Monday, July 14, 2008

20 Features Windows 7 Should Include

(Turns out I forgot to publish this last week...)

According to Australian computer expert Vito Cassisi

My opinion:

20. Modularised OS The great thing about being modular is that the OS can be modified easily. Think Linux here - in Linux everything is modular and replaceable. For example, you can replace the whole GUI component without affecting anything else. Windows Vista is modular and (theoretically) any part is replaceable.

With the abundance of third party applications written for Windows, this would spur a whole new variety of customisation and open-source implementation.
...and Microsoft could spend an enormous amount of development time to make a feature for people who (for some unexplained reason) want to replace their ...what? explorer.exe? I don't think this is what the average customer wants us to be working on.
(Back in the day, you could make Windows load something other than explorer.exe as the shell by modifying win.ini (Shell=explorer.exe, I think...) I don't know if that still works.)

19. XP Virtual Machine It seems that the biggest issue with Vista was compatibility with older software/drivers. A solution may be to include an XP virtual machine which ensures compatibility with said software. Apple did a similar thing when they re-wrote their OS a few years back.

API behavior between XP and Vista is not that much different; a virtual machine is overkill.

I don't quite get the ' / drivers' part of that, you want to put a scanner driver in a separate VM...away from all your new applications? (not a good idea)
OK, so should we write some kind of cross-VM communicator thingy? That's a lot of work, and a lot of project risk.

Wrt 'but Mac OS X did this years ago' - Go reread the reviews for 10.0. It is not a good idea.

Windows Vista does a good job of 'shimming' old apps to work with Vista. That's the best approach.

18. New UAC In theory UAC was a great idea. It protected people from themselves, but it was too intrusive. An alternate idea is to teach the user the importance of limited accounts and how they prevent the accessibility of nasties such as viruses. UAC should be a single dialogue with ‘Continue’ and ‘Cancel’ and an explanation of why the user was interrupted.

And that is what it is*. AUC is getting better, as more apps are written with AUC in mind.

*We could have done much much better on explaining it, though.

17. Gaming Mode Most Windows users like to dabble in a bit of gaming when on their PC. But the constant demand for computing power by the latest titles (read: Crysis) can leave the majority in the dark. Perhaps Microsoft can offer a mode similar to that of the current ‘Safe Mode’ which only initiates the required services for gaming. This would minimise overhead and increase performance.
WTF? What would you turn off in this 'gaming mode'? The average user does not want to deal with 'mode switches'; Windows is supposed to be lean-and-mean enough to get out of the way when the user plays a game. (It is not like some frivolous service in Windows is sucking up 30% of your CPU at all times...Before you start: Windows Search is supposed to back off when you are using your computer.)

16. Customised Install The avid performance tweakers out there may have heard of the likes of NLite and VLite for XP and Vista respectively. These pieces of software allow you to remove unwanted components from the OS before you install it. This increases available HDD space, and also improves performance depending on the services cut out. Offering the same amount of control when installing Windows 7 would settle the ‘Windows is bloatware’ activists out there.
The vast majority of users get their copy of Windows pre-installed with their computer. They don't install it themselves.

How much does the disk space cost that Vista takes up?
Somebody did a back-of-a-cocktail napkin calculation; Vista takes up less than $2s worth of hard disk space. It is literally not worth your time to go delete chunks of it. (That $2 is for spinny magnetic disks; SSDs are obviously different.)

I find it funny that there are so many tweaking utilities for slimming down a Vista install - they are using the componentization system we built; as far as I can tell, it is not like they are inventing anything new. (Well...they put a good UI on our componentization story.)

15. Productive GUI Microsoft bit the bullet with Vista and changed the GUI to be attractive. This is fine by all means, but the productivity of this new GUI wasn’t exactly enhanced all that much. Small things such as multiple desktops and simpler open/save dialogues can make all the difference. Perhaps even let the user modify the GUI to their liking, i.e. toolbar sizes etc.

We do this already - we do a lot of usability studies, to see what we should change. But yes, we should make system dialogs (like file open, etc) easy and fast. I agree 100%.

