What Features Do You Want in Windows 8?
Last fall, Microsoft launched Windows with commercials stating that Windows 7 was my idea, so it seems like a good idea to let Microsoft know what we the users want to see in Windows 8. A number of technology blogs are currently running a survey from Michael Pietroforte to let their readers all give feedback on different features they’d like to see in the next version of Windows, and I’m excited to let Techinch readers join in as well.
Here’s the features that’ve been featured in this poll. Read through them if you’re not sure what to vote, or just skip ahead and vote if you’re a Windows geek and already are certain what you want.
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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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 includes better hardware and software compatibility with legacy hardware and software.
If you think that Microsoft should focus on improving the security features of Windows 8, then you should vote for this option.
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.
Some people think that Windows already has too many features and would prefer a slim Windows 8.
Ready to vote? Select the number of stars you want by each item to show how important it is to you. Don’t care about a feature? Give it one star. You’ll die without this feature, or switch to a Mac? Better give that feature 5 stars. Here you go:
Thanks for Voting!
This exact same poll is being run on all the following sites, so if you’ve already answered there, please don’t vote again. Otherwise, sound off, and let’s tell Microsoft what we want in Windows 8. If you’d like, tell us in the comments what you chose so we can discuss the most popular features!
And thanks for creating this poll and letting us all participate, Michael Pietroforte!
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