couple years ago I
posted a wishlist on Channel9 of suggestions and changes I wanted to
see in the next version of Windows, (Windows 7 at the time). Just the
other day, I went looking for that list to scan through it and I was
surprised by how many of the suggestions were actually implemented, such
as simplifying the editions (although it was not to my actual
specifications, Microsoft did listen). As a technology and Windows
enthusiast, I am always thinking about what comes next. So, itís natural
for me to start wondering about the successor to Windows 7. Some of the
obvious areas I suspect Microsoft might be focusing on are Tablets,
Cloud Computing and Mobile devices.
January at the Consumer Electronics Electronics show, Microsoft held a
special press briefing discussing their support for new System On a Chip
(SoC) Architectures from ARM Holdings, Intel and AMD. What this means
is, we should see some interesting devices that focus more on mobility,
simplicity and performance. Lets get into the matter at hand, what I
want to see added or improved in Windows 8:
Integrate Windows Live Skydrive into Computer explorer as a Mapped
Network drive where I can drag and drop files on my personal
computer and save to it directly from within Windows and third party
applications similar to Drop Box. You can do this today with a
couple work arounds and third party solutions, but I want to see
approved and acknowledged out of box support from Microsoft. Some
persons might ask, why not just sync the User folder to the cloud
instead of having separate cloud storage, since this would simplify
access across multiple devices? Personally, I donít think everyone
is ready to push all their personal data to the cloud and would
prefer to still have some information kept locally and separated,
but there are some things you probably want to always have access
Internet Guest account, this brings down your settings on any high
speed internet enabled Windows vNext computer, a very secure high
encryption account, once you log out settings and personal files are
removed. Pretty much similar to InPrivate Mode in Internet Explorer.
Your Windows Live ID is used to do this and there must be no option
at all to save username or password on the computer. Personalized
options include, access to your personal files saved to your
Skydrive, this would be excellent for public computers and kiosk. In
fact, Skydrive should be your primary form of storage when using
Windows in this manner. If you need to have access to personal files
not saved to your Skydrive, you can use Remote connection to your PC
to augment this similar to how Windows Live Sync works.
Local PC Syncing, Microsoft did a great job with HomeGroups in
Windows 7, but one of the things I would like to see added to
Windows vNext is local PC syncing. I have three networked machines
at home, itís a chore keeping all of them on the same page. I would
like to have the option be able to sync all three machines so their
data, settings and even applications are the same across all three
systems. You can do data syncing today with Windows Live Sync, but
its restricted Windows Live and requires an Internet Connection. The
ability to log in to any PC on my home network and have all my
settings the same, wallpapers, and even application shortcuts would
be really cool.
Ability to use ĎBackup filesí in ĎBackup and Restore Centerí in
Windows vNext to backup files to Skydrive. Please note this is only
for Documents, Pictures, Music, Videos (basically the contents of
the User folder), also with the option of selecting specific files,
since there is a limitation to Skydriveís storage capacity and file
ĎTaskí drop menu next to ĎOrganizeí drop down menu on the command
bar in explorer windows for common options such as moving files,
saving explorer settings and options that were once available under
Task Panes in Windows XP explorers.
Turn ĎPersonalizationí appearance options into tabs, meaning, the
various options such as Windows Color and Appearance, Desktop
Background, Screen Saver, and Sound, instead of a separate explorer
view or dialogs; you will simply click a button next to the setting
link that expands to reveal options related to that applet. When the
button is clicked, all the options are put into view, it will simply
quicker access and reduce the need for these unnecessary cluttered
dialogs and use up a lot of wasted space. (Please view concept).
and make more dialogs in the system into actual explorer windows
that can reveal more information such as:
- TCP IP Properties.
- Advance Settings under System Properties.
- Folder Options and the various applets in the Control Panel that
use dialogs. Dialogs to me are unproductive, lacking detail and just
confusing how information is revealed to the user. Most were great
for Windows 95 when screen size was 800 by 600.