14. All for One and One for All Vista came out in so many versions that even Chuck Norris was bewildered. There should only be three, Home, Business/Pro, and Server. This would lessen the current Windows ambiguity.
I can't not disagree more.

13. WinFS Whatever happened to the infamous NTFS replacement? Windows 7 would really benefit from an improved file system, and such an improvement is bound to attract businesses that shunned Vista for its lack of innovation and improvement.
Businesses want a version of Windows that never crashes, never needs updating, and that they can manage from the other side of the world. 'lack of innovation' is not something I've heard before. And we talk to businesses a lot.

What do you think businesses want from 'an improved file system'?

The relational database structure should enhance overall system performance.
This statement is somewhat similar to: Taking a shower will make me more attractive to Angelina Jolie. The more immediately pressing concern is that she doesn't know that I fucking exist.

In my opinion, Windows Desktop Search gets you most of what WinFS would have gotten you - the average home user doesn't want to run SQL queries against their filesystem; WDS allows you to do text and/or metadata search pretty quickly.

12. Home User Licensing Let’s say you have 3 PCs in your house, two desktops and a laptop. You want to upgrade to Windows 7, but have to pay three times for three separate licences. In a world where P2P and torrents are commonly used, how many users would slip into the world of cracks and keygens? The solution (to an extent) would be to offer a home licence. A small fee to be able to use the OS up to, for example, five times in the one household would surely benefit both Microsoft and the average home user.
I can't not disagree more.

11. Driver Availability Arguably the Achilles heel of Vista was the slow uptake of drivers by device manufacturers. Although this is hard for Microsoft to dictate, it would be in their best interest to promote driver production during the OS development stage. Even if the drivers are beta, it sure beats being left with no hardware functionality.
We're working on this. We're not changing a huge number of driver subsystems ever again; Vista taught us that lesson.

10. Standards Compliant Browser This isn’t much of an OS thing, but it is bundled so we have included it. Internet Explorer 8 would win the hearts of many web developers if it was created to web standards. There’s nothing more frustrating than coding a website which works fine in Firefox and Opera only to have IE spit the dummy.

Er...IE8. Acid2. Look it up.
(Yes, it isn't perfect, but it is 10000x better.)

9. Program Caching Currently, Vista caches commonly used software into RAM so that it launches faster. The main problem with this approach is that it confuses users into thinking Vista is using several hundred MB of RAM just for itself. A simple toolbar notification stating ‘Vista is caching your programs to improve speed. Click here for more information’, would end all the confusion.
This is solving a problem in exactly the wrong way. The average user doesn't care. This would be similar to a message popping up on your car dashboard saying: Your fuel management computer has determined that it needs to adjust the fuel to air ratio that is being fed into your engine.

When the average user would say 'why the fuck should I care? isn't that what you are supposed to do anyway?' - that's a hint that they don't care.

One of the UX guidelines that we have is to never use balloon messages for obvious messages (don't tell me about things that are just supposed to happen anyway) - Are there any spots in Windows where we annoy the user with obvious messages?

8. Microsoft Toolbox This is an idea we came up with which we believe would benefit many users with compatibility issues. The feature would list current drivers and patches for all installed hardware, games, and software. By having this all in the one place (possibly within Windows Update) users can keep their system up-to-date without seeking drivers and patches manually.
Search for 'Solution' in the Vista start menu; the Problems and Solutions thingy will look at the applications that have crashed on your computer, and any devices that don't have drivers, and show links to manufactures websites, where you can download updates.

Ideally, this should all just happen via Windows Update, but other software and hardware companies don't trust Microsoft (or any other software company) that much.

7. OS Restoration via imaging System restore is a great companion when things go wrong. But sometimes the damage is too severe. By integrating a user friendly imaging solution, the user would be able to install everything they want, and then simply create an image of the setup. This image would be saved on another HDD or partition ready to restore in the case of a system failure.
Interesting idea. 'On another HDD' is a bit silly; backing up to something that'll burn down along with the rest of your house...well, that's isn't backup, in my opinion. (Time Machine, I'm looking at you.)

