An open letter to Microsoft on Windows 8

Dear Microsoft,

Congratulations on recently releasing the Windows 7 release candidate. As I've mentioned before, it's shaping into an excellent product and I have given my reasons why I think people should upgrade.

But let's pause for a moment and look ahead to your supposed next version of Windows, Windows 8, since it's already in planning stages. Now that you've gotten a way to get some kind of backwards compatibility in your OS virtually, this presents an opportunity to flesh out some new ideas with Windows. Here are some ideas I think should be implemented into the next version of Windows:

One version, one price
I personally dislike how Windows is in different editions. In my opinion, it can be confusing to the end user. Please keep it to one edition at a reasonable price.

Implement the registry more efficiently
I've worked with the registry for years, and I personally find it very confusing to work with, especially when it comes to navigating around and searching through it. I'd like to see easier navigation, and better ways to search through and edit the registry.

Make a new web browser from the ground up
While I do think Internet Explorer has been moving in the right direction, the Trident engine is old and insecure. But I see you're working on a new web browser codenamed "Gazelle" that's supposed to be better than Internet Explorer. This gives you the opportunity to make a brand new web browser from the ground up. I'd like to see a much better UI as well since I think the current Internet Explorer's UI is messy and not as streamlined.

Consider replacing Windows Media Player with your Zune software
Don't get me wrong, I do like Windows Media Player and have it as my default media player, but I've also used your Zune software, and think it's excellent, and Paul Thurrott thinks so as well. If Zune is one of your big products and it's going international, why not replace Windows Media Player with your Zune software?

Make applications easy to install and un-install
I'll use OS X as an example here. To install an application, the user simply downloads a .dmg file, drags it into the application folder, and they're done. To uninstall, they just drag that application from the applications folder into the trash bin. I like this feature a lot, and would love to see it implemented into Windows. Like for example, the user would download an image file, and to install it, they would drag it into the "Program Files" folder. And while I know this isn't entirely Windows fault, when applications get uninstalled, they can often leave things like files and registry keys behind. Yes, programs like Revo Uninstaller do take care of this, however, I'd love to see a drag and drop method for uninstalling, like for example, the user would drag the program into the Recycle Bin, and see functionality from programs like AppZapper implemented as well since it would take care of the things that get leftover when applications get uninstalled. I'm not speaking as a Mac fanboy here, but from an end user point of view.

Granted, Windows 7 isn't even out yet, and we have got a while to go before its successor is out, but in the computer world, there's never a perfect product, only there's always room for improvement in the future. I wish you all the best with your future products!

Sincerely,
Kevin

The views in this editorial piece do not necessarily represent those of Neowin but those of the Author.

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I agree with Media player part, where either Zune be replaced by WMP or WMP be replaced by Zune, not only on the desktop but on WinMo too. As far as Registry is concerned, I'm not sure if it should be anbondoned, we get way too many tweaks via the registry. The versions is a long standing debate, multiple editions are good, but too many are bad. Microsoft currently has too many SKUs. They can easily kill Starter, sell Basic instead. Saying that there are to mahy options basically means that you & me are dumb and can't differentiate, Mac users are, we aren't. Installing & uninstalling though easy on Mac, I kinda hate the fact that I can't specify the location I want to install it on, which sucks, because on Windows I can install my games on a different partition, my programs on a different partition & live a happy life, rather than letting my OS decide & living an ignorant life.

Not sure, how this letter can become front page? the person who has written open letter does not know anything about Windows it seems..

If Microsoft removes registry.. all legacy Windows application will start breaking..

2nd thing.. dmg kind of solution is not good way to go.. there is a good reason why we have dlls and lot of files in Windows.. for very effective reason.. APIs

I see people asking for many features that would be radical changes from how Windows does stuff.

Get rid of the registry? When a million applications use it?

If you're wanting something that different, then switch to Linux or Mac OS X.

Xenomorph said,
I see people asking for many features that would be radical changes from how Windows does stuff.

Get rid of the registry? When a million applications use it?

If you're wanting something that different, then switch to Linux or Mac OS X.

+1 QFT

"To uninstall, they just drag that application from the applications folder into the trash bin. See how easy that is? No DLL files, registry keys to deal with."

except when something doesnt uninstall correctly, then its hell.

Circaflex said,
"To uninstall, they just drag that application from the applications folder into the trash bin. See how easy that is? No DLL files, registry keys to deal with."

except when something doesnt uninstall correctly, then its hell.

This, to a large extent, is true. Most Mac applications follow the drag-and-drop install/uninstall paradigm. However, there are some programs that still require the "installer." And in Mac OS the "Uninstaller" to these programs is a lot less popular than it is in Windows.

Circaflex said,
"To uninstall, they just drag that application from the applications folder into the trash bin. See how easy that is? No DLL files, registry keys to deal with."

except when something doesnt uninstall correctly, then its hell.

This is true for Windows too.

Roxio Media Creator 9 did not un-install correctly for my Windows XP machine. Each time at boot the un-installer would start trying to finish its job without success.

Actually took me a good evening of serach on the net to find a way to manually finish the un-installation process.

WMP in WIN7 replaced MPC for me, i like it a lot and i would not like to replace it. I will say WMP11 was a good step up from 10 but the new version is just right.

I think W8 should have a "Home" and "Business" edition. Easy enough for end users.

+1 for replacing WMP with the Zune software.

+1 for ditching the registry.

+1 for easy install/uninstall of programs. One of the main reasons I like OS X.

I am a software developer and a life-long windows user and NOT ONE FREAKING TIME has the registry ever been corrupted unless I did something STUPID I knew better than to do.

Why is it Neowin keeps allowing know-nothings stuck in a Windows 98 frame-of-mind to write "editorials"?

You're embarassing yourself.

Wow, the author of this article is all for building things "from the ground up"... Why on earth would you do that? Even in application development it is very rarely feasible to scrap everything you have done prior and start over with a completely new project (And Windows is a heck of a lot bigger than your average application.). I think Microsoft is on track here and their idea to incrementally improve Windows with each revision is great. There is no need whatsoever to start from scratch, it creates far too much potential for error and, since he made reference to Virtual XP Mode, that is in THIS codebase, if they started from scratch, this would not be in there unless they redid that as well. And what are the benefits of doing this anyway? Absolutely ridiculous...

As for the Windows Versions, I don't really see a problem with multiple versions. Keep in mind that some of those versions will never even be seen by the consumer as they are specific to business. It's pretty easy to pick between the 3 versions they would have to pick from (Especially considering one will only be available on netbooks). I don't think this causes much confusion at all. If anything retailers need to do a better job of explaining the difference. Staples did a good job, Dell did not... That's the issue, not the fact that Microsoft released multiple versions. If they went with one version of their biggest cash cow, I don't think they would settle on the cheapest price point either. The notion of pricing it at $ 149.00 is ludicrous from Microsoft's standpoint.

I also don't think it makes sense to scrap the registry. There are a ton of applications that rely on the registry in its current form. You get rid of that and the applications fail. Is there a better way of displaying registry data? Perhaps. But shouldn't it be scary looking? If it looks friendly and easy to use like opening Microsoft Word, people are going to be in there that shouldn't be and they won't think they'll be able to cause so much harm either... The registry should be as scary as possible, and I think it should incite fear... LOL

I like the idea of this article, but the content was lacking a tremendous amount of forethought. What a shame.

I only slightly agree with 1 thing here which is the registry (I made my point in a reply somewhere above).

Explain to me how you would do group policy if you remove the registry?

For us who work in the business world group policy is a must. IF you get rid of the registry then group policy would not exist either.

All they have to do is enforce the rules. The problem is program makers dont follow the rules. It has nothing to do with the registry itself.

Also i have a fealing the article writer really doesnt know the advanced windows stuff. There is nothing stopping people from making programs that install easier and uninstall easier.

Most of the complaints should be pointed to third party software makers.

Also i dont want to have to pay for things like domain join if i wont use it. as it stands right now I get get home premium for $99 . Thats not a bad price.

I think more thought should have been put into this article. Atleast a browse through technet and msdn documentation first.

One version, one price

No. Everybody uses Windows. Poor kids in third world countries, enterprise IT administrators in global corporations, my Mom, college kids, and tech-savvy early adopters.
Nothing about the current process is confusing.. if you're choosing an OS instead of just buying a new PC, you know if you need Professional features like Remote Desktop or not. Otherwise Home Premium will be right in front of you, if your wallet can cover it you get it. My wallet can't pay for them to keep working on Branch Caching

Get rid of the registry

Popular request from non-experts, but never really explained. I agree that it could be changed (not eliminated) to
improve modularization and portability, and reducing redundancy. Most of the issues though, are developers faults (use the roaming profile! )

Make a new web browser from the ground up

IE Team's problem. Also, this is easy to say but it's silly to throw away all previous work when making software. A major rewrite will happen though.

Consider replacing Windows Media Player with your Zune software

HELLS NO. Zune may be excellent, but at what? It's a music discovery/purchase engine. It will never manage my library the way WMP does. Zune will remain a free download.

Make applications easy to install and un-install

Clicking an icon is pretty easy. I like the one or two pages of options like not including shortcuts, thank you. I've never had to open the registry or touch a dll file to install an app.

The views in this editorial piece do not necessarily represent those of Neowin but those of the Author

Good thing, but untrue. As you described an editorial, if Neowin gives you this placement then it reflects on Neowin.

I don't understand the removal of the registry. If the complaint is that it's too complicated, and you want to replace it with settings built into a single app file, why should anyone believe that the way the settings would be stored in that app file will be any less complicated?

If the app files settings will be altered through a plain-english settings dialog within the program itself, it's absolutely no different than with the registry today where the settings are typically altered through--surprise, surprise--plain-english settings dialogs within the programs themselves. It's just a question of where a program's Edit->Preferences menu changes values: an ini file, the app file, or the registry.

I seem to remember .ini files all over the place back in the 16-bit days. Developers weren't forced to use the registry--they still, to this day, have the freedom to use .ini files if they so choose. The fact that many developers utilize the registry in spite of this freedom should be saying something. At the very least, it should be telling you to aim the gripe at them, and not at Microsoft. As it stands, Windows gives developers a choice: the registry, or their own data structure. This article makes it sound like you'd prefer Windows became more Mac-like, eliminating choice and forcing developers into only one solution.

Why do you hate freedom? :P

Had to check my calendar thought it might have been April 1st again. What an absolute load of rubbish, if the writer knew even a small amount about what they were talking about it would have helped. Embarisingly lame.

