Windows 7 wishes

Windows 7 wishes

Summary: Today Ed Bott has been furiously rubbing the lamp hoping that the great genie Sinofsky will appear and grant him some wishes. Well, since there's a chance that Microsoft is listening, here's my wishlist.


Today Ed Bott has been furiously rubbing the lamp hoping that the great genie Sinofsky will appear and grant him some wishes. Well, since there's a chance that Microsoft is listening, here's my wishlist.

  • First off, I wrote a wish list back in January. These still stand.
  • Virtualization support out of the box.
  • Support for virtual desktops out of the box.
  • Choice. For example, do you want the new style Start menu (which I prefer) or the old XP-esque Start Menu (which I know a lot of users preferred)? These kinds of choices should be on offer across the OS.
  • 64-bit only. A while ago I wasn't too sure about this, but I'm no at the point where I firmly believe that it's end of the road time for 32-bit.
  • UI revitalization. Aero is OK, but let's be honest, it's little more than a visual refresh of what we had back with Windows 95.
  • WinFS ...
  • Improved multicore support.
  • A task bar that extends across multiple monitors.
  • Better codec support for Media Center and Windows Media Player.
  • Tighter integration of PowerShell with Windows.
  • Reinstate the ability to have a custom install of Windows. Having the ability to easily remove (or not install in the first place) unnecessary apps and features would counter claims of bloat.
  • Fewer reboots, or a better way to handle reboots (such as restoring apps that were open prior to the reboot).

Now for stuff that I'd like to see but will not appear in Windows 7 for certain ...

  • Three separate layers to the OS ... the OS layer, an application layer and a data layer. Each layer needs to be a separate entity to allow easy migration and repair of the OS.
  • On demand sandboxing of applications.


[UPDATE: Ed Bott asks 'Why would you want WinFS?' Here's the TalkBack reply I posted:

I'll give you one reason right off the top of my head why I like WinFS ...

... and no, I've never said or hinted in any way that this was a replacement for NTFS.

The aspect of WinFS I liked was the ability to create schemas that could be used to teach the system different file formats not already understood by the system. So, for example, a schema could be produced to allow indexing of, say, BlogJet files or a directory listing of say 7z files or an ISO file. This would have allowed third parties to extend the quality of search results beyond the limits placed upon it by Microsoft. I'm not currently aware of any system whereby Windows Search can be augmented.

WinFS also, at least on paper, promised a far more organic search experience that didn't rely on keywords of knowing what file extensions you were dealing with.

Another reason that WinFS was promising was that it was more open than what we currently have. The situation as we have it now is that Google Desktop Search beats Windows Search in both speed of indexing, processing speed and the quality of results on every system that I've tried it on. Unfortunately it doesn't work on 64-bit (or at least I've not tried it as the download claims to be 32-bit only).]

Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • On layers.

    Per Ed's post, IE 8 continues to be integrated (and integral) to the OS. It is likely that many other user space apps that MS creates, will at least be partially embedded, if not completely.

    End user applications have no business being part of the OS itself, it just leads to much harder patching, fixing, easier exploit intrusion to lower layers offset by the tighter integration of end to end apps. I prefer the former, as I see you do.

    My wish, ActiveX dies the death it has so richly deserved for many many years now. Replace it with a .NET infrastructure with ActiveX control emulators.

    • Absolutely ...

      ... there's no reason why any application that you install makes changes to the underlying OS (other than through the installation of an update ...).

      My take is that IE should be a removable component.

      "My wish, ActiveX dies the death it has so richly deserved for many many years now. Replace it with a .NET infrastructure with ActiveX control emulators."

      Hear hear!
      Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
    • IE 7 is already sandboxed.

      So the fact that it is integrated is irrelevant wrt to security.
      • Wrong thinking ...

        ... because if you could uninstall it, it's no longer an issue.
        Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
        • Not sure what you're trying to say.

          If you don't use it it won't be an issue either.
          • geez

            IE is nothing more than modified explorer window with different commands...
            im not wrong !!!
            open any explorer window , & type in a web address. it opens that address.
            how can you want better intergration of the O/S , while in the same breath wanting to remove elements of it ???
            remember win 95 ??? a 1 gig HDD was a big deal.
            i could see then for conserving space. but now we have terrabyte drives available for almost the same price. a full install might take 3 gigs of space , & youre worried about not installing something?

            just like buying a loaf of bread.
            it comes in a plastic bag, but that doesnt mean youll eat the bag.