6. Barebones Kernel This idea has been thrown around by Microsoft, specifically ‘MinWin’. Allowing the user to choose between this and the default kernel could potentially allow older systems (i.e. XP based) to run the new OS with decent performance levels.
Not even Linux does this anymore. Any reasonable modern kernel can run any any reasonablely modern bit of hardware. (And kernels adjust to machines with low ram/low power CPUs/etc)
Also, this is like asking the user to pick a brand of spark plug when buying a car. They don't fucking care.

5. 64bit only The main difference between 32bit and 64bit is the amount of accessible memory or RAM. Plans to create a 32bit Windows 7 would be counterproductive, by then GPUs would use at least 1GB of VRAM, and the average system will most likely have upwards of 4GB of RAM. Considering the 4GB memory addressing limit of 32bit, you can see that confused customers won’t be happy.
We're trying as hard as we can to get to a 64-bit only world. The rest of the software industry needs to catch up. (Where's my 64-bit version of Flash? Acrobat? Etc.)

4. Better out-of-box burning capabilities CD/DVD burning is a simple everyday task. Unfortunately, Vista cannot burn discs very well, and there is a severe lack of options. A decent burning service wouldn’t go astray in Windows 7.
Yeah, this would be good to have.

3. Diagnostic Tools It happens all the time, you build your own PC and the OS install constantly crashes. You blame the OS, but really, something else is at fault (such as the RAM). If diagnostic tools similar to Memtest were included, issues like this could be detected without the need to find third party software.
Good idea.

2. Faster Boot and Shutdown This seems to be something that constantly plagues Windows. A faster boot time would be a great first impression to many critics, and it’ll save valuable time, especially when restarting for updates.
We did a boatload of work to make Vista boot fast. Sadly, computer companies add a bunch of crapware that slows down bootup.

1. Simplify and manage startup items Many users install software which starts up with Windows. All of this software opening at once causes lag and lack of usability for a considerable amount of time. A simple startup interface (not as daunting as the current MS Configuration Utility) would help users disable what they don’t need running. Another feature would be to schedule programs to start after a certain amount of time. This would prevent the computer struggling to open several programs in one hit.
A lot of services and big chunks of Windows Shell already do a delayed load. As far as I could determine (back in the Windows XP days), there is actually no way to determine when all the relevant bits of Windows have finished loading. As I recall, after 10 minutes, everything is guaranteed to be up and running. (So, the point is that (if you have something that is in the startup path) you should check, and not assume, that a part of the OS that you need is loaded.)

As always, I'd love to get your feedback; comment away.


Adam-Atown-Jones said...

honestly, im really surprised u took and agreed with so much from the post, but in all honesty, i use windows, mac and linux and vista is ok. the driver thing is my big issue but overall i agree with your post and arguments. ive heard ALOT of people talk about the database thing for the hard drive and its just overkill in alot of ways. I enjoy your blog, keep it up.

aLe said...

"By integrating a user friendly imaging solution, the user would be able to install everything they want, and then simply create an image of the setup."

Already in Vista. It's called "Windows Complete PC Backup and Restore". Not a creative name, but it does what it's called.

Anonymous said...

Wooh for Ale! Use it all the time.

And as Adam "atown" Jones said, "I enjoy your blog, keep it up."

No doubt we're all subscribed via RSS. :)

P.S. I've built 3 fairly unqiue PCs for family members and my self. Never had a driver issue. Maybe if people bought a new computer to replace the one they've had since Win98?

Anders said...

I'd love some way to 'virtualize' program installs like with Sandboxie and Altiris SVS. I think the OS could do a better job at keeping track of what programs install on the computer.

Nikolay Sitkarev said...

I love Vista. It's a pity we had to wait for that kind of experience while the Mac users were having it for years. I guess, we need some touches to feel how cool is to use it.
We definitely need to get some more user (person) oriented approach. I spoke to a friend of mine, converted to the Mac what did he like more in it. He showed me some things. I told him all of them were in Windows too. He agreed. He said: the system didn't urge on using them

Viking said...

Wow... with people like that i'm going to call myself a computer expert from now on.
These sound like ideas and suggestions from a 15 year old gamer who puts together white-boxes for their family...