- I like the one version, one price idea, even if this will never happen (business reasons).
- I like the registry-less idea for sure.
- As for the browser, I couldn't care less; I never really liked IE and they would really need to convince me and innovate for me to switch.
- Replace WMP for Zune: hmm.... no?!?! We don't need another piece of garbage, bloated Itunes-like software; particularly seeing how they refined and simplify the look of WMP in Windows 7, they should never go back to the cluttered look that they had before. Anyway, I don't really care there again since I mainly use 3rd party software to play my music/videos (VLC, Foobar, MPC)
- Regarding the install, un-install topic... I think this goes hand-in-hand with getting rid of the registry in a way, but I think the current procedure is pretty straightforward IMHO.

This is a poorly written letter by someone who clearly doesn't undestand software development, a money making bussiness, or.. really anything for that matter.

As a software developer, if I read an open letter like this about my software, assuming I took the time to even read it completely, I would intentionally do exactly the opposite just for spite.

This has no place on the front page, whether you're a writer here or not.

after the registry thing i stopped reading. The registry is a database, how much more performant do you think a bunch of files will be? It's the typical, I don't like the registry without knowing why thing, and I've grown tired of even trying to say why the registry is needed. so yeah, don't care for the rest

Wasn't the Registry created to replace INI files?

While I agree the Registry needs to be replaced, replacing it with INI files is the WRONG direction, XML files would be suitable.

There's not much difference there, you know. I'm sure xml files would be even slower to load than ini files, no reason to believe they'd be any easier to edit either. There's nothing wrong with the registry, it's just that some programs overuse it a bit.

Well, the article itself has people talking, & that's a good thing. And if anyone wants things cleaned up RE: installing / uninstalling software, IMHO the uproar has to start now. Why? Because it's the good folks doing the coding for all those apps we use, abuse, & remove, that will have to do things differently. Microsoft says they tried to tighten things up a bit when Vista came out -- we got UAC, broken drivers (Creative may have just now, finally got a handle on it), & coders that were miserable with the new hoops they were asked to jump thru. If there's going to be a dramatic change, Microsoft will have to enforce it, meaning old methods won't work, & coders will have to start re-working how they code well in advance of any win8.

If anyone doubts there's a problem with the status quo, start monitoring your installs. On that part Kevin hits the tip of the iceberg. If you want another target for your wish-list BTW, look at/in the Windows' winsxs folder.

Well that was... interesting.

this presents an opportunity to rebuild Windows from the ground up and turn it into an excellent product
Microsoft did this with NT which led to 2000 and XP and then they did it again with Vista which led to 7. It's already an excellent product. Done. Next.

One version, one price, say, $129 for example
Yes, let's just pick a number out of the sky. Or better yet, how about make it so the home users can get Windows without the extra features needed by power users or office workers and not have to pay for those innovations? Now THAT'S a great idea.

Get rid of the registry
No offense but people who say this generally don't understand what the registry is or how it works. It's fine. Find something to complain about that is actually a problem.

Make a new web browser from the ground up..I still think IE 8's is a bit messy.
Everyone is entitled to their opinion but how IE8 is any messier than Safari or FireFox is beyond any logical reasoning.

Make applications easy to install and un-install
And what would be faster than clicking on the Programs link in Control Panel? Would you like Windows to read your mind or do you have a better suggestion?

OS X: "To install an application, the user simply downloads the .dmg file, drags it into the application folder, and they're done."
Winodws: To install an application, the user simply downloads the .msi file, double-clicks on it and they're done.

Yeah, it's so much harder comapred to OS X.

I agree with you C_Guy

1. People have different needs and different price points. Differentiation is a good thing.

2. The people that complain about the registry are the same people that say you should disable your pagefile to increase performance or that you should partition your HDD for all your personal files and/or programs. They think they know what they are talking about but in reality offer truly useless thoughts and advice.

3. The browser wars have been renewed. There are options out there if you don't like IE 8. Plus you can uninstall IE 8 from Windows 7.

4. Applications have been easy to install and uninstall since Windows 95 and has only gotten simpler over time.

IMHO I think the underlying problem with Kevin's post is that he, like many other long time Windows users still hold on to their conceptions of Windows from the Win 9x days. With Windows Vista the underlying foundation has changed dramatically and many people haven't bothered to update their knowledge of Windows to have more informed opinions about the OS.

Make applications easy to install and un-install
Let's face it, sometimes applications can be a pain to install and un-install. DLL files, registry keys, all kinds of stuff scattered everything. I'm sorry but I have to pick out OS X as an example here. To install an application, the user simply downloads the .dmg file, drags it into the application folder, and they're done. To uninstall, they just drag that application from the applications folder into the trash bin. See how easy that is? No DLL files, registry keys to deal with.

The user does not have to deal with dll files and registry keys, the uninstaller does that. What is this scattered stuff?

Open Letter to Microsoft from Quasar2112.

Please keep multiple versions, and IE 8, and Windows Media Player. The registry can go away, assuming a virtual registry can suffice for legacy applications. Use XML settings files to replace the registry.

I don't want extra bloat, or extra cost, so having a lower-than-Ultimate edition is great. IE 8 is a standards-compliant web browser. It needs some bug fixes. You might want to repackage IE8's Trident engine inside a new Gazelle-like browser for security purposes. You make the call.

Do not replace WMP with the Zune software. I don't need an artsy-fartsy metrosexual feature-light bloat-heavy piece of bullcrap software on my computer. I need software that simply works well, like WMP 11 and 12. I'd like to see WMP have more configurable options, but it's pretty good already, so don't screw it up.

We need a standard way of getting updates from third-party developers. On Linux this is a snap. On Windows, I have 33 different "update.exe" and similar programs running in the background because third-parties can't integrate with Windows Update, and they have no "Microsoft Third Party Application Update" clearinghouse to use. Please fix this!

Finally, forget libraries, my documents, and all that crap. Let me put my files where I want to without installing bloated, useless features, or items that hog space in Windows Explorer.

Thank you.

One version, one price
No, there should be different versions for different markets (e.g. business, personal, etc)

Get rid of the registry
Yes, this is a much needed change.

Make a new web browser from the ground up
I don't think at this point IE 9 is related to Windows 8. They are two different products, with different teams.

Consider replacing Windows Media Player with your Zune software
No. WMP in Windows 7 gives a very lightweight experience. I don't want that to change.

Make applications easy to install and un-install
How is it not easy to install/uninstall an application? I don't like the Mac version of this where you have to go and delete the folder. I want a consolidated place where I can do that, i.e. Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs

pensador` said,

Make applications easy to install and un-install

How is it not easy to install/uninstall an application? I don't like the Mac version of this where you have to go and delete the folder. I want a consolidated place where I can do that, i.e. Control Panel > Add or Remove Programs

Of course Add or Remove Programs can still be used. But still there is no reason why a programs files have to be scattered all over the place.


I agree with the letter 100%.

sleeptalker said,
... But still there is no reason why a programs files have to be scattered all over the place...

Is that Microsoft's fault or some sloppy installer code?

At work we get installers from vendors all the time that are just pitiful. We have a custom WinXP image and 50,000+ machines to take care of. There is nothing more annoying to our packagers than having to clean up an installer that ignores any and every industry "standard".

Having seen this problem numerous times, I can't blame MS on this. It's the vendors fault.

We had some internal dev teams doing this same crap and with some team work and knowledge sharing, this no longer happens. The app installs are cleaner, easier to manage, trouble tickets are down, and we get their app out the door quicker.

Doli said,
Scattered where?

C:Program Files
C:Program FilesFichiers communs
C:WINNTSYSTEM32
C:WINNTDownloaded Installations
C:Documents and Settings{user}Application Data
C:Documents and Settings{user}Local SettingsApplication Data
C:Program FilesUninstall Information

Etc ... Etc ... Etc ...

LaP said,
C:Program Files
C:Program FilesFichiers communs
C:WINNTSYSTEM32
C:WINNTDownloaded Installations
C:Documents and Settings{user}Application Data
C:Documents and Settings{user}Local SettingsApplication Data
C:Program FilesUninstall Information

Etc ... Etc ... Etc ...


you mean like etc, var, usr, usr/bin, ... on unix systems? everyone of those directories has a specific meaning and should be used as such. dropping everything in one directory would be a security issue

Make applications easy to install and un-install
Let's face it, sometimes applications can be a pain to install and un-install. DLL files, registry keys, all kinds of stuff scattered everything. I'm sorry but I have to pick out OS X as an example here. To install an application, the user simply downloads the .dmg file, drags it into the application folder, and they're done. To uninstall, they just drag that application from the applications folder into the trash bin. See how easy that is? No DLL files, registry keys to deal with.

Yeah, sure.
:-/

An open letter to Neowin.net

Dear Neowin

Embarrassing editorials like this make your otherwise excellent site look amateurish and pathetic.

Please stop.

Love Mark xx

Amen to the "Install-Uninstall" hell.
Microsoft really does need to make installs and uninstalls much easier and cleaner. Uninstall means "get rid of everything association with the selected application," and leave nothing behind. While I don't necessarily say ditch the Registry File concept, it does need work to make it simpler to use. Does anyone remember Windows 3.1 with its CONFIG.SYS and AUTOEXEC.BAT files? Those were understandable.

SO this guy is an avid user of Windows, but he wants them to change pretty much everything in Windows. Here is a thought for you..... USE A MAC!

ricknl said,
You mean use OS X. Because you can install Windows natively on a Mac.

Yeah but too bad I can't use OSX on a pc...

Definitely don't agree with the Zune software.. They are in enough trouble with the whole Monopoly thing for even just having a built in web browser much less adding Zune software default to the mix.

The problem wit h zune is that it has the name "zune" and the anti-trade comission won't like it a bit ! Another thing that disppointed me was taht there's no "playing list" ... Beside that nice list

GreyWolfSC said,
It's fine. It's as ok to include the Zune software with Windows as it is to include iTunes in OSX. :)


Try telling the EU that...

I'd like that when I install my programs to a seperate partition and then reinstall the windows partition I can run those programs from the other partition without having to reinstall them. Or can I already? Haven't tried, haha.

Hey Kevin,

While I enjoyed reading your Windows XP virtualization in Windows 7, I did not quite enjoy this. Not that it did not contain anything valuable but it seemed that you were sitting on a picked fence whilst chewing on a bubble-gum and thought how best you could make a mockery out of an open letter...let alone it making its way through to the front page.

I dont quite agree with your suggestions at all to be honest; and its not because I'm trying to be a microsoft fan boy, but one version does it all for windows does not seem the right thing to do, simply because there are many different user groups of the microsft windows platforms. You have, the Home Users (Mum/dad/granparents/little kids and everyone else)/Professionals (business workers which use windows clients on a network) and Large corporate customers. You need to realize that by having a one version does it all, you will not be able to cater for all groups and therefore will result in the splitting (as we have today). What I would recommend though, just a thought really, to still have various SKU's that Microsoft has setup but limit it to only three. Home/Pro/Corp all reasonably priced.

