with a couple of options "File in A-stuff?" "Link to thread B?"

              Right now I can, in a somewhat clunky way, do this with Seamonkey/Thunderbird message filters but it's very clunky compared to what it could be and it certainly doesn't automatically navigate to the folder with the thread in it.

              As to cross-referencing, yes you would decide initially what cross referencing might be needed but you shouldn't then have to manually apply the cross-referencing rules to subsequent messages.

              I'm not suggesting that an email client should be able to make your decisions for you but it should provide an organisational framework which is rich enough to offer you what you need and, once you've made a decision, it should be able to apply it automatically. Existing systems probably provide 70-80% of what's needed.

              The other aspect is that the contents of your A-stuff folder are probably related to other stuff you're working on. You might have a specification that actually arrived in an email originally, notes on it, design documents, drawings etc. If you're anyway organised you'll have these in a folder in the OS sense. Wouldn't it be useful if, when you have that folder open with the icons to all those documents showing, there should also be an icon which, when clicked, is opened to show all the threads in the A-stuff folder without all the other clutter of an email client?

        2. The Rope

          Re: Even Worse

          You may not like it but that's why MS created the Archive folder in Outlook (yes, I know it's either their 3rd or 4th use of the term Archive). The idea being that instead of hitting Delete (email goes to Deleted folder) as you trawl through your inbox you hit Backspace (email goes to Archive folder). At least this way you can clear the Delete folder on exit (but your Archive folder may get very large instead).

    2. Pascal Monett Silver badge

      Re: Even Worse

      And it's with that pain that she learned not to trash her files.

      Pain is a good thing. It's the only thing some users understand.

  5. My-Handle Silver badge

    Skill and experience

    In software development, skill is being able to produce a program that does exactly what it was designed to do, with as few resources as possible. Experience is anticipating how it might be mis-used and taking steps to prevent it.

    Sounds like Paul here just learned the value of experience :)

    1. Skiron Bronze badge

      Re: Skill and experience

      Yes, indeed - you have to test (and think of/make up) the most unlikely things a user gets up to - usually non logical and against any grain of "common sense".

    2. The Rope

      Re: Skill and experience

      I'm convinced 90% of the coding effort goes into stopping stupid shit happening.

  6. ColinPa Silver badge

    A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

    Someone told me that if his software detected a problem, it would package up the relevant files (FFDCs logs etc,configuration files) so they could be sent to support, and so be sure of getting all the files.

    This worked great. One day they had a very large file containing lots of hidden files. When they saw the titles of these hidden files, and looked at the content of one of the files, they could understand why the files were hidden! The originator was smart enough to hide files, and thought that burying them deep in a "operating system" directory tree would mean they were invisible to every one else.

    The support team hatched a plot.

    They sent an email to all the users saying a bug had been detected, and affected users would be sent a fix. They sent the "fix" to the user, and someone went round to help him run it. The fix just deleted all of the naughty files. The "fix description" was along the lines of "remove files which should not be on the computer"

    They also put in a sneaky fix which checked the number of files in the directory and reported "illegal files found" to the end user and support if there were unexpected files found. They were surprised how many alerts they had.

    1. JassMan Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

      WTF? The originator was smart enough to hide files, and thought that burying them deep in a "operating system" directory tree would mean they were invisible to every one else.

      What support team gives users the rights to enable write access to the OS directories?

      1. ColinPa Silver badge

        Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

        When I said "operating system" - that was how the user perceived it. The location was the user's configuration and data files for the application. Their view was "my files" and "the operating system"

      2. Terry 6 Silver badge

        Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

        This was my thought. Users should only be able to save stuff where it is meant to be saved. Presumably in this day and age on a network, in a network share. One dedicated to that person or that project or team as appropriate. Maybe even a personal folder for their own use, strictly at their own risk since that one won't be backed up and may even be on the local machine's spare space. But on the strict understanding that no work related files go in there -on pain of having the privilege removed and a disciplinary.

        As to where Windows puts files. Madness. Buried in the C: drive in a concealed folder within "Documents and settings" as if user data was in some way equivalent to OS function and needed the same kind of access.

        I assume built upon the misguided view that computing would all work by using desktop search to locate files. You'd type in "Johnson" and the files for the Johnson account would all appear. Some times it even works.

        1. Korev Silver badge
          Alien

          Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

          As to where Windows puts files. Madness. Buried in the C: drive in a concealed folder within "Documents and settings" as if user data was in some way equivalent to OS function and needed the same kind of access.

