Windows 8 Wish List
Images purported to show Windows 8 are making the tech news rounds. Microsoft’s next OS release is still likely to be at least a year away, and you can be sure to find the first fact-based coverage on it here at PCMag.com when it becomes a reality confirmed by Microsoft. You can also read about the leaked views of Windows 8. We can think of a bunch of things that we’d like to see in the next version of Windows, and the Office “ribbon,” which features prominently in the supposedly leaked images, while nice, isn’t among the most important.
Microsoft needs to make some aggressive moves with its flagship OS if it wants to stem the tide of Mac “switchers.” Below are my 20 suggestions for Windows 7’s successor. Of course, while it’s partly a pie-in-the-sky list, some items here seem to be on Microsoft’s roadmap, and so have a good chance of making it into the OS. Not everything on Microsoft’s roadmaps always makes it into each release, however (many of the original goals for Windows Vista famously fell by the development wayside).
Read my list—which is broken into wishes for performance improvements, hardware support, software support, and system tools—then let me know in the comments below the story which of my Windows 8 desiderata are the most important to you, or which particular Windows wishes of yours I’ve missed.
1. Make startup really fast.
I run Ubuntu and Windows 7 in a dual-boot configuration on the same Core i7 desktop, and the difference in startup time is remarkable. The Ubuntu startup takes 15 seconds, while the Windows takes 45. Furthermore, those times—measured from the instant the BIOS screen switches to loading the OS to the moment the desktop appears—are actually a bit misleading: Ubuntu is ready for work soon after boot, whereas the Windows system takes a while for the blue doughnut to stop spinning so that I can actually do something with the system. Windows 8’s full startup needs to be at least as fast as that of competing operating systems.
2. Better Power Usage
Laptops are only as good as how long their batteries last. Windows 8 could even take advantage of GPU processing to cut down on power consumption. The Internet Explorer team’s claim that IE9 is more efficient with batteries, indicates they’re at least thinking in this direction, which is encouraging.
3. Get Rid of the Registry
This is a perennial favorite with our Editor-in-Chief Lance Ulanoff, who wrote that if Windows virtualized everything, the registry would die.” And he has a good point. The registry is a vestige from an early time in computing history, when disk space and memory were far less plentiful, and it was advantageous for apps to share resources. Of course, this is a tall order, with negative implications for backward app compatibility. But perhaps more system virtualization could be used to handle the registry needs of those legacy apps.
4. A Journaling File System
I still occasionally find Windows performing a CheckDisk if something untoward happens. A Journaled file system records any changes to the file system separately, so it would make handling crashes resulting from things like power outages much less of a problem.
5. Partition Resizing
I’d also like to see easier partition resizing. Sure, you can resize some types of partitions in Windows 7 and Vista, but there are too many cases where it doesn’t work. Of course, you could use a third-party utility like our Editors’ Choice, Paragon Hard Disk Manager Suite 2011, but that will set you back nearly $300. Windows 8 needs to build in this capability.
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