Registry should, indeed go. Just as many people have mentioned so I will agree with you :). Although, I would go through and make it component-driven and perhaps use a sort of SQL backend (I don't know much about this to comment, I'm sorry).

New Browser? Definately. The web is constantly changing. Just a few years ago we only had web 1.0 and now we've got 2.0 and three should be soon. We need software that will deliver and if Microsoft wants to regain any users back from opera/firefox/safari/and-many-other-browsers-in-the-wild it needs to change its software. Though, I would also suggest to make it work similarly to firefox; in that; the plugins are able to block ads before it is processed. It should support a built in adblocker (and not just a pop up block that fails at blocking pop ups).

Windows Media Player? I don't know. Personal preference really. IF you don't like the way something works, go out and get something that you will like and will work for you. I think Media Player should get a bit of an update; zest it up and make it less clunky and bulky. To play an MP3/WMA, I dont want to load a huge mamoth of an application, though with todays computers, i dont think this will be much of a problem.

Application Install/UnInstall. I dont know about you, but I seem to be able to uninstall the various installed applications i have on my computer with out a problem so errr?

But apart from this, why not make Windows 8 better? why not add functionality. with virtualization built in, windows 8 can definitely be a successor to windows 7 with the given features and updates. Its only in planning stages, so plan something and go for gold.

I'm quite impressed with windows 7, having not used windows vista at all, i like what i see and am definitely enjoying my experience so far (except for the dreaded creative sound blaster drivers...sigh...they dont care about us).

Again, you all can flame me, whatever you want to do, but this is just my point of view and my opinion.

Thanks

Alkaif said,
Hey Kevin,

While I enjoyed reading your Windows XP virtualization in Windows 7, I did not quite enjoy this. Not that it did not contain anything valuable but it seemed that you were sitting on a picked fence whilst chewing on a bubble-gum and thought how best you could make a mockery out of an open letter...let alone it making its way through to the front page.

I dont quite agree with your suggestions at all to be honest; and its not because I'm trying to be a microsoft fan boy, but one version does it all for windows does not seem the right thing to do, simply because there are many different user groups of the microsft windows platforms. You have, the Home Users (Mum/dad/granparents/little kids and everyone else)/Professionals (business workers which use windows clients on a network) and Large corporate customers. You need to realize that by having a one version does it all, you will not be able to cater for all groups and therefore will result in the splitting (as we have today). What I would recommend though, just a thought really, to still have various SKU's that Microsoft has setup but limit it to only three. Home/Pro/Corp all reasonably priced.

Registry should, indeed go. Just as many people have mentioned so I will agree with you :). Although, I would go through and make it component-driven and perhaps use a sort of SQL backend (I don't know much about this to comment, I'm sorry).

New Browser? Definately. The web is constantly changing. Just a few years ago we only had web 1.0 and now we've got 2.0 and three should be soon. We need software that will deliver and if Microsoft wants to regain any users back from opera/firefox/safari/and-many-other-browsers-in-the-wild it needs to change its software. Though, I would also suggest to make it work similarly to firefox; in that; the plugins are able to block ads before it is processed. It should support a built in adblocker (and not just a pop up block that fails at blocking pop ups).

Windows Media Player? I don't know. Personal preference really. IF you don't like the way something works, go out and get something that you will like and will work for you. I think Media Player should get a bit of an update; zest it up and make it less clunky and bulky. To play an MP3/WMA, I dont want to load a huge mamoth of an application, though with todays computers, i dont think this will be much of a problem.

Application Install/UnInstall. I dont know about you, but I seem to be able to uninstall the various installed applications i have on my computer with out a problem so errr?

But apart from this, why not make Windows 8 better? why not add functionality. with virtualization built in, windows 8 can definitely be a successor to windows 7 with the given features and updates. Its only in planning stages, so plan something and go for gold.

I'm quite impressed with windows 7, having not used windows vista at all, i like what i see and am definitely enjoying my experience so far (except for the dreaded creative sound blaster drivers...sigh...they dont care about us).

Again, you all can flame me, whatever you want to do, but this is just my point of view and my opinion.

Thanks :)


the registry already has a sql backend, it is always been a database.

Hi Alkaif,

I appreciate your critique and glad you enjoyed my Windows XP virtualization in Windows 7 article. I respect your option and never expected for everyone to agree with me to begin with.

Hahaha, four points of five there are making it head into the Mac direction. :D

One SKU... No registry... Fresh, new browser (a step Apple took in 2003)... The install/uninstall procedure...

I believe people's negativity towards the registry is based on certain experience.

The main reason could be that applications are not "portable" when it uses the registry for settings. It's also a pain finding entries in the registry if you ever wanted to back up application settings for a format and re-install. Apps like Winamp uses a winamp.ini to store settings, making it a piece of cake to backup and restore on a new/clean system.

Other reasons could be how settings of the same thing are just spread into different areas of the registry. For example, trying to remove a right-click context menu item that a program installation added (if it was bloating up your menu) could be just about anywhere in the registry, making it difficult to find.

I'm not for removing the registry completely but it could do with a bit of an overhaul, seperate reg files for seperate apps, or items such as context menu items confined to one area of the registry, etc. etc.

Your first complaint regarding application configuration data, is that really the registry's fault? I mean, Windows already provides a local and roaming folder for each user where applications can store their configuration files. Programs just have to start using it.

Where the registry becomes important is when it comes to data that belongs to the operating system itself. There is little value in storing this in plain text files instead, and doing so would mean that you lose the ability to apply access control to keys in the text file. Either you can read all of the text file, or you can read none of it. This is not sufficient.

As for the registration data for COM servers like context menu, this is not spread all over the registry at random. The structure is well-defined. The problem is that it makes heavy use of unique identifiers instead of textual identifiers, which makes it hard to navigate using the registry editor.

Even this though, has nothing to do with the registry. It's still a complaint about the data stored in the registry rather than the registry itself. Even without the registry, Windows would need to store the same information, and it'd still be just as confusing.

A good letter to the editor. Except few key point about registry, application install and un-install. Registry is not all confusing. It is well organized and the way it works is great. It is very nicely organized. I think registry is fine the way it is. Any way what are the other better ways to do it? Put whole thing is database? It is already a database isn't it? Good thing may be Registry can come up with self cleansing mechanism where it can scan itself and clean up the corresponding entries. Registry is a nice place if it is not taken advantage of.
I feel Drag and drop to install and un-install is bad idea. More than anything there should be better uninstaller programs. I could accidently install an application which I don't want or un-install accidently by dragging out, I mean it could happen. Even with add/remove program accidently it can happen right? Considering other media players that are available for free, it does not matter if it is zune or wmp.
The browser marker again is open market, there are alternatives, but IE 8 is giving a good competition.

Good to hear about the backward compatibility with the XP mode.
Main thing the Microsoft should concentrate is the security aspect. Make it hard for people to write virus, malware, spyware. Make it easy to kill programs which misbehave or not responding. Some applications are hard to kill from the task manager, only option is to reboot.

One version, one price
There's no need so different editions of Windows. It can get confusing to the end user. Just keep it to one edition and one price, say, $129 for example.

no way...windows is for eveyone. $129 is pricey for some country & people

Make a new web browser from the ground up
While I do think Internet Explorer has been moving in the right direction, the Trident engine is old and insecure. But I see you're working on a new web browser codenamed "Gazelle" that's supposed to be better than Internet Explorer. This gives you the opportunity to make a brand new web browser from the ground up and possibly give the competing browsers a run for their money. By the way, please make a better UI, I still think IE 8's is a bit messy.

I agree

Make applications easy to install and un-install
Let's face it, sometimes applications can be a pain to install and un-install. DLL files, registry keys, all kinds of stuff scattered everything. I'm sorry but I have to pick out OS X as an example here. To install an application, the user simply downloads the .dmg file, drags it into the application folder, and they're done. To uninstall, they just drag that application from the applications folder into the trash bin. See how easy that is? No DLL files, registry keys to deal with.

is it really hard??? lolz..

Now that you've gotten a way to get some kind of backwards compatibility in your OS virtually, this presents an opportunity to rebuild Windows from the ground up and turn it into an excellent product. Here are some ideas I think should be implemented into the next version of Windows:

Oh come ON! If you rebuild it from the ground up, it will not be windows, it will not be compatible with any WINDOWS software. then not even programs made for Windows 7 or vista would work.

And please tell me, what would you use instead of the registry? ini files? All OS'es have an equivalent to the registry. It's not Microsoft's fault that the the people that create software don't make the uninstall remove all files.

bah. No; give me Windows 8, three versions Netbook, Home and Professional. no hard choice. What computer do you use, and where do you use it. And by all means, make it modular, give us choices in the setup,and make it all 64-bit.

Morphout.

One version, one price - Increased by One
Don't agree just keep 2 editions for Client side Home (should have media center facility by default coz its for home use so it is supposed to be used for entertainment ideally) and Professional/Business (No HomeBasic Ultimate Premium)
This would get rid of confusions regarding Windows Editions.

Get rid of the registry - NO
This would be as good as building Windows from ground up and would create a real mess if they try to do that ever. Lots of bugs etc

Make a new web browser from the ground up - In Progress - They are already doing that so not to worry about that. And they will definitely integrate it in Windows 8 I think.

Consider replacing Windows Media Player with your Zune software - NO
I would rather say get rid of Zune. Why dont they integrate the ZUNE features in WMP itself. If Apple creates iTunes for iPod that doesn't mean Microsoft should create ZUNE software for ZUNE device (It's just a media device) They should have added some extra facility to WMP for ZUNE that's it. Why to confuse Consumers by asking them to use different software for different purpose. WMP already supports Syncing with removable drives.

Make applications easy to install and un-install - It's fine already
Windows Installer platform has gone much better and works perfectly only thing is that everyone must use Windows Installer platform for the Software Packages that they develop. So there will be definitely less clutter in OS.

These are my thoughts on this article. Didn't think of what Windows 8 should have different. :P

I agree except for the Zune comment.
For music management, discovery and playback Zune is far better than WMP but that's all it's good for. putting the DVD/Video playback and device management of WMP into the Zune software would create (for me) the perfect media software.

I haven't used the Zune Software much but I think its very resource intensive as compared to Windows Media Player. And, first of all didn't like the idea of having one more Media Player specially designed for Zune. And to update it we need to download 200+ MB software. It's very irritating. WMP is capable of burning discs, syncing with media device, we can keep complete video and music library. So why do we need another media player? I think its waste of resources. May be its a Marketing strategy but then also why ?