          It's not been there for a few Windows versions now!

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

          "As to where Windows puts files. Madness. Buried in the C: drive in a concealed folder within "Documents and settings" as if user data was in some way equivalent to OS function and needed the same kind of access."

          You mean just like where Linux, Mac OS, and BSD programs store their files? Because the patterns are quite similar for most software. Each program decides on its own where configuration files should be, and you can find programs that still insist on storing configuration with their binaries but not so much after Vista blocked it (the emulation is still there but rarely used anymore). But for the typical setup, here's what they do:

          On Linux: /home/user/.[program name]

          On Windows: c:\Users\user\AppData\roaming\[program name]

          In both cases, a hidden directory inside the user's home directory. If the user's home directory is put elsewhere, the configuration goes with it. What's so wrong about that?

          1. Terry 6 Silver badge

            Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

            User files, not settings. The data we work with. And this should never be tangled up with the software settings. Or even on the same partition.

            I thought my 'nux files were on a separate partition. In fact though it's a few years since I used 'nux (MINT) I'd have sworn to it.

            1. doublelayer Silver badge

              Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

              Ok, I think I missed that with the talk about hidden folders. I missed it because configuration often does go in a hidden folder and ... Windows doesn't put the user data in hidden folders. It puts it wherever you set when you're in the save box. That different programs have different default locations doesn't change the fact that you can set any of them to save in any directory you please and most of them will remember your defaults for next time. I don't like it that Outlook thinks that it should save attachments into the documents folder. I treat saved attachments as downloaded data until I organize it, so the downloads folder is far more sensible of a default. So when I first save an attachment on a new installation of Outlook, I point it at the downloads folder and it remembers that. If I want it to save the attachments to a downloads folder on a different disk, I could select that as well. No hidden folders or forced organization involved.

    2. Primus Secundus Tertius

      Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

      One day, ca 1990, the computer operators told me they had done a trawl for the word 'experience'. Some interesting results.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: A little knowledge is a dangerous thing

        And surprising at some claims found in CVs

  7. Skiron Bronze badge
    FAIL

    Always...

    ...a salesman. Them people with a computer are a PITA.

    1. BenDwire Silver badge

      Re: Always...

      And in second place, Marketing wonks. They need a roll of carpet and a bag of lime.

  8. Down not across Silver badge

    Use the source Luke

    Ever popped the name of a particularly annoying user into the source, only to come a bit unstuck at code review time?

    Yes. Repeatedly. And I wasn't the only one. Some comments in some code caused a bit of grumbling as it was rather critical of management (decisions) and that was plainly explained in the code/comments as for reason why something was done in the way it was done.

  9. Stuart Castle Silver badge

    I used to work in a computer lab, supporting a lot of software that operated under the broad (and then trendy) term "Multimedia". One day, the users of a lot of the applications started moaning they weren't installed properly. On investigation, I noticed that they were, but all the image files were missing, with the result that even if the application worked, the help system or example files wouldn't.

    I was discussing this rather mysterious problem with one of my fellow technicians who, at first, denied all knowledge of it. Then, after a few days, admitted that he'd written a small script that logged on to all the machines, searched any drives for any images, then moved them to a shared area on his machine. Partly to see if the students had downloaded anything *ahem* interesting, and partly to clear space on the machines. Shortly after that, he adapted the script to exclude the folders the Applications used from their search.

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Compliant to the "better idiot theorem"

    "Rather than direct the app to the folders on their desktop, they had actually directed the app to their desktop folder. The app had correctly transferred the contents to the network drive and then tidied up after itself."

    This bummer could have been avoided.

    Actually, the reason for the app to be written in the first place was sales users were worthless idiots.

    To address that, the app had to be "idiot proof", but even so, would fall to the "better idiot theorem" which states: "Make it idiot proof and the Universe will make a better idiot". Which it did.

    So, lost cause, here, change users !

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Compliant to the "better idiot theorem"

      Salesman-proof is at a higher level than mere idiot-proof. I did see a Unix workstation that was salesman proof. It survived being dropped on the floor as he was about to take it on-site for a demo.

  11. nintendoeats Silver badge

    This was an error in the program IMO. Programs should be designed defensively, so that a single misstep cannot cause disaster. This is triple-true where file handling is concerned. I hope that I would have added a "does this folder make sense" check before sending it to users, especially non-techie users.

