A tale of two UIs

God bless whoever at Microsoft decided to build Calculator Plus, an unsupported free upgrade for calc.exe. On the other hand.. who decided it was a good idea to skin the UI by default?

This is a companion discussion topic for the original blog entry at: http://www.codinghorror.com/blog/2004/09/a-tale-of-two-uis.html

I agree that skin is terrible. It would be cool if you could do your own through some kind of hack but I assume that’s not possible.

I usually just use it. Switching to Classic mode every time will be a pain. Calc.exe has a problem if you run it as a restricted user it NEVER saves settings (set it at scientific, close, reopen). CalcPlus on the other hand actually saves the information.

I think it may be due to permissions and how it saves the information but I’m not quite certain. I just wish there was an option to replace Calc.exe with this so that the next time I go to use a calculator I’ll use the right one. Having to remember that it’s in the “Microsoft Calculator Plus” program group isn’t always easy when you’ve been going to “Accessories” ever since Calc.exe was placed there. I think it goes back to 3.1

You should be able to replace calc.exe with this version-- I replace notepad.exe with Notepad2. It’s kind of annoying (you have to override XP’s built in File Protection) but it works. Here’s the batch file I use:

copy notepad2.exe c:\windows\servicepackfiles\i386\notepad.exe
copy notepad2.exe c:\windows\system32\dllcache\notepad.exe
copy notepad2.exe c:\windows\system32\notepad.exe
copy notepad2.exe c:\windows\notepad.exe

You might also want to check out the PowerToy calculator http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx