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Weights and ropes help assist opening and closing because they balance to the window. A quick fix this to install leaf springs to hold windows open so they will not fall down but it makes them a little more difficult to open. Sometimes there are access panels in the jamb which make it much easier to replace the rope, otherwise, the trim around the window needs to be removed from the wall and repainted and in some cases, stucco needs to be cut out and replaced. 

One item of hardware that is generally missing is the pull handles on wooden sash windows. Pushing up on the top rail can cause the window to fall apart. The handles are designed to lift the sash using both hands from the bottom. These windows should also be assisted by weights or spring mechanisms to ease operation and keep the sash from falling down.

"Windows should work they were intended to. On old windows if missing cords these should be installed to make to work "
(Joe Ortega email to JB 8/11/13)

"Yes, I can repair them, but It is costly. We need to remove the casing to do this repair.....yes it is dangerous. FYI they sell some wedges that prevent the windows from falling without having to remove the casing. (I don't recommend these, they get loose with time)"
CMS TO JB 8/12/13)