8 Things I would Love To See in Windows 8

Drivers

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.

Productivity

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.

Windows Explorer

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.

Applications

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.

Web

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.

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Abhishek Baxi

Abhishek Baxi is an independent technology columnist for several international publications and a digital consultant. He speaks incessantly on Twitter (@baxiabhishek) and dons the role of Editor-in-Chief here at Techie Buzz.