ActiveWin: 50 Suggestions: What I Want in Windows 8

A couple years ago I posted a wishlist on Channel9 of suggestions and changes I wanted to see in the next version of Windows, (Windows 7 at the time). Just the other day, I went looking for that list to scan through it and I was surprised by how many of the suggestions were actually implemented, such as simplifying the editions (although it was not to my actual specifications, Microsoft did listen). As a technology and Windows enthusiast, I am always thinking about what comes next. So, it’s natural for me to start wondering about the successor to Windows 7. Some of the obvious areas I suspect Microsoft might be focusing on are tablets, cloud computing and mobile devices.

In January at the Consumer Electronics Electronics show, Microsoft held a special press briefing discussing their support for new System On a Chip (SoC) architectures from ARM Holdings, Intel and AMD. What this means is, we should see some interesting devices that focus more on mobility, simplicity and performance. Lets get into the matter at hand, what I want to see added or improved in Windows 8:

  1. Integrate Windows Live Skydrive into Computer explorer as a Mapped Network drive where I can drag and drop files on my personal computer and save to it directly from within Windows and third party applications similar to Drop Box. You can do this today with a couple work arounds and third party solutions, but I want to see approved and acknowledged out of box support from Microsoft. Some persons might ask, why not just sync the User folder to the cloud instead of having separate cloud storage, since this would simplify access across multiple devices? Personally, I don’t think everyone is ready to push all their personal data to the cloud and would prefer to still have some information kept locally and separated, but there are some things you probably want to always have access to.

Read: 50 Suggestions: What I want in Windows 8

These articles are brought to you in partnership with ActiveWin.com.

 

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Meh, so many suggestion that can be done with external programs, or even worst, they can be done right now.

For me the most needed improvement would improved audio device management.
At the moment I have HDMI audio through the TV, USB headset and analog 2.1 speakers all connected at the same time.
It is a pain to switch default device depending on what I am doing.

I would also like to see:

51. Make Windows Powershell faster and more integrated, and even replace cmd.exe with Powershell altogether. Basically, make the command line environment on Windows at least as good as the one on *nix systems.

52. Make updates more informative and less scary to the average user. It would be best if only a few updates required a reboot. At least, have an option to view verbose output of installing updates. Sometimes updates take a long time and I start wondering if Windows has frozen.

53. Improving the POSIX subsystem would be nice so we can do most of the things we would do with Cygwin on Powershell.

54. Change the darn default system font on Powershell from Fixedsys to Consolas or something more modern, or at least make the settings window more friendly.

Those are my chief complaints after taking a break from Windows and immersing myself in Linux. I miss the better driver support that Windows has, but these areas and a few others have made using Linux far more appealing to me.

techguy77 said,
40 out of 50 items in that list is utter crap. For God sake don't bring any Facebook **** to Windows.

In Windows 7 today, you can add locations to your library. So for instance, if you have a bunch of pictures stored on another PC somewhere on your home network, it will be automatically be available in your Pictures Library. Considering that out of the 600 million Facebook users, there are likely millions of Windows users who have pictures stored on Facebook they didn't upload from their computer, maybe a smart phone, another computer. Having the ability add Facebook, Flickr as Library Locations or your Skydrive would make it easier to have control over all your pictures or videos that you have stored in desperate locations for better management, editing and viewing whether Media Center or other devices.

Part of the reason why a lot of you are saying this list does not make sense, you actually are not thinking about the feature, you are just thinking and going, what? When its actually implemented, you start using it, you say, wow, how did I ever live without this.

Its a terrible list, and he even contradicts himself in a few places: "Remote Desktop support in all versions", followed by "not everyone needs Remote Desktop"

read your article before posting it online dude, makes you look incompetent

Milamber said,
Its a terrible list, and he even contradicts himself in a few places: "Remote Desktop support in all versions", followed by "not everyone needs Remote Desktop"

read your article before posting it online dude, makes you look incompetent

Its about options, maybe Remote Desktop is not your preferred method of accessing files remotely. Its just like Windows Live Sync and Windows Live Mesh. What I like, it not necessarily what everyone likes. I didn't know that 1.2 billion Windows users like what I like.

Milamber said,
Its a terrible list, and he even contradicts himself in a few places: "Remote Desktop support in all versions", followed by "not everyone needs Remote Desktop"

read your article before posting it online dude, makes you look incompetent

Awesome...glad to know you can do better. We will await your article at Neowin, k tx.

