Could Windows 7 be the best Windows yet?

Could Windows 7 be the best Windows yet?

Summary: Given all the feedback that Microsoft has had from Vista users (both negative and positive), could Windows 7 be the best version of Windows yet?


Given all the feedback that Microsoft has had from Vista users (both negative and positive), could Windows 7 be the best version of Windows yet?

Vista is turning out to be a bit of an enigma. While sales seem strong, users seem far from satisfied with the latest offering from Redmond. Also, while consumers and businesses alike have been eagerly waiting for SP1, it now seems that this won't be enough to quell the constant flow of negativity. If it is true that Microsoft is pulling out the stops to get Windows 7 out of the door and onto PCs are fast as possible, this does seem to suggest that Microsoft is taking this negative feedback seriously and wants to put the Vista mistakes behind it.

If Microsoft has been listening to the feedback, the company will have a pretty good idea of what people thought was wrong with Vista, and this could give the project managers and developers a pretty blueprint for what the next version should be like.

Users disillusioned with Vista need a reason to give Microsoft a second chance.So, if Microsoft has been listening to the feedback, what will Windows 7 be like? Well, first off, Microsoft needs to trim the bloat out of the OS. While Vista can certainly be fast when you throw enough hardware at it, at the lower end of the hardware spectrum it's hard not to start to see problems, and has the focus moves onto cheaper PCs, Microsoft needs to have a flexible platform that can accommodate a broad spectrum for PCs, from high-performance systems to cheap $200-$250 systems.

Secondly, Windows 7 needs to figure out the best way to leverage UAC or totally get rid of it. If you're technically minded UAC shouldn't be a problem, but if you're not then that changes and you end up with an operating system that refuses to work the way you want it to.

Another stumbling block that Vista encountered was hardware and software compatibility. These issues have to be kept to a minimum in the next version if the new OS isn't to attract the same level of criticism. Vendors have to be encouraged to develop drivers rather than expect home and business users to landfill things because of the lack of drivers.

Think about performance and you realize that the main competition that Vista has doesn't come from Mac OS X or Linux, but from Windows XPThen we come onto performance. Think about performance and you realize that the main competition that Vista has doesn't come from Mac OS X or Linux, but from Windows XP. Benchmark after benchmark shows that XP is capable of beating Vista hands down. Vista SP1 does little to address these issues while XP SP3 makes the old OS perform even better.

Another valid criticism of Vista is that of the UI. While the interface undoubtedly looks sexier, that pretty interface doesn't translate into an interface that's better or easier to use. In fact, many claim that the new interface is nowhere near as clear or as easy to use as that of XP. Just redesigning something to look different doesn't automatically mean that it's better.

And then there are the drivers. Microsoft is collecting more and more information about system crashes than ever but we're still seeing drivers causing problems that they were causing a year ago. Either Microsoft isn't using this information effectively or the information isn't trickling down the chain fast enough to the vendors. Good drivers are key to a solid, robust and fast OS and so far the drivers that I'm coming across for Vista just aren't up to scratch.

Then there are all the features that were dropped from Longhorn during its transformation into Vista. Aero's not really a feature, and neither is security. Microsoft needs to get clear on the tangible benefits that Windows 7 will deliver early on and stick to them.

That's just some of what Microsoft needs to deal with. Whether it will or not will decide what kind of feedback Windows 7 will get.


Topics: Microsoft, Operating Systems, Software, Windows

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  • Of course it COULD

    But that's not an interesting question. Because MS will do what they want to do, and speculating about what they will or will not do is a futile effort.

    The real question is whether it WILL be the best Windows yet. But it's silly to speculate about even that when it's not even out of the planning stage.
    Michael Kelly
    • agreed

      There was the possibility of Vista being the best windows yet too. Thats not saying much...Windows users figured with all the wait for vista it is bound to be great but we all know that isnt true. I mean i personally run Vista and only vista and like it very much so over XP. But most disagree with me.
    • OS maturity

      the way I see MS OSs is like this.

