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Doug's Mailbag: Improving Windows

A reader shares his thoughts what Microsoft needs to change with its next OS:

The biggest problem with Windows is that it does not protect itself. Windows must not let ANY user software intermingle with Windows. This means that all Windows folders (like SYSTEM32) must remain inviolate The Registry must also be limited JUST to Windows entries. Of course, an OS is no good without applications, so there must be application interaction. However, the same logic that allows libraries could allow two separate but equal SYSTEM32 folders -- one for Windows use and one for applications to use. The same goes for all other similar folders. This also suggests two registries: one for Windows and one for applications. Windows could build an integrated database (Registry) each time it boots or each time either Registry changes.

I should be able to do a complete reinstall of Windows -- or upgrade it to a new computer -- without affecting any application on the computer. I also should be able to copy all the user folders from one computer to another and have all my applications up and running on that new computer immediately without having to do a reinstall of each application (assuming the old and new versions of Windows are compatible).

This way if there are problems, one can just reinstall Windows, install all the updates to Windows and be back in business. This is the way it used to be -- when applications had their own configuration files (and there was no registry), and one could move most programs from one computer to another just by copying that application's folder(s) to the new computer.

Another option for the Registry is to require all Windows applications to have a Save Registry Data and a Restore Registry data option. One could do the former, which would save the current values of all of that application's registry entries to a file in the application's folder. One could then copy that folder to a new computer and do the latter command to link the application to Windows without having to reinstall and reconfigure its settings. If needed, an application should also be able to save and restore any files it added to system folders to facilitate this process or reregister any DLLs (etc.) it uses.
-Lou

Share your thoughts with the editors of this newsletter! Write to dbarney@redmondmag.com. Letters printed in this newsletter may be edited for length and clarity, and will be credited by first name only (we do NOT print last names or e-mail addresses).

Posted by Doug Barney on 06/06/2011 at 1:18 PM


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