One version, one price (No comment)
Get rid of the registry (Will never happen)
Make a new web browser from the ground up (As far as I know IE 8 is the last of its kind, could be wrong...)
Consider replacing WMP with your Zune software (Perhaps an optional component, otherwise no)
Make applications easy to install and un-install (Very possible, have some type of program that keeps track where each file goes as well as keeping track on the registry)

The Registry is a required part of Windows, everything is stored in the Registry. Getting rid of the Registry will break everything. Every program will have to be re-written unless MS creates some type of shortcut the replaces the Registry API calls so when a Registry call is made, it is re-routed to something else and this is not easy.

As far as I know IE8 is the last version that utilizes Trident.

WMP can be replaced but I don't think this will happen.

As far as installation of programs is concerned, it is possible to create a monior that monitors when programs are installed, where they put files and which part of the registry they modify.

rwx said,
As far as I know IE8 is the last version that utilizes Trident.


Whatever gives you that idea? The April Fools' IE 8.1 joke?

Wow, I usually come to Neowin to read nicely written technology oriented articles...

The views in this editorial piece do not necessarily represent those of Neowin but those of the Author.

The above quote should be moved to the top of the article, and it's font size should be increased...

Installing, uninstallating & Registry : Installing & Uninstall is very easy...most of the time even the novice users can install...just next, next & finish ;-) (and its all in the hand of developer who creates installation packages...and now clickonce kind of application installation is getting popular..so no more headache)

Registry is important to windows...LOT of corporate apps depend on it...the clsid are used in millions of dependable applications...so they wont throw it away for sure.

I didn't read all the comments of course but it seems everyone is forgetting something that for me, it's the most important thing that I would like to see in Windows 8... That is, modular installation.

I hate the fact that Windows get installed with a bunch of stuff I don't use... Sure, Windows 7 provides the ability to uninstall a few of it's apps more than Vista did, but there's still too many pointless crap that I don't installed on my system.

I miss the good old days of Windows 95/98 where you could do a custom setup and install only the things you want. Well, that wasn't perfect back then, but it was better than it currently is.

That's what I want to see in Windows 8...

Installing and uninstalling & Registry I really think most of the windows community will agree on that. Personally I would say uninstall doesnt remove all of the installed files/reg. entries. over time it leads to a bloated registry. Which gives us the opinion that the computer is slow. We end up installing Spyware to clean the SLOW registry. When the basic problem is a poor Uninstall system.

This is a real known fact in the community now. I think there should be a benchmark to make MS work on that.

Make a test pc. Clean install the OS, calculate disk usage and do a file count, install 10/20 essential programs, do a file count and check usage, remove all the software installed to get a "CLEAN PC" . COMPARE these over Competing OS Products and maybe then MS will listen to you.

( ;-) hints at neowin to make that difference)


One version, One price Yes its a very good idea. Atleast if not making just one version of a product, then make it one version per segment. like just Home,Business and Server. I thought that was the concept in vista but then came in the Basic & Premium marketing strategy. We dont see a Vista Business BASIC or PREMIUM. Then why classify the Home version alone. I'm sure I've heard of a few more editions like the Starter edition (and a few more cant remember them rite now).

Without a registry where would the settings get stored? In a bunch of .ini files scattered around or in a central-repository? The latter being exactly what the registry is.

Please make it a pure x64-only OS. Get rid of the WOW64 layer and force software makers to finally take the plunge to 64-bits.
Also, force all programs to be fully Unicode-compliant. :P
Make Visual Studio 201x force creating such programs. Release it together w/ Windows 8.
Revamp the Windows API a bit and make it easy-to-use outside of software libraries (MFC, Qt, wxWidgets). A clean C++ interface would also be appreciated.

My never-gonna-happen wishes.

One version, one price - meh the only version I dislike the idea of is starter... Home basic should take it's place

Get rid of the registry - I don't understand how you can say the registry is "confusing" I never understand why people feel that it should be ripped out because it's "old" and they "don't understand it" Just because they don't understand it doesn't mean others don't. Having ini files all over the place would be even more retarded and if the registry was removed, MS would have to completely change the way group policies work on domain networks, annoying the corporate market. I read this "suggestion" often and it still doesn't make it less stupid.

Consider replacing Windows Media Player with your Zune software - Why? Just for the sake of it? MS would get smacked to bits if they tried integrating an itunes store wannabe.

Make applications easy to install and un-install - I actually found installing software on OSX completely retarded. Some apps would mount a .dmg on the desktop and make you drag it, others would start an installer. The average user wouldn't have a clue. In windows, everything starts an installer. As for it automatically tidying up, I'm fairly sure that uninstalling software on a mac by just deleting it from the apps directory does not clean up crap left behind

" I'm fairly sure that uninstalling software on a mac by just deleting it from the apps directory does not clean up crap left behind "

Funny how I can drag and app into the trash and everything goes, all except a few pro apps which have clean up applications, but then joe average won't be running pro apps anyway.

The same cannot be said of my Windows machine which leaves dll files and other installed junk laying all the way round the system. Windows installations are messy, and why you are defending them is beyond me. Would you not rather have all the files in one place for example the install folder, along with registry configuration options, again, in the install folder? I know I would.

Would you not rather have all the files in one place for example the install folder, along with registry configuration options, again, in the install folder? I know I would.

No "registry configuration options" should go in the registry, they are advanced settings you generally should not touch. General settings you should touch go in the program as part of the UI, and are available to everyone. That is the point.

The only point where I would agree is the limitation of number of the SKU.

As far as the rest is concerned, no, just no.
1 - The registry: this is a long standing request of wannabe hackers who believe that XML files would be better because they have the desillusion that they are capable of editing them. Yet, they forgot to take into account concurrent access between the system and the applications, permissions between system and users. End users do not have to go looking under the hood of Windows. They want ini/xml files. Ok, where to store them? In the application folder? No, because they would have to be different between user and because the applications folders are reserved for the installer service usage. In the Users App Data directory, OK, in that case, they will remain when desinstalling. Not better than the registry base.

2 - Trident/Gazelle: Another blog request coming after the Microsoft Research announcement of Gazelle. I don't want to reduce the work done by MS Research but the current Internet Explorers (6, 7 and soon 8 ) are critical components for a lot of web-based applications used by business. Before anything, Microsoft will take into account
the consequences of changing the engine so there is no magic wand to replace Trident with Gazelle...

3 - WMP/Zune: I have both on my machine: I have always felt that Zune software was looking like a front-end on top of WMP: same options, same capabilities. I like the ease of use of Zune, I don't like the minimum size of 640x480: I prefer WMP in the toolbar or with a not too intrusive skin.

4 - Uninstall: linked to the registry base. De-installation is easy: one click in the control panel, how much easier can you get? Remaining files after uninstallation? That's an advantage for me: when I install minor updates to applications after un-installation of the previous one, I like that the new version picks the existing settings without a hitch.

Vykranth said,
End users do not have to go looking under the hood of Windows. They want ini/xml files. Ok, where to store them? In the application folder? No, because they would have to be different between user and because the applications folders are reserved for the installer service usage. In the Users App Data directory, OK, in that case, they will remain when desinstalling. Not better than the registry base.

Actually it is better. When you reinstall the OS you always have to reinstall most programs because many save stuff into the registry and just won't work without them. If all that data was in your user directory you could simply take a backup of that and restore the INI/XML files from there and have your program work as it should instead of saying "ooh darn, I can't find some silly registry entry so why don't you install my 3 GB ass all over again."

2 - Trident/Gazelle: Another blog request coming after the Microsoft Research announcement of Gazelle. I don't want to reduce the work done by MS Research but the current Internet Explorers (6, 7 and soon 8 ) are critical components for a lot of web-based applications used by business. Before anything, Microsoft will take into account
the consequences of changing the engine so there is no magic wand to replace Trident with Gazelle...

Trident is hopelessly behind the times when it comes to features and compatibility with new web technologies and standards. Webkit, Gecko and Presto (Opera's engine) are all years ahead in performance and features. Thus I believe MS should drop Trident and go for an open source alternative like Webkit.

For crappy legacy web-apps you simply need a virtualized version of IE. Already it's possibly to run IE6, IE7 and 8 side by side in IE Tester for example. It shouldn't be too hard to have companies teach their employees that they need to open their old web app using program X. Hell, they could even have the IT department put a permanent shortcut for it on their desktops.

LaXu said,
Actually it is better. When you reinstall the OS you always have to reinstall most programs because many save stuff into the registry and just won't work without them. If all that data was in your user directory you could simply take a backup of that and restore the INI/XML files from there and have your program work as it should instead of saying "ooh darn, I can't find some silly registry entry so why don't you install my 3 GB ass all over again."


Reinstalling an OS is and should be an exceptional event. I am glad that the evolution of Windows has allowed me to count the time between OS installation in years and not months or weeks anymore.
As far as ini/xml files in user directories, no, that won't solve the cluttering problem and that would induce migration problems. For example, you move from a x86 Windows to a x64 Windows and you install the user settings coming from the x86 Windows: your settings may reference path to C:Program Files where the application was installed on the old machine. On the x64 machine, the location for x86 application is C:Program Files (x86), so the settings reference paths to an application which does not exist physically. Other possiblity: there is a x64 application in C:Program Files but the application is more recent and uses totally different paths to lookup settings so your settings are useless or may even cause problems for the x64 applications.
As far as what applications stores in the registry base, it's far less than one would imagine. A lot of things are stored in the user data directory: the media databse of WMP, the calendar of Rainlendar and plenty of other things. If you are running Vista, take a look at C:users\App DataRoaming

Trident is hopelessly behind the times when it comes to features and compatibility with new web technologies and standards. Webkit, Gecko and Presto (Opera's engine) are all years ahead in performance and features. Thus I believe MS should drop Trident and go for an open source alternative like Webkit.

For crappy legacy web-apps you simply need a virtualized version of IE. Already it's possibly to run IE6, IE7 and 8 side by side in IE Tester for example. It shouldn't be too hard to have companies teach their employees that they need to open their old web app using program X. Hell, they could even have the IT department put a permanent shortcut for it on their desktops.


I am not saying that it's impossible to ditch Trident to replace it with another engine. I am saying that, before burning the ships, Microsoft has
to ponder the consequences of doing it and minimize impact on businesses.
Look at the problems Vista faced in the business world, businesses refused to deploy Vista because they felt that the impact on their business negatively.
As far as companies teaching users, working in I.T. related fields for the last seven years has made me misanthrope and regret a beautiful career in legal medecine.

Vykranth said,
3 - WMP/Zune: I have both on my machine: I have always felt that Zune software was looking like a front-end on top of WMP: same options, same capabilities. I like the ease of use of Zune, I don't like the minimum size of 640x480: I prefer WMP in the toolbar or with a not too intrusive skin.

Hmm... it used to be, but now it supports podcasts and social features. Where have you been?

Silverskull said,
Hmm... it used to be, but now it supports podcasts and social features. Where have you been?