Here's some thoughts:

1.) Backups - image based backups are only in Vista Business and NOT in Vista Home. Shouldn't it be the other way round as most businesses don't backup their PC's, but rather their servers. Whereas home users desperately need image based backups - ie. time machine.

2.) Cut out the need for 3rd party management tools. Why does every manufacturer still need their own Wireless management tools that fragment the way windows boxes connect to wifi networks or handle multiple locations into thousands of variations. If there's no technical reason, then fire a rocket into the likes of Sony, et al. if there are technical deficiencies that these 3rd party tools address - BUILD IT INTO THE OS.

3.) Less notifications, ...please! When using OS X it's like stepping into a perfectly quiet room to do your work. When stepping into Vista it's "OH HAI! i just connected to the network." "BTW, i'm checking for updates now." "guess what?? I found some updates" "hey dude, would you like to install those updates" "i asked you before but would you like to participate in our customer experience program?"

4.) Better UI - i mean real UI benefits. Simple things like me just having stretched out this memo field in safari to type all this is a real UI boon. The obvious but nicely done blue ring around the active control make a genuine difference particularly to older users. Visual hints as to where something came from or went to. Note that none of these require hard core 3d rendering and shader effects..

5.) Pressure vendors into using DLL hell avoiding techniques such as Registry-free COM. Lead by example.

6.) Replace or speed up the registry. This is pure guess work but why else does windows just slow down to a crawl after many apps have been installed and removed. There's no processes for those apps running any more... there's no services or anything left behind. What gives??

7.) LESS CUSTOMISATION!!! Make only one way to view things or one way to do things, and with that extra free time you now have, make that one view or one method good! I mean seriously - classic and category view in the control panel. In one you can't see half the applets and in the other it's an unordered mess.

8.) Talk to you your other halves - the box shifters. Crapware, superfluous bundled 3rd party tools that take over what the OS does perfectly well on it's own is KILLING YOU GUYS. Give them better ways to differentiate themselves that doesn't fuck up the whole environment from the user's perspective.

9.) Don't add a virtualised legacy OS on top, we need to move forward not backwards. Polish those nice new API's you've got in Vista and .Net 3.5, etc until they are palatably better than doing it the old way.

Pierre said...

I think Windows should *really* keep track of what programs install on the computer... and/or provide a new API for application setup, so Windows could associate each file to an Application ID, like CopyThisFileInAppDirectory/UserDirectory, RunThisExeAtStartup, PutThatIconInWindowsTray, InstallThisRuntimeFromMicrosoft/Adobe, RunThisEXEAsAService, AddARegistryKey, etc.

Some ISV would be really happy to use this API, and provide their users with clean programs they can customize and/or uninstall properly.

Viking said...

I'm inspired, so here's a final rant.

You guys - yes you dev guys, not the mgmt guys - have grossly mismanaged Windows and it's ecosystem over the years and now you are starting to pay for it. Kudos.

There are bugs that have been left as-is for sooo long in various parts, that apps and websites are now coded specifically for this faulty behaviour. And you have the audacity to then complain - "ooh but now all these sites expect this behaviour; we don't want to break the interwebs!"

As such you guys deserve every bit of criticism and scorn you get plus every bit of Microsoft stock you own - and then some.

Paradise Lost said...

People like to harp on Vista for poor driver support, but have you ever tried Linux on a laptop? I've installed linux on at least 4 machines and my Wifi has NEVER worked out of the box. And to add insult to injury, i had to find the WINDOWS driver and use ndiswrapper to get it to work. Vista, now, is great. I reinstalled recently and EVERY single driver downloaded on it's own. very cool.

Mugunth Kumar said...

Another thing that makes vista slower is "Thumbnail caching" service. Un checking the "Always show thumbnails, never show icons" seems to considerably increase the performance of windows explorer, but the lack of a dedicated "Thumb nail view" or a "film strip view" makes it difficult for viewing pictures. Standby takes 55 seconds and resume takes around 15 seconds... Vista reports nVidia graphics driver to be the trouble maker... why did M$ allowed nVidia to use the "Designed for Vista" logo when it just did not work well with Vista? even after two years, nVidia is not catching up... :(

mikeybthepilot said...