      In 1998 you buy a mini (car) for ?5000, and it does 40 mpg and has a top speed of 80 mph.

      in 2008 you buy the same car for ?6000, and it does 20 mpg and has a top speed of 60 mph.
    • It COULD If MS REALLY Listened To the People That Count

      And by that I mean the end users and those who have to implement and support the dang thing. I DON'T mean the ??AA's, those who want to maintain vendor lock-in or those who otherwise want to control the user. If MS doesn't put first the principle that the computer belongs to its owner, it won't be any better than Vista--probably worse.

      I'm talking about things like;

      1) Make the core OS as minimalist as possible. In my experience, the more stuff that's running by default in the background, the slower the OS runs. Nothing beyond what is absolutely necessary to run the OS should load by default (that includes leaving out Internet Explorer). Beyond the core, make the other parts of the OS modular; let modules that are needed (for example, networking--networking is ALMOST universal, but not completely) be installable and removable (or activatable/inactivatable) so that if a given module isn't needed, there's no unneeded crap sitting in memory. Perhaps the modules could be optionally stored in flash memory (mounted within the computer to make it slightly idiot-proof) so that they could be activated and loaded at a moment's notice. Ditto for regularly used parts of the OS that don't have to be in memory all the time; they'd load faster than from a hard drive, and wouldn't have to be kept resident.

      2) Get rid of DRM in the operating system. Wherever it belongs (if it belongs anywhere), it does not belong in the operating system! It makes every user a suspected criminal, adding baggage whether it's needed or not.

      3) Put a manual--a real, well-written dead-tree paper manual--in with the OS. And put on the front in big letters, "IF YOU DON'T READ THIS AND MESS UP YOUR SYSTEM, YOU HAVE ONLY YOURSELF TO BLAME." Maybe have it flash on the screen as part of the boot process for the first 10 times to get the message across--and then the stuff in the boot process doing the flashing should be disabled, removed from the registry and deleted (no baggage left behind). Just HEARING about what MS added to Vista to try to make it idiot-proof gives me the willies. Multiple layers of "Are You Sure?" only adds to the frustration of users who DO know what they're doing, and the real idiots will still find a way to mess it up anyway.

      4) Include a "Kill All Processes" function as powerful as that in Linux to shutdown, if it's not there already. My girlfriend's PC runs (yes, I know this version is old) Win98SE and everything is NOT dumped during shutdown--it frequently hangs. If she runs the venerable PC Mag utility "End It All" before shutting down, things go much smoother. I use Puppy Linux as my primary OS, and when I run shutdown there, everything REALLY IS shut down.

      5) Use a driver format that can have drivers converted from any previous version of Windows (yes, going back to 3.0 at least) so that people who own older hardware won't be stuck when upgrading. Perhaps a Windows equivalent of the Linux NDISwrapper utility (which enables Windows drivers to be used under Linux) would do the job.

      6) BETA TEST THE (*#^(^^*&@&(((&*$@)&!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OUT OF IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! MS should recall the lesson they learned from MS-DOS 4.01->5.0. DOS 4.x was a dog, so when they were coming out with 5.0, they did an extremely wide beta test to make SURE that there were no significant problems (and this with a far less complex OS than MS Windows). As I recall, 5.0 had few if any patches, and definitely no 5.01 or 5.1 releases.

      7) Build the core OS from scratch and make it SOLID (whether it's backwards compatible or not) and maintain backwards compatibility through virtual systems, a la Mac OS X.

      8) If there's GOTTA be an authenticity mechanism, make it as unintrusive as possible, erring on the side of letting potentially pirate copies be recognized as legit instead of toward the side of inconveniencing legit users.

      And that's enough for 'em to get started with.
      • It's Beautiful, what you say - oh, if ONLY!

        But MSFT will do what MSFT always does - toss around their anticompetitive 90+% market share like some schoolyard bully, and create ANOTHER OS that's frankly ass, b/c most people are Too Stupid To Change.

        If we're lucky, that just may cause yet ANOTHER 10% or so of M$ Sheeple will see the light and switch to other OSes (Mac, Linux or some Google thingy, I don't care which), so we'll finally have REAL Operating System choice....
      • Absolutely!

