Strangely enough, right after I wrote the previous entry about the lack of a up folder button in Windows Vista I came across Mavis Up Button. I wasn't even looking for it, since I gave up looking for a solution long ago. It was a completely random thing.
So I re-installed Vista on my ThinkPad on a spare 320 GB hard drive.
My ThinkPad actually came with Vista Business pre-installed, but I downgraded to XP when I first bought it because of the missing up folder button, and also because it was slow at the time due to lack of RAM. (The ThinkPad came with 512 MB installed, which I immediately upgrade to 2 GB. Now it has 4 GB installed, although only 3 GB can be used due to chipset limitation.)
The installation from the Vista restore discs followed by Service Pack 1 followed by driver updates took nearly three hours. After installation was complete I disabled all the useless animations and reconfigured the desktop the way I like it, and immediately ran into a new annoyance: Vista insisted on remembering each folder's view settings even when the option is disabled. Hmm, I remember hearing about this problem but I never paid much attention since I wasn't using Vista, but a quick web search turned out the problem most people were having was Vista refusing to remember each folder's view setting, and I was having the exact opposite problem!
After some tinkering I figured out the relatively simple solution: folders in Vista have default view setting which Vista will use even when the "remember each folder's view settings" option is disabled. So after disabling the option, I also had to apply the view setting to all folders.
After that I installed the trial version of Mavis Up Button and started using Vista, and like I said in the previous entry, I do like Vista a lot, and it runs very fast on my notebook.
But then I ran into a yet another new annoyance: there doesn't appear to be any way to disable smooth scrolling in Windows Explorer when the view setting is set to List. I came across this Neowin forum post that suggests that there is no solution. Smooth scrolling is fine for typical users or if there are very few files in a folder, but I have folders with thousands of files, and scrolling smoothly across thousands of files takes a long time.
Bah. Back to XP for me.