I don't listen to podcasts and I have not tried the social features. So that's just me being a no-life

How is clicking an dragging a file into a programs folder easier than double clicking a file? Changing what is currently only a two click procedure isn't easier just like to confuse.

Removing the registry wont happen, it could be masked and made into a tidier interface and be more accessible (though it probably shouldn't, as if you don't know what you are doing then don't mess with it).

WMP is great in my opinion, thought some people think the opposite, just like browsers a lot come down to opinion and what you personally do.

I think that it is just natural to reflect the views of an editorial on the Neowin site since it is posted on the front page.

I'll just say a few facts. Trident engine is just a RENDERING engine. It does not determine whether a browser is secure or insecure. OSX does have dynamic linked libraries .dylib. And besides using Geekgirls as a source, those are the major WTF moments I had when I first read it. It is not on the scale of "Mac has photoshop" but it is pretty close.

Sigh, I guess this is the product of technology becoming more mainstream. Everyone is suddenly an expert.

kheldorin said,
I think that it is just natural to reflect the views of an editorial on the Neowin site since it is posted on the front page.

I'll just say a few facts. Trident engine is just a RENDERING engine. It does not determine whether a browser is secure or insecure. OSX does have dynamic linked libraries .dylib. And besides using Geekgirls as a source, those are the major WTF moments I had when I first read it. It is not on the scale of "Mac has photoshop" but it is pretty close.

Sigh, I guess this is the product of technology becoming more mainstream. Everyone is suddenly an expert.


Agreed. As much as I hate to say it i get the distinct feeling that the author is one of those people that thinks they know everything but infact know nothing.

Why the heck do you have a problem with the built in Windows Media Player? Zune doesn't have those library organizing features, plugin options, equalizer, video color settings, DVD support (not sure, but I haven't ever seen it though), taskbar playing support, remote play, play to support, homegroup support. Plus bundling Zune software would get the EU's tail up and get MS into trouble probably.
Worthless editorial IMO.

Well, if they got rid of WMP, they'd have to add those features to the Zune software, hmm? And I don't think the EU would care... because the Zune isn't all that popular yet. Unlike Internet Explorer, having the Zune software on the computer won't stop anyone from using alternatives. No more than WMP would, at least.

good points, and I'm glad to see the old Windows flag in all of its glory as the picture of this article!

I think most of the points are lame:

1 version - NO! 2 - yes! The partner channel is one of the reasons MS like so many SKUs.

Registry - it's fine. I have no issue with it, and it's 100% better than ini files.

New browser? NOT an OS feature IMHO! IE8 is good enough for 90% of users.

Replace WMP with Zune? Possibly, the brad could do with the push. But no real reason is given, and I don't care what Paul Thurrott thinks to be honest...

Make applications easy to install and uninstall? They already are!

Get rid of the registry? What are you going to replace it with? People always seem to leave that part out.

The registry is a simple database, nothing more, and one designed to be interacted with primarily programatically using various APIs. Much of the information stored in it is not even in a human-readable form, as Windows relies heavily on unique identifiers instead of plain text names. This is unrelated to the registry and wouldn't change even if you stored the data elsewhere.

In fact, most of the time the actual complaints people have aren't about the registry itself, it's that the information stored in it is difficult to understand and that the registry editor doesn't abstract it (which is intentional, since the whole point of the editor is to show the raw data.)

As I said above, the registry is a single point of failure for the system, which is simply bad engineering. Why does all third-party software have to access the registry, enter their own keys, etc... All you are doing is creating a file that becomes bloated with time, and increasingly at risk of corruption. Keeping the information required for each application separate will immediately avoid corruption of the system. That way if one program gets screwed up, it isn't taking the system with it. You fix that one program and you go on your merry way.

kenboldt said,
As I said above, the registry is a single point of failure for the system, which is simply bad engineering. Why does all third-party software have to access the registry, enter their own keys, etc... All you are doing is creating a file that becomes bloated with time, and increasingly at risk of corruption. Keeping the information required for each application separate will immediately avoid corruption of the system. That way if one program gets screwed up, it isn't taking the system with it. You fix that one program and you go on your merry way.


Registry does many thing very well. Whats the point of negating all those advantages by ditching registry entirely? Sure, its not perfect. That ain't a reason to remove it, that is a reason to better it.

Its single point of failure: make copies of it. Windows 2000 did do this, and I think later versions too do so. It becomes a cesspool of unused keys left over by ill-engineered apps: provide better revision management and/or tracking of keys created by applications. Applications can modify any others' keys: use ACLs and/or more hives. Registry prevents easy migration of settings to different computer: track keys for an application and provide an easy way to export them to a registry file.

I think the only thing that really needs to be requested of MS in an open letter, is for Windows 8 to be 64bit only. It really is time to move on from 32bit software now.

FloatingFatMan said,
I think the only thing that really needs to be requested of MS in an open letter, is for Windows 8 to be 64bit only. It really is time to move on from 32bit software now.

lol you don't have a clue, if other software companies don't follow, then MS surely won't follow, MS actually builds it's OS around peoples responses.

It's not that simple though. If that was to happen then every software and driver vendor would have to spend a lot of time and money getting their product to work and that means just one thing...the end user will end up paying for it and those freeware apps that many people use may end up being paid for apps. Also there are still computers out their that are not capable of running 64bit software.

Actually, I understand it and "have a clue" perfectly well, thanks. I've been a developer for the last 20 years and well know how things work.

I also know that clinging on to old technology is merely slowing down progress.

Most commercial apps will continue to work, even 32 bit ones, just fine in an 64bit OS; I'm not advocating removing THAT compatibility. I'm merely saying the OS itself no longer needs to be released in a 32bit flavour, especially as all hardware these days DOES come with 64bit drivers.

As for older computers that can't run a 64bit OS, well, they just stay on the older OS then, don't they? Why should progress suffer because some don't wish/can't afford to update?

Actually, the whole reason MS is setting the precedent of a VM solution in Windows 7 is precisely so that they can migrate everyone to 64 bit without breaking 32 bit legacy issues. If XPM is well received, you may very well see Windows 8 released in 64 bit mode, by default.

FloatingFatMan said,
I think the only thing that really needs to be requested of MS in an open letter, is for Windows 8 to be 64bit only. It really is time to move on from 32bit software now.


You realise that netbooks are x86 only, right?

For now, yes. But who's to say they will be by the time Windows 8 appears? It's at least 3 years away, and 3 years is a LONG time in the computer industry.

atleeit said,
lol you don't have a clue, if other software companies don't follow, then MS surely won't follow, MS actually builds it's OS around peoples responses.

You appear to suggest the way it works is programs go 64 bit, so the OS goes 64 bit, then I guess the hardware? Nope, other way around, you have to work from the base up.

@Kirkburn: If the mainstream OS go x64 that will definitely push for lower x64 hardware price and mainstream programs x64 only.

atleeit said,
lol you don't have a clue, if other software companies don't follow, then MS surely won't follow, MS actually builds it's OS around peoples responses.

You're obviously the clueless one if you think that OS Builders are the ones to wait for the app developers.

In your world Photoshop would be 64 bit before Windows? Where would it run? Would they simply develop Photoshop64 and then tell Microsoft to build an OS around their application?

FoxieFoxie said,
You realise that netbooks are x86 only, right?

There's a good chance netbooks in a few years will support 64-bit operating systems.

Also, I'd say Windows 8 will probably have higher system requirements than 7. Hey, it's gotta happen sometime, and if people weren't ready for it when Vista came out... they should really be ready 6 years later.

"Make applications easy to install and uninstall"

WTF? Isn;t that already easy? How do you suppose to make custom install and select features you want in setup when "drag n it's done" is applied?

Anyway, all points should be ignored expect IE, which they are already working.

Because you could easily do those using the application's preferences. There is absolutely no need to be able to select tons of stuff when installing an application. There is no need to have it ask if you want shortcuts here and there. I know less computer-savvy people are totally confused by the next-next-next-finish method because it asks tons of questions, most of which they can't answer. I also find the "preparing for thing X" **** in installers/uninstallers is really annoying.

In OSX the application itself is the shortcut, you drag it into Applications. Want it on the Dock? Simply drag it there. With software suites (with multiple programs) this could be done by simply showing all the available programs and you drag the ones that you want. Unfortunately in OSX some, like the dimwits at Adobe, use a poorly designed custom installer instead...

Having each program riddled across the HDD (**** like common files on C-drive, other program files on D-drive) isn't useful. The user also doesn't need to see the file structure (each DLL etc) of a program because it's totally irrelevant to him/her. That's why the .app packaging in OSX works well - the program is contained in a single package aside from some preferences in your user directory.

As for the registry, I agree it needs to go. I don't see it providing anything over just having for example a single .ini file for a program. The registry is not exactly user friendly or human readable because most things aren't in expected locations and it has lots of unnecessary data in it (for example TONS of CurrentVersion trees when there is NEVER anything but the current version..). Since most programs at the moment use it, for the next Windows I could see there being a virtualized registry for legacy programs.

I'd also like to see something akin to OSX's quicklook and Preview programs, meaning being able to check out most file types easily without downloading separate viewers for every little thing.

I'd also like to see a more coherent menu and keyboard shortcut system for the next Windows. Now for example finding program preferences can be anywhere from Edit to View to Tools to whatever menu, often with different names too. A single location, used by all programs. I like how Google Chrome manages to condense menus into two buttons with only relevant options rather than everything under the sun like in Firefox.

The keyboard shortcuts also could use some better planning. Whoever though ALT+F4 was a good combination for closing a program should be shot. Sure, you won't hit it by accident but it's not efficient and it certainly isn't intuitive. Common shortcuts for all programs is the way to go. Unfortunately developers have a big responsibility here - in OSX for example all Adobe programs have the same options in different places under different shortcuts. Of course, they are an extreme example of how bad it can be.

Easy to install on Windows is becoming less and less a reality.

Takes age to install some applications that don't take that much space on the disc. Not all application of course but more and nmore are guilty of excessively long installation time ... and this is on a Raptor 10000 rpm hard disk.

I had to make space on my 80GB Raptor disc couple of weeks ago to update WoW to 3.1. Decided to un-install Crysis since i finished the game and don't play anymore. Took lot of minutes to do so. Deleting the Folder would have savec me lot of time.

Took me age to install the last Creative Suit by Adobe. I almost decided to stop the process in the middle. Took age to install Visual Studio Express too.

Yes those are big application but taking the content from the DVD and copying it to the disc would require easily 2 or 3 times less.

This is definately a part of Windows MS could improve. This is oudated and perform badly.

I am pretty sure the installers are 3rd party. We can argue here that Windows should have .app or whatever, but it's completely useless to argue about how installer X takes years to load or installer Y shows too many useless choices.

With these ideas in mind, the next version of Windows could become an excellent product.

