The Windows 8 poll

Michael PietroforteMVP By Michael Pietroforte - Mon, August 16, 2010 - 25 comments google+ icon

Michael Pietroforte is the founder and editor of 4sysops. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) with more than 30 years of experience in system administration.

Disclaimer: This poll is not conducted by Microsoft. At the time of this writing, there is no official announcement from Microsoft regarding the new features of Windows 8.

First of all, I want to thank all who sent me ideas for this Windows 8 poll. Creating a wish list for Windows 8 was more difficult than I anticipated. Obviously, this 25-year-old operating system still has plenty of room for improvement.

While all the suggestions I received certainly made sense, I had to reduce the number of options for this poll to a reasonable number. This is why I included only possible key improvements that would have a major impact on the majority of Windows users.

It is quite obvious that Microsoft won’t add all enhancements listed here, and for some features it is not very likely that they will consider them any time soon. But who knows, if those options receive enough votes, someone at Microsoft might get interested.

The 17 blogs listed below will run this poll within the next days or so. The votes are automatically integrated in the cloud, so please vote only once. If you also want to run this poll on your blog, please contact me and I will send you the code to embed the widget in a post or on your sidebar.

Demonic Talking SkullGeekSmackHelmers BlogI’M A UC BLOGmarkwilson.itmsigeekStandalone SysadminTechinchThe Experience BlogThe things that are better left unspokenThe Windows ClubTiny HackerWindowsObserverWindowsProWithin Windows7 tutorials4sysops

Before you vote, please read the short explanation of every option.

New user interface

Android and iOS are good examples of operating systems with innovative user interface models. Even more revolutionary will be Windows 7 Phone. These examples show that OS interfaces beyond the Windows Start Menu and the Windows Taskbar are possible.

Support for different form factors

Support for different form factors, such as tablets and netbooks, includes the ability to run Windows with minimal hardware requirements and on devices with small screen sizes (as small as 5”). Optimization for touch, the ability to run Windows without mouse and keyboard, and orientation detection are other essential features.

More modularity

Linux is a good example of a modular operating system. It allows you to install only those OS components you really need. This would require a package manager that resolves software dependencies. The advantages of more modularity are lower hardware requirements, a reduced attack surface, and simplified patch management.

Third-party patch management

Third-party management would allow you to update common Windows applications of third-party vendors through Microsoft’s online update service. Linux has this feature for as long as I can remember.

Bare metal hypervisor

A bare metal hypervisor would enable you to run multiple Windows installations simultaneously on a PC. You could move your virtualized Windows installation with all applications to another PC or to a VDI environment by simply copying the virtual system drive.

Application virtualization

Virtualized applications run in an isolated environment that ensures no modifications to the OS are made during installation and at runtime. Application virtualization can solve compatibility issues and improves security.

Application streaming

Application streaming allows you to launch a Windows application from a remote server, for example, through the web, without the need to install the application manually. Application streaming solutions usually leverage application virtualization. An application streaming Windows API would enable third-party software vendors to offer Windows applications through the web.

Windows Store

Like Apple’s App Store, Windows Store would allow you to buy and download third-party applications that have been approved by Microsoft.

Windows Restore Button

If you messed up your Windows installation, this feature would enable you to restore Windows to its original state without losing your data and without the need to reinstall all your applications.

Cloud APIs

Third-party software vendors could allow you to use cloud APIs to add cloud features to their applications. For instance, a web browser vendor could store your bookmarks, plugins, and browser settings in Microsoft’s cloud or in the cloud of a third-party provider. That way, all your settings and data would automatically be available on every Windows machine you log on to.

New authentication methods

Wouldn’t it be cool if you could log on to Windows or an online service with a smile at your web cam (facial recognition), with a friendly “Hi, it’s me” (voice recognition), or by just touching your beloved PC (fingerprint recognition)? Biometrics applications have already been available for a while, but they will only have a fair chance of being adopted in the Windows ecosystem if Microsoft fully integrates these functions into Windows.

Instant-On

Instant-On means that Windows wouldn’t have to boot up when you turn on your PC. Considering that computers are becoming more and more an integral part of our daily life, this could be an interesting feature for home users in particular. It is probably a must-have feature for tablets.

Malware protection

If Windows were delivered with integrated malware protection, every PC would be protected right after the installation, which would make the whole Internet a safer place. Third-party vendors could offer services such as antivirus signatures and antivirus applications that run on top of the Windows malware scanning engine. This would also reduce notorious compatibility problems with antivirus scanning engines and would even allow you to run multiple antivirus applications at the same time.

Better UAC

Compared to Sudo in the Linux world, UAC (User Account Control) is a fairly simple security privilege solution. A UAC with more configuration options could improve security, especially in business environments.