I agree with Viking on the whole GUI thing. While Vista is a nice improvement on XP as far as GUI goes, it still could use some work. I'm thinking that perhaps since there are both home and business versions of Vista and presumably Win 7, maybe they could use slightly different GUIs. The Home versions could have all the wizz-bang stuff like Linux and Mac have while the Business version could have the same look but without all the fancy features - more utilitarian. One thing that I would really like to see is something analogous to the Desktop Cube in Linux. It doesn't have to be a cube mind you, but having more than one desktop can be very useful! (I know there is third party software that does this but it's crap and slows down the pc too much) Also, a way of tiling or spreading out open windows like they do on a mac would also be nice and perhaps the addition of a widget layer too. The final thing that would be great is adding a 'flip view' feature for viewing files inside folders with pictures and perhaps pdfs and movies and music etc. as well. Macs have it for music and although I prefer PCs for a number of reasons Macs do have a very pretty GUI. Stealing (ahemm...I mean 'borrowing') a few ideas couldn't hurt and let's face it, it wouldn't be the first time a software company copied ideas from a competitor! A flip-view type folder navigation feature would be a very nice touch - at least for the Home version anyway, you could probably leave it out of the business version.

jrronimo said...

Isn't there a "Windows Memory Test" when you boot to the F8 menu in Vista?

I disagree that Time Machine isn't useful since it would burn with the rest of the house -- if you're looking at catastrophic failure, there are *few* households that would ever be safe. But for a hard drive slipping a disc? Time Machine saves the day. Unfortunately, most people don't seem to know about Windows Home Server, which provides similar functionality and works for up to 10 computers in your house. I've got one, that's for sure.

I love image-based backups (<3 Acronis TrueImage), but unless there's a really, really easy way to do it, I don't think people will understand. It would have to be touted as a major feature and be able to save said image to DVDs or an external hard drive or something...

Stanley said...

Wow, nicely done :) !!

I do agree with most of your comments. I just wished that the management of the system was a tad bit easier. Microsoft has gotta do something about the multiple SKUs and 3rd-party software that comes with new PCs.

And, I gotta say, the sytem configuration utility does need a makeover. It's a really grand tool :) !!

Asgaro said...

And what would you say about this??

"Sandisk: Windows Vista not optimized for solid state drives"

asymtote said...

Drivers, drivers, drivers. Everything else pales into insignificance. For a platform that bases its value proposition around cheap commodity hardware, changing the drivers in the way that you did was a triumph of ivory tower academic thinking over pragmatic engineering.

I have no doubt that you'll never ever make driver changes on that scale again but it's still going to take years for Windows to recover from the Vista driver debacle and in the meantime Macs are selling in record numbers.

John Obeto said...

Apart from #14, I agree wholeheartedly with all your answers.

I believe that an all-encompassing OS SKU for the consumer market would work, leaving the SKU choices to the business/enterprise market.

Such a choice will correctly point system functionality questions at OEMs, and force them to enumerate the capabilities of the systems upfront.

My take, '10 Steps to a Successful Windows 7' is here:

Leonardo Damián said...

"WDS allows you to do text and/or metadata search pretty quickly."

You're fucking kidding me, right?

The virtual folders are just crap. Everything I ever wanted from virtual folders that Longhorn promise, Vista didn't deliver.

Virtual folders (or saved searches *sigh*) have so little things for you to do, that they are just unusable.

The rest of the post is OK.

Mahoney said...

#17 makes me wonder if a twelve year old who gets his daddy to buy him $300 graphics cards wrote the article.

#9 is just plain stupid. That would be annoying and redundant.

#6 tells me the author has no real knowledge about kernels.

P.S. Love the blog. Read every new post. Never tl;dr.

Josh said...

"I can't not disagree more."

I hope you don't code in triple negatives...

PS, what the fuck are you trying to say here?

Mahoney said...

"I can't not disagree more."
"I cannot !disagree more."

"I can disagree more."

Soma said...

"I can't not disagree more."

I can't (not disagree) more.

I can't agree more.

I couldn't agree more with your point.

Yert said...