Are you saying without these suggestions Windows 8 wouldn't be an excellent product :P? I wouldn't really say any of these ideas would make it 'better'.

"One version, one price" -> No. For the reason TCLN Ryster says.
"Get rid of the registry" -> The registry is OK if you don't install/remove crappy apps that don't clean up after themselves

Also, unfortunately installing/uninstalling on OSX isn't quite as simple as you make out, for most applications I have to use a 3rd party application like AppZapper (not free) or AppCleaner to remove junk left behind.

James123 said,
Are you saying without these suggestions Windows 8 wouldn't be an excellent product :P? I wouldn't really say any of these ideas would make it 'better'.

"One version, one price" -> No. For the reason TCLN Ryster says.
"Get rid of the registry" -> The registry is OK if you don't install/remove crappy apps that don't clean up after themselves

Also, unfortunately installing/uninstalling on OSX isn't quite as simple as you make out, for most applications I have to use a 3rd party application like AppZapper (not free) or AppCleaner to remove junk left behind.

For the PC I use Revo uninstaller which runs the programs uninstaller then it searches for other junk that got left behind and lets you delete that. It works really well, I think MS should buy them and add it to Windows.

If this is all you can come up with, then Windows 7 must be a pretty awesome OS. Congratulations on that, Microsoft.

For some reason my eyes glaze over and I zone out everytime I read a Windows 'suggestion' with the phrase "from the ground up" involved.

But it's a cliche I've only been hearing for about 15 years now, and on a cosmic scale might not mean much.

And why is this person's "open letter" on the front page of this site?

Is he a major developer for Windows, or IT, or a tech guru of some renown?

Since you're not claiming to represent Neowin, and you're a nobody, and every one of your points is very debatable...

I think your open letter is a little too haughty and not worthy of Microsoft's attention.

Tom W said,
It's an editorial.

So? It's still presented on the FRONT PAGE of this site as if the person writing the editorial carried some significance, experience, or professional weight such that he warranted increased consideration.

So, honestly, I still just don't see why this isn't a forum post...

excalpius said,
So? It's still presented on the FRONT PAGE of this site as if the person writing the editorial carried some significance, experience, or professional weight such that he warranted increased consideration.

So, honestly, I still just don't see why this isn't a forum post...


I guess you're failing to understand my point or didn't read the dictionary definition. An editorial in an opinion piece by one of our writers or editors. He warrants increased consideration and is placed main page because he is a member of staff and has written an opinion piece. You may disagree with his opinion but as I'm sure your mother taught you, everyone is entitled to their opinions

a1ien said,
Since you're not claiming to represent Neowin, and you're a nobody, and every one of your points is very debatable...

I think your open letter is a little too haughty and not worthy of Microsoft's attention.


+1. And please, the last part regarding programs' installation is highly mac fanboy-ish while being also very inaccurate.. drag and drop works only for stupid software that doesn't need external components, making the process of editing files rather annoying

a1ien said,
Since you're not claiming to represent Neowin, and you're a nobody, and every one of your points is very debatable...

I think your open letter is a little too haughty and not worthy of Microsoft's attention.


So what you're saying basically is that nobody's opinion is worth anything unless they're famous.

I think the point is, and it's a correct point in my view, that the author clearly thinks a little too highly of himself to be writing "an open letter to Microsoft", as though he has reached the dizzying heights of even featuring on Microsoft's list of people whose point of view they need to acknowledge, let alone respond to or act upon.

Open letters are usually created by people with a little more weight than some random individual from Neowin. A different title and the editorial wouldn't have seemed so arrogant in its tone.

Eraser85 said,

+1. And please, the last part regarding programs' installation is highly mac fanboy-ish while being also very inaccurate.. drag and drop works only for stupid software that doesn't need external components, making the process of editing files rather annoying

Some people just don't understand, don't listen to them and maybe they'll go away.

I agree with you, I think MS should either get rid of the registry or simplify it. I've had my registry problems where I had to re-install windows and its not fun. There should be a way to make it so if a program gets corrupt then you don't have to worry about a backup. You can just re-install the program and it'll keep your files (say its word) fix the registry problem and keep what settings that weren't corrupt. If the registry is that important then it should be simplified.

I myself run a lot of portable software from my desktop hard drive. I run Open Office, Firefox, Pigion, Gimp and other programs and they run just fine. Best thing is I'm running both Windows 7 RC1 64 and XP 32 (for games) and all I had to do was just copy the programs I wanted to run from one C: to the other and I got full functionality and setting....easy as pie.

dead.cell said,
I don't believe some of these comments are worthy of the comment page to a front page article.


and I don't beleive this was posted on the front page.

Kirkburn said,

So what you're saying basically is that nobody's opinion is worth anything unless they're famous.

He never said 'famous.'

excalpius said,
So? It's still presented on the FRONT PAGE of this site as if the person writing the editorial carried some significance, experience, or professional weight such that he warranted increased consideration.

So, honestly, I still just don't see why this isn't a forum post...

Since when is quality control a factor in front page posting? Any Neowin regular will tell you that, lol. Anyway, the article stimulated a lot of interesting discussion in the comments.

Tom W said,
An editorial in an opinion piece by one of our writers or editors. He warrants increased consideration and is placed main page because he is a member of staff and has written an opinion piece.

And where oh where do you make any of that clear whatsoever? Nowhere in the post does it mention that he is a member of the Neowin staff, of even what his credentials are, etc. etc. I have never heard of "Kevin Weiner" and, in point of fact, the name sounds a lot like a semi-humorous alias to a native English speaker.

So, your editorial writer makes no effort to justify why Microsoft (or any of us) should listen to his letter's comments and suggestions whatsoever.

oh, play different note already! iTunes is fine. I have been using it on windows exclusively for nearly 5 years, on 3 different machines and I have rarely had a problem with it.

Maybe I am not running nerd tests on it or something...

Lamp0 said,
oh, play different note already! iTunes is fine. I have been using it on windows exclusively for nearly 5 years, on 3 different machines and I have rarely had a problem with it.

Maybe I am not running nerd tests on it or something...


Or maybe you're just part of the very very small group that likes iTunes on Windows?

Antiprophet said,
itunes on windows is terrible, but yeah, id have to say real player is the worst

I agree, iTunes on Windows is bloated.

GP007 said,
Or maybe you're just part of the very very small group that likes iTunes on Windows?


Yes I like iTunes on windows, because it works fine.

It might not be perfect, but what's so horribly wrong with it?

Sure it comes pretty bloated, but it's not hard to install it like this:

http://blogs.zdnet.com/Bott/?p=554&page=2


Once again, it's always worked fine for me...

iTunes is probably the main reason I stopped using my Shuffle. I mean, it only holds so many songs to begin with. Changing that list when I want to has always felt like a hassle though. My shuffle now sits in a drawer that hasn't been touched in months...

dead.cell said,
iTunes is probably the main reason I stopped using my Shuffle. I mean, it only holds so many songs to begin with. Changing that list when I want to has always felt like a hassle though. My shuffle now sits in a drawer that hasn't been touched in months...

Look up a program called Sharepod. It makes it so easy to add songs to your ipod. I haven't used itunes in months since I found this program.

Lamp0 said,
iTunes is fine.


If you like managing your music in Excel, maybe.

(And you don't mind how slow and clunky it is, limited format support, all the background crap it runs, etc...)

iTunes is such an elephant on Windows. It's just not made for it. On OSX it's faster, but still iTunes.

To add songs to my iPhone I use an iTunes alternative CopyTrans Manager. Works with normal iPods, it's free incredibly fast and only 2MB or something http://www.copytrans-manager.com

Generally, I am very disappointed from this open letter. It's very shallow and does not look to be coming from computer savvy people, as I always expected neowin staff to be.

One version one price – I agree that there a way to many variations, especially with Vista. One is not enough. Two is just right, Home and Pro, like XP.

Get rid of the registry – you just don’t know what you are talking about. The registry was introduced with Win95. Previous versions of Windows kept everything in .ini files. It was a nightmare. The registry is nothing short than Windows setting data base. It’s made for Windows. No program is required to store it’s settings into the registry, if needs to find a Windows setting, it’s straightforward. The problem with the registry comes from its misuse. There are people that don’t know how to write programs and clear their garbage. I don’t say that it does not have room from improvement, but it’s much better that what we had previously.

Make a new web browser from the ground up – hmmâ€Â¦ let’s only say the court does not even think it must be part of Windows. Anyways, Firefox and Opera are so much better.

Make applications easy to install and un-install – again, it’s so much application dependent. A well written program/installer will keep its data private and not disseminate it everywhere. DMG like package is actually a very good idea.

Zune's software actually works pretty well. A bit slow at times, but it's the Road Runner compared to iTunes. I had a Powerbook once and iTunes was ok on there, but the Windows version is an abomination and the reason I have a Zune instead of an iPod.

Suren said,
Zune is the worst media product that I have used!

Really? What don't you like about it? I've found a lot of new music that I like through the whole "social" feature. I was pretty skeptical at first, but after a few days of using it I was 100% won over.

Do you know what the registry does? Do you know how many things would stop working if it were just taken out?

As you should be aware, the registry is currently 3 hives, this should be split further and brought down to individual program registries, so that uninstalling say nvidia registry entries would be a single file removal.

This would also keep the speed of the registry fast and less duplicate entries. etc..

Relativity_17 said,
Do you know what the registry does? Do you know how many things would stop working if it were just taken out?

Access to the registry is defined through windows API functions, therefore the registry (in theory) could be removed, and the functions changed so that the programs that use the registry never know they're using files instead of the registry. Abstraction is a beautiful thing.

The registry needs removing because it's inconsistent. To hold settings, we already have ini files, config files, local settings, roaming settings, and the registry. To exemplify the inconsistency, consider programs that run at startup. To run a program at startup for just you, you can place an entry in the "startup" directory in your start menu, or you can enter a registry value at "HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Explorer/Run". Then if you want to stop a program running at startup, you need to check both of these places in order to find the link. In this case, the registry is completely redundant as everything that can be done in the registry can be done using shortcuts and the startup directory.

The registry (IMHO) should be removed and all configuration settings should be handled using the local/roaming settings directories. This way, it provides easy access to settings, and your registry settings can move around with you if your on a network.

Imagine how easy it would be to change explorer's behaviour if all of the configuration data for (for example) explorer was in "Explorer.ini", and how convenient it would be if those changes followed you round on every computer you sat at!

Relativity_17 said,
Do you know what the registry does? Do you know how many things would stop working if it were just taken out?

That's exactly the problem of the registry. When it is corrupted and there's no backup avalaible say bebye to Windows.

Settings should be handled individually by each application. Would speed up to installation and un-installation process and in case of corruption with no backup avalaible only one application would stop to work.