    1. Already?

      Defensive is fine but in your scenario you’re asking the user to confirm what he believes to be the correct selection, or that he/she won’t really understand what’s being asked, or more likely that he’ll just hit Okay as quickly as possible to get on with it. A mix & match approach always worked best IME, esp when inviting users to interact with file operations.

      1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

        He didnt mean ask the user if it made sense , becasue as u say , how would they know.

        You could just check programmically the folder was a sub of the desktop and not the desktop .

        or if it were me I'd have nominated a specific folder on the desktop for them to put stuff in .

        or just the folder thee stuff fell in by default .

        1. Already?

          Good spot. I’ve awarded myself a thumbs down for not reading the previous post properly.

        2. doublelayer Silver badge

          "You could just check programmically the folder was a sub of the desktop and not the desktop ."

          It could have been in the documents folder, home directory, or somewhere else depending on how the user did it. You would have to just check it against a bunch of too general directories, and if you started down that path, the user could always find a new wrong one.

          "or if it were me I'd have nominated a specific folder on the desktop for them to put stuff in ."

          If you were doing that, just nominate the network folder the stuff is supposed to go in. The program is supposed to file things for the user because they were either slow or incorrect when doing so on their own.

          1. nintendoeats Silver badge

            I more meant that I would check that the file structure had a signature that was at least kind of intelligible. Like in this case, the size was way out of whack. If we are expecting 2 MBs of files per transaction, lets flag up a 5 GB transfer as no-go. Without knowing exactly what kind of files were involved, its hard to say what the right signature to look for is.

            But this is all with hindsight of having read the story, which is why I say I "hope" that I would have done that. But really, who knows.

    2. heyrick Silver badge

      "so that a single misstep cannot cause disaster"

      It is far, far too easy to accidentally delete the DCIM directory on Android, and there's no undo.

      Feels like we're going back in time and not learning from experience.

      [luckily, I had backups]

  12. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "Ever popped the name of a particularly annoying user into the source"

    Did you mean my "fuckwit.exe"?

  13. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

    all the salesperson needed to do was to point the app at the folders on their desktop

    doomed to failure right there.

  14. adam 40 Silver badge

    Apprentice Coder

    I like that idea.

    "Paul, this morning I'm going to show you how to use a file."

    "This afternoon, we'll look at cutting disks, floppy disks, and hard disks."

  15. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge
    Coat

    I'm sure

    he has to work with the same people I do

    Part of my job is looking after the data on the laptops(as well as making sure they still work after being dipped in the plating tank... thats another story best handled with rubber gloves)

    So I helpfully created a backup folder, inside the backup folder is about 20 directories named after our customers, so that the robot control programs can be saved in the customers directory under its part number.

    All well and good

    Except they're all saved to the desktop in one huge great mess by drag and drop from the comm program and the only chance you have of finding anything is to search by part number... if the setter has named the program after the part number in the first place. and if the part number has'nt collided with a previous saved part number from another customer and the setter has clicked "over write"

    And then its my fault the program has not been saved.

    Retirement........ 6 more years... just 6 more <sobs> years

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: I'm sure

      Perhaps you could put them all back - and then write protect the desktop.

  16. MachDiamond Silver badge

    Lack of training and lack of standards

    When I was working at a startup aerospace company, their records were a complete mess. I tried my best to institute some sense of organization, but the higher ups were reluctant to allocate any time/money to the project and I would get talked to about spending too much time on documentation. As the lead engineer in the avionics department, I decided to not mention what I was doing and continue on with documenting my work and committing it to the company repository in an organized manner. I even wrote a document outlining how things should be labeled and stored. I needed to be able to find information quickly to do my job so the time spent was in anticipation of needing to find the information again and again in future. I finally got fed up with the lack of adult supervision within the company and left. I did hear later on that my replacement was very happy with being able to find documents but it didn't last and everybody I worked with there has moved on. They have a bit of a high turnover rate. The only long term employees are the ones that were the biggest problems. Since they are exceptionally good as kissing backside, they remain.

    If you are a director at a company and have high turnover under certain sub-managers, you need to have a close look at those managers. Even if a job doesn't pay a whole lot, people will stay on if it's a pleasant working environment.

    1. J.G.Harston Silver badge

      Re: Lack of training and lack of standards

      I seem to spend most of my jobs documenting processes that are otherwise "oh, somebody knows how to do that". One job was a short cover between the last IT chap being fired for something, and the replacement not having started yet, and I managed to document everything he'd done in his head to a state that could be handed over to the new starter.