Well, I have to call fake (this time) for not pointing out this obvious flaw:

"WinFS Whatever happened to the infamous NTFS replacement?"

What did you do? You flew with it.

WinFS IS NOT A FILE SYSTEM! Even a non-softie knows that! The FS stands for Future Storage. Its a relational database!

The only way we can really trust you now is for you to meet with a trusted third party (i.e. Mary-Jo Foley) and confirm you are a softie. How else can we believe if your going to let such obvious holes fly?

Hendrik Christian said...

i actually agree on the Gaming mode.
When I play games, I WANT all the processing power my PC can give.

Fine, if Windows Search will get out of the way when I play games, but how about Windows Update updating in the background (TrustedInstaller.exe), Windows Defender scanning, WmdHost.exe syncing, and sometimes some Windows Media Player Network Update.
Non-MS stuffs like Google Calendar Sync takes up 50% of Outlook.exe when syncing, some gadgets in Sidebar taking up some CPU cycles.

I know the latter are not MS-fault, but I do hope the OS in "Game Mode" can stop all other activities until I'm done.
If that can't be done, at least stop all those Windows Defender, Update, etc. I often find them running in the background, doing something when I'm playing games, and when my PC skips some frames during game playing, that makes me upset.

And on the so-called Australian expert, I agree that whoever that is, he is NOT an expert, and I'm glad you bashed him.

adam said...

I really don't see what peoples issues are with windows Vista. I run Vista Basic at home. I have turned off/removed everything I do not use and it runs faster than XP did on my old computer. Granted it is a newer machine but who would expect a new OS to run on 2 year old hardware anyway? Boot time is fine for me, including putting in my password I am at a usable machine in 49 seconds. Whats the problem?

Mahoney said...


I stand corrected and stupid.

Also, love the blog. Keep it up.

Brian said...


You make lots of good counterpoints in your post. However, I think you're off-base on at least one matter:

19. XP Virtual Machine: Like it or not, many businesses are going to go straight from XP to 7 (some because of what they've heard in the press about Vista, most just because of the length of their upgrade cycles). For these businesses, having more confidence that they can use applications and devices created while XP was still in vogue could only ease the transition. I'm sure it's a lot of work, but you guys are Microsoft ($60+ billion FY2008 revenue, nearly 80,000 employees) and Windows is your most important product. I'm sure MS can find the resources somewhere.

On a different note, here are my top five features I hoping you guys decide to throw in to the consumer version(s) of Win 7:

5. Integrate anti-virus with Windows Defender. (DOJ willing).

4. Bring the "previous versions" file feature to all Win 7 versions.

3. Multiple desktops per user account and easy switching between them.

2. More customization. Lots more customization.

(How do you produce one OS UI for a billion people? Part of the answer is you don't. Win 7 should have a plethora of different themes, gadgets, etc. available out of the box. Menu items and so forth should be as customizable as realistically possible. In sum, when in serious doubt about whether to make any UI element customizable, do it.)

1. Completely replace Explorer and Control Panel with new versions that sport somewhat more functionality and much better usability (eg. tabs).

In any event, love the blog.

Nickname unavailable said...

Regarding shimming - that's fine but who's going to shim an app that's not high profile? Microsoft won't care and the vendor's probably moved on. Apart from that, I agree with your comments (please no more triple negatives though!).

denisvvf said...

For me Vista it's a cool improvment over XP. Runs without problem with a right hardware.

Nektar82 said...

