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

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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Reader Comments:

Wed, Nov 2, 2011

Now seemingly a foregone conclusion that Windows 8 will be a catastrophic failure, already a epic debacle in the making, a festering failure that will dwarf the damage done by Vista, perhaps the better question would be what we hope to see in Windows 9 - what might arise from the ashes remaining after the clueless pariahs at the helmof Windows 8 have been driven into the wasteland. Whether as an attempt to restore credibility with regard to Windows 8 or rebuild Redmond via Windows 9, those powerful enough to induce such change would: 1) abruptly terminate all of the ongoing investment in the HTML5/JavaScript boondoggle, a low-rent, ill-fated and miserable pursuit of the lowest common denominator 2) resume a full-force investment in the ascendancy of Silverlight, using it as the basis of a massively powerful ecosystem establishing commonality spanning Windows Phones, set-top boxes, the XBox, desktop/laptop machines, tablets, MS Surface and beyond, 3) abandon the irrational bias against browser plugins induced by Steve Jobs, restoring support for such to all versions of IE 10, this based upon a final realization - as evidenced by the continued dominance of all things Android - that no consumer-focused platform can hope to reign supreme for any period of time while foolishly pretending that Flash is anything less than ubiquitous - in other words, accept Flash for the monumental force it remains and consequently get back to investing in Silverlight as contender. Let all the other losers waste time attempting to build comparable web experiences using paste, popsicle sticks and HTML5...

Tue, Nov 1, 2011 jokergallagher

i have to say i am a fan of the ribbon tool its self because it well be good for touch, which is going to be a standerd with windows 8 to bigin with. people are still grasping with what that means for them, and soon kinect well be a big part of that as well. you well need to have touch work for buisness and school. so the ribbonvus their, but its not like u cant hide it if u want. as for old apps i think a wave of new fresh and updated apps are best in this case, but some legacy support is needed. i dont know of a os that takes up that power said in the above, but it has bin said that it well take up les then windows 7 which was less then vista and less then xp. so i think they r ahead on that one. as for the rest i hope i see a good store for apps that fills up fast. dev tools well be a big part of this and with things like the touch mouse, kunect and touch in tge feild it well be grate to see how new computers start to look. i my self have the samesung tab that was wrunning windows 8 and givin away at build. mine runs windows 7 and i just wrote this with touch...computers well now be different from hear on out

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