Windows 8: Wish List of Features and Functions
Windows 7 is only 10 months old, but it’s never too early to glance on down the road at Windows 8.

Microsoft is keeping a tight lid on any information about “Windows 8.” But back in June, leaked slides on the Web indicate that, with its next client OS, Microsoft will push for near-instant start-up times, integrated facial recognition technologies, support for USB 3.0 and Bluetooth 3.0, compatibility across different devices through the cloud, and simpler streaming of movies and TV shows to any screen.
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It’s clear that Microsoft intends to cover the increasingly diverse hardware landscape with Windows 8.

Directions on Microsoft, an independent research firm, has some ideas of its own for the next version of Windows.

In an as-yet-unpublished report, Directions on Microsoft Research Vice President Michael Cherry compiles a Windows 8 wish list consisting of faster start-up times, a timely release, coherent error messages and more.

Here are six features Cherry would like to see in Windows 8.

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Remove All Annoyances

One Windows 7 feature that gets under Cherry’s skin is the “Green Bar of Death” that appears when copying a large number of small files from one place to another. To fix file copying, Cherry suggests the Windows team just make it faster. In addition, if Windows cannot target how long the copy will take, don’t bother giving an estimate, pleads Cherry.

“I really hate seeing that a copy will take 13 minutes, no four hours, no 25 minutes, etc., etc.”

Another annoyance? Features such as “map a network drive”, “uninstall or change a program” or “burn to DVD” are buried or keep getting moved around from one Windows version to the next.

“There are too many ways to get to these features,” says Cherry. “In Windows 8, Microsoft should highlight the one with the fewest steps and make it more obvious.”

Release It On Time

“An important feature I would like to see is simply a timely release of the next version,” writes Cherry. This could be a challenge, he notes, because too much discussion of Windows 8 could negatively affect Windows 7 adoption.

[ For complete coverage on Microsoft’s new Windows 7 operating system — including hands-on reviews, video tutorials and advice on enterprise rollouts — see CIO.com’s Windows 7 Bible. ]

“Windows 7 is a pretty good piece of work and is actually being purchased and deployed by consumers and organizations,” writes Cherry. “But there are still these nagging doubts about the Windows team’s ability to deliver successive high-quality new versions of the client OS on a regular, predictable schedule.”

Expect Microsoft to be light on details about Windows 8 development to give Windows 7 adoption some breathing room, writes Cherry.

“I would not take a bet against [Windows chief] Steven Sinofsky’s ability to release a product on time, but in order to not hurt Windows 7 adoption, the normally secretive Sinofsky will hold his cards even closer to his chest on Windows 8.”

Windows 8 would be generally available in October of 2012 if Microsoft stays on a three-year schedule.