The registry is fine. I'd rather developers used the information Microsoft gave them on storing settings instead of cramming them in the registry. And your settings do follow you around on a network. It's called a roaming profile.

Ricardo Gil said,
^ Finally someone gets it. The registry needs to go, fast.


no you don't get it, the registry's primary function is not the storing of application information. For that we have the local and roaming folder and xml files (like every .net program).

The registry as a system wide repository for things as COM registration and management settings. You can't replace that with ini files

XerXis said,
The registry as a system wide repository for things as COM registration and management settings. You can't replace that with ini files

Why not? Well, maybe not in ini files, but something like COM registration could be handled in various other ways that could be just as (if not more) efficient.

Don't get me wrong, in a previous life, the registry was fantastic, now however it's becoming less and less useful, and everything stored in the registry can be replicated in more portable formats such as XML.

@GreyWolfSC Does the roaming profile include your registry settings? If so, thats something I didn't know!

Wow, this is funny. As web developers try to move away from 'slow' formats like XML to things like JSON and direct binary transfers you guys are suggesting that windows move the registry in the opposite direction?

How would hundreds of slow-to-parse XML files spread throughout the HD be superior to the highly optimized registry?

When the only problems people have brought up against the registry (developers misuse it to store app settings, it doesn't automatically back itself up) have nothing to do with the fundamentals of the registry itself, then why scrap it? The saying 'throwing the baby out with the bath water' comes to mind.

LaP said,
That's exactly the problem of the registry. When it is corrupted and there's no backup avalaible say bebye to Windows.


How would that be any different if you changed the persistence format, the layout, or the in-memory representation of that data?

That's why Windows automatically creates backups of the registry...

From a purely engineering standpoint, the registry is a terrible idea. It presents a single point of failure for the system. You don't build a bridge with a single support pier, and you shouldn't design software to be solely dependent on a single thing such as the registry, especially when you consider how complex the registry is with all the undecipherable key names etc.

I agree the registry sucks. I'd prefer settings for apps to be stored in their own files and that way there is way more flexibility. If less programs replied on the registry we'd be able to copy/paste files from hard drive to hard drive and still have apps fully functional without doing a full reinstall.

The alternative thought I had is if the registry 'must' stay, then there should be a way for the OS to detect when files/folders are moved and change the registry settings according to the new file/folder locations. And an easy way to migrate programs from 1 hard drive to another without the need to reinstall would be nice.

I dunno though. I just think there is a much more elegant solution then the registry somewhere out there. Either that or maybe we need some more advanced features dealing with registry settings and such. (ie. being able to move programs from place to place and have the registry auto-correct settings (or perhaps a right click context menu function which does this) so the program will run properly no matter where you move it without having to find/replace in the registry which can take ages).

Majesticmerc said,
Why not? Well, maybe not in ini files, but something like COM registration could be handled in various other ways that could be just as (if not more) efficient.

great, like what?

LaP said,
That's exactly the problem of the registry. When it is corrupted and there's no backup avalaible say bebye to Windows.

Settings should be handled individually by each application. Would speed up to installation and un-installation process and in case of corruption with no backup avalaible only one application would stop to work.

Ever hear of system restore?

It's been around in windows since 1999 and works very very well.

LaP said,
That's exactly the problem of the registry. When it is corrupted and there's no backup avalaible say bebye to Windows.

which is exactly what would happen if explorer.ini or winlogon.ini got deleted

As was already mentioned, replacing the registry with a more easily managed and architecturally superior method of having discrete files with their respective modules and applications meets with a few strangling shortcomings. Namely the physical constraints of rotational storage and the architecture of file-systems.

Microsoft is not dumb. Some of the most brilliant software, hardware designers and computer scientists are working at Microsoft Research. The challenge is that we know where we want to go, but getting there without breaking industry is a careful and deliberate task.

To Microsoft's credit, Windows Vista introduced some very important (yet sparingly utilized) new infrastructure to the aging platform. Windows 7 takes that further. But people griped about needing DX9.0c graphics with SM3 support to get Aero. Hardware vendors griped about having to write new audio drivers to conform to the new sound specs. 64-bit operating systems are much further along but there are still problems peppered throughout the industries. We as a world are adapting to the newer technologies as they best fit our needs.

The core component to making the retiring of the registry feasible is file system indexing technologies. Finding the thousands of config files spanning the volume would be much faster if there was a large index that can be queried. Some have suggested that having a completely separate bank of memory (perhaps on a PCI-e card) could hold the index for virtually instantaneous reconciliation of files, their meta-information and direct file-system locations. The current breed of SSD hard disks and flash memory are "retro-fitted" to behave like physical rotational storage. Like how RAM is physically addressed and managed, future SSD and flash drives will be much more sophisticated and the OS will be able to recognize and optimize file storage based on the physical architecture of the storage medium. Newer file systems will be optimized to take advantage of arbitrary data locations and with practically non-existent seeking times, finding and parsing thousands of config files would take no time at all. But it will take a while for us to be comfortable with the change.

The totally-custom supercomputer industry is already leagues ahead of what we have as consumers. But they typically don't run Windows ^__^

If Microsoft had the inclination, they could work with hardware manufacturers and make a brand new OS with brand new tech and blow everything out of the water. But there would be next to NO backwards compatibility and would require all new software created by freshly minted programmers learned in the new programming paradigms. And that takes time. (and $$$)

But who's to say that's not in the works ^__^

But yes. In the future, the registry should depart.

But don't bitch and moan when your SNES Emulator, Lotus 1-2-3 and Missile Defense Telemeter compatibility leave with it.

Majesticmerc said,
Honestly I don't know, but if every other OS can operate without a registry, why can't Windows?

Gnome uses a registry. OSX and KDE use broken up preference files. In OS X, plist issues will usually manifest similar to registry issues. Sometimes (mostly) the app will repair it but when it can't you get weird behavior or crashing.

geoken said,
Wow, this is funny. As web developers try to move away from 'slow' formats like XML to things like JSON and direct binary transfers you guys are suggesting that windows move the registry in the opposite direction?

There's nothing particularly fast about parsing YAML (and by extension JSON) that is slow about parsing XML. The only worth-while speed concern is wire overhead in transferring XML vs YAML but binary XML largely removes that concern.

For example I banged out a quick ruby script to load and parse the UTF-8 XML files that store all of keynotes configuration settings - parsing them takes 0.06 seconds using Ruby. The majority of that time is spent waiting for the ruby runtime to fire up. Actual file read/parse time with REXML is less than one hundredth of a second.

The total time spent waiting for keynote to load is ~4 seconds so the time spent loading/reading/parsing XML amounts to a rounding error in benchmarks. Time spent parsing XML configuration files at application launch isn't a significant concern because no human being will ever notice it.
Even if they launch 1 application per second, and that reading from the registry was infinitely fast (no cycles used), they'd be out 5 minutes in a typical work day.

That's about the most unrealistic situation you can dream up. In the real world where a user would be lucky to launch a hundred programs in a day, and the cost of accessing registry values is non-zero, and most programs aren't running runtime-compiled languages the cost is less than one second per day.

Majesticmerc said,
Access to the registry is defined through windows API functions, therefore the registry (in theory) could be removed, and the functions changed so that the programs that use the registry never know they're using files instead of the registry. Abstraction is a beautiful thing.

The registry needs removing because it's inconsistent. To hold settings, we already have ini files, config files, local settings, roaming settings, and the registry. To exemplify the inconsistency, consider programs that run at startup. To run a program at startup for just you, you can place an entry in the "startup" directory in your start menu, or you can enter a registry value at "HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Explorer/Run". Then if you want to stop a program running at startup, you need to check both of these places in order to find the link. In this case, the registry is completely redundant as everything that can be done in the registry can be done using shortcuts and the startup directory.

The registry (IMHO) should be removed and all configuration settings should be handled using the local/roaming settings directories. This way, it provides easy access to settings, and your registry settings can move around with you if your on a network.

Imagine how easy it would be to change explorer's behaviour if all of the configuration data for (for example) explorer was in "Explorer.ini", and how convenient it would be if those changes followed you round on every computer you sat at!


/agreed. Your startup program example is a good one. But I think you only mentioned 2 of the 8 ways a program can inject itself into system startup against your will.

Parsing of XML files is slow. In the cases where we use it in the Win7 shell (like for Library description files) we cache the parsed result to reduce the overhead of this.

The registry is populated by application manifests which are XML files. You don't want to have to parse the XML every time so that information is put into the registry database where it can be queried very, very efficiently.

0.06 seconds is an eternity. And that's for a simple XML configuration file. The registry needs to contain ALL components registered on the system as well as be able to do bi-directional mappings for things like ProgIds to/from CLSIDs, file extensions to/from handlers, etc. It needs to handle concurrent access not just to the database but to individual keys and values. It needs to handle transactional access, per-key ACLs, reflection / indirection, and so on.

Persisting registry hives in an XML format instead of a binary format is useless. It just makes things more inefficient.

Now, if you want applications to move away from using the registry for settings, that's fine. That's not really what it's meant for anyway. It's not meant for data or configuration that needs to be portable. It's designed to store shared data about system state. Global things like COM CoClass and proxy stub registration, file associations and handler registrations, etc.

Don't think for one second that the Mac or Linux don't have central configuration files that are needed to register things like file associations. It doesn't happen by magic. Heck, in OS X 10.4 and later, they mostly use binary plist files instead of XML, to avoid the cost of parsing them. They have a "Launch Services" database that contains the app / file association registrations.

Sounds an awful lot like the registry to me...

+Brandon:

I think people are just looking for an easier way to migrate. I think software makers store to much in the registry which is the problem not that Windows uses it.

Brandon Live said,
0.06 seconds is an eternity. And that's for a simple XML configuration file.

It was for every configuration setting used by a standard issue office-style application. It was also counting runtime environment start-up. For a real-world example consider iTunes parsing it's library - it bloats to enormous sizes (30mb on my system). For the sort of data that's parsed once on OS startup the 2 seconds it takes to go through an ungodly XML file isn't going to be noticed.

Persisting registry hives in an XML format instead of a binary format is useless. It just makes things more inefficient.

No disagreement on it being pointless, but the efficiency argument is spurious at best from an end-user's performance perspective. Applications don't spend a hell of a lot of time reading or writing configuration data from disk - it doesn't make sense to worry much about it because it has no baring on day-to-day performance of a system.

Don't think for one second that the Mac or Linux don't have central configuration files that are needed to register things like file associationsâ€Â¦. They have a "Launch Services" database that contains the app / file association registrations.

Netinfo db would have been a much better example though as I'm sure you're aware it was removed in the most recent version of Mac OS X.

For the most part Mac OS X system configuration information is farmed out to individual configuration files just as it would be in any other non-windows system. Launch services is a Carbon API that handles opening applications, file types, urls, etc. with appropriate data. it's database of applications and protocol handlers are separate from settings that govern user accounts, startup services, etc. Individual user preferences are stored in the users library, and settings shared across the system are stored in the system library.