I want the ability to run this on a mobile phone and use features like remote desktop, and run windows applications for my phone.

warwagon said,
I want the ability to resize photos in a right click context menu. Without having to install 3rd party software.

I've had to resort to using Paint. It's not as easy as a right click, but at least it's not 3rd party.

i would be happy with a more robust sharing system. Vista was a nightmare, in 7 Homegroup is nice but doesnt work half the time and no its just not me. take a look around on the internet. 1000s of forum complaining about it. media streaming to xbox doesnt work most of the time as well. the common solution posted everywhere it to use tversity which is what i am doing now since windows 7 decided on its own to stop sharing with my xbox one fine day.

d4diesel said,
i would be happy with a more robust sharing system. Vista was a nightmare, in 7 Homegroup is nice but doesnt work half the time and no its just not me. take a look around on the internet. 1000s of forum complaining about it. media streaming to xbox doesnt work most of the time as well. the common solution posted everywhere it to use tversity which is what i am doing now since windows 7 decided on its own to stop sharing with my xbox one fine day.

I have not had the Xbox issues you are but damn, I constantly have to tell homegroup which machines are in my homegroup. Remove the system, add it to its own, then put it back in, enter that stupid key and pray it works.

Improved Media Center and Media Player, cloud space for music, so you'll be able to play songs from anyware, incorporate a media player on the IE 10 and make it able to show your "cloud" songs, or just make a cloud media player that would be able to play on every browser.

Add subtitles, blu-ray, mkv, multiple audio suport on media center.

Fix the multi artist bug on media player (and media center)

make an app "store" for Media Center

Billy Gun said,
Improved Media Center and Media Player, cloud space for music, so you'll be able to play songs from anyware, incorporate a media player on the IE 10 and make it able to show your "cloud" songs, or just make a cloud media player that would be able to play on every browser.

Add subtitles, blu-ray, mkv, multiple audio suport on media center.

Fix the multi artist bug on media player (and media center)

make an app "store" for Media Center

Zune technically is a cloud media player and a 'store'.... but I know where you're getting at. I really hope they merge Media Player and Media Center into Zune and just stick with one offering rather than 3 separate products that do almost the same thing. This way the we'd have all the wonderful media player offerings in the beautiful Zune interface, and it would give Zune the increased userbase it needs.

j2006 said,

Zune technically is a cloud media player and a 'store'.... but I know where you're getting at. I really hope they merge Media Player and Media Center into Zune and just stick with one offering rather than 3 separate products that do almost the same thing. This way the we'd have all the wonderful media player offerings in the beautiful Zune interface, and it would give Zune the increased userbase it needs.

Yes, Zune should be improved and overplace Media Player. Microsoft should add a "live" disk sapace so you can add your songs to a virtual drive (no need to buy the songs from zune store) and access them from anyware (just add your login and password).

Microsoft can start offering a 2GB live skydrive for Media Player or Zune (merge them to only one), then improve the space over time 2gb, 4gb, 5gb, 8gb...

Just like you said: "it would give Zune the increased userbase it needs", some would buy songs from zune store (marketplace), others will rip the CD and add the songs manualy to the live skydrive for Zune or media player.

I felt like a waste of time after reading all the suggestions.

He didn't include things like micro kernel modular managment. Better error report (I had Bounjour service enabled reporting more than 5000+ errors and making my shutdown and startup more slow). Simple hardrive encryption like TrueCrypt but on dynamic partitions. Add Local Windows Update, a service to make one machinne hoster of an update, others PCs will try update from Windows Update first, but looking if some PC had de file already, verify integrity and install. A complete range of diagnostic tools, running on background when the pc gets disconnected from internet, a programs takes more time to load, a folder gets many copy/delete that need background defrag, to diagnose and auto fix taking in count previous configurations that worked. The ability to auto change IP configurations based on the type of connection (WiFi, Bluetooth, VPN). I have more but who cares right?

[quote=Pulgafree said,]I felt like a waste of time after reading all the suggestions.

It more about user facing features, people don't spend morning, noon and night auto changing IP configurations. Adding a local Windows Update would be good, but what about complexities with 32 and 64 bit installations and the possibility of the host being compromised and the integrity of digital signatures? If such functionality were to be offered, it would fall under PC Syncing.

what a goofy rant. Some of the issues he brings up are valid and worthy of some consideration. Removing dialogs for instance. I agree 800x600 made those things useful, but with great real estate comes great responsibility.