Windows Macro Tool for automating simple task throughout the user
interface. Make it easy using flow charting capabilities and
standard set of templates users can start with and more they can
download from Microsoft.com.
Make initial phase of Windows Setup when launched from within an
existing running version of Windows minimize to Notification Area,
so you can do something else while files copy from the Windows vNext
Source. When the files have finished copying, a mandatory 1 minute
notification should appear informing the user that a restart is
required to continue installation, save all work and click ok to
continue. I can do this now, by initiating the Windows + D command,
but itís cumbersome and does not feel official. My idea around this
is to make upgrading to a new version of Windows feel like less of
an event and just a normal everyday activity. If you look at
programs from Microsoft recently such as Internet Explorer 9 and
Windows Live Essentials 2011, they are not these huge on screen
wizards telling you that this is a major upgrade, its just a new
version with some really cool new features you are gonna love.
Windows vNext should evoke that same calm, collected, less, chore
OMG not another Windows Upgrade I need to do this on weekend
Create a System Restore point on first boot, seems like a good idea
to me. So, if you do hose your system with the first app or driver
you install, Windows vNext got you covered.
Include Remote Desktop in all editions of Windows vNext and make the
ability to access remote computers easy over the Internet, but
secure. Itís easy now, but I still see some complexity to it
especially differentiating the separation between a LAN and WAN. I
live in Jamaica, I am on a business trip in the States, make it easy
for me to access my Windows vNext PC at home with my Windows vNext
notebook in the hotel lobby. I am not talking about remote
assistance; I want an actual rich experience. This will become less
irrelevant with cloud storage, but, for persons who want the same
desktop to travel with them, it would be a great solution I believe.
View photos in the Pictures folder from multiple locations by
including filters in Pictures explorer, whether they are on your
Windows Live Skydrive, Facebook, My Space or Flickr. The same should
apply for videos, whether they are on Facebook, Vimeo or YouTube.
Include viewers for common applications like PowerPoint, Word,
Photoshop, and Illustrator. I am not asking for the ability to edit,
just view them if I donít have the appropriate applications
installed. You might say I should download the viewers for PPT and
Word or buy the application, but I think with the ubiquity of
Office, the ability to view them should be native in the OS. Make
previewing richer and more agile, by simply hovering a file I can
see a full preview of the file (with the ability to turn this
feature off. (basically I am asking you copy Mac OS Xís quick
Make the Properties bar at the bottom of each explorer window show
more information about a file, try to eliminate the need to go to
properties of the file to reveal more meta data, you could integrate
the tabs for from the properties dialog of a file such as Sharing,
Security and Previous versions into the Properties bar, just have a
chevron collapsible panel button on the properties bar, when clicked
reveals more information.
Preview files by hovering over them, whether itís a song (embedded
control), or image in Pictures explorer similar to Photo Gallery.
Make the look of Wizards more consistent.
Ability to change the color intensity of non-key (non-active)
windows when Aero Glass theme is being used.
Glow to selected icons on desktop instead of the square box, ability
to turn it off and use the classic selection highlight of icon like
in Windows XP.
Make URLs work through Run dialog box without having to type in
pictorial representations of Start menu common links icons beside
the worded link instead of at the top of the Start menu. The User
profile picture in my opinion takes up just too much space and it
Include a built in dictionary, I would suggest the Encarta
Dictionary, could also make it a Gadget.
Improve the Windows Aero Basic theme; I think itís the worst looking
theme in the entire Universe. I recommend something that looks more
like Office Communicators theme with the Vista Aero Glass styled
min, max, restore and close buttons. If Windows Media Player 11 for
XP and Windows Live Messenger can have it, I donít see why an
improved Windows Aero Basic in Windows vNext cannot have this. Give
users who donít have powerful enough PCís to run the high graphics
tiers something to feel confident and pleased about, a theme that I
would feel confident enough to switch to even if my PC has the
capabilities to run Aero Glass. Since I wrote this, screenshots have
leaked showing what seems like construction on a new replacement
theme for Windows Aero Basic in Windows vNext.
