My current laptop is running Windows XP Media Center Edition. It came pre-installed, it wasn’t really my idea of a good time. (At the time, my understanding was that it would come with a free upgrade voucher to Windows Vista Business. This turned out to be Vista Home Premium instead. Either way, Vista will never be installed on this machine.)

So MCE doesn’t really allow you to “lock” your desktop. That feature isn’t in the OS. Instead, when you attempt to lock the desktop with the WinKey-L combination, you get the “switch user” screen. OK, maybe not so bad, you still have to enter a password to get back in to the desktop.

What I find very annoying is that you can see how many unread emails the user has. Even if Outlook isn’t currently running! It’s things like this that make me want to switch to Thunderbird or some other non-MSFT email client.

Considering I want to leave my laptop open, but locked, in my cubical while I am away from my desk, I really don’t like having information spewed out like this. It gets worse: if you hover the mouse over the current user icon, you can see their email address. Who thought that one was a good feature to implement?

I know, I know, the glib answer is that I shouldn’t be running a non-business grade OS on a business laptop. Windows XP Professional would give me the security I want. It’s my fault for deciding I could live with Windows XP Media Center edition on my work machine. These are the trade-offs.