Metro themed explorer windows instead of property pages, that's my vote.

The bit about only two versions of windows is hilarious. I know what he's getting at, but there are dozens of windows variations for each 'major' release.

Embedded (several varieties)
Starter
Home Prem
Business
Enterprise
Ultimate
Server R2 (and its variants)
Surface


If anything they'll add new SKUs for the operating platform, phone/tablet, etc.

Im not really that interested in gadgets etc - Give me more options when it comes to cataloguing files and modifying their properties and Im on board. I want more UI options or a professional mode so the basic user doesn't get confused but can also turn it on once they are experienced.

I don't want MS designers making the decision on what i need to see and what I don't, and I prefer XP's thumbnail folder view as I got a decent full picture on the folder preview instead of the win 7 version. Spell check is also much needed.

#3 sounds more like user profile roaming mixed with stuff that can be done with windows server. The feature is nice but they have to draw the line at some point

Julius Caro said,
#3 sounds more like user profile roaming mixed with stuff that can be done with windows server. The feature is nice but they have to draw the line at some point

Sure, everybody has $1000 to purchase a 10 CAL Windows Server 2008 Standard license and the knowledge to setup Active Directory, IIS, configure load network balancing, lock it down, while at the same time putting it on the Internet, paying ISP fees per month and ensure that its always available.

Mr. Dee said,

Sure, everybody has $1000 to purchase a 10 CAL Windows Server 2008 Standard license and the knowledge to setup Active Directory, IIS, configure load network balancing, lock it down, while at the same time putting it on the Internet, paying ISP fees per month and ensure that its always available.

Whoa, slow down there...you don't need IIS, network load balancing, internet, or an ISP to set up a domain controller.

Windows home servers addresses all of these issues to my knowledge, but I am not sure as I do have a Windows 2003 domain controller set up(with none of the things you listed configured).

schubb2003 said,

Whoa, slow down there...you don't need IIS, network load balancing, internet, or an ISP to set up a domain controller.

Windows home servers addresses all of these issues to my knowledge, but I am not sure as I do have a Windows 2003 domain controller set up(with none of the things you listed configured).

I didn't mention anything about Domain Controller, I was referring to having it available in a remote fashion, where you will need to create Cloud services. Basically your own skydrive.

Mr. Dee said,

I didn't mention anything about Domain Controller, I was referring to having it available in a remote fashion, where you will need to create Cloud services. Basically your own skydrive.

#3 has NOTHING to do with cloud services, he is talking about LOCAL sync. He explicitly states on his local network.

Hmmm, 50 suggestions and none of them were a simple thing as:

Show which program that uses an USB drive when wanting to safely remove it.
How many of us just jank it out when it says "Please close the program that uses the drive" while nothing is currently running?

Roberticus said,
Hmmm, 50 suggestions and none of them were a simple thing as:

Show which program that uses an USB drive when wanting to safely remove it.
How many of us just jank it out when it says "Please close the program that uses the drive" while nothing is currently running?

Or just an option to force it to release any open handles and eject it regardless

Roberticus said,
Hmmm, 50 suggestions and none of them were a simple thing as:

Show which program that uses an USB drive when wanting to safely remove it.
How many of us just jank it out when it says "Please close the program that uses the drive" while nothing is currently running?

Windows 7 already includes the Force Eject device button in the Notification Area, so it basically does what you want.

Most of this is just fluff - more wallpapers and themes, pausing on wallpapers, changing color schemes, changing icons.

And also, good lord what a terrible looking web site. Ever heard of whitespace?

metal_dragen said,
Most of this is just fluff - more wallpapers and themes, pausing on wallpapers, changing color schemes, changing icons.

And also, good lord what a terrible looking web site. Ever heard of whitespace?

I guess you haven't seen the latest Windows 8 screenshots with things like autocolor. Considering that themes were a major focal point of Windows 7 being about you, the ability to better customize these user features is very important. If you only knew how things like localized themes are a big deal, you would reconsider that statement about fluff. Sometimes you come across a wallpaper in your desktop theme and you would like to make it be your default for say the day, but instead of going into Personalization > Desktop Background and unchecking every wallpapaper except the desired one, its too much effort, a simple pause button, thats it.

As for color schemes, this has a lot to do with visual cues and productivity. Its still a bit harder to identify the active and inactive windows, a feature like the ability to customize active and in active window colors would be way more useful than AutoColor. This is especially great when you 30 windows on screen and can't tell which one is active or not.

