Barney's Rubble

'Windows 8,' Take 2

In his column this month, Doug shares more of what you said you want to see in Windows 8.

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In August I ran a wish list for "Windows 8" based on what you, the loyal Redmond reader, want to see in the product. Now that we know a lot more about Windows 8, I thought I'd give you another chance to speak, and see how your previous wishes match up with the actual product.

Reader Todd wants his OS lean and mean. "I'm tired of a bloated OS that takes four DVDs to load, 16GB of RAM to run, and 100GB of hard drive for the OS and all of its updates. I want a business OS that fits on a single 700MB CD, which will make the whole 'run the entire OS from a thumb drive' thing a lot easier," he says.

He also believes a smaller OS is a safer OS. "With less OS to load, it will be quicker. And with less useless bells and whistles, there will be less attack surface. I'm tired of Microsoft releasing 300-plus security patches, and just when they have their OS secure, they reinvent the wheel with an entirely different OS filled with 300 new vulnerabilities."

Lean is a recurring theme. "I'd like to see the OS return to being an OS. Remember the days of MS-DOS? It ran the computer, that's all. You then loaded applications you wanted and needed. Why does Microsoft continue to bundle solitaire and paint? What does that have to do with running my computer?" reader Rich asks. "So my dream is: You'd buy a kernel and then download the stuff you need. That way, bloat would be determined by the user or organization, not delivered via Microsoft."

Mike wants Windows 8 to be more compatible with more apps. "My biggest peeve with Windows 7 is that I have a ton of Windows XP apps that will run on the 32-bit version but not on the 64-bit version—which I discovered after I committed my main machine to the 64-bit version," Mike complains. "My No. 1 wish for Windows 8, seeing as everyone is swearing by and pushing 64-bit versions, is that they fix this issue! Compatibility Mode should—and must—actually work."

One thing most IT people agree on: Don't move Windows 8 wholesale to the Ribbon. "I still hate the Ribbon interface and would like to get away from the cartoons, meaning the icons, that supposedly save me from menus," says reader Eric.

How well does Windows 8 stack up to your wishes? The ARM version will presumably be leaner than the Intel classic of the desktop version. But ARM is almost guaranteed to have software and hardware compatibility issues.

And there's bad news for you Ribbon haters: A lot of the built-in tools in Windows 8 will adopt the Ribbon.

Have you played with Windows 8? Share your impressions at 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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