"My Computer"? Shouldn't it be "Your Computer"? Or just "Computer"?

Everyone has seen the icon Windows provides for calling up your home directory: “My Computer”. Does that strike anyone else as childish and creepy? I didn’t write “My Receipts” on the manila folder I store my receipts in. I just wrote “Receipts”. I know they’re mine. If there was a chance someone else might run across it and think it might contain their receipts, I would have written “Hyperelastic’s Receipts”. “My Receipts” doesn’t tell others whose receipts they are. If they can figure out who “Me” is just based on “My”, then they don’t need “My” at all. They know who it is. Labeling things “my” is something I imagine a possessive six-year-old would do, or maybe an extremely neurotic adult.

This “My” business is all over the place now. When I log in to my bank’s website, it says “Loading My Accounts” while the page loads. That threw me for a loop the first time I saw it. Why would I want to see your accounts? I want to see my accounts. It should say “Loading Your Accounts”.

I trace it back to the trendy (at least it used to be) Japanese habit of using the English word “my” to describe their possessions. They had ads reading “My Car. My Happy.” and silly nonsensical stuff like that.

When will it all end?

Windows 7 Professional calls it just Computer.

I guess someone at Microsoft agrees with you. In Windows 7, “My Computer” now shows as… “Computer.”

If you open the Your Name folder, you’re greeted with a conflicting array of nomenclature, though. You’ve got “Contacts,” “Downloads,” “Favorites,” “Links,” and “Searches”… but you’ve also got “My Documents,” “My Music,” “My Pictures,” and “My Videos.” Go figure.

I’m a Mac user, but that My Computer thing has always struck me as odd. Uh, who else’s computer would it be, if I’m logged in to my user account?

Yeah, glad they stopped that with Win7, it was stupid.

And often incorrect. What if I was working on a computer I did not own, such all the ones I worked on in my various jobs? Ones that were not even exclusively assigned to me? And why say “You may turn off your computer” when you can be more accurate and say “You may turn turn off THIS computer”?

When I first got XP, I thought it was so cutsey-poo I could not stand it. Right click on it, go to Rename, as I did, and change to anything else you like. I changed it to “Computer.” and it’s been there for years.

Actually, I originally changed it to “Panic Button” but it confused my co-workers, so gave up on that.

Have you only just noticed this?

You can rename it to anything you like, which can confuse any tech who has to come in and set something up and expects everything to remain at default.

When I was taking computer programming courses in college, back in the 70’s, there was a sort of convention in textbooks to use the “my” prefix in programming examples. You would see things like this:

int myint=3;

When Windows 95 came out, I figured that the designers must have learned from a lot of the same textbooks. The thinking would be that “Computer” was a type of thing, and “my computer” would be a specific thing of that type, and “my” was the usual way of denoting that. Personally I think “this computer” would have made more sense.

It wasn’t just Windows 7, actually; Vista ditched the “My” prefix in front of “Computer” as well.

If you don’t like the name under the icon, why not just rename it? You can call it anything that strikes your fancy.

On my computer, I changed the name to “Beelzebub”, to reflect the fact that Evil Spirits so often decide to pay my computer a visit.,

Well except the ones that know that Logo+e opens up explorer.

The number of whom I have encountered equals zero. Even seasoned IT veterans don’t seem to know those kinds of simple tricks (even though they know 1001 other esoteric things about PCs).

Count your blessings. After one of the focus groups, they removed the word “Widdle.”

The “my whatever” started when they added real LAN networking to the OS.

So the typical user might have 6 machine or folder icons on their desk top: “My computer”, “Janes computer”, “the big down one in IT”, etc.

Once you think of all the other computers, using “my” to refer to your own machine makes sense. And in a typical LAN setting your machine is outnumbered 10 or 20 to 1 versus the other machines you probably have shortcuts to.
Now the other of this issue side is …

Pretend my name is Bill and my computer has accounts for myself and my wife Sue.

What feels awkward to me is when I see “Bill’s Documents” as a folder name. People (other than Bob Dole) don’t usually use their own name. I’d be happier if I saw “My Documents” and “Sue’s Documents” while she saw “My Documents” and “Bill’s Documents”.

In Win7 MSFT has a mixture of “Name’s Whatever”, and “My Whatever”, and just plain old “Whatever”.

A lot of the “my whatever” names will be with us for a long time since so many 3rd party applications were written to assume that pictures will always be stored in “My Pictures”, music in “My Music”, etc.

The Windows app design standards say programs should always ask the OS what is the correct folder for the user’s dedicated picture folder, so MSFT could change “My Pictures” to “Pictures” or “Your Pictures” without breaking thousands of apps. But most software companies are lazy or cheap and saved 3 minutes of dev effort by doing it wrong. So MSFT is stuck. And hence we all are stuck.

I usually change the icon to something musically inclined and the name to My Sharona :smiley:

I don’t get why “Computer” makes any more sense. It’s merely a hub for all the disk drives on my computer. It’s nowhere near the whole computer. I know they’re trying to be user friendly and not use Filesystem or root, but why not something like (My) Drives, (My) Disks, or (My) Storage?

But, then again, I think the entire file system should start at the user level. The user’s home folder (or even Desktop) should be as far back as they can go. (Folders that were traditionally outside or above that level would be dynamically mapped under the user folder, with only admins having access to stuff that applies to all users.) But that would require a big change in how things work.

“MY computer”

“Where do YOU want to go today?”


Cognitive dissonance, frozen in text.

My thought exactly. August 1995 was a looooooooooong time ago.

Actually, I did that once, with an interesting side benefit. When I started at my last company, I renamed it “Your Computer”. When I left the company, by company policy they wiped my hard drive and left the computer in a storage area for my former department to re-use. But their automated hard drive wipe only erased “My Computer”. It didn’t erase “Your Computer”. So later when I needed something off the machine, I just called up a former colleague, he fired up the machine, and emailed me what I needed.

It is good to know Microsoft has changed it for Windows 7. I am now about one percent less likely to get Linux on my next computer.

There’s no statute of limitations on griping, especially on the SDMB.