What a waste of time...most of that stuff will get Microsoft back in front of the DOJ and EU the day it is announced.

"Let me the user; decide what I want to put on my computer" <-- which derides a lot of his points about put this in, put that in...

I'm looking forward to SkyDrive integration out-of-the-box.

I hope they get rid of Windows Media Player and Windows Media Centre and just merge it all into Zune. The Zune software is already great but if they merged all the functionality of WMP into Zune, that would simplify things a whole lot and increase Zune's userbase.

Just like others commented above, I definitely want faster boot times as well.. just turn on the computer and bam the login screen shows... if not immediately hopefully faster. On some of computers it's already fast, but on others it takes a few minutes to boot.

ccoltmanm said,
MSE bundled, great idea!

Would be great, but then AV makers would complain to the EU and soon we'd have AV ballot screens also.

sviola said,

Would be great, but then AV makers would complain to the EU and soon we'd have AV ballot screens also.

It's a strange one. Firewall companies aren't up in arms because that's part of the OS. I think some anti virus measures should be built into the OS and nobody should be able to moan about it as security is a very important part of Computing nowadays!

They really need to give some attention to the Live/Skydrive environment if they're going to integrate more tightly with Explorer. Right now the web interface is just a hot mess.

TrAvELAr said,
Network Profiles and multi-screen task bars...

network profiles? you mean remote profiles? if so those have existed for many versions now

Faster boot times, pre-installed antivirus ( yeah it's a utopian demand, but still ).

Centralised update services would be an awesome feature ( also mentioned in the activewin.com article)

Rahul Mulchandani said,
Faster boot times, pre-installed antivirus ( yeah it's a utopian demand, but still ).

Centralised update services would be an awesome feature ( also mentioned in the activewin.com article)

if they integrate MSSE into live essentials it would be great - or at least prompt at first start to DL it.

Azyr said,
if they integrate MSSE into live essentials it would be great - or at least prompt at first start to DL it.

I can't stress enough how good and how IMPORTANT is your idea.

thartist said,

I can't stress enough how good and how IMPORTANT is your idea.

The problem is though, it will become the next IE "Ohhh, Microsoft is using their position in the market to push out competing AV software by bundling their own, we need a ballot screen so people can decide for themselves." and if you live in Europe next thing you'll know, when you install windows you will be bombarded by hundreds of screens asking what Microsoft alternatives you want to install for every application under the sun.

On the other hand, I'm all for MSSE being bundled, as IT guy for my entire family, it means less viruses.

"You would be surprised the amount of applications and drivers out there that work with Windows Vista, but not Windows 7" Somehow I don't think this is accurate.

nub said,
"You would be surprised the amount of applications and drivers out there that work with Windows Vista, but not Windows 7" Somehow I don't think this is accurate.

I agree that this statement is off. I work for a software company, and most of our older 2000/XP software had serious problems with Vista, but ironically work flawlessly on Windows 7.

nub said,
"You would be surprised the amount of applications and drivers out there that work with Windows Vista, but not Windows 7" Somehow I don't think this is accurate.

I agree that this statement is off. I work for a software company, and most of our older 2000/XP software had serious problems with Vista, but ironically work flawlessly on Windows 7.

nub said,
"You would be surprised the amount of applications and drivers out there that work with Windows Vista, but not Windows 7" Somehow I don't think this is accurate.

I agree that this statement is off. I work for a software company, and most of our older 2000/XP software had serious problems with Vista, but ironically work flawlessly on Windows 7.

nub said,
"You would be surprised the amount of applications and drivers out there that work with Windows Vista, but not Windows 7" Somehow I don't think this is accurate.

Sad thing, companies are still stuck in the dark ages. Bentley's Microstation doesn't work on 7, but works on Vista. Go figure.

KavazovAngel said,
Sad thing, companies are still stuck in the dark ages. Bentley's Microstation doesn't work on 7, but works on Vista. Go figure.

According to Bentley version 8i of their software is certified to work on Windows 7. Assuming you're on one of their select subscriptions you should get the upgrade as part of your maintenance package.

"Remove Windows DVD Maker, make this a downloadable component as part of Windows Live Essentials or functionality part of Windows Live Movie Maker." No bad. Why the hell would this be good? Microsoft should include any software they can legally get away with.

nub said,
"Remove Windows DVD Maker, make this a downloadable component as part of Windows Live Essentials or functionality part of Windows Live Movie Maker." No bad. Why the hell would this be good? Microsoft should include any software they can legally get away with.