            64 bit is here to stay if i have a say.
            not willing to update? say hello to win 98.
            i dont understand programmers who claim to know what theyre doing, but cant comprehend 64 bit.
            they went from 8 to 16 bit, then to 32 bit. but cant grasp 64 bit ?
            i wonder why their job was outsourced to india ?!
          • Did you respond to the correct post?

            It doesn't seem like your comments are applicable to mine.
      • Until the next flaw.

        Is the coding of the sandbox perfect. Is there no way the integrated component shared by IE and Word and Player can never be compromised? I am not saying to get rid of IE, and very tight integration can be done at the application level, keep it modular. No reason why updating Word should cause IE to stop working in some way, or a WMP vulnerability can be used to exploit Word.

        These tightly integrated components are why MS has a hard time patching at times, and not causing "side effects" simply because the scope of a single change can be huge.

        • I would like to see IE separated too.

          But not because integrating it makes it any less secure. In all versions of Windows that have IE integrated it runs with whatever privilege level the logged on user has. The myth about IEs integration is that by having done so it runs with kernel level privileges. It does not. Therefore it's no less secure than any other browser. And with IE 7 on Vista it's even more secure given that it runs with lower permissions than normal user privileges.

          As for just having it on ones system...that doesn't make it less secure either. If you don't use it you don't have to worry about any bugs it my contain.
          • The reason I'd like to see it removable is ...

            ... choice.
            Adrian Kingsley-Hughes
          • How is your choice being restricted?

            While I would like to see IE removable as well I fail to see how you don't have a choice to use something else because it's not.
          • Exactly what is MS afraid of? Why not make IE removeable?

            People do chose it because it is the best. Don't they? Heck, IE is so good, they would use it even if FireFox was the default and you had to download IE. Right? But, then again, strip them both out, and let the OEM decide the default based on what their customers want, and also let the end user decide which ones he/she wants installed.
          • @DonnieBoy: You didn't answer my question. Which was:

            How is your choice being restricted?
          • You've spent too much time using Linux

            You won't get a MS fanboy to agree with having the ability to uninstall IE. They don't understand choice and I doubt that MS would allow it either, they wouldn't want OEMs selling it with only Firefox or Opera.
          • Understanding ironic

            Would a desire to have an integrated browser (for many reason) not be a choice? <br><br>
            Or do Linux "fanboys" write the rules and it's EOS? ;)<br><br>
            I don't suppose the FF marketshare indicates anything to you. <br><br>
            If IE were a standalone browser, are you saying that linux distros..e.g. Ubuntu, Red Hat, Novell etc. would include IE as part of the distribution or preinstalled with OEM Linux machines to show what choice is all about?<br>
            The integration does not matter, the distribution does.
          • choice

            you have a choice.
            linux , mac , win 3.1 - 95 - 98 - xp...

            heck , let me have your job for a month.
            how many computers with various O/Ss on them do you have access to ?
            how many donated programs & hardware to review & keep?

            id like to see a positive review from all the stuff youve had access to..
            take all the best hardware youve got laying around there & build the computer that youd take home.
            then install all the software that you think is the best that youre happy with.
            write a review on what you put together , & take it home.
            then write a review on it after a month of use.

            face it, wont happen.
            plus !! we are so behind on technology.
            theres hardware available in the UK & china that is far superior to ours because we moan & groan instead of going forward
          • I'd like to hear about his experiences with the Mini.

            As far as I can tell he bought it and set it on a shelf.
          • Remove IE from Control Panel

            Am I missing something? To remove IE (which I have done), I simply opened the "add / remove Windows Components" in the Control Panel, and removed it. Done.
          • What could be done

            Make the IE rendering engine into a system library invokable by either system programs or whatever apps require it (I don't think there are that many left). IE then simply becomes a front end which can be installed or not as the user may desire. Windows Update could, for example, be a standalone app (like Red Hat's PUP) that might call the IE rendering engine (call it iexplore.dll) to render the appropriate pages on MS' site, but would not depend on the browser itself. Better yet, MS could eliminate Windows Update's dependence on IE entirely (it's not really necessary).

            It's a waste of system resources to have a browser installed that's not going to be used. IE was "bolted" into Windows for the sole purpose of "encouraging" its use (the better to encourage IE-specific websites). Given that the strategy has failed, it would behoove MS to do away with the charade and let users install it or not as they see fit.
            John L. Ries
          • Really?

            So if it's not used directly, it just sits there idle and isn't invoked by other Windows processes; not even to display HTML wallpaper?
            John L. Ries