        It's been obvious since IE was "integrated" into the OS that it was a mistake, and if you go by pure coding rules, everything you say makes total sense. The problem is, Bill has a degree in marketing, not computers, and the top people listen to marketing, not computer people.

        All that garbage is added in, not to make the os better, but to appeal to the largest audience possible. Marketing has decided that the average user isn't smart, can't figure out how to find the programs they need to get the job done, and that their tastes and needs are rather childish. On top of this, for some reason MS THINKS it has to compete with just about every developer out there and make one of everything as well. It started with MS Word, then office, IE, and the ME TOO mentality never stopped.

        The real problem is, MS needs to stop a moment and decide what they are really doing and then do well. They need to leave behind the idea of being a jack-of-all-trades because they wind up doing none of it well.

        What they SHOULD do with their installs is that the core OS is loaded onto disk, and that a copy of the extras is added to the recovery partition. Then, when the computer is booted the first time, there will be a tutorial (much as most programs work now), which offers features and explains what they do, and gives the user the chance to decide if it will be added into the regular routine (and also removed again cleanly if necessary). Keeping it on the recovery partition will allow these features to be added at least faster than from the disk it came on and also keeps a backup in the recovery partition in case of future need. If they want to encript, validate, whatever the recovery partition, I can understand, but at least make things useable without always having to hunt down the stupid disk and reverify everything every time the OS is upgraded.
      • About 2) DRM : Get rid of it. It creates extra problems

        even for drivers that will have to handle the (illegal) DRM.
        And Get IE OUT OF the OS. By all mean bundle IE ( and possibly other browsers too), but not TIED into the OS. It only makes the OS become "brittle", as if IE crashes, it takes the OS with it into crash. Rather silly !
        So NO DRM !
        Let IE be an application ONLY.
        If this came out as a patch, I imagine Vista would improve quite a bit.
        • ...

          IE isn't intertwined in Vista... You can uninstall IE...

          As a matter of fact, you have to INSTALL IE when you load Vista. It's on there as an installer only. I only installed it to download firefox, and to view pages that FF messes up sometimes.
    • Vista Rammed Down Our Throats

      Of course Vista sales are brisk. Aside from the Mac OS it is hard for the average consumer to get anything but Vista. The song and dance we get from retailers is apalling. Microsoft! Get over yourself.
      • Vista jammed down our throats

        Every new version of Windows is jammed down our throats because of the deal that was made with all the hardware manufactuers to have the latest version of Windows preinstalled. That is why MS has a monopoly on the operating system you use.
      • Let me ask you something.

        Can you buy a new Mac with an older version of the OS preinstalled? Better yet, can you buy a Mac and get Windows of Linux on that Mac PC? <br>
        Of course not but then Macs don't count do they.<br>
        I mean this is all RIDICULOUS. <br>
        YOu walk into Walmart and DEMAND last year's model 4 slice Oyster toaster and see where it gets you. Go to the Ford dealer and demand you want the engine from a 2002 on the 2008 body. <br>See where that gest you.
        This is just normal progression of the market that occurs in all other segments and this one too. If it upsets you, get the competition. There are hundreds of linux distros and of course you can get Leopard shoved down your throat and buy a 2899.00 MBP. (comparable PC hardware can be had, w/coupons out every month) for less than half of that. Just bought a 17" laptop with 2.5Ghz penryn core 2 duo w/6MB L2 Cache and 4 GB of 800 Mhz RAM, dual 7200 rpm sata drives, half a GB of video ram (discrete) on a high end GPU. 1400 bucks. and it delivers big time.)
  • Pie in the sky

    I am still waiting for that first good, fast, secure, stable, user friendly OS from Microsoft. No, actually, I have given up hope. Too bad I have to use their products and do not get a choice.
    Help us EU, help us!
    • You missed the boat!

      "...waiting for that first good, fast, secure, stable, user friendly OS from Microsoft."