      A couple of weeks after I finished and had started another project I got a phone call saying they'd had to fire the replacement, and did I want to go back? Unfortunately, it had been just outside my comfortable commuting distance (put-up-able for just four weeks), and I was well into my next contract. Which was nearer and had an on-site canteen.

  17. Jou (Mxyzptlk) Silver badge

    "Ever popped the name of a SITE into the source" OF COURSE!

    Most recent example: Big statewide IT, where every old server/site to be migrated has its own AD, and for every user in all those old ADs the path to the profile and home directory is FQDN by recommendation rules. Migrated > 20 of them, with all of them follow the FQDN rule, nicely scripted.

    But then a new IT guy comes along (well, ~ 50 years old, and they were lucky to get someone with experience) in one of those sites. And he goes into the AD and shortens every \\server.domain.name\share to \\server\share for every user. Now, this is a big forest with tons of trusts to those old AD sites. For his migration, I had to add a replace-routine to re-add the FQDN to the variable before using it, else copying does not work across sites/domains. The comments around those sections name the site for which it was implemented, but not who changed it to wrong. Pointing fingers to persons instead of the problems is not good anywhere :D.

  18. billdehaan
    FAIL

    I had a customer with almost the exact opposite

    We have a couple of graphic designer/artist/musician types as clients. They're brilliant in their fields, but as far as computers go, they require that their computers be, to quote one of them, "blonde proof".

    Last year, one of them had their external USB backup disk die on them. So, they got a shiny new 4TB MyBook as a replacement, and they said things were good.

    A few months later, things were less good. Their C: drive was starting to die, making hideous belt sander noises, and losing critical files. But when they tried to back up to the USB disk, it was out of space. Panic ensued, as the primary disk wasn't backed up, and the backup disk had no space.

    I had them send me screenshots, but the external disk was 4TB, had 3.98TB free, and they seemed to be able to copy some files over, but only about 1% of them.

    So, I went over and checked it. My first assumption was that it was formatted as FAT32, and any files over 4GB wouldn't fit. Nope, that wasn't it.

    I had her show me exactly what she did, so I could see if it was a PEBCAK error, as it usually was.

    She double clicked on the icon of the USB disk, which opened a Windows Explorer window, as excepted. She then dragged a folder from her desktop to it. And sure enough, an "insufficient space" error, with a Windows error code number appeared.

    She, of course, was panicking that she was going to lose years of work, and rightly so. I tried various things, but there was no issue. I put the external USB on my laptop, and there was no problem writing to it. The disk wasn't write protected, it didn't need administrator rights, it wasn't FAT32, and in fact it could copy about 300MB of files because it gave the "insufficient space" error. What the hell was it?

    So, I researched the Windows error number. Strangely, it was not a file system error, it was a OneDrive error code. WTF? She wasn't even using OneDrive. Or was she?

    Sure enough, OneDrive was enabled. She hadn't configured it; she had no idea what OneDrive even was. This was one of those "it came that way when I bought it" things. Either the box store had configured Windows for her, or it was done when she set up Windows the first time. Since she was a "click yes to everything" type user, it would be whatever Microsoft sets as defaults.

    In the end, it turned out to be one of the more malicious things Microsoft has done. When OneDrive is enabled in Windows 10, when you copy from one drive to another using Windows Explorers, it backs up the destination disk on OneDrive. It's totally seamless and transparent.

    Of course, if there isn't space on OneDrive, the copy is aborted. And that also aborts the local copy to the USB disk, too.

    Yes, that's right. Her backup was failing because she was trying to back up about 2TB of data to a 4TB disk, but OneDrive only had 5GB or so, so Windows would only allow her to copy 5GB to the disk.

    This idiocy could be bypassed by using the command line, or a third party tool, or another file manager, but this was her workflow.

    By logging her out of OneDrive, and disabling, and then removing OneDrive so it didn't restart at boot time, she was actually able to use her 4TB disk.

    Another "improvement" that makes things worse.

    1. Terry 6 Silver badge

      Re: I had a customer with almost the exact opposite

      And I'm bloody sure she's not the only one. And as in your story, even tech knowledgable types will have been caught out by such Microsoft moronic stupidity

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I had a customer with almost the exact opposite

      "Another "improvement" that makes things worse."

      If she'd called MS support instead of you, they'd have explained the problem to her and pointed out that the only solution is to buy 4TB of OneDrive space.

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