In my opinion Windows needs: Windows Marketplace++, Windows Live++, user interface++, SDKs++. ++ means a much improved version of said item.
1. Marketplace++: A Central Application Manager in which you would be able to find, if need be buy, download, install, update, uninstall, move or copy to another location (folder, harddisk, memory stick), move or copy to another computer and comment on, file bugs, give feedback to ISVs and rate all popular applications. Also, it should be able to store, move or copy, delete and synchronize application settings across computer devices. This marketplace should provide an extensive peer-reviewed application-rating system which would also be used by UAC to make decisions on which applications to allow and which to block and by Windows Defendor. Whilst Current Marketplace lacks:
A) Popular applications; only Windows logo ones are there and most popular ones are missing.
B) No easy way to find free or open source applications or no links to developer communities providing applications collaboratively developed.
C) Updating of all Marketplace applications and not only Microsoft ones through an automatic update mechanism.
D) Applications that move with you and settings that move with you.
E) Uninstallations that leave your computer in exactly the state it was before installation.
F) Ability to re-locate applications on other media, such as memory sticks without uninstallation and re-installation.
G) Enhansed rating system which would link to UAC/Defendor.
H) UI to give direct feedback or file a bug directly with the application vendor.
2. Live++: An online service which would extend Windows and which would provide back-up to user files, provide live collaboration between users, enable synchronizing of files and settings across users and computers and provide easy application exchange between users. The service should also provide ways to collaboratively develop and/or market Windows applications amongst its users, inform other users of my daily activities if desired and create a circle of friends. All Windows desktop apps should have a connection in some way to this service and much more so where it would be useful. It should allow the peer-editing and/or review of Windows help content and the peer-editing or creation of manuals or tutorials for Windows applications, directly linked with the application's entry on the Marketplace. It should allow collaborative creation amongst users of music, videos, novels, etc, which would be posted on the service.
3. User interface++: Vista's interface I find inconsistent. The little things do count. Vista's interface looks like it was placed there at the last minute: Spelling mistakes, inconsistent keyboard navigation, no real innovation like in Office. For example, at time esc does not activate cancel in Control Panel new dialogs, split-buttons cannot be clicked with the keyboard, at times tab moves from control to control and at times you need to use the cursors, wording and spelling errors, overall a mess in the details. Finally accessibility is horrible and Narrator needs a serious update.
4. SDKs++: Windows SDK and MSDN are not integrated, not easily updated and do not work with any other tool except Visual Studio. No tutorials are given for popular programming tasks and one has to read the whole documentation to write a simple app. WIN32 and COM Development is the section which needs most modernizations, more C++ tutorials in how to write Windows apps and updating and peer-reviewing all samples some of which might not even compile! Why doesn't all univirsity graduates in computer science know how to write Windows apps especially native ones? Why does nobody know COM? At times one asks frustrated the question: "When will the SDKs learn to be straight and to the point?" Peer-editing of SDKs is also lacking, (look at Wikipedia before you raise any doubts).

Thomas said...

Windows 7 won't include winFS because of WDS. But will it include support for ZFS?
MacosX 10.5 already has read-support for ZFS and Snow Leopard plans to have full read/write-support.
Is Win7 gonna keep up?

scsi said...

The best thing Microsoft could do for Windows 7 is swap the roles of Interix and the Windows API. Think about it: The best of both worlds! The general goodness of POSIX/Unix, combined with the gigantic application base of Windows; definitely a good system! Call it Windowix.

Oh, and take the GUI out of the kernel; it doesn't belong there. And clean up the messy Windows API. And while we're at it, open source the whole thing.

Oh well, we can dream... :)

scsi said...

Another thing I forgot: Just because Vista *could* be modular, it doesn't mean it is. So what that any part could be replaced if that isn't used? Use that capability to do things like dynamic loading. That would actually help.

lx said...

The GUI isn't part of the NT Kernel afaik ;)

kevin said...

Good analysis. A lot of tech-focussed people forget what actually matters to the users. It's nice to see your replies.

However, I'm shocked at the two things you didn't agree with and said "I can't not disagree more." to, and it contracdicts many of the other things you said.

Vista's versions are horrendously confusing to home users and have been one of the biggest complaints about Vista. With the current pricing of Vista, unless you buy Ultimate, then you feel like you've lost out somehow, and if you buy Ultimate, you'll probably still second-guess that decision. That's a terrible position to put your customers in. In other answers you talked about giving people too many options, well, you should apply that rationale at the cashier as well as in the UI.

Same idea regarding pricing. Apple offer a nice 'Family Pack' for OSX, and while not neccessary, it's certainly a good way to encourage people to upgrade when otherwise they'll probably just leave it. Apple have a much higher upgrade rate than Microsoft, and I'd wager at least part of that is because of the friendlier pricing.

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mahoney said...

Quote from Soma:

"I can't not disagree more."