Migration from Windows XP

Windows XP is a very popular operating system and it will still probably run on many computers even when Windows 8 is released. These Windows customers would appreciate a seamless migration from Windows XP to Windows 8.

Better compatibility

Better compatibility includes better hardware and software compatibility with legacy hardware and software.

Better security

If you think that Microsoft should focus on improving the security features of Windows 8, then you should vote for this option.

Better performance

Speed is always important. If it matters most in your environment, then you should tell Microsoft now.

Less hardware requirements

If you intend to run Windows 8 on old computers, then you need a Windows 8 which requires only minimal hardware.

Less bloat

Some people think that Windows already has too many features and would prefer a slim Windows 8.

Windows 8 Poll results

Windows 8 poll

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25 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. Thomas B says:

    Linux! ;)

  2. Hmm, you mean “Linux mode”, that is Linux as a Windows feature? I wonder why nobody in Redmond ever had this idea. ;-)

  3. chris says:

    I didn’t vote because I don’t need an OS in the traditional sense any more.

    I want a CLR running on an hypervisor. (See Cosmos OS) The only application installed should be a Webbrowser running on top of the CLR (since that’s the thing people use most and will run most). Rendering should only be possible direct on the Graphics card.

    The CLR should implement Trace Based Jitting on IL instruction level (see SPUR project) and do massive cross optimizations through the whole operating system, from kernel to JavaScript in the browser. Continuously running in background on the second core. Sysops could also preinitialize the system with a fast Trace which suites my work.

    All native/legacy applications should be installed on an application server and executed remotely, the new os should not implement any backwards compatibility mode

  4. zack says:

    Fully POSIX compliant shell. I am not kidding. That’s linux mode. Do it. Cygwin does not count. (even though it is amazing what they’ve accomplished!)

  5. chris, what OS are you currently using? Do you really think that JavaScript is powerful enough to build rich user interfaces?

    zack, why POSIX compliant shell? Isn’t PowerShell much more powerful?

  6. Björn says:

    “Do you really think that JavaScript is powerful enough to build rich user interfaces?”

    Without question yes. Check out Sencha Touch, jQuery Mobile or SproutCore.

  7. Björn, there is no doubt that there a cool web interfaces out there. However, whenever I compare an application where there is web and a desktop version available, the desktop version wins. Best example is Outlook. Outlook Web Access was the first Ajax app and has improved significantly over the years. In my view, it is by far the best web mailer. Still, the vast majority of Outlook users would never move to OWA. The point is that JavaScript is still a little toy compared to .NET or Windows.

  8. Lord Vader says:

    Would be nice if we could
    2 option of copy paste

    Copy paste 1
    Copy paste 2

    would be very useful :)

    Thanks

  9. Lord Vader, why? Do you need a new clone army? ;-)

  10. chris says:

    I use windows 7 (work), linux/solaris/hp-ux (server work) and macos (home).
    OWA is a very bad example because from the ui perspective it is just not well done. Use Gmail as the reference there.

    “The point is that JavaScript is still a little toy compared to .NET or Windows.”

    javascript is fast, if you use a good browser, which currently only means chrome. firefox 4 and ie9 are coming.
    if you stop worrying about old browsers like ie8,7,6 … you can really make great interactive applications, there are enough samples out there.

    You also don’t have to code javascript any more, use http://code.google.com/webtoolkit/ or http://websharper.org/products/wsp/Home.aspx

  11. Chris, I have been using Gmail for 6 months or so. Gmail’s UI is quite old-fashioned and boring. In my view, it is no match for the latest version of OWA and you certainly can’t compare it to Outlook. I could write a book about the features that Gmail lacks. Gmail is probably the best freemailer out there, but it is certainly nothing for business users.

    The problem about web apps is not performance. Not at all. The problem is that from a developer’s perspective JavaScript is a toy programming language.

  12. Björn says:

    Im a developer, and I think toys are fun :-)

    The appeal with JavaScript for me is the coverage you get. Your program runs anywhere, Phones, PCs, no installation required. You dont have to corner yourself to some shrinking part of the computing universe.

    I fail to see what cant be implemented in JavaScript, as opposed to some other high level language like Java or C#.

    You are ofcourse free to dislike JavaScript as a language, but dont dislike it based on some form validation code you wrote years agon in IE6. Take the time to learn it proper, and you might like it. Happened to me.

  13. Frank D says:

    Windows needs a built-in Folder Size display in Explorer. Why need a third-party app to do something so basic? Why show file sizes but not folder sizes?

  14. Björn, I think the hype about web apps is already over. Check this out. So better don’t bet on the shrinking JavaScript universe. ;-)

    Frank, this feature is also on my wish list. The problem is that there are so many tiny features that Microsoft could add to Windows. The poll is only about major functions.

