All that was to be done was to copy a couple of folders containing a few files of coding(used to solve Equations of State if you are wondering) and adapt them for my use. But Vista had other plans.
Indexing is a very useful tool, no doubt, because it scans the contents of every folder you open and keeps it ready in case you search for a file later on. I have no problems with that. But what I noticed and confirmed with Googling is that it indexes while we are doing work also - in other words unlike other indexing software it does not index only when the system is idle.
So when I copied the folder from the usb stick to my laptop and opened it, Vista started indexing. It started and wouldn't finish, going on forever. I agree the problem could be with only folders containing some files of coding or dat files, but even then, it's an unnecessary pain. Now since the previous day was snow day and continuous lab was essentially cancelled, prof had some time - but time is not worth wasting. But hey - Vista's got all the time in the world.
Prof gave up after the folders hang. He told me to fix it. I remembered coming across an option to turn off indexing, so I right clicked the folder on one higher level and unchecked the indexing. Done, I thought.
So we opened it again, but no avail. The green bar would start its pilgrimage across the address bar. Now his laptop specifically runs XP - I mean specifically because Vista had already fallen out of his favour. So he gave the laptop to me to fix it once and for all.
Control Panel had an Indexing Option icon, I recalled. Unselected all the folders there. No effect.
Googled and with that help went to Start Menu Search>Services>Windows Search>Properties. Stopped search and Disabled it. Nope. Looks like Indexing was on a war path to reaching its goal no matter what.
Now my patience was running out. Wasn't that supposed to fix the problem? Isn't that why those options are provided?
I tried Starting and Stopping in the Options again, toggling it. I tried after switching UAC back on(User Account Control -yeah I had killed that a long time - and you should too. It too is in the Control Panel). I tried the Services panel again. Na.
And did I mention all the time wasted while CPU usage reached 100% and I had to wait for Ctrl-Alt-Del to take effect and then wait till Task Manager appeared and then kill Explorer... Oh, by the way, I had to kill explorer every time I tested it.
Finally I realised I could stop indexing C drive itself. It said, OK, I will do it for you. And took 20 minutes to apply the 'no-indexing' policy to all the folders in it, which is basically all my files.
Thankfully at the end of the day after time spent with no progress, thankfully the necessary folders did not crash and some copying and modifying was done though incomplete. Yet, I may be overlooking something here, the green bar still races through the address bar for some folders.
That's it, Vista has ultimately lost the last few scraps of respect I had gathered for it inspite of its early debacles, for hindering productivity and frustrating prof to the point of anger. In the process it got a few choice words for Microsoft and Bill Gates and his 'one step back' software too. Windows 7 better be really special and cheap for Vista users, Mr. Gates. Ballmer is in, but Gates is responsible for this.