Barney's Rubble

Dreaming of Windows 7

It's not too early to start thinking about future Microsoft OSes -- and what improvements you'd like to see.

You may think I'm crazy for wasting words on an operating system that's years away, but I'm going to talk about Windows 7 anyway. Understanding Windows 7 is critical as you make long-term client-OS decisions.

Do you:

  • Stay with Windows XP and wait to see what happens in the next few years?
  • Move to Windows Vista?
  • Skip Vista but plan for Windows 7?
  • Virtualize all desktops?
  • Look at Linux?
  • Eye the Mac?
  • Shoot for a Web services model where the OS is largely irrelevant?

Microsoft knows you have these thoughts and wants its OSes foremost in your mind. That's why the company is steadily leaking out details, and even has a Windows 7 blog -- though it doesn't seem to get a lot of updates.

Microsoft developers are usually pretty smart, but who better to design the new OS than you, the Redmond reader?

Here's what some of you want:

Cindy Dunigan's desires are simple: faster startup.

Raymond Erdey wants compatibility through "built-in app virtualization so that apps 'think' they're running on the correct version of Windows and don't die."

JC Warren likes it simple and lean, and advises: "Don't bury things six levels deep just to make things 'different'-even without the UAC, things require more clicks than in XP." Warren also suggests "reducing code bloat so the OS doesn't require Crays to run as fast as XP."

Jerahd Hollis has a lot of advice. Here's his list:

  • "Optimize the OS to make it as stable and as fast as possible. The code bloat needs to go away. If code can't be optimized further, then the added functionality it provides should be optional.

  • "Make sure the UI isn't a performance killer. The UI should be a feature of the OS and operate without hindering the performance of the system.

  • "Replace the command prompt with PowerShell.

  • "Remove the need for Internet Explorer to be installed on the machine at all.

  • "Provide real multiuser capability, like that which is found in Windows Server 2003, where multiple users can make use of a single machine at the same time. That way a remote user can access their home computer from work or elsewhere while another family member is using the console, and they won't interrupt each other."

  • "Lastly, provide two versions only: Home Edition and Business Edition," Hollis concludes.

Finally, Al Zuech wants Microsoft to read and listen to this column: "Ask the user, for a change, what [they'd] like to see different in the new OS, before developing change requirements."

What's your course of action? Send your plans to dbarney@redmondmag.com.

About the Author

Doug Barney is editor in chief of Redmond magazine and the VP, editorial director of Redmond Media Group.

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