Yes, yes, I know, there are a zillion leaked screenshots already and a small peek by Microsoft at the recent D9 conference. However, I’m not really dissecting them or adding my few cents to the reams of paper and megs of bytes already devoted to the same.
Following is my earnest wishlist for Windows 8 – features and capabilities I’d like to see in the operating system and the native applications that would allow me to have a seamless and productive computing experience work, web, or multimedia.
Windows Vista and Windows 7 brought about several enhancements to networking, such as seamless connection to Wi-Fi networks, Network Map, and network troubleshooting. The Homegroup feature in Windows 7 added to the convenience of home networking. However, it is still tough to manage a mixed network on Windows where I’d want to connect to Linux machines and Macs. Whatever the OS, I would want Windows 8 to immediately recognize the machine and show me available options to interact with it.
I’m a big Windows Media Center fan because of it’s easy-to-navigate interface and library management. I love Zune software for its zany design and podcast support (and it also connects to my Windows Phone). I’m quite used to having Windows Media Player as my default player and the improvements done in Windows 7 have been great. Get the drift? I want an integrated multimedia experience on Windows 8 podcasts, TV, streaming content, online subscriptions (Hulu, Netflix, etc.), and music and video.
In the times of average capacity SSDs, Windows 8 should allow for split installs where the user directory can be moved off C: drive. As of now, It is possible to point individual user folders like Documents, Music, etc. to be pointed to a folder on different disk/drive, but why not extend it to applications and other user data.
Windows 7 installs at a fine speed if you install via a USB drive. However, for some like me, it’s not a preference but a compulsion since most netbooks don’t have an optical drive. I would seriously hope that Microsoft considers selling Windows 8 retail on a USB drive.
Unlike most, I quite liked Vista. Folks like me always point out that it was the failure of hardware manufacturers to provide updated drivers for older hardware. The Windows 7 team, under Steven Sinofsky, made sure that hardware manufacturers were ramped up early enough to have their devices connect seamlessly to Windows 7. I would still prefer an utopian setup where I can swap a hard disk or a graphics card without running into a BSOD or the need to reinstall Windows. I’d expect Windows 8 to keep up with the hardware configuration and once a device is removed from the computer, clean up the drivers and registry entries as well.
I’d really wish to see Spell-check (borrowed from Microsoft Office) integrated into the OS. There has been a perennial demand for bringing spell-check to Internet Explorer (other browsers have it already), and I’d think it should be extended all over.
Ever since I’ve been using the Windows Phone 7, I’ve been impressed with its Auto Complete feature. The upcoming release will further enhance it. Several times while on my PC, I’d stop midway in typing a word, while waiting for the Auto Complete to kick off. Let’s get that feature for real.
Lastly, I’d also want a better clipboard function with more visual feedback. As of now, several third party utilities extend the default clipboard functionality, but none in a cohesive manner.
One line. Bring the ability to pause and resume file transfers in Windows 8. Take a look at TeraCopy.
I’ve been a long time user of Windows Live Mesh (along all the branding changes from FolderShare to Mesh to Windows Live Sync). Although, it’s a free product as part of the Windows Live Suite, I’d like to see the device and online synchronization functionality available in the core of Windows 8, within Windows Explorer.
Please. Improve the Previous Versions feature which was introduced in Windows Vista. It’s a great feature that most casual users don’t know about. I’d expect Windows 8 to provide a great visual option in Windows Explorer to restore previous versions and deleted files.
With Windows 7, Paint and WordPad got quite a makeover with Ribbon UI. There’s always the Notepad and Windows Journal too. I understand the strategy of keeping native applications simple and with limited, focused functionality, but I’d prefer something for power users as well. Much like Calculator which has option to switch between basic and scientific features in Windows 7, a Notepad could offer features similar to Notepad++, Windows Journal could switch to a stripped down OneNote, and Paint could add a few brushes, provide layer support, etc.
Windows 8 will include Internet Explorer 10, and one glance at IE9′s features for Windows 7, like pinned sites, suggest that IE10 will integrate more with the operating system. A pinned-site is masquerading a web app as a local application. I’d want interface and functionality that would blur these lines. For example, in my mail inbox, I do not need address bar or other browser features.
Again, my files should be available to me without the need to know or explore whether they are on local file system or on the Web. Like Pictures hub on Windows Phone 7, my Pictures folder should have photos from all folders (The Libraries concept introduced in Windows 7) and also from my social networks and other Web storage.