For example, Mac users can edit their user-specific data launch services data by typing 'open ~/Library/Preferences/com.apple.LaunchServices.plist' in a terminal window (or browsing there with Finder and double clicking the icon).

It doesn't happen by magic.

Do you mean in the /usr/share/file/magic sense of the word?

Heck, in OS X 10.4 and later, they mostly use binary plist files instead of XML

Binary Plists are XML stored as binary files wrather than UTF-8 text. They are no less XML than than Base64 encoded JPEG files aren't images.

The major improvement in parse time is by reducing the verbosity: they aren't a 'cost-free' format like frozen cocoa objects would be. You can swap between the binary and utf-8 versions easily enough using plutil -convert com.whatever.plist. though I'm not sure what a person would hope to gain from it. Maybe they want to read/edit them with TextMate rather than Plist Editor or defaults?

I understand the major reason for this is to support mapping stored variables to API-native types.
some value needs to be mapped to CFString for Carbon applications and NSString for Cocoa ones.

Majesticmerc said,
The registry needs removing because it's inconsistent. To hold settings, we already have ini files, config files, local settings, roaming settings, and the registry. To exemplify the inconsistency, consider programs that run at startup. To run a program at startup for just you, you can place an entry in the "startup" directory in your start menu, or you can enter a registry value at "HKCU/Software/Microsoft/Windows/Explorer/Run". Then if you want to stop a program running at startup, you need to check both of these places in order to find the link. In this case, the registry is completely redundant as everything that can be done in the registry can be done using shortcuts and the startup directory.

Mac OS X and Linux are no better.

For the mac/linux example you've got:
~/library/startupitems
/library/startupitems
System Boot Info.plist
crontab
/etc/rc
/etc/init.d
etc.

The registry (IMHO) should be removed and all configuration settings should be handled using the local/roaming settings directories. This way, it provides easy access to settings, and your registry settings can move around with you if your on a network.

Such a system is over simplistic. It wouldn't account for settings that are shared between interactive users (ie: office CD-key), for settings that don't apply to a specific user (ie: where to write core-dumps when the system blue screens), etc.

Heres my own update to your open letter to Microsoft:

Microsoft, please ignore the "One version, one price" comment. I don't want to pay for domain join, disk encryption and other business features thank you very much. Continue to give me a cheaper version for Home users. Thanks.

Yeah I agree, home version and professional version would be enough though. Not home basic, home premium, professional and Ultimate.

You're ALREADY paying for the features you aren't using. MS already amortized that into the overall sales profile a long time ago.

This MBA 101 segmentation only exists to soak business customers separately from consumers, and rich consumers from average ones.

There is no conflict, price or feature wise, between versions of Windows, as the Ultimate editions prove.

So, I maintain that if Apple can deliver one reasonably priced, feature complete version of their operating system so can Microsoft.

I'm sick of multiple Windows flavors and so are most end users, who just wind up getting confused (as we saw with the Vista fiasco). All they want to know is do they have XP, Vista, or soon, 7, not what marketing sub-genre they got stuck with by some team of MBA 101 morons who are just trying to justify their salaried cubicles at Microsoft. 8)

excalpius said,
So, I maintain that if Apple can deliver one reasonably priced, feature complete version of their operating system so can Microsoft

That's not really a fair comparison, because to run OSX you've already paid the £500+ Apple Tax on their overpriced systems.

And we've all paid 10x that over and over again for the vast majority of the Windows OS that DOESN'T change year after year, etc. For example, the legacy driver code base.

Heck, your position doesn't hold up just on the volume argument alone. Microsoft "ships" 100x the number of copies of their OS compared to Apple, and since both companies have almost NO cost of distribution, Microsoft long since passed the point where it made sense to charge 1980's prices for their latest and greatest OS.

Honestly, a single seat of Vista Ultimate was priced at retail higher than the average user's ENTIRE COMPUTER (with monitor!) today. 8P

Here's another "ignore the 'one version, one price' comment. I don't want to pay for enterprise features either.

It's silly using Apple as an example, cos that's one of the reasons why they only have 5% of the market.

Use your sense. The only people who are confused are the ones letting themselves be confused. The majority of people will simply buy whatever their wallets let them buy, with no problems

James123 said,
That's not really a fair comparison, because to run OSX you've already paid the £500+ Apple Tax on their overpriced systems.

So er.. does that mean you get a Mac Mini for free (they start at £499)? You simply pay Apple tax and get a whole computer for nothing!

Seriously - what a ridiculous comment to make. And as always, when using Apple as an example / comparison in a discussion, the usual Microsoft fanboy response is to defend Microsoft with a slight on the competing product. How about just talking about it rationally, and saying you either agree or disagree ffs.

Some comments on here just astound me with their stupidity sometimes.

Chicane-UK said,
So er.. does that mean you get a Mac Mini for free (they start at £499)? You simply pay Apple tax and get a whole computer for nothing!

Seriously - what a ridiculous comment to make. And as always, when using Apple as an example / comparison in a discussion, the usual Microsoft fanboy response is to defend Microsoft with a slight on the competing product. How about just talking about it rationally, and saying you either agree or disagree ffs.

Some comments on here just astound me with their stupidity sometimes.

Yes... I'm such a Microsoft fanboy, that's why I said the Mac was a better choice in the Microsoft advert thread, and have had to use a Mac for the last year.

OK then, I'll be more specific "£300-500+" Apple Tax on everything that isn't a Mac Mini. Either way, they get a huge chunk of money from their hardware sales which allows them to sell the OS at a reduced price.

There should be ONE consumer version of Windows and ONE Business version of Windows. The consumer version should be no more than £120 retail as far as I am concerned.

I think there should be three versions personally. Home, Business and Ultimate. I think ultimate should be there for the home users that want the business functionality.

excalpius said,
You're ALREADY paying for the features you aren't using. MS already amortized that into the overall sales profile a long time ago.

Er, what? How exactly are you paying for the high end features when you buy a low end product for a lower price?

If you go into a retail store you'll only see 2 (maybe 3) versions of Windows for sale, Home Pre, Pro, and sometimes Ultimate.

The fact MS has starter, and home basic is for OEM only, and same with enterprise which is sold directly to businesses through their volume licensing.

Why again is have 3 retail versions a problem? I think everyone is yet again blowing this out of proportion.

GP007 said,
Why again is have 3 retail versions a problem? I think everyone is yet again blowing this out of proportion.

God knows, I think people want to be confused. On the shop floor, you only see four editions of Vista and OBVIOUSLY you can discount Business (the name is a massive massive clue) and Ultimate clearly sounds like something that contains everything (and the price is a dead giveaway). So there's only two left, Home Basic and Home Premium.

7 is going to be even more simple, only thing you will see on shop floor is Home Premium and Professional. Rest is either OEM only, special sale or only going to be sold in developing countries.

With so many clients to target, it would be difficult to get to 1 release. Targeting business with 1 build suits their needs, while the general consumer can live Home or Home Premium. But the techy hardcore will always want more, enter Ultimate.

First we want choice, then we complain about it and only want 1 release. If we get the 1 release, how long until we complain about not having a choice?

excalpius said,
You're ALREADY paying for the features you aren't using. MS already amortized that into the overall sales profile a long time ago.

This MBA 101 segmentation only exists to soak business customers separately from consumers, and rich consumers from average ones.

There is no conflict, price or feature wise, between versions of Windows, as the Ultimate editions prove.

So, I maintain that if Apple can deliver one reasonably priced, feature complete version of their operating system so can Microsoft.

I'm sick of multiple Windows flavors and so are most end users, who just wind up getting confused (as we saw with the Vista fiasco). All they want to know is do they have XP, Vista, or soon, 7, not what marketing sub-genre they got stuck with by some team of MBA 101 morons who are just trying to justify their salaried cubicles at Microsoft. 8)

I think we need 3 versions.

Startup version for other countries.
Business for....businesses
Pro/Ultamate (whatever they want to call it) for everyone else.

That would not be confusing. Your talking about Apple OS which doesn't have a business version. You download the OS and add apps as you need.

One other thing that MS can do though that may be interesting is have a windows app store so if your a business user you can download your free business apps that would usually come with the business version of windows, and if you have the pro/ultimate version you can download the free apps that you would usually get with that version. This way you're only getting the apps you need.

man, if only there was an easy way to decide which version you wanted.. if only they'd put a feature table on every box in the store..

personally i've never met a person who was confused on which version to get. i think that if they'd don't know what they want, then it doesn't matter which version they get because they aren't going to use the advanced features anyway.

from what i see, home premium is the best fit for almost all the regular users out there, and no one seems to have trouble finding it. with windows 7 the lowest retail version will be home premium, and the "problem" will be even more simplified.

1 version for all is ok. You think people with home, either flavor exist, don't use any feature from pro?

Let's see 2 exemple why home shouldn't exist.

You go at telus, verizon or whatever cellphone provider you have and buy one of those usb key that give you internet anywhere. Those key, since usb, doesn't come with any driver to install, it's all embeded in the key itself. But you got xp/vista home edition and when you insert the key, it ask for drivers and don't even see the key itself. You call tech support, they can't do squat cause the drivers are online, you got to use another computer which have internet, download and put into your computer.

Same thing for here at school. We got an NT domain with a print server running win2k3. People come here with laptop with xp/vista home edition. No need to join domain, when entering server name, it ask user/password. But wait, home basic doesn't have "remember password" checkbox. Wow stupid! Now, they select a printer, it says drivers aren't there. Problem is, either 2k/xp/vista are using same driver. Why is it doing that? HOME EDITION! Only home edition are having these problem. If I get any laptop/desktop running from 2k to vista other then home, it'S working.

Home = Bad, shouldn't exist. You think these people wanted to pay for a pro licence? No cause they don't need it. But hey, try sharing a printer in vista home and connect an xp home on it!

testman said,
God knows, I think people want to be confused. On the shop floor, you only see four editions of Vista and OBVIOUSLY you can discount Business (the name is a massive massive clue) and Ultimate clearly sounds like something that contains everything (and the price is a dead giveaway). So there's only two left, Home Basic and Home Premium.

I agree to be honest on the fact people "want to be confused". Theres only ever two, maybe three on a store shelf usually with a nice chart detailing the differences next to them. To go with that, the people that REALLY have no idea probably aren't the sort of user buying Windows over the counter anyway and are instead getting it preinstalled on their new machine.

I think the vast majority of people confused are those with a technical background on sites like this who are over thinking the whole scenario and are including the business and non retail versions into their thought process, copies many casual users wouldnt even be aware exist.

And if a non technical user does ever arrive in a store and has to decide between two, thats where the sales person should come in.