No, more common functionality like a built in PDF reader would be nice since everyone needs a PDF reader. Not everyone needs 'Windows DVD Maker'. So make it optional. I've never used it once, so would be happy with it being gone.

nub said,
"Remove Windows DVD Maker, make this a downloadable component as part of Windows Live Essentials or functionality part of Windows Live Movie Maker." No bad. Why the hell would this be good? Microsoft should include any software they can legally get away with.

I agree, more out of the box software. An OS should be complete with basic functions.

ccoltmanm said,

I agree, more out of the box software. An OS should be complete with basic functions.

An OS should be clean upon installation.

Installation of components not necessary to the OS should all be optional.

nub said,
"Remove Windows DVD Maker, make this a downloadable component as part of Windows Live Essentials or functionality part of Windows Live Movie Maker." No bad. Why the hell would this be good? Microsoft should include any software they can legally get away with.

Microsoft thought it was good to remove Windows Photo Gallery, Movie Maker, Mail, Calendar making them optional downloads.

Why did Microsoft remove them from Windows?
A: Brian Hall (General Manager for Windows Live) notes that removing programs such as Photo Gallery, Mail and Movie Maker from the core operating system will give Microsoft more time to focus on the core operating system experience in addition to improving the efficiency of things like Service Packs, which could ultimately be fewer and smaller. Mr. Hall also said that a cleaner operating system eliminates potential confusion for customers faced with two different programs that are similar in function-one already in Windows and the other from Windows Live. He also said that Microsoft is working with OEMs around Windows 7 so that they can place shortcuts that will link to a download page where you can choose just the programs for you.

So DVD Maker is pretty much pointless being built in since you will have to download Windows Live MovieMaker anyway to use it. Might as well bundle it with Windows Live Essentials. The fact that people choose Social Networks such as YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo to share videos, you can even store videos on your skydrive or email them. Windows DVDMaker is irrelevant these days. Might as well bundle a tool mount .ISO files, thats more practical. More doesn't mean better. I have only used DVD Maker once, and that was under Vista and it was just experimental.

nub said,
"Remove Windows DVD Maker"

Or make it part of an optional install?

DVD Maker is useless for me as I will never use it. It's taking up space that I can use for something else. There are many "features" of Windows I simply don't want (games, wordpad, dvd maker. . .) so having all these programs optional at install is a great idea. Even to an extent having things like Internet Explorer included in that. Although I believe it should always be installed as a backup, just like Windows Media player which I never use but like just in case.

nub said,
"Remove Windows DVD Maker, make this a downloadable component as part of Windows Live Essentials or functionality part of Windows Live Movie Maker." No bad. Why the hell would this be good? Microsoft should include any software they can legally get away with.

Why should they? Windows should be stripped to the bone with only the core stuff included with everything shunted off to be released on its own schedule rather than trying to match up the operating system 'core' release with the 'middle ware' bundle that will go with it. By unhooking the two Microsoft can release an operating system every 3 years and every year have a middle ware refresh that people can download free of charge ala Live Essentials.

I'm a Mac user and quite frankly there are things that I don't want to see in Mac OS X, iTunes, Flash, Java to name a few - Lion has already taken out the two former but iTunes till remains.

Azizan said,
If it is as fast and as stable as Win7, I will be a very happy man.

Likewise - happy for simple improvements if it can remain fast and stable.

Azizan said,
If it is as fast and as stable as Win7, I will be a very happy man.

Likewise - I'd be happy with smaller updates and tweaks as long as it can remain as fast and stable as it has done in Windows 7

Byron_Hinson said,

Likewise - I'd be happy with smaller updates and tweaks as long as it can remain as fast and stable as it has done in Windows 7

Byron, I guess that means you will be skipping Mac OS X Lion, because there seems to be more gimmicks in that release than a circus.

Mr. Dee said,

Byron, I guess that means you will be skipping Mac OS X Lion, because there seems to be more gimmicks in that release than a circus.

Nah - Apple did their tweaking update with Snow Leopard, roll on Lion! ;o)

Byron_Hinson said,

Nah - Apple did their tweaking update with Snow Leopard, roll on Lion! ;o)


Apples big cat is gonna maul you wanna these days and there will be no 'Windows' there for you to jump through. #Sigfried #Roy