Colorize folders, this can actually make even searching easier, so
you can filter search results by color of folder. So that report I
wrote, I knew I put it in the Orange folder.
Postpone restarting my computer to install updates option to Ďwhen I
feel like ití? A recently leaked screenshot proves that Microsoft
might be indeed considering this functionality for the next release.
Built in support for Industry Standard image based file formats,
there is some degree of support .VHD, but I would like to see it
taken to the next level, in addition to support for the ubiquitous
.ISO, ability to mount, browse and burn from within Windows 7.
Under Desktop Background in Personalization Explorer, make the
Picture Location list box be located beside the wallpapers, itís
annoying to change in the list box to look at different wall papers.
(Browse while I simply click is the concept here), itís a waste of
so much real estate too.
Every task link that leads to a dialog in an explorer window must be
a Radio Box that leads to an explorer.
Make the Network icon balloon icon when hovered over in the
Notification area reveal sent and received packets. In addition to a
how long have you been on the net, especially handy for dial up
users who are still out there in large numbers. The entire world is
not broad band ubiquitous just yet and I donít think it will be by
Only two editions of Windows vNext, Professional and Home. Eliminate
Starter, I am from a developing country and I have seen persons who
are not economically sound with a brand new DELL laptop with Windows
7 Home Premium. PCís have become so commoditized these days, having
cheap useless SKUís that consumers are only going to want to upgrade
from or find a pirated copy of Windows to replace it with make it
redundant to bother with this SKU. Windows 7 Starter, Home Basic are
just pointless, Microsoft, please listen to me, to whoever is in
marketing pushing this poor man, middle class editions business,
please change your ways.
Windows Enterprise and Ultimate SKUís, eliminate them, they are
pointless too, the only difference between Windows 7 Professional
and Ultimate is the $20 extra and support life cycle. Make the
features that are unique to the Windows Enterprise client available
through MDOP/Volume License. So, you will only have two SKUís across
all product lines, Windows vNext Home Edition and Windows vNext
Professional, for volume customers, if they need MUIís, UNIX
Subsystem, Branch Cache, DirectAccess and whatever else makes it
unique, they can move to Windows vNext Professional with MDOP.
Since we are still on the top of SKUís, I think its time the Windows
folks too some of the maketing philosophy from the Office folks and
eliminate Upgrade packages. Again, this is about making it simple
for consumers and businesses to buy Windows. Strategies such as this
will make it easier for users to stay legal, avoid auction sites
selling MSDN/Technet keys or pirated packages.
Pricing: hmm, $100 and $200, I canít think of nothing simpler and
attractive. Choose what you need, Windows vNext Home ($100), Windows
vNext Professional ($200). There is still a need for multiple SKUís,
not everyone will need features such as Domain Join, Remote Desktop,
Encryption, Group Policy Editor. At least, it will make the up sell
easier, and the upgrade path less confusing if warranted.
Built in system wide spell checker. Having this built into Windows
is not gonna make persons stop buying Microsoft Word or Microsoft
Reset Windows vNext Settings; reset Windows vNext to its default
settings. Meaning, when I buy an OEM branded computer, I can remove
all the third party programs that OEMís often include without having
to reinstall the OS from scratch, this should not affect device
drivers. But even virus protection software must be removed in the
reset process. Let me the user; decide what I want to put on my
computer. Internet Explorer has a similar setting.
Update personal file location changes in Windows and applications
installed on Windows 7. For instance, I saved a file in my Documents
folder, then a couple days later, moved it to my Public Documents
folder. When I open that same file link from the Recent Items menu
or say the application it was created, the link should automatically
know the new location without presenting a cannot find file window
or searching for file dialog.
Multi-selection of Windows Wall Paper themes instead of just having
one theme at a time. Also, donít let changing a theme turn off my
current active screensaver. I notice every time I change a theme it
disables the screensaver.
