Microsoft gets an earful on what users want in future Windows releases

Summary:In December 2006, Microsoft requested feedback from a select group of invitees regarding what they would like to see fixed, changed and/or added to future Windows builds. The Windows team got an earful: Nearly 800 new feature requests, another 560-plus change requests and almost 400 defects. What were the most popular requests?

In December 2006, Microsoft requested feedback from a select group of invitees regarding what they would like to see fixed, changed and/or added to future Windows builds. The Windows team got an earful: Nearly 800 new feature requests, another 560-plus change requests and almost 400 defects.

The Windows team has winnowed that That list has been winnowed down to about 70 items most likely to be moved forward, according to a list posted of the most popular requests and posted the week of July 9 to Microsoft's Connect beta site. (I had a chance to see the line-up from someone with access to the list.)

Note: I amended this post based on information I received from a Windows tester, who said the list is a ranking of the most popularly requested features -- not of what Microsoft actually is leaning toward including. I have asked Microsoft for comment on what, if anything, this list means to the actual feature set for next-gen Windows builds. Stay tuned.

This isn't the official Windows Seven or Windows Eight feature list. But the list does indicate some of the features that are more likely than others testers are the most interested in seeing make it into the next Windows release or two.

In December, Microsoft told those participating in its "Early Feedback Program" the ground rules:

"In some cases it might be the next product cycle or longer for a suggestion to be evaluated or implemented. In other situations it might never happen. There is no way to know for sure. Some feedback may be included in Windows Vista Service Pack 1, but the main focus is beyond Vista," officials explained.

Vista Service Pack 1 currently is expected to ship in November 2007, according to testers who asked for anonymity. Microsoft officials have said to expect Windows Seven, the next major Windows release, around 2009.

Among some of the more interesting items on the honed feedback-request list:

  • Integrated antivirus
  • Inclusion of a completely vector-based graphical-user interface
  • Multi-session Remote Desktop
  • Session-restore feature for Internet Explorer 7
  • Capability for other Windows PCs to act as Media Center Extenders
  • ISO/BIN system-image support
  • Download manager for Internet Explorer
  • Replace error ID number with plain language explanation

A number of the items on the list of 70 possible futures have to do with improving the fit and finish of Windows, such as allowing reordering of Taskbar Buttons, applying the Aero user-interface look and feel consistently throughout the operating system; and including more desktop themes.

Some of these seem rather unlikely -- integrating antivirus comes to mind immediately, given past entanglements Microsoft has had with antitrust authorities. Anything else on this short list catch your attention?

Topics: Microsoft, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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