  15. mike says:

    You left off one very important item for windows 8. Add the ablity to move your data folders etc to a different drive other then the drive the OS in on. Right now it’s some long process that only someone that’s tech oriented can figure out, but can’t explanin unless it’s to another techy. Mike

  16. Mike, actually, this is partly the idea of the cloud API. This would allow you to store your all your settings and the data in the cloud and access it from every PC.

  17. Jones111 says:

    @Michael Pietroforte:

    Yeah, of course I’d like to store ANY personal data in the web…

    Do you really think that anyone does this, if his/her data isn’t encrypted properly? Besides, The size of all my folders is about 1.5TB (on my active internal drives; backups and externals not included) – I’d like to see that up/downloaded in a reasonable time…

  18. Jones111 says:

    Some EASY important Features that should be implemented in W8:

    - Interfaces/GUIs that don’t rely on loading data prior to display. Loading times of progs: Games-Explorer 12sec, Computer up to half a minute (to spin up all drives).
    - WMP 13/14: Better Library (mine takes 10secs to load): Instead of just adding the items to the list when they are all loaded, add them while loading.
    - PowerShell3: Better interaction with the system and deeper integration so there can be scripts for setting the display resolution or opening programs and ordering them on different monitors.
    - AeroSnap for multiple monitors: You can’t snap a window a the right side of a desktop if the desktop is continued on another monitor.
    - Savable System configurations: I’d like to interact with every computer with the settings I’ve chosen. So I’d like to have an export/backup utility where I can select Windows Functions and settings I want to export and then just run the files on a different computer to have my own environment. This could include color and DPI settings, installed extensions to PS and installed progs, registry settings and device configurations (if those devices are installed in the target machine)…
    - Something like Hyper-V that easily allows me to test programs I don’t trust in virtual environments while still using hardware acceleration. H-V could also allow me multiple backup paths and different system startups.
    - Freeze System state: I’d like to hibernate my system, start up in a game mode / developer mode to have maximal performance. When I’m finished, I’d like to return to the previously saved system state on next startup.

  19. Jones111, I think that more and more people will store data in the web. If it is encrypted it is probably more secure than the data on you PC that is a part of the Internet anyway. Thanks for the other features. I like the “Freeze System state” feature.

  20. Jones111 says:

    Oh, and btw, another four things that are very important for me:

    - Filemovement-Manager: Speeds up file transfers by allowing only one transaction per drive and stacks the other ones. Pauses copying or moving files on hibernation or shutdown and continues on restart. Better view: Instead of having a dialog per Operation, have only one that shows the status every running operation. Planned transactions that run automatically when a USB drive is connected or at a specific time.
    - Network-Clipboard (especially great for business users): Copy a file or text, right click on the network icon and click paste on a computer. This computer will receive the content of the clipboard saving time to copy it to USB/Network or use a messenger.
    - Super Progress: The new progress bars in 7 are great, but if you run 2 downloads in IE, only one is displayed. I think, there is enough space to stack at least five of them in one icon if you use different colors.
    - WinFS: Was such a great concept in Longhorn and, like the download manager for IE, just was forgotten. An indexed file system that could be sorted without indexing by multiple categories would be great.

  21. Lee says:

    I had to switch from win 7 to mac for a programming job, and as much as i like win7, apple is really growing on me. However, there are still plenty of features missing from both OS’s that could potentially make win8 stand out from the crowd.

    UI design based on user tasks:

    the reason why tabs are so popular on browsers is that users need to combine multiple sources to complete a task, such as checking out reviews for movies while also checking out showtimes. Tasks on the computer often also require multiple programs. While programming, I need an ide, emulator, terminal for svn, im with coworkers, browser for reference, and work music. While relaxing, i want an rss reader, video player, and different kind music.
    Win 7 already has the ability start programs with the most commonly used parameters (like opening word to the most commonly accessed doc). It’d be even better if win8 can support multiple desktops, one for each type of user task. Each desktop would have its own background, list of commonly used programs, defaults for each program, and window list for alt-tab switching. Suspend each desktop independently to resume a task later.

    More visual UI with better API’s:

    Developing on android vs iphone is significantly different in terms of amount effort put in vs the “cool-ness” of the app. It’s mostly due to the libraries and the default behavior of the functions that are used. Support “cooler” programs by making it easy to use the default behavior for everything you need – from program installation, child windows, ribbon toolbar, etc.

    File management:

    apple tries to insulate users from files and folders, because when users have to use folders and files, they usually get confused and frustrated. Make it easy to access files by remembering which programs they came from, how they’re opened, and help with the organizing, archiving, emailing files. Revive folder backgrounds, while making a serious effort to make the visual analogy of locations (bookshelf for documents, toy room for games). Give quick links for files based on the programs currently being used.