Ability to pause on a wallpaper within a theme.
better Windows Touch user interface that looks like it was created
for 10 fingers instead of a mouse and keyboard yet still familiar
with the traditional Windows Explorer elements. See figure for idea.
importing large files from a Windows Backup, I noticed when I tried
to restore my Windows Backup which contained a recent .VHD that was
18 GBs in size, Backup refused to restore, I had to manually browse
the backup, restore it to an alternate location then copy it to its
Windows Easy Transfers issue with mangling Outlook .PST files when
Combine the best of both Windows Easy Transfer and Windows Backup
and Restore into an enhanced backup solution. I notice Windows Easy
Transfer backs up things Windows Backup doesnít have a clue to
backup, like installed Windows Themes, Bookmarks from web browsers.
Make it possible to image a Windows vNext installation on a larger
hard disk to a smaller hard disk. For instance, when I do a system
image of my Windows 7 installation, my only options when restoring
is to restore on a hard disk of equal size or greater. Suppose I buy
a new SSD which you already know is expensive but is probably
smaller than a mechanical hard disk due to the price per GB? Instead
of putting me or other users through the chore of backing up,
finding program discs and having to reinstall from scratch, make it
easier to migrate to different partition layouts.
Make Windows Anytime Upgrades simpler and less confusing. I have
witnessed folks purchasing Anytime Upgrades thinking they were able
to upgrade Windows Vista and Windows XP systems with it. Just a less
confusing name, such as Windows vNext Enhancers, allows you to
upgrade to a higher edition and get more features. At least the user
will obviously know this is a Windows vNext thing. Another good
thing, because of less SKUís, means, less confusing array of Anytime
Remove Windows DVD Maker, make this a downloadable component as part
of Windows Live Essentials or functionality part of Windows Live
Include a default email program in Windows vNext, if it means
putting an older version of Windows Live Mail, so be it, but based
on what I have seen out there, persons want a out of the box email
program, its just an expected part of the operating system. What you
can do for instance, is let Windows vNext come bundled with Windows
Live Mail 2011 before Windows Live Mail 5 is released, you could
offer an instant upgrade option when it becomes available similar to
Microsoft Security Essentials. I personally believe that removing
certain applications was too drastic, although programs such as
Movie Maker, Photo Gallery and I believe even DVD Maker are not core
parts of the operating systems, email is expected to be built into
the operating system, just like a web browser.
Windows Virtual PC needs accelerated graphics support, also,
Microsoft needs to update the free Windows XP Mode VM to a Windows
Vista Mode solution. You would be surprised the amount of
applications and drivers out there that work with Windows Vista, but
not Windows 7. For instance, my HUAWEI modem is compatible with
Windows Vista 32 bit, but refuses to install or work at all in
Windows 7 32 or 64 bitÖyes, I have tried work arounds.
Since we are on the topic of Windows Virtual PC, I would like the
option to connect to USB devices outside of the Virtual Environment.
For instance, if I want to use my USB device within a vitualized
application, it must first be attached.
Make the User folder shell folder icons not be partially hidden by
the folder icons. When browsing the User folder its difficult to
quickly find what you want to open. For instance, let the Documents
folder be represented by the documents icon, let the videos folder
be represented by the film strip icon, let the Music folder be
represented by the musical note etc.
Slip streaming utility in Windows to make servicing Windows vNext
easier, so when the first Service Pack for Windows vNext arrives, a
built in tool under System Tools in Windows 7 automatically does it
for you, only thing you need to provide is a blank DVD. This slip
stream utility could have additional options for adding authorized
drivers provided by certified IHVs and authorized software, such as
a new version of Internet Explorer, Media Player and so on.
Centralized Windows Update Service Ė what I mean by this is,
Microsoft needs to partner with industry ISVís and have a working
relationship with them to have their wares updated through
Microsoft. So, if I have Adobe products or AutoDesk products
installed on my system, I can use Windows Update as an efficient way
to ensure all those products are kept updated. It will also ensure
that systems are always up to date and secure, especially for
products like Apple iTunes, Oracle JAVA, Adobe Flash and Reader.
This will take a lot of commitment, partnership and trust, but I
think it will ultimately benefit the companies reputation along
enhancing customer relationship.