      That ship sailed years ago: MS-DOS. lol They haven't been able to do all those things since. Win 2K was relatively good, and XP has become so after some fixing. But more and more, it's an uphill battle with that ball of twine.
      • But even then...

        DR DOS was better!
      • DOS was user friendly?

        I'd like to know in which alternative universe MS-DOS is considered a user-friendly
        • re: DOS was user friendly?


          "I'd like to know in which alternative universe MS-DOS is considered a user-friendly system."

          Uh, that would be in the Linux command-line universe.
          M.R. Kennedy
          • re: re: DOS was user friendly?

            I'm going to have to outright call "A-duh" on this comment, I mean sure its userfriendly among ANYONE who runs or has run linux. But that is just a small minority in the pool of computer users, There are more people who dont get the idea of a command line system than there are people who do. And while this is fine for most (if not all) linux distro's, Microsoft is a company born of profit, they have to make it "easier" for the users.

            No hostilities meant with this post, just my two cents.
          • DOS was NOT that hard

            Back around 1991 I authored an audiobook called "The DOS Tape." We ended up with three MS DOS editions and one for IBM PC-DOS (at their request). It explained the command line, basic file management and even batch files on a 90 minute cassette and a double sided reference card.

            <sigh> Things are a LOT more complex today, because we expect the OS to do more. But oddly enough, I am considering doing an audio CD with reference card on the SAME file handling subjects for Windows users. Many, especially those over 40, can't find a file or rename it if you put a gun to their head! I know this, as I teach digital camera use and 80% taking the class can't make a folder using the Windows File>New>Folder command.

            The ROTTEN thing about DOS was that every program had its own idea of what keys did what. F8 might print with one program and delete on another. At least Windows help forced some standardization.

            But I still use Control C, X and V with Vista! ;)
        • DOS was very user freindly.

          All you had to do was type in what you wanted.
          And the program would run. Nothing was simpler.
          No Click, Click, Click...
          No programs saving stuff where they wanted to, you told it where to save. You told it where to load from.
          Oh sorry, I am talking about taking responcibility for your own machine. Taking responcibility for your own actions. In DOS if you screw up it is not the OS's fault. It is user error. ID10T errors started there.
          Do you not find it interesting that there was no carple-tunnel(sp?) when people typed? It only came as people moused...
          • re: carpel tunnel

            [i]Do you not find it interesting that there was no carple-tunnel(sp?) when people typed? It only came as people moused...[/i]

            Or it could be that carpel tunnel has a peak instance age of 42...and how many 40 year olds were using computers back then? Plus, in the 1990s, office jobs blew up. All of sudden, there was a huge increase in office jobs as opposed to non-office jobs. Since we were in a mousing age by the time these jobs would have had their effect, any correlation just can't be effectively made. You could be right, but it seems that there is much more to the issue than that. Not to mention, they can't even say for sure that typing and mousing cause it at all.

            For info, in case your interested:
            Carpel tunnel syndrome (carpel tunnel is a part of the body, carpel tunnel syndrome is a malady affecting that part) was id'd in the early 1900s, named in the 1930s, and the pathology was id'd as a result of studies in the 1950s/60s. It didn't become widely known until the 1990s.

            It's not solely related to keyboard use, it's repetitive motion involving the bending of the wrist (and there isn't even a strong correlation present to argue that), but other factors, such as stress, trauma, family history, and even some diseases like obesity and diabetes, can cause CTS. However, the majority of cases are idiopathic (idiopathic means that there is no clear cause).

            No arguements meant here, btw...just thought I'd comment on the carpel tunnel thing. Most people blame keyboards and such, but really there is no telling at this time if that's at all accurate. But, in professions centered around office jobs and heavy computer/calculator reliance, there is a high instance of the problem, and it can be annoying at best, devistating at worst. Best practice is to take breaks from repetitive motions. Not just typing and mousing, but writing, drawing, knitting, playing instruments, and any other activity in which the wrist is being bent and straightened repeatedly. At minimum, wear a supportive glove or brace if no breaks can be taken. This malady can be very painful and debilitating to live with, and the treatments can be uncomfortable and inconvenient.