    Terminal

    command line terminal is improving on windows, but it still needs a lot of adjusting for people used to using terminals (linux/bsd users) to use the command prompt. Either make a terminal that’s easy for unix/bsd users to use, or make a command prompt that’s just as useful as bash, find, sed, grep. a quick idea to do this is to make the clipboard easily accessible for scripting, as well as a widget to display script results on screen.
    `clip | wc -l | widget print “line count: “`

  22. grep says:

    Things I want in the next Windows:

    A CLI that runs the OS. CLI first, GUI second — like pre-NT kernel days. This makes all troubleshooting so much easier, and GUI shell crashes so insignificant.

    Since they’ll be shoving a browser down our throat anyway, I’d like to have one that doesn’t try to get you “into” all kinda of “accelerators” “smart suggestions” etc.;

    Where’s “WinFS”?

    Do away with the registry, bring back text file based configuration because it makes everything so much simpler.

    Don’t rearrange the SystemAdmin-related functions into Home-friendly menus and categories; I can’t even count the number of IT people I know that were initially outraged that Microsoft changed where all the settings were located & what they’re named…just to find that they all basically did the same damn thing anyway. Yes you can change it to ‘icon view’, but the fact that we have to do that on every new person’s system we work on just reminds us of the slap in the face.

    Virtualization Hypervisor on top of a fully-loaded OS is a joke, strip it down to a CLI & load a hypervisor onto a minimal system like VMWare’s ESX line.

    A *standards compliant* manageable Calendar built into the systray…one that can be merged w/ Outlook & any online service & mobile OS.

    Graphical drive partitioning built into the installer would be nice. Setting more options from the installer would also be nice. The installer should be simplified, not dumbed down. It’s made for system installers (IT people primarily) and should reflect that fact eagerly instead of “making it easy enough for computer-illiterate grandma”. Maybe the popular “express vs custom” installation even… The way the Windows installation process used to be was actually quite good, asking the user what components they would like installed. Would be things like IIS, Tablet tools, POP/SMTP, telnet, Games, Accessability options, etc., where do we want the page file? do we want themes on full blast or off totally?

    A driver manager that actually goes out to manufacturer sites & gets the latest drivers for you. Other applications do this, why can’t Windows? I mean it is Microsoft’s OS.

  23. Jones111 says:

    @grep:

    I think, you’ve got some good points:

    A PowerShell Console that’s always available and more independent from the main OS would be useful. I also miss the times of boot floppys and boot sticks with a minimum but efficient tools that could help very fast with system restore. Though I don’t think that redeveloping their kernel to run the GUI in a different priority would be of any use as it is stable as is and runs for months if needed.

    WinFS was a great toy and could have changed the understanding of file systems bringing basic NTFS ideas to a next level. I hope they’ll use it soon.

    Removing the registry and using old *nix config files would be to use a knife made of stone instead of metal to cut a tree. It’s less useful, but both aren’t right for their purpose. In a WinFS file system, this SQL-Data could be sorted in the right place.

    If you want to have everything like in Win95, it should only take a few hours to write a basic prog that has the same functionality and the same appearance on every PC ignoring every user’s setinng.

    Hyper-V uses an ESX-like structure being the top of every OS (even the one it’s installed on). It’s not restricted to any hardware and it has more functions while giving an easier and faster (even scripted) control.

    Yes, a system calendar like in Vista (or phone 7) would be great. I just hate to look in every prog or online calendar for every appointment I have.

    A better partitioning dialog’d be nice. Even though I like the command shell ‘diskpart’ better and use it often on fresh installs. Even though you can manage everything in the WAIK, it uses too much effort for one PC. Even a CMD-Installer could be better if there were options to install this or that before the process started (like W95) and not while you for for the process to finish (2000/XP).

    The driver manager is already searching for new signed drivers. If you want to have unsigned ones, you can use a PCI-Database with all Links for (nearly) every device. A tool for that in the advanced settings menu would save much time.

  24. HusseinK says:

    well one of the things thay would be great is:

    1) full control of the running\will run process ..and being able to add some security on there DLLs or watever
    so a virus\software wont affect them ( even tho if u have a anitvirus,u may get infected by local installed software)

    2)copy paste 1
    copy paste 2
    is a very good thing,especialy when u need to copy diffrent clipboard
    i wonder why microsoft dont make it as
    Lctrl + LALT >>>>>1st copy
    Rctrl + RALT >>>>>2nd copy
    >>and they can make an option for this “2 clipboard “in the accessibilty options from the Control panel;; hwer u have the option to enable\disable :)

    i beleive its so simple and its helpful

    @jones11 : the Freeze system state is a super cool idea
    the calendar system,i dont beleive u can get this from windows iteslef, they will force you to by a software or w\e or u can use some small 3rd party soft

  25. pete says:

    add a pause/resume option in Internet Explorer for your downloads

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