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

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?

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TOPICS: Microsoft, Windows
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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 has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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207 comments
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  • I got a suggestion for them....

    How about giving users the option of turning off that damned [i]"We just updated your PC and now it needs to be rebooted"[/i] alert dialog box that reappears every 5-10 minutes after a Windows Update?

    And how about giving users the option of turning off that damned [i]"We just updated your PC and it needed to be rebooted. AND since you didn't click on "Restart Now" OR on "Restart Later" we rebooted anyway. Yes, we know it was 3AM and you were asleep and were not available to click a button, but them's the breaks. Sorry about any of your data we lost or any massive downloads we killed in midstream."[/i] "feature"?
    Hallowed are the Ori
    • Turn auto update to notify

      then you will have better control over the process. ]:)
      Linux User 147560
      • Still frustating

        Even with auto update turned to notify it is still annoying.

        There are times when something crops up after I have started the update installation that means I don't want to reboot my machine for some time afterwards.
        It quickly becomes extremely irritating when it asks you every few minutes if you want to restart.

        There really should be an option to turn the reminder off for a specified period of time.
        nmh
        • Is this still a problem with Vista?

          I don't know and don't have access to a Vista machine... not that I would use it anyhow. Also I thought that Microsoft had gotten Windows XP to the point where you didn't have to reboot as often for security patches? Maybe you guys should ask for a system similar to *nix... only reboots are for kernel level updates and those are far and few between. ]:)
          Linux User 147560
          • Good idea except

            User want to work WITH the OS, not ON the OS ;)
            John Zern
          • Well I don't know what you are doing wrong

            but I work with Linux everyday... made this post with it as well. 8 hours a day I use Linux to perform my job, that I am paid to do. Why can't you? ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Linux heads don't realize they are working on the OS

            I use OSX, Windows, and Linux at times and I'd have to say I spend more time working ON Linux than the other two OS's. To install an app in Linux you general have to run a command in the shell. Where as Mac and Windows you double click the installer. That should have been resolved years and years ago. Oh and gotta love the dependancies issues with Linux. Ubuntu seems interesting but feels like at it's at the win95 infancy stages.
            samuelmicahlewis@...
          • What?

            [B]" I use OSX, Windows, and Linux at times and I'd have to say I spend more time working ON Linux than the other two OS's."[/B]

            Once it's installed and set-up I never work on my Linux systems other than security updates, which are automatic should I choose.

            [B]"To install an app in Linux you general have to run a command in the shell. Where as Mac and Windows you double click the installer."[/B]

            WOW! What version of Linux are you running!? All the modern distributions have nice pretty GUI package managers that allow you to select the install applications on the fly. They even resolve your dependencies for you. That last sentence from you is total tripe from 2000.

            [B]"That should have been resolved years and years ago. Oh and gotta love the dependancies issues with Linux. Ubuntu seems interesting but feels like at it's at the win95 infancy stages."[/B]

            Read my previous post. Your reply is total feldercarb. ]:)
            Linux User 147560
          • Well I don't know what you are doing wrong

            Dad-gum ... only 4 messages into the thread and this is already becoming a Linux vs. Windows debate again. Go away, troll!
            CodeBubba
          • because...

            job Linux pcs mean they have tech support like Red Hat. home user linux=freeware=no support=CONSTANT PROBLEMS until you get everything set up correctly, which never happens. You might get it to have *few* problems, but never problem free. I personally despise linux. It's more trouble than its worth.
            evilkillerwhale@...
          • Why can't I? EASY!

            that's easy. Linux doesn't have any Autodesk or Adobe products (and I'm also pretty sure no Newtek either). I use all of these products daily, and there are no REAL substitutes for these programs (no matter what the linux users may espouse). Unfortunately, Autodesk doesn't even make an Apple version of their products, otherwise I might seriously consider that option (even though I have no fondness for the one-mouse-button mentality.
            Drakaran
        • Between that and email pop-ups

          It's mess!!
          Kid Icarus-21097050858087920245213802267493
        • Vista is a little better

          Vista, unfortunately, still has it.

          BUT - in Vista, the restart dialog box can be delayed up to four hours. Which is a lot better than every other minute, but I [i]still[/i] would like to see an option to not bother me again.
          CobraA1
      • Yeah, but, the thing is....

        .... when you tell it to go ahead and download and install the updates, it tells you with a straight face (can a computer have a straight face?) that you can continue on with any other work you need to do.

        Then, when you're ass deep in combat in HL2or CoH, here comes the dialog boxes telling you that you've just updated your PC and you need to reboot it to "complete the update process".

        And apparently Microsoft considers "Restart Later" to mean "Interrupt me again in 5 or 10 minutes to show me this same damned dialog box."
        Hallowed are the Ori
        • John, you have me confused.

          So you have updates set at 3 AM. Are you up playing games at 3 AM? I mean when I hit the machine in the morning and see that I need to reboot I don't start anything until I've done it.
          No_Ax_to_Grind
          • Sorry, let me clarify....

            I HAD my updates set to run automatically at 3AM. That resulted in the aforementioned auto-reboots.

            So I changed it to "Download updates but let me choose when to install them" (I may not have the exact wording correct.)

            But the result of doing that is that when updates are ready to install, I get balloons popping up to tell me Windows really should be allowed to install the updates. (While not nearly as bad as the dialog boxes, they are still annoying and should still be allowed to be disabled by the user. The "yellow shield" is in the System Tray... how much more alerting do I need?)

            And then, when I finally do let it install the updates, it tells me to keep doing whatever it was I was doing while it updates... and you already know how that plays out.

            (And yeah, I have been known to become immersed in marathon session of HL2:DM a couple of times on rainy weekends only to discover I'd been playing until 3AM... in which case I suppose the updater could be considered an alarm clock.)
            Hallowed are the Ori
          • i have it set to download updates but let me decide when

            i have it set to download updates but let me decide when to install.

            that why you install on your time because you know your going.to have to reboot.

            so just change the settings and your good to go.

            when your read in install the updates as they are all ready downloaded just click the icon in the taskbar and then reboot on your time.
            SO.CAL Guy
        • Didn't you realize...

          Microsoft "wants" to give you choice but is like an A.D.D. child who just hasta ask again...because it REALY wants to reboot NOW!!

          :)
          mustang_z
          • LOL <nt>

            .
            Hallowed are the Ori
          • LOL

            You are so acute and accurate in your observations!! Microsoft is very much like a child with ADD!
            tomkmoore