I can't (not disagree) more.

I can't agree more.

I couldn't agree more with your point.

Anonymous said...

Interresting, so "the users doesn't f**king care".

You have at least three types of users, Normal, Gamers, and developers.
The Normal users are of course the biggest group of these, but you dont want to support the other two?, the groups that MS need to make Windows an success? (No software, no normal users..)

For me, I need to configure Vista so it runs on my computer, gotta turn off things like superfetch, shadowcopy, just to make vista bearable on my computer. An I have an brand new Dell M1330, 4gig memory, etc, but it is by far the worst os ever. XP is considered for next install.

Mahoney said...

"For me, I need to configure Vista so it runs on my computer, gotta turn off things like superfetch, shadowcopy, just to make vista bearable on my computer. An I have an brand new Dell M1330, 4gig memory, etc, but it is by far the worst os ever. XP is considered for next install."

I don't know how you manage your computer, but I'm on 1 GB of RAM running Home Premium with Aero and Superfetch enabled. Runs like a dream with VC++ 2008, Firefox 3, and Photoshop all open simultaneously.

Louise said...

Your comment about 'we're trying hard to get to 64bit only.. where's my 32bit flash?' doesn't make much sense.

If you were a real Microsoft employee, you would have thought about the Windows On Windows 64 (WOW64) emulation layer, which means that apps don't need to be 64 bit to run on the 64 bit platform.

Anonymous said...

64-bit *ONLY* Windows 7...

You mentioned that you felt this was hard to get software manufactures to adopt to. Well, in this case, the dog needs to wag the tail. If MS's next big OS is a 64-bit only OS marketed and targeted as a "high performance" option. Everybody will want it and when the consumers have it, they're going to be knocking down the doors of software manufacturers for the 64-bit versions.

Adobe, etc, etc, will understand this and given enough time, will make available 64-bit versions specifically built for the new OS. Frankly, it'll give them an opportunity to release a new version and bring in more cash.

Let me put it this way, TV manufacturers didn't stop producing 1080p TV's because there was poor support for the format. Now that everybody has had to jump on the bandwagon, they are demanding HD content from providers and the providers are rushing to this level of service as incredible speeds.

In this case, MS needs to LEAD the pack to 64-bit rather than try to develop to.


Joseph said...

Bring Back Custom Install

MaxBalboa said...

Please consider having fair balance between average users, and professionals.

As for the GUI stuff, while AERO is not bad. It doesn't look neat, "too much design spoils the beauty", added to that - please consider system wide consistent graphical elements like not intermixing FontA with FontB, or for example never mix segoe UI with arial/tahoma font, keep it uniformed. Macs GUI looks professional all the way. They are so strict when it comes to GUI consistency, that's why macs always look good. They managed to create great looking GUI while keeping it simple and not a distracting GUI. It promotes better focus on what you are currently working on and not on the GUI. Just try to keep it simple in all ways.

And of course, bring back the custom component install just like the win95 days. Macs still and will always implement that.

It would be nice to see windows 7 have that all on it's own.

On the side note, I can sense the MS-ness in you wordings. Stop the "this is what is right for you so bear with it" attitude, you can't stand a million of users out of yourself. Be open minded.

Great blog anyways.

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JP said...

I'd like to know the relevance of him being Australian. Racist, just a little bit?

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ADR said...

I am surprised with the quick and off the cuff dismissal of users that build and upgrade their own systems. Yes, their numbers are small and probably not a consideration for Microsoft marketing but these users are extremely influential, far beyond their numbers. If Vista got a bad wrap, it was because of these users and the problems they had upgrading their machines. If Microsoft does not attempt to satisfy these users, it would ultimately fail because these are the users that influence user opinion. From these blog, I see that Microsoft still does not get it. Your hostile attitude towards these users and your dismissal of the the "home license" tell volumes. Unfortunately, none of them any good.

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Hunter said...

I'm using Windows 7 beta. It does boot much faster than vista, about 20 or 30 secs from turning on the computer to being logged on and ready to work. Practically no lag at start up. It's great. and I see a memory diagnostic tool so I guess that got added since this was posted.

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This comment has been removed by the author.
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